Italian Meatballs

$9.37 recipe / $0.89 serving / $0.22 meatball

I was really craving some red meat the other day and the first thing I wanted was meatballs. Of course, I didn’t have any meatballs so all I could do was sit there and think about meatballs. Well, while contemplating the meatball, I thought of at least 4 or 5 different ways to eat meatballs (spaghetti and meatballs, meatball sandwiches). I said to myself, “How great would it be to make a BUNCH of meatballs, freeze them in small batches, then take them out little by little and make different things with them?” So, today, that is what I did! I made a super big batch of meatballs (42 to be exact) and I have already made two things with them… the rest will go in the freezer for now, only to wait for their day to be made into something amazing!

Oh, one more thing… I have to toot my own horn here because I have never made meatballs before and these have to be the best meatballs I have EVER had in my life. The pictures don’t do the enticing aroma enough justice…

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

5.0 from 5 reviews

Italian Meatballs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $9.37
Cost Per Serving: $0.89
Serves: 40 meatballs
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef $3.48
  • one (1.25 lb.) pkg mild italian sausage, casings removed $3.17
  • ½ medium yellow onion $0.12
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic $0.12
  • 6 Tbsp, divided olive oil $0.64
  • ½ cup bread crumbs $0.18
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese $0.31
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley $0.77 (whole bunch)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten $0.31
  • ½ cup all purpose flour $0.27
Instructions
  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic. Cook them in a small skillet using 2 Tbsp of olive oil until they are soft and translucent.
  2. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, Italian sausage (remove from the casing), bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, beaten eggs, parsley and onion/garlic mixture (let cool slightly so they can be handled with your bare hands). Using your hands, mix and squish it all together until it is thoroughly combined. Your hands really are the only tool that will accomplish this effectively so if you don’t like touching raw meat, you better get yourself some gloves!
  3. Prepare your meatball making station by getting a small bowl and putting a ½ cup of flour in it. You will be dredging the meatballs in the flour before pan frying them. Also grab a large plate or platter to hold the flour dredged meatballs prior to frying. Using your hands (again) grab small amounts of meatball mix and roll into small balls (I made mine slightly smaller than a golf ball) and then roll them around in the flour until coated lightly. Place the floured meatballs on the plate and continue until you have used all of the meatball mix. You will probably need to rinse your hands every 10 meatballs or so because they get coated and sticky, making the rolling quite difficult.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a large glass dish ready for baking. Put the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet and heat it over medium/high heat until it is very hot but not smoking (if you drop a little flour in it, it will sizzle A LOT when it’s ready). Working in batches (about 10 at a time), brown the meatballs on all sides (about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side). The meatballs do not need to be cooked through because you will bake them as well. Basically, you are just adding texture, flavor and strength to the meatball by searing the outside.
  5. As you remove each batch of meatballs from the skillet, place them in the glass dish until they are all done pan frying. Place the glass dish full of meatballs in the oven and cook at 350 for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. If you made larger meatballs they will take longer to cook. If you are unsure about whether or not your meatballs are done cooking, simply sacrifice the largest one you can find and see if it is still pink inside.

 

meatball ingredientsmeatball mixtureSTEP 3: Prepare your meatball making station by getting a small bowl and putting a 1/2 cup of flour in it. You will be dredging the meatballs in the flour before pan frying them. Also grab a large plate or platter to hold the flour dredged meatballs prior to frying. Using your hands (again) grab small amounts of meatball mix and roll into small balls (I made mine slightly smaller than a golf ball) and then roll them around in the flour until coated lightly. Place the floured meatballs on the plate and continue until you have used all of the meatball mix. You will probably need to rinse your hands every 10 meatballs or so because they get coated and sticky, making the rolling quite difficult.

dredged meatballsSTEP 4: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a large glass dish ready for baking. Put the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet and heat it over medium/high heat until it is very hot but not smoking (if you drop a little flour in it, it will sizzle A LOT when it’s ready). Working in batches (about 10 at a time), brown the meatballs on all sides (about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side). The meatballs do not need to be cooked through because you will bake them as well. Basically, you are just adding texture, flavor and strength to the meatball by searing the outside.

half fried meatballsSTEP 5: As you remove each batch of meatballs from the skillet, place them in the glass dish until they are all done pan frying. Place the glass dish full of meatballs in the oven and cook at 350 for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. If you made larger meatballs they will take longer to cook. If you are unsure about whether or not your meatballs are done cooking, simply sacrifice the largest one you can find and see if it is still pink inside.

