Homemade meatballs are a very easy to make, and since we skip the very messy step of pan-frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes downright simple. Here I use a standard half-beef/half-pork mixture. You can substitute water or beef broth for the milk, if preferred.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
35 mins
additional:
1 hr 20 mins
total:
2 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
30
Yield:
30 meatballs
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Ingredients

30
Original recipe yields 30 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

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  • Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl for 20 minutes.

  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes.

  • Mix beef and pork together in a large bowl. Stir onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into meat mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

  • Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  • Using wet hands, form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange onto prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

Some recipes use equal portions of beef, veal, and pork, which is also nice, yet more expensive. These days you can find all sorts of lean-to-fat ratios for ground beef. Most stores sell 90% lean, 10% fat, but I prefer the 80% lean, 20% fat ratio for this recipe.

Once cooked, you can add the meatballs to your favorite prepared tomato sauce for 1 to 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts

82 calories; protein 6.2g 12% DV; carbohydrates 1.7g 1% DV; fat 5.5g 8% DV; cholesterol 32.3mg 11% DV; sodium 192.1mg 8% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (1532)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2012
I made Chef John's meatloaf a week or so ago and it was quite tasty which made me excited to try his meatball recipe. The bread crumbs I used in this recipe were made from homemade garlic-butter croutons and I cut back on the salt just a bit. To make uniform meat balls, I used my small cookie scoop. After baking my meatballs, I drained the fat off of them and added them to a homemade marinara and let them sit in the sauce for 20 minutes or so before I served them on pasta. The family really thought these were quite good. They held up well (to both cooking in the oven and sitting in the marinara) and had a nice flavor. Next time, I'd double the italian seasoning but that's really just personal to our family. Read More
(443)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
01/06/2013
I just took these out of the oven and they were swimming in liquid!! They weren't browned or even close - the flavor of the meat is good but the consistency of the cooked meatballs is wrong - won't make again! Read More
(82)
2070 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1803
  • 4 star values: 209
  • 3 star values: 34
  • 2 star values: 14
  • 1 star values: 10
Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2012
I made Chef John's meatloaf a week or so ago and it was quite tasty which made me excited to try his meatball recipe. The bread crumbs I used in this recipe were made from homemade garlic-butter croutons and I cut back on the salt just a bit. To make uniform meat balls, I used my small cookie scoop. After baking my meatballs, I drained the fat off of them and added them to a homemade marinara and let them sit in the sauce for 20 minutes or so before I served them on pasta. The family really thought these were quite good. They held up well (to both cooking in the oven and sitting in the marinara) and had a nice flavor. Next time, I'd double the italian seasoning but that's really just personal to our family. Read More
(443)
Rating: 5 stars
04/21/2012
These meatballs were awesome! I added more breadcrumbs than the recipe called for, left out the red pepper, and used beef broth instead of milk. They were a big hit and I even posted a picture! Thanks Chef John! Read More
(321)
Rating: 5 stars
04/26/2012
CJ's Italian Meatballs Haiku: "I can't believe it. These beat 'Meatball Nirvana' And they held up too!" So my biggest praise for these meatballs is that after I made a double-batch, w/o changing the recipe, I froze them into weekly portions, but after thawing a handful of them in sauce last night, I couldn't have been more delighted that they held their meatball shape and didn't fall apart! So I don't know what of CJ's method, or ingredients, resulted in a firm (oh yes, and scrumptious!) meatball, but I think this recipe has replaced AR's 'Meatball Nirvana' in our house from now on. Read More
(309)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/08/2013
Excellent meatballs! They are perfectly seasoned! I prefer to mix the bread crumbs with milk in a large bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes then mix in the eggs, parsley, parmesan cheese, the sautéed onions with garlic and all of the dry seasonings into this bowl. In a separate large bowl, I mix the beef and pork together then mix the contents of the previous bowl into the bowl of meat and place it into the fridge for an hour or so before forming the meatballs. I think that by doing so – everything mixes together more evenly. I find it impossible to mix the beef and pork together without using your hands, same goes for mixing the meat with the remaining ingredients. I didn’t notice any toughness in the meatballs by doing it my way. I’ve heard numerous times to not work ground beef too much otherwise the meat will turn tough. I don’t believe that myth. I use an ice cream scoop to form the meatballs and pack them into balls with wet hands. I added half of the cooked meatballs to a simmering pot of marina sauce and finished simmering them in the sauce for an hour. The remaining meatballs were put in a freezer bag and frozen for later use. Read More
(112)
Rating: 5 stars
06/28/2016
These meatballs were excellent! I followed the recipe as is. No problems with it whatsoever. Thanks Chef John! Fellow members, please refrain from changing the recipe to suit yourself and rate it as if its the exact recipe that is posted. If you make changes, any changes to the recipe, you're rating your own recipe..Doesn't make sense. Read More
(109)
Rating: 5 stars
04/27/2012
These are FANTASTIC meatballs! I used meatloaf mix, b/c it was cheaper (believe it or not) than buying the beef and pork seperately. I also used seasoned breadcrumbs instead of plain and dried parsley in place of the fresh. Followed the recipe exactly otherwise and would not change a thing next time. I was scared b/c the mixture was so soft (even after refrigeration), but I proceeded on, and I am so glad I didn't add extra breadcrumbs like I wanted to...these held their shape and were so moist, tender, flavorful and delicious...one of the best I've made/eaten! I used my large cookie scoop and got 26 out of this recipe. My family RAVED over these...even my 10 month old twins couldn't get enough, lol. Seriously, these are sooooo good! I will def be using this recipe over and over~YUM! Thanks for sharing. :) Read More
(90)
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Rating: 2 stars
01/06/2013
I just took these out of the oven and they were swimming in liquid!! They weren't browned or even close - the flavor of the meat is good but the consistency of the cooked meatballs is wrong - won't make again! Read More
(82)
Rating: 5 stars
01/10/2013
These tasted really good and were super easy to make. Just a couple of things: I think next time I'll use maybe a 1/3 cup of milk as they were almost too juicy to form into balls. Also, next time I will try baking them with a rack in the pan as they really did make a lot of grease and I think they would taste better without sitting in it. Third, I wish they would have browned up a little better. I even kept them in the oven for a few more mintutes at 450 and that didn't help. But, again, the best tasting meatballs I've ever made. Nothing wrong with the recipe as written, just personal preference, a five star recipe for sure! Read More
(76)
Rating: 5 stars
08/04/2012
Wow. This recipe is a keeper. I followed the recipe to a T and I wasn't disappointed. These meatballs were intended for sub sandwiches with marinara, but after tasting them fresh out of the oven, I felt like I was doing an injustice to this fine specimen of meat by slopping marinara over it. Thanks for the great recipe. I will be using this for years. Read More
(61)
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