Easy Homemade Meatballs

$10.92 recipe / $1.82 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 45 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I love meatballs and have several recipes for fun meatball recipe variations on the website already, but I wanted to have one good basic and easy homemade meatball recipe that could be used in several different meals. That way you can keep a batch of these tasty meatballs in your freezer and use them in different quick weeknight meals later. I’m all about making things easy and uncomplicated!

A plate full of spaghetti and meatballs with a fork twirling the pasta

This homemade meatball recipe is super simple, pared-down, and basic for when you need something fast, easy, and uncomplicated. The other advantage to keeping these meatballs simple is that it makes them more versatile! Because the flavor profile is simple, you can pair these meatballs with a variety of sauces and meals.

And as always, I’ve got a couple of upgrade options for you below if you do want to take these meatballs up a notch and make something a little fancier.

Why Do Meatballs Have Egg and Breadcrumbs?

Egg and breadcrumbs are added to meatballs to help hold together, and the combination helps give the meatballs a slightly more tender texture. While I have made some meatballs without eggs and breadcrumbs in the past (see my Beef Kofta Meatballs), they don’t hold together quite as well and the meat has a more firm texture, similar to that of a hamburger.

If you need to replace the egg or breadcrumbs for dietary reasons, you can experiment with using a flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water) for the egg, and using oatmeal, rice, or crushed gluten-free crackers in place of the breadcrumbs.

Can I Use Different Meat?

Yes, meatballs work great with several different types of ground meat. Just keep in mind that different types of ground meat contain different amounts of fat and moisture, so substituting the meat can change the texture and flavor of the meatballs.

The recipe below uses Italian sausage, which has a ton of herbs and spices already in the meat. Because of that, the meatballs only needed a small amount of extra seasoning added. So if you substitute the Italian sausage with a different type of ground meat, make sure to increase the seasoning in the meatballs accordingly.

How to Use Homemade Meatballs

There’s nothing easier or more satisfying than a plate of spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs, but that’s not the only way to eat meatballs! Here are some other things you can do with homemade meatballs:

  • Make meabtall subs (hoagie rolls, red sauce, meatballs, mozzarella)
  • Add the meatballs to a soup (they’d be great in Minestrone)
  • Use them in place of plain beef in Stroganoff
  • Serve on top of mashed potatoes with a brown gravy
  • Toss with pesto and serve on veggie noodles
  • Stuff inside of a calzone or slice and use to top a pizza
  • Add to a bowl meal (rice, veggies, any sauce)
  • Add to baked pasta (like Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti)

What Else Can I Add?

If you want to take your meatballs up a notch and make them a little fancier, there are several things you can add. Try adding some fresh minced onion or garlic for an extra punch of flavor. Or try using some flavor add-ins like crumbled bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano). You can also try swapping out the milk for a different flavored liquid, like broth or even some of your red sauce. And I’m always a fan of adding a pinch of crushed red pepper to just about anything!

Meatballs in a pot of red sauce with a spoon holding two meatballs

Goes great with Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce (also freezer-friendly)!

Share this recipe

Easy Homemade Meatballs

4.92 from 45 votes
These easy homemade meatballs are freezer-friendly and versatile. Keep a batch in the freezer for quick weeknight dinners later!
Meatballs in a pot of red sauce with a spoon holding two meatballs
Servings 8 about 4 meatballs each
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs ($0.32)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan ($0.88)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper ($0.03)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.42)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ($0.11)
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage ($3.00)
  • 1 lb. ground beef ($5.99)


  • In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, lightly whisk the two eggs.
  • Add the breadcrumb mixture, eggs, milk, Italian sausage, and ground beef to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. Avoid over mixing the meat.
  • Let the meatball mixture rest for five minutes to allow the breadcrumbs time to soften. Divide and shape the meat into about 32 meatballs, approximately 2 Tbsp in volume each.

Oven Cooking Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet about one inch apart from each other.
  • Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a pot of red sauce and simmer for five more minutes in the sauce. If not using a red sauce, add an additional 3-5 minutes to the bake time, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Stove Top Cooking Instructions

  • Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, swirl the oil to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the meatballs to the skillet.
  • Cook the meatballs, turning every couple of minutes, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Repeat with the second batch of meatballs.
  • Transfer the cooked meatballs to a pot of red sauce and simmer for a few minutes more before serving.

