Saucy, herb-flecked Oven Baked Meatballs are what you want for tonight’s dinner! Plus they’re quick to put together – you’ll have juicy, tender meatballs bathed in spicy marinara sauce ready to dig into in less than an hour.
Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe
Oven baked meatballs are seriously one of life’s little pleasures. They smell so good when they’re baking and taste even better. Add a pot of fragrant marinara sauce simmering on the stove and chopped fresh herbs on the counter and your kitchen will be the best place in the house at dinnertime.
My easy oven baked meatballs recipe is just that: easy! Once you form the meatballs the oven will do the remaining work while you prep the rest of dinner. Speaking of, you could serve these in classic style with a big bowl of spaghetti or go the simple route and pick up your favorite loaf of crusty bread to sop up all the sauce. Don’t forget a big salad to round out your plate.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy. Need I say easy again? Sure – because I want you to know that this is a super easy recipe to make, especially when you’re running behind on dinner. From start to finish you’ll have an enticing batch of flavorful meatballs ready to eat in under an hour.
- Ultra flavorful. You’ll pair fresh herbs – parsely and basil – with Italian seasoning, onion, and garlic for a savory punch.
- Makes great leftovers. This recipe makes a lot of meatballs, and I love a recipe that allows me to save time on future dinner prep. Just pop leftover meatballs in the freezer to use for another meal. Make sure to put the date on the freezer bag so you know when you made them.
What You’ll Need for Easy Baked Meatballs
You may already have most of the ingredients needed for this recipe in your pantry. Be sure to check out the recipe card for the specific quantities needed.
- Stale Bread
- Ground Beef
- Ground Pork
- Ground Veal: You can substitute with ground pork if you can’t find veal.
- Fresh Herbs: Parsley and basil.
- Italian Seasoning:
- Salt and pepper
- Parmigiano Reggiano: Make sure to use fresh cheese for the best flavor!
- Marinara Sauce: You can use store-bought sauce for this recipe.
How to Make Oven Baked Meatballs in Sauce
You’ve probably made meatballs before so you know the drill: combine a few kinds of meat with breadcrumbs (I’ll tell you how to make them homemade below), fresh and dried herbs, egg, and cheese. My method has you bake the meatballs in the oven before simmering them gently in marinara sauce.
- Prepare pans. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Grease two baking sheets with cooking spray and set them aside.
- Make breadcrumbs. Tear slices of stale bread into pieces. Place them in a food processor and pulse to make chunky crumbs.
- Moisten the bread crumbs. In a large mixing bowl, place the bread crumbs and pour in the milk. Let the bread and milk mixture stand for 5 minutes so the bread absorbs the milk.
- Make the meatball mix. Add the ground beef, pork, veal, minced onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, basil, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and cheese to the milk and bread mixture. Gently stir and mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
- Form the meatballs. Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray and scoop out portions of meat. Then shape them into meatballs about 1-inch to 1.5-inches in size each. Place the meatballs to your prepared baking sheets, leaving some space in between.
- Bake the meatballs. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Then flip over and bake for 8 more minutes, or until they’re cooked through. Meatballs are done when the internal temperature registers 165˚F on a meat thermometer.
- Warm the sauce. While the meatballs are baking, warm the marinara sauce in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add meatballs to the sauce. When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and add them to the warm marinara sauce. Stir to coat and continue to cook over medium-low heat.
- Serve the meatballs. Remove the pan from the heat. Garnish the meatballs with basil ribbons and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
Tips for Success
Since these meatballs are cooked mainly in the oven rather than on the stove, I have a few tips to make sure the oven-baking method gives you the ultimate best results.
- Don’t cook your meatballs too long! Dry meatballs are so disappointing and we definitely want to avoid dinnertime disappointment. Baking for about 20 minutes will give you the juicy meatballs you crave. Also make sure you let the breadcrumbs sit in the milk long enough to hydrate.
- Meatballs are cooked through when their internal temperature reaches 165˚F. To make sure that your meatballs are thoroughly cooked, use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. The instant read thermometer will ensure accuracy.
- Take meatballs directly from oven to sauce. No need to cool the meatballs after they’ve cooked through. You can take them out of the oven and gently dump them straight into the marinara pot.
Serving Suggestions for Oven Baked Meatballs
Another reason I love this recipe is because there are so many options for how to use your baked meatballs. You can mix things up each time you serve them. Here are some suggestions:
- With pasta. I’m partial to spaghetti, but any shape of your preferred pasta will hold up beautifully with these meatballs. My Garlic Butter Pasta or Red Pepper Sauce Pasta with Spinach and Feta recipes would be great with some meatballs thrown in.
- Add slices of fresh bread. Sometimes I just want a loaf of fresh-baked crusty bread and butter to go with dinner. Keep things ultra simple and serve sliced bread with a plate of saucy meatballs and a crunchy green salad loaded with vegetables. My Rosemary and Garlic No Knead Skillet Bread or No Knead Skillet Olive Bread recipes are simple, flavorful options.
- Serve with mashed potatoes. Keep the marinara sauce and serve with mashed potatoes or swap the red sauce for a savory brown gravy instead. Try my Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes recipe or switch it up with mashed cauliflower, like my Creamy Mashed Cauliflower recipe.
- Throw meatballs in lasagna or another baked pasta dish. Add meatballs to lasagna by chopping up the cooked meatballs and adding them to your favorite baked pasta recipe. Meatballs would be great added to my Easy Vegetable Lasagna recipe to make it a bit heartier, or in my Easy Eggplant Lasagna!
- 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.
- As a pizza topping. Quarter your meatballs and use them as a pizza topping along with pepperoni and sausage for a meat lovers treat! You can use my Easy Grilled Pizza recipe as a jumping-off point.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Unless you’re serving these meatballs at a big family-style dinner you’re going to have leftovers. Here’s the best way to store and serve them another time:
- Fridge – Let the meatballs cool, then transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Freezer – Cool the meatballs, then place them in a freezer-safe container without the sauce. You can store the meatballs in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost them in the fridge before reheating.
- To Reheat – Place the meatballs in a skillet with your favorite sauce. Heat the meatballs and sauce over low heat until they are hot and warmed through, stirring often.
More Meatball 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.