No matter what new recipe I create, these classic Italian Meatballs will always remain my family’s absolute favorite. These meatballs are tender, juicy, and made with simple ingredients for the best flavor. Serve them over spaghetti, baked in a sub, or with some zoodles for a healthier dinner.
THE BEST ITALIAN MEATBALLS
When I say that this is my most famous (and the most asked) recipe, I’m not exaggerating. Just about every one of my co-workers and family member have tried these meatballs and immediately asked how I make them.
Every party that we host, I have to include this as an option no matter what else I make. All of my family and friends fell in love with these meatballs at first bite and it’s the only recipe they now use.
As a matter of fact, this was one of the first recipes that I posted on this site 7 years ago, when I first started my blog. Through the years, I’ve posted hundreds of recipes and this is still the first one my husband asks for.
I wanted to resurrect this classic dish from the years of newer recipes and share it with all my new readers. It’s a dish worth re-sharing over and over again.
TIPS FOR HOMEMADE MEATBALLS:
For juicy, tender meatballs it’s best to combine ground beef and ground pork together. Ground beef on it’s own can be tough and dry, adding pork will give you juicier and softer texture.
When choosing ground beef, don’t get lean ground beef but get about 85% lean to 15% fat ratio. (It will say the lean to fat ratio right on the package label.)
Either bread crumbs or milk soaked bread can be used. I prefer to use milk soaked bread because there is something about this old traditional way that creates a tastier, more tender meatball.
Finely dice yellow onion and press fresh garlic for the meat mixture to infuse more flavor and again, it will create the best texture over using powder onion and garlic.
Adding fresh herbs will give you more flavor in the meatball as well rather than dried herbs. Fresh ones are more potent than dried.
When choosing marinara sauce, use your favorite one. Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, your favorite sauce will always taste the best to you.
For the last flavor enhancing step, add sauce when the meatballs are only about half way cooked and then finish cooking them in sauce.
HOW TO SERVE IT:
The most classic way to serve Italian meatballs is of course, over spaghetti. You can’t get more traditional or comforting meal than that.
You can always cut the leftover meatballs and make a Cheesy Meatball Dip.
If pasta is not your friend, you can serve meatballs with a side of mashed potatoes or rice.
For a healthier options, serve them over zoodles,quinoa, or in a lettuce wrap.
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The BEST Italian Meatballs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 thick slice of whole wheat bread soaked in a little milk (milk squeezed out)
- 1 eggs
- 1/2 cup yellow onion minced
- 3 garlic cloves pressed
- 2 tbsp fresh basil minced
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- 3 cups Marinara sauce (24 oz jar)
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil for cooking
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh basil minced
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine the ground beef, ground pork, egg, minced onion, pressed garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper in large mixing bowl. Squeeze out the slice of bread, break it up, and add it to the bowl. Mix everything very well.
- Preheat a large cooking pan that is also oven-safe over medium heat. Add a little oil for cooking meatballs.
- Grease your hands with some cooking spray. Scoop out some meat using a cookie scoop and roll meatballs. (You can make meatballs bigger or smaller according to your own preference. Just remember to adjust cooking time if making bigger or smaller meatballs.)
- Roll all the meatballs before adding them to the pan. Once all the meatballs are rolled, add them to the hot pan.
- Cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes, then flip.
- Pour marinara sauce over the meatballs and slowly stir.
- Bake meatballs for about 20 minutes.
- Add a little more minced basil over the top once the meatballs are done.
**This recipe was originally posted on Will Cook For Smiles on March 4, 2011. Updated May 27, 2020.**