Freezing instructions

  • You can freeze the meatballs either cooked or uncooked. I prefer freezing them already cooked so they can go straight from the freezer into a pot of red sauce and then just simmer until heated through. Cooked meatballs should be completely cooled before placing in a gallon-sized freezer bag and transferred to the freezer.
  • To freeze uncooked meatballs, place the raw meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze on the baking sheet until solid (1-2 hours) before transferring to a gallon-sized freezer bag for longer storage. Thaw completely before cooking.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


Serving: 4meatballsCalories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 23gFat: 33gSodium: 691mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Email Me This Recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


Side view of meatballs on a plate of spaghetti with red sauce

How to Make Homemade Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

egg and breadcrumb mixture

Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Pre-mixing these ingredients helps them incorporate more evenly into the meat without having to overmix the meat.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl

Add the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, ¼ cup milk, 1 lb. Italian sausage, and 1 lb. ground beef to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together.

meatball mixture in a bowl

Let the meatball mixture sit for five minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture.

shaped meatball held in a hand over the bowl

Divide and shape the meatball mixture into about 32 meatballs, 2 Tbsp each. I have small hands, so this may actually look bigger than they were. I used a 2 Tbsp measuring cup to portion the meat.

Meatballs on a baking sheet ready to bake

To bake the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet with about one inch between each.

baked meatballs on the baking sheet

Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, then transfer to a pot of red sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. If not using a red sauce, bake for 3-5 minutes longer, or until cooked through.

Meatballs cooked in a skillet

To cook the meatballs in a skillet, heat one tablespoon cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, swirl to coat the skillet in oil, then add the meatballs. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned on all sides and cooked through.

Meatballs in a pot of red sauce

Whether you cook your meatballs in the oven or on the stove top, finishing them off with a brief simmer in red sauce adds an extra dose of flavor and helps keep the meatballs nice and tender.

Meatballs in a freezer bag

To freeze the cooked meatballs, cool them completely in the refrigerator first, then place them in a freezer bag and transfer to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months). Once frozen they can be dropped straight from the freezer into a pot of red sauce and simmered until heated through.

Meatballs in a pot of red sauce with spaghetti and herbs on the sides

Try These Other Meatball Recipes:

Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Leave a Comment
  1. I cook a lot and never really thought about meatballs as my Irish mother made them for me and my 6 other siblings. She called them meatballs – we called them hardballs.

    Her meatloaf was great fyi.

    This recipe renews my faith in the meatball.

    These babies are incredibly tasteful as well as being very, very light. Just delightfully light and delicious.

    I made it per the recipe with chopped onions, diced garlic and a lot of red pepper.


  2. Wow, these are delicious! I used a Sicilian spice mix. I utilized a 1/4 cup to measure out my meatballs, I did not believe these meatballs would be done but they were perfect following the recipe.

  3. Another great budget bytes recipe! This website never lets me down. Used heavy whipping cream since it’s what I had on hand, and it was perfect 👌Best meatballs I’ve ever made!

  4. Hi , what could I use instead of carbohydrate to put in with the mince to make the meatballs , as I am diabetic and try to eat a low carb diet , not keto , but low carb . Thanks .

    1. You could use almond meal! Or I’ve also heard of people using crushed pork rinds.

    2. Try using ground pork rinds. I use these in my turkey burgers instead of panko and they turn out very well. As a bonus, you could probably use a leaner beef with the additional fat from the pork rinds.

  5. Can I use another kind of sausage I’m having trouble finding Italian sausage, what kind of bread crumbs do you recommend

    1. Hi Debbie! Any grocery store should carry Italian sausage with the pork products. It usually comes in bulk or in links, you can use either but if you get links you’ll need to remove the sausage from the casing. You could also ask the butcher counter at your store as they usually have it behind the case as well. As for the bread crumbs, you’ll just need basic plain breadcrumbs, nothing fancy!

    1. You can! It does help with binding a bit as well as flavor obviously, so you might need to add a touch more breadcrumbs if you find they’re not holding together in balls as well.