Oven Baked Meatballs

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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.

meatballs in a pan with tomato sauce and topped with basil

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.

Recipe Ingredients

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
  • milk
  • ground beef
  • ground pork
  • ground veal (substitute with pork if you can’t find veal)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • eggs
  • 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.

Meat, bread crumbs. eggs, and herbs ready to be combined into meatballs

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.

meatballs rolled out and set on a pan before baking

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.

baked meatballs added to a pan of marinara sauce

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.

Serving Ideas

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.

baked meatballs in a pan with marinara and topped with basil. Ready to be served.

FAQs

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

ENJOY!

5 from 7 votes
Baked meatballs in a pan with marinara and topped with fresh basil
Oven Baked Meatballs
3
3
3
2
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

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.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 40 meatballs
Calories: 80 kcal
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

  2. Grease two baking sheets with cooking spray. Set aside.

  3. Tear slices of stale bread into pieces; place in a food processor and pulse to make 2 cups of chunkier crumbs.

  4. Combine 2 cups bread crumbs with milk in a large mixing bowl; moisten bread and let stand 5 minutes.

  5. To the bread crumbs, add ground beef, pork, veal, minced onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, basil, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and cheese.

  6. Gently stir and mix everything together until thoroughly combined.

  7. Lightly grease your hands with cooking spray and shape meat mixture into meatballs; meatballs should be about 1.5-inches in size.

  8. Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheets.

  9. 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.

  10. While meatballs are baking, warm the marinara sauce in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.

  11. 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.

  12. Remove from heat.

  13. Garnish with basil ribbons and Parmesan cheese.

  14. Serve.

Recipe Notes
WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 2
NET CARBS: 3 g
Nutrition Facts
Oven Baked Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (1 meatball)
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 121mg5%
Potassium 89mg3%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 65IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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20 Responses
    1. Katerina Petrovska

      Hi!
      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.

  1. Arpita Patel

    Good, standard recipe. For a variation, try using ground italian sausage in place of the pork, along with some minced onion. I also add anise seed to both the meatballs and my sauce. The anise seed really makes it.

  2. Dorothy Reinhold

    I am going to double or triple the recipe when I make it this week. All of your suggestions sound sooo good. We are going to have to try them all.

  3. Krissy Allori

    Everyone loves meatballs! These sound so good. I love using the 2 kinds of meat. I’ll be trying these next week for sure.

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