Traditional recipes

Italian-style meatballs recipe

Italian-style meatballs recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef mince

Homemade baked meatballs made with Pecorino cheese, fresh parsley and a hint of chilli are the perfect addition to any tomato sauce.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 5

  • 25g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 60g grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 450g beef mince

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:30min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tray with foil.
  2. Toss breadcrumbs, grated cheese, garlic, parsley, black pepper, chilli flakes and egg together in a bowl; mix in mince gently with your hands. Form beef mixture into meatballs; place on the prepared baking tray.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes; turn meatballs and bake until no longer pink in the centre, about 5 minutes more.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(17)

Reviews in English (14)

by TeamMurphy

Easy & fast I had to make some changes because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. The meatballs still worked out great and were tasty. If I had the pecorino, I expect they would have been extra tasty. I liked that they were a fast recipe and sometime when I have more time I'll try one of the more intricate recipes with long simmer times. Yum!-23 Feb 2019

by Skash

Made these several times and they’re perfect. I usually add Italian seasoning in place of parsley along with a teaspoon of fennel seed. This time I added Tuscan herb blend and the fennel seed...Magnifique!!!-12 Aug 2018

Italian-style meatballs recipe - Recipes

The secret to the juiciest and tastiest meatballs you will taste. Meatballs are one of those foods that are either incredible or disappointing. There’s nothing worse than a tasteless dry meatball, sadly, that’s what a lot of restaurants seem to serve.

For the best meatballs, it’s best that you talk to your butcher and get them to mince the meat you select on the spot. You want around 15 to 20 percent fat. Don’t buy ready made supermarket (ground) minced meat, you will be disappointed as they often use cheap meat cuts. The combination of beef and pork also make a perfect balance not only in taste but in texture. If your butcher sells pancetta, ask them to mince it for you, it will save you time and work later on.

For the bread, brown bread work best as it holds more fiber, this helps keep in the juices. The grated mushrooms also help elevate the flavour and retain moisture. This is a very simple dish to make, as you basically mix all the ingredients together and voila!

Once the meatballs have been browned, they are rested in a warm spot, on a warm plate which also helps them retain their juices. To de-glaze the pan, use a rich full bodied red wine that you would drink such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. If you can’t drink wine, then use a beef stock.

Don’t overcook them in the marinara sauce as all their juices will seep into the sauce making the meatballs dryer. 30 seconds is the absolute maximum you want to heat them up.

Enjoy my juicy Italian style meatballs.


    ⅓ cup full cream milk 2 large slices of brown bread 1lb – 450g beef and pork mince (15-20% fat) 1 tsp salt Cracked black pepper (generous amount) 2oz 58g pancetta (minced) 4oz – 120g button mushrooms (approx.4 large) 1 shallot 1 garlic clove ¼ tsp dried oregano ½ cup - 40g grated pecorino (plus extra for garnish) ¼ cup chopped parsley (keep some for garnish) 1 whole egg 1 cup olive oil ½ cup of full bodied red wine (or use beef stock) 6 cups marinara sauce (see my recipe)


Remove the crust from the bread, tear up the crumb and soak in the milk, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the combined minced meats, salt and pepper, bread soaked in milk (milk squeezed out). Add the very finely chopped or minced pancetta, grated mushrooms, finely chopped shallot, minced garlic, dried oregano, grated pecorino cheese, chopped parsley and one whole egg. Mix well using your hands.

Add olive oil to your hands, pick up a portion of the mixture and form into balls by using the palm of both your hands. Aim for 58 grams each or approx. 2 ounces. Use a scale for consistency, you should get close to 14 meatballs.

Add a generous amount of olive oil to a frying pan (non stick works best) on medium heat, enough to cover the bottom and a little more. Once the oil is hot, place half the meatballs and brown evenly by rolling them and basting them with the hot oil. They will cook in approx. 4 to 5 minutes. Once nice and brown, set them aside to rest on a warm plate. Repeat step if cooking them all.

In the same pan, deglaze it with the red wine or beef stock, flambe if safe then add 3 cups marinara sauce. Return meatballs to pan along with any juices, reheat 20 – 30 seconds and serve immediately. Serve with grated pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

Italian-style meatballs with cheesy mash

For the meatballs, place the onion, garlic, mince, seasoning and chopped rosemary into a large bowl and mix well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into golfball-sized balls.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until golden-brown on all sides.

