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How to Make Meatballs – Recipes for Baked, Stovetop, In Sauce & More

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After reading this post, you will know how to make them with many different types of meat. Since there are many different ways to cook flavorful meatballs, you will also learn many different methods to make the perfect meatball. Some cooks prefer using a slow cooker or instant pot while others prefer to use a pressure cooker or dutch oven.

My favorite method for cooking with ground beef is pan-frying but if I use venison, I prefer to bake them in the oven.

There are many different methods to make tender meatballs and even a large variety of meats that can be used to create a delicious homemade meatball recipe.

From ground beef to chicken meatballs, this post will explore the best way to make different kinds of meatballs. There are so many great uses for this meatball recipe including meatball casserole, meatball subs, and even a meatloaf mix. Paired with these crispy baked potato wedges, a meatball sub makes the perfect comfort food.

Meatball sub

How to Make Meatballs from Ground Beef

When making any dish with a tomato sauce like spaghetti, ziti, or lasagna, I make the same basic meat mixture when working with ground beef. I like to keep it simple, this is a tried and true method that is also an easier way to season ground meat than most meatball recipes.

Plus, if you want to make meatball subs, this is the recipe you want! Just pour some sauce on a piece of garlic bread and add a few meatballs for a quick, hearty meal.

Start with a large mixing bowl, one pound of ground beef, a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 3 Tablespoons of fresh parsley, 1 small onion diced, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and a teaspoon of salt. If you don’t have fresh parsley, you can use a pre-packaged version or even substitute it with Italian seasoning.

I mix all of this together with my hands, flipping the meat and squeezing it together to ensure good coverage. The next step is to form the raw meatballs. This can be done by grabbing about 2 tablespoons of raw meat and forming them into balls.

The exact measurement isn’t important, as long as they are uniform in size and not much larger, they will cook evenly and be done in under 30 minutes depending on the cooking method, which makes this perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Variations on this Basic Meatball Recipe

There are many different ways to make a delicious meatball. Everyone has their own secrets that were passed down from their family through tradition or even tricks they learned from different food bloggers over the years. Feel free to tweak this mixture to make it work for your family.

You can add a little milk if you feel that the mixture is a little dry to work with, but this isn’t necessary. Some chefs like to add a pinch of sugar to the mix but this has never been my preference.

To keep your hands clean, whisk the egg in a small bowl and then pour it on top of the meat. Use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together and wear gloves to form the meatballs.

How to Make Meatballs

How to Make Meatballs from Ground Venison

When working with venison, it can be difficult to find the proper way to cook and season this lean meat. When I first began using ground venison in place of ground beef, I was a little intimidated. Everything I read online about working with venison warned me of the strong possibility that I would ruin every dish I attempted. It seemed like everyone was saying the same thing, it’s so easy to overcook it!

Since this meat is not something you can just pick up at the local supermarket, I was especially worried about ruining it by overcooking. I started on low heat and then worked my way up to medium heat, then medium-high heat. I was really careful to not overcook but then I learned that when you have a combination of beef and venison, you can use this meat interchangeably with most recipes that call for straight ground beef.

Whenever we process our venison, we pick up a roll of ground beef to mix in, usually, a 10-15 pound roll of 70/30 mixture does the trick. If you want to know more about the process be sure to read all about how we Simplify the Field to Freezer Process here.

To make meatballs from venison, you can use the same combination of seasonings that you would use for ground beef, or try my favorite recipe for Italian Style Venison Meatballs here.

How to Make Meatballs

How to Make Meatballs from Ground Chicken

Making homemade meatballs from chicken is simple and is best when cooked in the oven. Plus, this is a healthy way to make great meatballs without using red meat.

Kids seem to enjoy this kind of meat more than any red meat versions that I have made in the past. So if you want a recipe that the whole family will enjoy, especially if you have a picky eater, this is the recipe to try out.
Mix 1 pound ground chicken with 1 large egg, 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Form golf ball-sized balls and then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. To get an extra crisp on the outside, you can add a little bit of fat, I like to drizzle the top with olive oil.

Bake for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.

How to Make Meatballs from Ground Pork

Using ground pork is a great way to get as much flavor into a meatball as possible. This is especially true when using ground sausage which is usually bursting with flavor when purchased.

This recipe comes together by mixing the following ingredients together in a large bowl.

