Best basic meatball recipe you can use in spaghetti or sauced as an appetizer! Easy to make in your oven with a few ingredients in just 10 minutes.
You definitely need a basic meatball recipe in your back pocket. They’re so versatile you can use them for almost everything!! Whether you want some grape jelly meatballs for a party appetizer, or to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner these will be a hit. (affiliate links present)
This meatball recipe is very versatile!
- You can make them gluten free if necessary.
- Add a bit of Worcestershire sauce to add more flavor.
- Whip up a a batch and make meatballs in an air fryer with these.
The opportunities are endless I tell you!
How do you make simple meatballs? That’s what we’re here to talk about. Let’s start with the most important part to begin with, the meat.
- Choose what type of protein you’re going to use. We are using half lean ground beef and half of it will be ground sausage. Hot Jimmy Dean is probably my favorite to use.
- Then choose a binding agent. Some use breadcrumbs (I have too at times) but here we’re using quick oats. This will help keep them together and not fall apart.
- An egg for me is a must for an easy meatball recipe and/or my quick meatloaf recipe.
- The addition of herbs and spices is a must to get bold flavors and have that wow factor!
- Diced onion brings a bit of texture to them which we love.
Then it’s time to pop them in the oven or your air fryer!
Do you need breadcrumbs for meatballs?
The short answer is NO. As you see here we used quick oats instead. Italian meatballs typically would use that style of bread crumbs but there are other options out there. You will need something to bind the ingredients together:
- Believe it or not, some people think it is actually better to make meatballs without breadcrumbs. Rather than using breadcrumbs, there is an option to use slices of white bread! If you remove the crust from white bread and cut it into 1/2″ cubes you can use those too.
When I made our Instant Pot Swedish meatballs I opted to include dry onion soup mix and bread crumbs. Honestly, I use what I have on hand. I’ve added a bit of grated parmesan cheese too instead of onions that turned out good.
You will need a large baking sheet if you’re going cook your basic meatball recipe in the oven too.
Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need:
- Large bowl
- Lean ground beef
- lean ground turkey and/or ground chicken are a bit too wet in my opinion
- Ground pork
- Quick oats
- or bread crumbs
- you can find gluten free quick oats here
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
What can I use to bind meatballs instead of egg? If you cannot have eggs this is a good tip to have on hand.
To make egg free meatballs just substitute 2 tablespoons tomato paste per egg during the mixing process. This works especially well for Italian style meatballs, or when serving the meatballs with a tomato sauce.
- You could mix in 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes in place of two eggs too.
- Use russet or Yukon gold potatoes for the least change in flavor.
Want to make homemade frozen meatballs? You can!!
- Mix meat mixture following the recipe below
- Form into 1.5″ sized meatballs
- Preheat oven and cook meatballs as directed below
- When done allow them to cool on the sheet and freeze them when they’re room temperature inside gallon or pint size freezer bags.
Make a double batch and freeze the amount you’d normally use for one dinner. Then you can take out 1 bag, defrost on the countertop and add into your Crockpot spaghetti and meatballs!
- Another idea is to defrost them and simmer an easy sauce together on the stovetop.
- Pour meatballs into a 9×13″ dish covered with your sauce and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Remove and serve with toothpicks on the side as an appetizer.
- First preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Put the amount of frozen meatballs you want to make on a baking sheet with space between. Make sure they’re in a single layer.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re tender.
- Remove and use as you’d like from there.
How do you cook frozen meatballs?
- This is how to cook pressure cooker frozen meatballs. This comes in handy when defrosting and heating homemade meatballs like these, or store bought.
- If you’re looking for a quick method this is it. You’ll need a vegetable steamer to get it done and a bit of water. That’s it!
What do I serve meatballs with?
A good old fashioned meatball sandwich with spaghetti sauce comes to mind first. You can serve them as is with a salad, relish or salsa for a keto friendly meal too.
Should meatballs be cooked in a sauce? I say YES! Ideally I would bake them fresh, add warm meatballs to a 9×13 dish, pour sauce on top and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. This will create a rich flavor you’ll love.
Here are our favorite meatball sauces to use:
- Frank’s Red Hot buffalo meatballs
- Baked meatballs with honey mustard
- Grape jelly meatballs are a favorite appetizer here
- The easiest is to just pour a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce on top and warm.
Use our simple recipe for cranberry meatballs for the holidays too!
If you’re having a party you can pour them into your Crockpot or Instant Pot and set to warm. Set toothpicks next to it and then people can enjoy them throughout the night.
Basic Meatball Recipe
- Mix ingredients together in a bowl well. Make into round 1.5" balls and place on non stick baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the inside and cooked in the middle.
- Remove and serve or if you want to add sauce and serve as an appetizer I would put cooked meatballs into a 9x13 dish. Then pour desired sauce on top, enough to cover them all well, bake for an additional 10 minutes so they can soak up the sauce. Then serve with toothpicks