cooked meatballsNOTE: One of the recipes that I saw for meatballs while researching them said that you can freeze the raw balls on a cookie sheet then transfer them to a freezer bag once they are solid. My meatballs were so sticky that freezing them raw just seemed kinda strange so, I cooked all of mine then divided them into bags w/8 balls each. I am cooling them in the refrigerator as we speak, then will transfer them to the freezer once they have cooled. Now, next time I crave meatballs I can grab a bag out of the freezer and enjoy them rather than just sitting there thinking about them!

meatballs for the freezer

34 Comments

  1. If you want to cut down on some of the calories and fat, you can also make them using ground turkey breast. Mix the turkey with egg (or egg substitute), bread crumbs, garlic, grated parmesan cheese and some Montreal Chicken seasoning. Mix and roll into meatballs. What I typically do with these instead of rolling in flour, frying and then baking is cook them like dumplings. I make Turkey Meatball and Gnocchi soup; saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic in olive oil until translucent (add salt, pepper and a bay leaf), pour in one or two boxes of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Drop in the meatballs (carefully!) and they will essentially poach in the broth. Then drop in one package of store-bought gnocchi. When the gnocchi float to the top, they’re done. I fish out the bay leaf, drop in a handful or two of frozen peas and some fresh chopped parsley. It’s a terrific, filling, and inexpensive soup for a cold night, and since it makes so much, I usually get several meals out of it.

  2. I love homemade meatballs and also love the idea of freezing them to take out as needed. Will do–thanks!

  3. Beth… my husband now thinks I am a kitchen goddess. Who knew that meatballs are so powerful? I did the meatball sandwiches w/your marinara last night, doing the stroganoff tonight. Bless you!

  4. haha, that is AWESOME! I hope y’all enjoy the stroganoff as much as I did!

  5. Really tasty! The parsley in the was a great addition.

    I was just surprised that this recipe didn’t call for any seasoning. I added a good bit of cracked pepper, a dash of salt (since the parma already had some), and some italian spices while mixing the whole thing together.

  6. Jordan Finley says:

    Im going to start cooking these right now i just returned from the store with everything i need for tonight and for the stroganoff that i will be making on sunday!

  7. An alternative to the breadcrumbs, especially for those who have to watch their gluten or yeast intake (e.g. celiac or candida), is oatmeal. I grew up with my mum using oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs for burgers, meatloaves, and meatballs.
    Love the site, and bookmarking so many recipes with which to fool the boyfriend into thinking I know how to cook… :-)
    Thanks!

  8. Melanie ;-) says:

    Aww! to the poster above, that is such a good idea! I hadn’t thought about ground oats (new to gluten free)!

    To the other poster that was surprised that the recipe didn’t call for any seasonings, I believe the reasoning behind that was to keep the flavour clean and simple in the meatballs. Then when you add a sauce i.e. spaghetti or stroganoff, the flavour will marry better to each dish and those sauces can be seasoned more to your tastes.

    This is dinner tonight! I cooked a test one since I just couldn’t wait lol. Tender, juicy and just what i was looking for.

    Oh, tiny short-cut since I got one as present for my birthday. Mini ice-cream scoop, traditional kind that has a metal swing that scoops out the spoon. I used that to make them, it was fast and though I do love the hands on process, this made ALOT of mini sized meatballs (28) so it was a nice time saver.

    • jennifer says:

      I make meatballs with ground almond flour with Italian seasoning incorporated instead of breadcrumbs. I can’t even taste the difference in them surprisingly!

  9. Hahah, I meant to respond to that “no seasoning” comment a long time ago and forgot!! The reason is actually because I used Italian sausage which was already heavily seasoned. The meatballs turned out very flavorful :D

  10. Melanie ;-) says:

    Hurray!

    yes, they sure did, I am happily noshing on a bowl of meatballs with with marinara (yours :-) and brown rice noodles. To be honest, this is one of the homiest meals I have had since going gluten free.

    Thanks again!

  11. These were so delicious! Just made them with the stroganoff last night, which was divine. To make them a little less guilt inducing, I made them with 1/3 lean g. beef, 1/3 lean turkey, 1/3 RF sausage. and they were still super delicious!

    As for the freezing raw, it worked like a charm. I use the same method for stuff like cookie dough. If they aren’t touching each other while they freeze, they lose the sticky-ness as they freeze. Can’t wait to cook them again! Thanks for another great recipe.

