Chef John's Italian Meatballs


This Italian meatball recipe is very easy to make, and since we skip the messy step of pan-frying the meatballs, it becomes downright simple. Here I use a standard half-beef/half-pork mixture. Once the meatballs are baked, add them to your favorite prepared tomato sauce and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins


  • cup plain bread crumbs

  • ½ cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and stirring until onion is very tender, about 15 minutes more.

  3. Gently stir beef and pork together in a large bowl. Add onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, Italian herb seasoning, and red pepper flakes; mix together using a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  5. Form mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter; arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

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

    high view of Italian meatballs served with sauce over top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and garnished with Italian parlsey

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.

You can substitute water or beef broth for the milk if preferred.

Serve with homemade tomato sauce and polenta.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

390 Calories
31g Fat
5g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 390
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 617mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 349mg 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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