1 pound of ground pork, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons of diced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a non-cooking spray. Place the uncooked meatballs on the baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 400°F. Cook for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs. The center should no longer show any pink and should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

How to Make Meatballs from Ground Turkey

A healthy spin on the classic meatball recipe is using turkey to make juicy turkey meatballs. Working with turkey is an easy way to cut down on fat and avoid eating too much red meat.

When using ground turkey to make meatballs, the following mixture is a delicious way to do it. Start with 1 pound of ground turkey, 1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs, 1 small diced onion, 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a dash of black pepper.

Cook on a well-greased baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 17-20 minutes. To achieve a crispy crust, spray some olive oil on top and broil or turn the oven to a high temperature, for a couple of minutes before serving.

How to Make Meatballs in a Crock-Pot

The best method for making meatballs in a crockpot is to cook them submerged in a pasta sauce. Whether you are making the sauce homemade using tomato paste or buying a spaghetti sauce from the store, this is the only way to do it right, in my opinion.

I have tried many Italian meatball recipes that claim to be a great way to get juicy meatballs but I always found them to be dry meatballs. So I remedied this by cooking Italian meatballs covered in the red sauce when cooking in a crockpot.

It is the same idea as to when making Swedish meatballs and I find that the simmering sauce helps ads flavor the meatballs.

You can follow the same basic easy recipe from above to make the meat mixture. After forming the meat mixture into 2-inch meatballs, place them into a crockpot. Pour a homemade marinara sauce on top or use a canned version if you prefer, and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.

While the prep time is about the same you will have to cook the meatballs for a long time. This is a great way to prep the food before work and you will enjoy coming home to a fully cooked meal. Plus, you will benefit from not having to deal with a hot oven in the warmer months.

How to Make Meatballs

How to Make Meatballs in Instant Pot

Did you know that you could use your Instant Pot to make meatballs? This is another great way to avoid heating the whole house up by using the oven. Plus, it’s really easy to make the same simple recipe for meatballs that you would use for the other cooking methods with a few adjustments for an Instant Pot.

After mixing all of the ingredients and forming meatballs into golfball-sized balls, spray the bottom of an instant pot with cooking spray. Add in your choice of spaghetti sauce, about 4 cups will do the trick. The next step is to add the meatballs to the bottom of the instant pot.

Place the lid on and set it to seal, hit the manual button, and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. The next step is to let the slow release do its thing which can take about 5 minutes. Hit the quick-release button and then hit the vent button.

Remove the lid and stir the contents. Serve and enjoy.

How to Make Meatballs in the Oven

If you would like to broil the meatballs, place them on a baking sheet, leaving space in between each meatball, and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

If you would like to bake the meatballs, you can put them on a baking sheet in an oven set to 400°F until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F in the middle on an instant-read thermometer.

Greasing the baking sheet or using foil to prevent sticking is recommended. Parchment paper is not a good way to protect the baking sheet when cooking meatballs, go with a strong foil instead.

How to Make Meatballs in a Frying Pan

If you are cooking the meatballs in a frying pan, add some oil and heat on medium heat. This method only takes about 15 minutes, and in my opinion, it makes the best meatballs. This is the best method for cooking meatballs if you prefer a crisp outside.

Using a deep skillet and a slotted spoon, as well as about 5 tablespoons of oil, you can make delicious meatballs in a frying pan.

After mixing the ingredients together and forming the meatballs, cook the bottoms of the meatballs for about five minutes. Flip each meatball upside down and cook the other side for another five minutes.

If you want to drain some of the greases, you can set the meatballs on paper towels to absorb any excess oil after cooking.

How to Make Meatballs

How to Cook from Frozen

You can prepare meatballs ahead of time and store them in an airtight container such as a freezer bag for later use. This is a great way to save time when preparing meals that include meatballs. Having all of the messy work already done will also make cleanup much easier.

You can cook the meatballs ahead of time and store them in the freezer or form the meatballs and freeze them for cooking next time. To avoid freezing them, you can make a double batch one night and store it in the refrigerator. This way you can use last night’s meatballs and just heat them up quickly.

How Long to Cook Frozen Meatballs on the Stovetop?

When the meatballs are uncooked and frozen, it is best to heat them up in a large pot filled with your choice of sauce. This will prevent dry meatballs and will allow the flavors to blend while simmering on the stovetop.

This cooking method will take about thirty minutes if the meatballs are uncooked. If the meatballs are cooked ahead of time, all you need to do is heat them up, which can take about ten minutes when done in a large pot of sauce.