For the sauce, add a little more oil to the pan with the meatballs and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the red wine, turn up the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato purée and beef stock and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are completely cooked through.

For the mash, place the cooked potatoes into a large bowl. Add the butter, cheese, milk and seasoning and mash together with a potato masher until smooth.

To serve, place the mash onto a serving plate and spoon over the meatballs and sauce.

Italian Style Meatballs & Spaghetti

These meatballs are a delicious and welcome change from many meatball recipes which call for a lot of sugar and sweet sauces. In addition, these meatballs are not fried and come out moist. They burst with the flavors of Italy tomato, basil and garlic.



  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • 16 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • 3 cups of water
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • 2 cloves crushed and chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 pounds ground meat



Make sauce. Sauté onion, pepper and garlic with salt and pepper for ten minutes. Add chopped basil and sauté for one minute. Add tomato sauce, paste, water, wine and sugar and salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil, there will be chunks of vegetables in the sauce if you prefer a smoother sauce, blend the sauce with an immersion blender before adding the meatballs.

Make meatballs while sauce is simmering. Mix the egg, basil, parsley, garlic, and black pepper, ketchup, and bread crumbs. Add ground meat and roll into balls. Add meatballs to simmering sauce and cook covered for 25-30 minutes on low flame.

Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Serve with meatballs.

As seen in the JoyofKosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Bitayavon Winter 2011) – Subscribe Now

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
  • Servings: 6
  • Easy

Step 1

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 2

Add wet ingredients, and mix well.

Step 3

Roll the mixture into ping pong ball size, making about 12-16 of them.

Step 4

Bake meatballs in the oven at 350º for 30 minutes.

Step 5

Once out of the oven, add the meatballs to the sauce and completely cover.

Step 6

Let the meatballs finish cooking in the sauce for at least 30 minutes.

Step 7

Looking for an easy and delicious sauce to finish cooking your meatballs in? Check out my sauce recipe here.

Real Italian Meatball Recipe

I heard about Connie’s meatballs over 25 years ago, even before I was married to Meg. She told me they were the best meatballs she’d ever eaten. This is Connie’s meatball recipe.

Connie is the mother of Susan, one of Meg’s best friends. I’ve met Connie several times over the years and have asked her to share her meatball recipe with me after my own opportunity to try them. As usual for many home cooks, she said, “I don’t have a recipe. I just make them as my mother taught me.”

Well, a few years back, Susan watched her mom make them with a pad and pencil in hand and this recipe is the result of that afternoon. I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while and just found it in my archive of mail from Susan.

Is It the Best Meatball Recipe?

Personally, I think Connie’s meatballs are among the best I’ve ever enjoyed. Like mashed potatoes, I’m sure how your mom makes them is going to be the best but these are really good.

I’m also guessing it depends on where you are from, since I expect your favorite meatball recipe will likely be influenced by geography. Even in Italy, I imagine meatballs from the north will have different ingredients and flavor than those from the south.

A Little Meatball History

I bet you think meatballs must come from Italy. At least that’s what I’ve always thought. But after a little research on the Internet, there are conflicting stories as to where meatball originated.

One site had them originating from Persia where they were prepared with leftover meat and called “kafta”. These meatballs were made from a combination of ground beef, pork, chicken or lamb and combined with bulgur or mashed lentils.

Then there is a great article in The Atlantic called Not Your Grandmother’s Meatball explaining that meatballs originated in Italy during the Roman empire. This comes from a collection of old recipes called “Apicius” dating back to the 4th or 5th century. They are called polpettes in Italy and range in size from marbles (polpettines) to 1-3/4 inch diameter.

A Meatball By Another Name

Whether meatballs originated in Italy or Persia, you’ll find them in just about every culture and called by a variety of names. Think about it. You have extra beef or veal or chicken, so what do you do? Grind it up, add some additional ingredients, a few herbs and spices and voila, you have a meatball. Here are some variations of meatballs from other countries.

  • Italy – polpettes
  • Denmark – frikadeller
  • Sweden – köttbullar
  • Germany – Königsberger klopse
  • China – wanzi or lion’s heads
  • Russian – tefteli
  • Spain – albondigas
  • South Africa – skilpedjies
  • Netherlands – bitterballen
  • France – boulettes de viandes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

In America when you think meatballs, you most likely associate them with spaghetti. Right? Spaghetti and Meatballs.

This may be true in the United States, but in Italy most restaurants don’t serve meatballs with pasta. Spaghetti and meatballs is an American invention.