    PS I owe you a HUGE thanks, by following mostly just your recipes, I have saved over $200 in groceries for just November alone. I didn’t know it was possible! Thank you so very much. Keep up the great work

  12. Anonymous says:

    Made these meatballs to go with the mushroom straganoff. Really great meatballs that held together well. I used chorizo flavoured sausages because that was all I could find. They weren’t cheap but it didn’t matter. The taste was worth it. It made heaps too so our family will get a few meals out of it.

    LOVING this blog. Not sure how I stumbled across it but so glad I did.

    Natalie

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yum!!! I used ground turkey and added sundried tomatoes, salt pepper. After browning i baked them for 10 minutes in the sauce. I made golf ball size in stead of the small ones but will try that next time!

    Love your site, your recipes are so easy to follow and ALWAYS COME OUT GREAT!!

    Valerie
    Golden, CO

  14. HUGE hit with the family, especially my hubby. He told me how much he liked the taste & texture and then proceeded to remind me of all the recipes I had tried and failed miserably. Top two being very crunchy porcupine meatballs and “those ones that fell apart if you looked at them”. well, at least I now have a recipe that works! and tastes wonderful!

  15. Stacy says:

    Very good! I made them with chicken Italian sausage and the were fantastic!

  16. Corrie says:

    I made these for spaghetti last night & wow. I flash froze the leftover meatballs & put them in a quart freezer bag so I can just take out what I need as I need it. Meatball sandwiches next week are going to be AMAZING!

  17. Karissa says:

    Best. Meatball. Recipe. Everrrrr. Seriously, these were so good, I will never not make meatballs like this again.

  18. Astylla says:

    Just made these tonight after a rough day..I should have read how much the yield was beforehand..LOL.

    I decided to freeze the “mix” for next week.

    Anyway I have NEVER been able to duplicate my late mom’s meatballs. She never used recipes so it was just watch and learn. But these..OMG..these are the most perfect meatballs ever.

    I never would have thought about the pan searing technique first..brilliant.

    Another hit with my husband..and wallet. Thank you!

  19. Kristen M says:

    What’s the max amount of time you would recommend freezing these meatballs? And how would you recommend warming them up? I’m hosting Christmas Eve this year and plan on making/freezing the majority of my appetizers ahead of time so I can just heat them up the day of.

    • I think most foods are best if used within three months of freezing. After that the texture and flavor starts to slowly decline. If you’re serving them in a sauce, go ahead and heat them in the sauce. If you’re going to serve them plain with a toothpick, heat them in the oven (but don’t cook too long the first time around so that they don’t over cook later).

  20. Erin B. says:

    Fabulous recipe and ingenious idea! I hate making meatballs because of all the hands-on time, so making and freezing a large batch totally suites me! Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Andrea says:

    I made these yesterday with my 11 year old. 1 tip, we used a mini ice cream scoop to make the meat balls. Works perfectly. They were delicious!!!

  22. Stefani says:

    when you reheat the frozen meatballs what do you bake them at and for how long??

  23. My husband and son are dairy free. Could we make these with out the parm?

    I found your website last month, and I am cooking almost exclusively with your recipes right now. Thank you!

  24. Lynnette S. says:

    I just got mine in the oven! They smell amazing. I did use 95% lean ground sirloin and ground turkey italian sausage to cut down on the fat a bit. Making a meatball casserole with them =)

  25. Thomas says:

    I can’t wait to make these to go with the tasty marinara sauce. I don’t eat pork and can’t find any other type of suitable sausage to use, is there any kind of seasoning I can use instead of the sausage? Thanks in advance

    • You can buy some Italian seasoning blend and maybe add some crushed red pepper and fennel. Or, try looking up an Italian sausage recipe and just replace the pork with ground beef. It’s just meat mixed with spices, so that should work :)

  26. Shaniqua says:

    Hey, you might want to know that this recipe does not import well with ziplist. Not sure why not, but it just imports the title, and the first ingredient, along with the photo.

    But I look forward to making these tonight!

  27. Hi I didn’t have any onions surprisingly. I didn’t go grocery shopping and ran out. I used dried onions. Also dried parsley since I didn’t have any fresh parsley either. Would that be fine? I haven’t tried the meatballs yet. They are cooking in the oven. I’ll write a update on favor after dinner. I just needed other peoples opinions on using dry ingredients.

    • Hmm, I’ve never used dried onions, but in my opinion dried parsley doesn’t really come close to fresh. BUT, the parsley isn’t a huge element in this recipes, so that should be fine.

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