This is one of my family's favorite 'comfort' foods - by all six generations. Don't let the applesauce scare you off; you can't taste it, but it keeps the meatballs tender and moist. Add mushrooms and/or pearl onions for an even heartier 'comfort' meal! Serve over hot buttered noodles or rice. We like a salad and garlic bread, or a plate of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
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Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

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  • Whisk the egg and milk together in a large bowl, and stir in the croutons. Allow the croutons to soak up the milk mixture for about 2 minutes. Lightly stir in the applesauce, onion, garlic, Cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper, and mix in ground beef with your hands until thoroughly combined. Form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place into the prepared baking dish. In the same bowl, whisk together the cream of celery soup with evaporated milk. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

  • Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven until the sauce is bubbling and thickened and the meat is no longer pink in the middle, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese 15 minutes before end of baking, and bake until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Cook's Notes

Use two cans of soup and add 1/4 cup of water if you like a lot of gravy; mushroom and onion soups are good, too.

Nutrition Facts

429.9 calories; 26.9 g protein; 18.2 g carbohydrates; 125.8 mg cholesterol; 1290.4 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (10)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/17/2010
Yum my husband said these were the best meatballs I've ever made. They are so moist & flavorful. I will admit that I subbed ingredients that I had on hand. I only had 1 pound of 85/15 sirloin. I had homemade ww seasoned bread crumbs so I used a bit less milk. I only had monterrey jack. I always sneak veggies in so I added garlic carrots and celery with the onion & chopped very fine in the food processor. I cooked them at 325 for longer just to make sure the carrots cooked. We are eating it over ww penne. Delish! I'll make meatballs with natural applesauce often! Read More
(13)
13 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
05/17/2010
Yum my husband said these were the best meatballs I've ever made. They are so moist & flavorful. I will admit that I subbed ingredients that I had on hand. I only had 1 pound of 85/15 sirloin. I had homemade ww seasoned bread crumbs so I used a bit less milk. I only had monterrey jack. I always sneak veggies in so I added garlic carrots and celery with the onion & chopped very fine in the food processor. I cooked them at 325 for longer just to make sure the carrots cooked. We are eating it over ww penne. Delish! I'll make meatballs with natural applesauce often! Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
05/17/2010
Yum my husband said these were the best meatballs I've ever made. They are so moist & flavorful. I will admit that I subbed ingredients that I had on hand. I only had 1 pound of 85/15 sirloin. I had homemade ww seasoned bread crumbs so I used a bit less milk. I only had monterrey jack. I always sneak veggies in so I added garlic carrots and celery with the onion & chopped very fine in the food processor. I cooked them at 325 for longer just to make sure the carrots cooked. We are eating it over ww penne. Delish! I'll make meatballs with natural applesauce often! Read More
(13)
Rating: 4 stars
01/11/2012
This was very good. Nice and homey. It had a creamy mild sauce and wasn't weird with the celery at all. I only had chipotle cheddar on hand so that is what I used. My hubby loved this and went back for seconds. I didn't have canned milk so I used 2% and it turned out fine. Thanks Pipster we liked this a lot. Read More
(6)
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Rating: 4 stars
07/13/2010
These were very good. A nice change from meat loaf and other ground beef dishes. I am always looking for new things after 40 years of cooking you kind of run out of ideas. I made these as the recipe was written. Served with salad and buttered noodles. Thanks for the recipe from one grandmother to another:-) Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
05/21/2010
These meatballs were so tastey and easy to make! They have such a comforting and homey feel without being too heavy. I did double the sauce (we like lots) and added a little sage and thyme to the sauce but other wise followed the recipe exactly. Thanks for such a great recipe! Read More
(5)
Rating: 4 stars
01/12/2011
Really good! I added a can of mushrooms to the sauce. Will definitely spice it up next time though. Good start with the recipe. give it a try! Read More
(4)
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Rating: 4 stars
06/19/2012
These were very good nice and moist and great flavor...however....I felt it just took too much time rolling all them up....if you have time....go for it...u wont be disappointed. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
05/19/2014
Nice one. I did some changed. Used rice milk instead of cow one and cream of broccoli soup. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
11/01/2015
i only made the meatballs out of this recipe as i'm out of creamed soups and was just going to toss them with marinara and some pasta.. i didn't add any salt to the meatballs but wish i would have as my croutons weren't salty enough.. i think swapping parm for the cheddar would fix this though.. there's always a next time.. i do like how they were very moist and the subtle sweetness from the applesauce.. on a side note.. i made 65 little meatballs and thought this would be great if i had kids to help make them.. ty for the recipe Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
02/18/2013
Realizing I had a lot of ground chuck in my freezer that needed to be used I started looking for meatball recipes. This looked good and boy was it! I used garlic and cheddar seasoned crotons and left out both of the other cheeses as my husband is not a big cheese fan. Never missed them but I'm sure they would not have hurt anything. Used one can of cream of celery and one of cream of potato and 1% milk (added 1 T. of flour) for the sauce because that's what I had. Very tasty sauce over either mashed potatoes or noodles and served with steamed asparagus. Definitely a keeper! Read More
(1)