How long does it take to Cook Frozen in the Oven?

If you prefer to bake the meatballs, you can do this with frozen meatballs as well. The best way to get the most flavor and enjoy tender meatballs is to bake them in a pan with sauce. This will avoid dry meatballs and this method is perfect for those busy nights when you don’t feel like scrubbing a skillet after cooking dinner.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for about 20 minutes.

How Long Does it take to Cook Frozen Meatballs in Instant Pot?

If you want to cook frozen meatballs in an Instant Pot, you will need to add liquid. The best way to do this in my opinion is to use spaghetti sauce or homemade marinara. If you set it to high-pressure release it will take about five minutes to cook frozen pre-cooked meatballs in an instant pot.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Frozen in Crockpot?

This method will also require liquid. Once again, using a spaghetti sauce is a great way to do this since most recipes that call for meatballs use a red sauce anyway. If you are making a different type of recipe that calls for meatballs, you can use a honey garlic sauce, barbecue sauce, or any other type of sauce you desire.

If you set the crockpot to high, it will take about 2 and a half to 3 hours to cook frozen precooked meatballs.

What is the Best Sauce to Use for Cooking Meatballs?

Homemade is always best when it comes to sauces in my opinion. This is especially true when you have fresh tomatoes from your garden to make your own sauce. You can also pick up Roma tomatoes from the grocery store and use this method for a delicious sauce. If you aren’t sure how to do this, learn how to make sauce from Roma tomatoes here.

If you don’t have much time to spare and want to get dinner on the table fast, use your favorite spaghetti sauce. Any brand will work, this is a personal preference, choose whichever flavors you like best for cooking meatballs.

How to Make Meatballs

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I hope you enjoyed learning How to Make Meatballs, if you tried one of these methods please leave a comment letting me know your thoughts.

How To Make Meatballs
Yield: 24 meatballs

How To Make Meatballs

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

From ground beef to chicken meatballs, this post will explore the best way to make different kinds of meatballs in a variety of ways from slow cooker to stove top.

Ingredients

  • 1lb. pound of ground meat
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Instructions

    Mix all of the ingredients with your hands, flipping the meat and squeezing it together to ensure good coverage.

    The next step is to form the raw meatballs. This can be done by grabbing about 2 tablespoons of raw meat and forming them into the shape of golf balls.

    The exact measurement isn’t important, as long as the meatballs are uniform in size and not much larger, they will cook evenly and be done in under 30 minutes depending on the cooking method, which makes this perfect for a weeknight dinner.

    Read through the blog post for different cooking methods and variations on meat.

Notes

Since there are many different ways to cook flavorful meatballs, you will also learn many different methods to make the perfect meatball from this post.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 153Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 53mgSodium 360mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 13g

The nutrition in recipes is caluculate by AI, mistakes happen. It is highly recommended to check carb counts to make sure these recipes fit into your diet.

About Thirty Something Super Mom

Melissa Dixon Thirty Something Super Mom
Thirty Something Super Mom | Website

My journey started after a Crohn's disease diagnosis, inspiring a commitment to well-being. This site shares my distinctive approach to healthy living with my collection of nutritious recipes that boast authentic flavors, mimicking the indulgence of traditional dishes. I love sharing guilt free recipes for low carb, keto, gluten-free, paleo, and the specific carbohydrate diet. I also share tips on natural living, including homemade cleaners and cleaning hacks. I also share my experience as a veterinary technician and pet groomer, to integrate pet health tips, homemade dog food recipes, and grooming insights to ensure your pets thrive.

Tammy

Monday 18th of April 2022

What a great guide here! There are so many different ways to prepare meatballs. I've always pan fried for a nice exterior then finish them in the oven. Nothing beats homemade :)

Kat

Thursday 14th of April 2022

Thanks' for this guide and recipe. I will have to try your way because whenever I try to make meatballs, they often fall apart.

rhian westbury

Thursday 14th of April 2022

I'm so lazy I usually get pre-made meatballs when we eat them at home. But I really need to use this recipe and make some of my own x

Yeah Lifestyle

Thursday 14th of April 2022

This recipe looks so easy and the meatballs look moist as well, I know my kids love spaghetti with meatballs and I don't make it enough for them. Will try out your recipe the next time

Jennifer Passmore

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

This is very cool! This is a wonderful comprehensive guide to making meatballs. I'm definitely bookmarking this for future use!

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