It seems that all meatball recipes are different. And some meatballs are far better than others.  And if you ask a chef, the definition of a great meatballs recipe is in the ingredients and also how you cook and mix them.

Making meatballs that turn out fabulous is really pretty stress-free. With a few simple tricks and the proper ingredients, you can easily learn how to make meatballs. This meatballs recipe can be made in a jiffy. However, your guests will swear you slaved for hours.

The perfect meatball is entirely tender, juicy and moist all the way through. There is not one indication of dryness or toughness whatsoever. As well, a great meatball is not so small that it rolls off your plate when you try to eat it. The perfect sized meatball is big enough for your fork and easy to grab. As well, they should never be so big that you can only fit a couple on your plate.

This meatballs recipe is rather basic and quite traditional. And since they are a favorite comfort food for many, the ingredients and process of making meatballs should be kept simple.

Meatball recipes should have the right balance of not-to-lean ground meat, egg, bread and spices. And if you don’t over mix or over compact, you will have perfect meatballs that are moist, juicy and tender.

The Meat

The great thing about meatballs is that they can be made with any type of meat. In fact, sirloin is not a typical ingredient in most meatball recipes. Beef chuck is generally considered the best meat to use for meatballs. Also, many meatball recipes use a combination of beef with ground pork. The ideal ratio is said to be three portions of beef to one portion of pork. But a two-to-one ratio is also good.

As well, you can substitute the ground beef in meatballs recipe with other meats such as turkey, chicken, lamb, veal or even buffalo. Just remember, the fattier meat the better. Fatty meat makes juicy and tender meatballs.  On the same note, lean meat makes dry meatballs that require a lot a sauce.  If you want leaner meat like turkey or chicken, try not to overcook the meatballs because they will be very dry and tough.

And if you really want super tender meatballs, do not over work the meat when mixing. When adding the binder, mix just enough to combine. It is best to use your hands when combining the ingredients to prevent overworking the meat.  You can also use a spatula or spoon if you do not like using your hands.


Great meatballs need the right amount of binder to hold it together and to keep its moisture. The secret to the perfect binder is to soak your breadcrumbs in some milk so they become mushy. Fresh bread can also be used if you do not have breadcrumbs.  The breadcrumbs are then added to the meat. As well, the binder helps the proteins in the meat from shrinking which can make them tough.

Some meatball recipes do not include eggs. However, eggs add extra tenderness to your meatballs. So if you want super moist meatballs, be sure to add the eggs.

Cooking your Meatballs

Learning how to make meatballs perfectly is not as hard as you may think. And when it comes to cooking your meatballs, there are basically two options; roasting or simmering.

Most cooks agree, roasting is the best way to cook meatballs. Roasting is a good option if you are going to freeze the meatballs or serve them without a sauce. Roasting also adds extra flavor and texture. For instance, roasting under a broiler will add a crispy edge.

Simmering is a good option if you are going to use a sauce. And for extra moistness, cook the meatballs right in with the sauce under a gentle simmer. Simmering the meatballs in the sauce will make them really tender and also add a nice savory flavor to the sauce.

Makes 25-30 meatballs

  • Prep 15 min
  • Cook 20-35 min (depends on cooking method)
  • Total time 35-55 min
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup fine breadcrumbs (may use fresh bread)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, or veal, or a mixture)
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Best Cookware to Use

  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Grater
  • Baking sheet

Instant read thermometer (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, mix the milk and breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the egg, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add the ground meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to combine thoroughly.
  4. Stir in the onion, garlic and milk soaked breadcrumbs. It is best to use your hands so the meat is not overworked. Try not to knead the mixture but use pinching motions with your fingers.
  5. Gently roll a pinch of meat in your hands to form a nice sized ball. The meatballs should be about 1 ½ inches. Continue forming the meatballs until the mixture is gone.
  6. Roasting: Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Space them a little apart. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also cook the meatballs under a broiler for 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure to watch the meatballs so they do not overcook, especially if you use lean meat. The meatballs are done when they are browned on the outside. Make sure they are cooked through. The center should read 165°F (74°C) with an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.
  7. Simmering: Bring your pasta sauce to a simmer and add your meatballs. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are cooked through when the center reads 165°F (74°C) in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve promptly.

Extra Notes

Making meatballs ahead can save a lot of time. Just shape the meatballs and place them in the refrigerator for up to a day. You can also freeze uncooked meatballs. They will keep up to one month. Shape them and them place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Thaw the meatballs overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.