You’ll love these juicy and tender Italian style baked meatballs in your favorite marinara sauce. Super simple and surprisingly quick, these flavorful meatballs will be on your plate in under an hour.
An Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe
Baked meatballs make me think of Sunday afternoons. Making a big pot of tomato sauce and rolling out yummy Italian meatballs to go with it just screams Sunday afternoon to me.
While I do like making meatballs on a Sunday afternoon, I don’t want you to confuse that for them being difficult to make or that they take all day. I think that’s a pretty common misconception and one of the reasons frozen meatballs are so dang popular. I promise, they are not labor intensive at all.
Seriously, though, there is something so relaxing about zoning out and rolling meatballs between your hands. 🤷♀️ The time flies and before you know it, you’re gobbling them up.
Homemade meatballs are so comforting and really hit the spot. With a little planning ahead of time, having these ingredients on hand will be no problem at all!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Stale bread
- ground beef
- ground pork
- ground veal (substitute with pork if you can’t find veal)
- fresh parsley
- fresh basil
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- fresh Parmigiano Reggiano
- marinara sauce
How to Make Baked Meatballs
1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Grease two baking sheets with cooking spray and set them aside.
2. Breadcrumbs: Tear slices of stale bread into pieces. Place them in a food processor and pulse to make chunkier crumbs.
3. Moisten: Combine 2 cups of the bread crumbs with milk in a large mixing bowl. Moisten the bread and let it stand for 5 minutes.
4. Mix: To the bread crumbs, add ground beef, pork, veal, minced onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, basil, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and cheese. Gently stir and mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
5. Form Balls: Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray and shape meat mixture into meatballs. They should each be about 1-inch to 1.5-inches in size. Transfer the meatballs to your prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake: Bake meatballs for 10 minutes; flip over and bake for 8 more minutes, or until they’re cooked through. Meatballs are done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Use an instant read thermometer for accurate results.
7. Warm: While the meatballs are baking, warm the marinara sauce in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
8. Combine: Remove the meatballs from the oven and add them to the warm marinara sauce. Stir to coat and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 3 more minutes.
9. Serve: Remove the deep skillet from the heat. Garnish the meatballs with basil ribbons and Parmesan cheese, then serve.
How Long to Bake Meatballs
You do not, I repeat DO NOT want to over cook your meatballs. 😊This will lead them to be dry and tough. 😐 Trust me when I say, no one wants to eat dry meatballs.
To get your meatballs just right, bake them for about 20 minutes, total. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165˚F. Use an instant read thermometer for the most accurate results.
Obviously, you can serve your meatballs over your favorite pasta with marinara sauce. It is a complete meal; done and done.
But, here are some other ways to serve baked meatballs:
- On a meatball sandwich or hoagie (for the traditional sandwich, serve on a long roll with marinara and melted cheese. For a hoagie, add shredded lettuce and sliced tomato and onion)
- With brown gravy – use a beef based sauce or gravy and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes
- In baked pasta. Cut your meatballs up and use them in a baked pasta dish.
- Pizza topping. Quarter your meatballs and use them as a pizza topping along with pepperoni and sausage for a meat lovers treat!
- Burritos. Why not? Cut into smaller pieces, spread them down the middle of a warm tortilla and top with cheese! ✅
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Since this recipe makes 36 to 40 meatballs, you are definitely going to want to store these bad boys. You can store them in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- It’s also really easy to freeze your meatballs before you fold them into a sauce. That way, they will be just like having your own store bought frozen meatballs ready for any weeknight dinner. All you need to do is allow them to cool after baking. Instead of popping them in your sauce, pop them in a freezer safe bag and put them in your freezer for up to 3 months.
- When ready to serve, simply bring to room temperature and heat in a skillet with your favorite sauce over low until heated through.
Meatballs can be a fine science to get just perfect. Whenever I serve my perfect baked meatballs, I always get certain questions about how I got them just right. Here are some of the questions I field most often.
Why are my meatballs tough?
- Those meatballs might be tough because they are too dry. Make sure you are using milk in your meatballs to keep them moist and juicy.
- Also, be careful not to overcook them! Overcooking them will leave them tough and dry.
What temperature do meatballs need to be cooked at?
- Meatballs need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165˚F. You can use an instant read thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your meatballs. They should cook in about 18 to 20 minutes in a 400˚F oven.
More Meatballs Recipes
Oven Baked Meatballs
- 2 cups bread crumbs made from stale bread, try not to use store bought ready-breadcrumbs; IF keto/low carb, use pork panko crumbs
- ¾ cups milk
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- ½ pound ground veal, (or use more ground pork)
- 1 small yellow onion, finely minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce, or use your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
- fresh basil ribbons, for garnish
- grated Parmesan, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Grease two baking sheets with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Tear slices of stale bread into pieces; place in a food processor and pulse to make 2 cups of chunkier crumbs.
- Combine 2 cups bread crumbs with milk in a large mixing bowl; moisten bread and let stand 5 minutes.
- To the bread crumbs, add ground beef, pork, veal, minced onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, basil, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and cheese.
- Gently stir and mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
- Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray and shape meat mixture into meatballs; meatballs should be about 1.5-inches in size.
- Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheets.
- Bake meatballs for 10 minutes; flip over the meatballs and bake for 8 more minutes, or until just cooked through. Meatballs are done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Use an instant read thermometer for accurate results.
- While meatballs are baking, warm the marinara sauce in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
- Remove meatballs from oven and add to warm marinara sauce; stir to coat and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 3 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Garnish with basil ribbons and Parmesan cheese.
WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 2
NET CARBS: 3 g
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
22 comments on “Oven Baked Meatballs”
I made these in the past and they are amazing. Have you ever tried them in the slow cooker? Im wondering if they come out the same?
There are a couple of ways I like to cook meatballs in the slow cooker. First, if time permits, I brown the raw meatballs under the broiler for about 8 to 10 minutes, and then I put them in the slow cooker with the sauce and cook on LOW for 6 hours, or HIGH for maybe about 3 to 4 hours. You can also just put the raw meatballs and the sauce straight into the slow cooker and cook them on LOW for 6 to 7 hours.
Can you substitute bread crumbs for stale bread ? If so, what is suggested amount?
Yes, just start with the same amount listed and, after adding in all the other ingredients and mixing, add more bread crumbs if the mixture is too wet to handle.