In Italy, meatballs are considered more “peasant” food and reserved for home cooking. Italians eat multiple courses with pasta being the first course followed up by a meat course which could include meatballs.

It is most likely that meatballs were brought to America by Italian immigrants during the “late 19th and early 20th centuries.” These immigrants didn’t have a lot of money so they made their own meatballs with cheaper cuts of beef, combined them with inexpensive spaghetti and made a sauce from imported canned tomatoes.

Over the years, meatballs have evolved into many variations depending on where you come from and what ingredients you have on hand. You can find them fresh at high end markets or frozen in the freezer island at your local supermarket.

Connie’s meatballs do take a little time to make but I’m sure once you’ve tried them, you’ll say it was worth the effort.

Traditions to Live By

Then frying the meatballs and sausage and adding the meat to the sugo (otherwise known as Italian Traditional Sunday Sauce).

Now my two sons, carry on this tradition with their families and makes me so proud that their legacy continues.

They now have the same fantastic childhood Italian memories that we all hold dear to our hearts.

Mom’s Low Carb Meatballs Recipe – Italian Style (Keto Meatballs)


  • 1/2 pound ground beef chuck, 85 % lean
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or turkey or veal)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsely
  • 1 tbsp finely grated onion (it will be mush)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (small – medium in size)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Optional: Sauce


To Pan Fry Meatballs:

To Bake Meatballs in the Oven:

Makes 12 meatballs. 3 meatballs per serving at 1 net carb. With Rao's sauce it's 4 net carbs per serving. (Nutritional info for the meatballs only.)



Kim is a self taught cook with over 30 years experience in the kitchen. She develops and tests low carb and keto recipes in her California home. She began her low carb journey in 2009 and at the urging of friends, started blogging in 2014. Kim shares delicious low carb and keto recipes no one would believe are sugar-free. Her recipes are featured in newsstand publications and on sites all over the internet.

Grandma’s Famous Italian Meatballs

Grandma&rsquos meatball recipe is the ultimate family comfort food! Spheres of ground beef broil until golden brown, then simmer in a flavorful tomato sauce until tender and juicy. Serve over spaghetti noodles or your favorite pasta.

Before we got married, my husband, Jason, wanted to make sure I knew how to make all his favorite meals. He comes from an Italian family where a love of food is their bond. After calling up Grandma Rose to ask for her meatball recipe, I learned that she doesn&rsquot use a list of specific measurements and cooks by feel. As a culinary scientist who craves details, I had some homework to do.

After years of testing, that&rsquos how long we dated for I finally figured it out! The most important elements are the breadcrumb mixture to retain juiciness, broiling to create surface flavors, and simmering to tenderize the beef. This recipe makes plenty of servings to use with pasta or sandwiches, and the leftovers taste even better.

Cooking On A Budget

This site is dedicated to showing you that even with a limited grocery budget you can cook good meals for your family. There are lots of menu plans, helpful advice and tips and many tried and true recipes. Some of them from my family archives. I hope you enjoy your visit here at Cooking On A Budget.

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Italian Style Meatballs with Fresh Marjoram

Italian Style Meatballs with Fresh Marjoram are scrumptious and ever so tender. Packed full of flavor from the marjoram, some Parmesan and the other host of spices, you'll want to make this your go to meatball recipe.

Not sure if I've ever met anyone who does not like spaghetti and meatballs - ever. This dish seems to be a staple dish in most every household across America and in homes abroad. We all have that special handed down recipe from grandma to mom to us for the sauce or for the meatballs.

There's no denying I made my mother's recipe over and over and over throughout the years until I stumbled upon this recipe for Italian Meatballs with Fresh Marjoram from one of my many Williams-Sonoma cookbooks and it has been my very favorite meatball recipe ever since. Also, I've discovered after having made these dozens and dozens of times over the years how to have them come out really tender and I'll give you my notes later on in this post.

Fresh marjoram has been described as having a delicate, almost floral smell to it and is often swapped out for the zestier, peppery and lemon fresh herb oregano. I simply adore the flavor this herb imparts in the dish. You can find Marjoram in the fresh herb section of your grocery store.

Another reason I love these meatballs is the combination of beef and pork and it's also that very combination of the two meats that I prefer using for stuffing bell peppers and making meatloaf. Also the creamy ricotta cheese with the salty Parmesan just intensified the overall taste of the meatball. I think you are going to love this rendition of Italian Style Meatballs with Fresh Marjoram.