How to cook meatballs on stovetop with sauce or without is here. Make as a cast iron appetizer or with noodles for skillet spaghetti. Use your own recipe or our basic meatballs for homemade yum.
This is how to cook meatballs on the stovetop so they are juicy and full of flavor. Golden brown on the outside they are easy to make as a complete high protein meal or enjoy as a snack. Just one of our super easy ground beef recipes here on our site. (affiliate links present)
How to Cook Meatballs on Stovetop
You’re going to want at least a 12 inch cast iron skillet or this makes a great dutch oven recipe too. If you are going to make spaghetti on stovetop at the end you’ll want to use the latter because you’ll need more space.
The most common meat for these is beef ground however you could mix it with another if you’d like. Personally I love a bit of Jimmy Dean spicy ground sausage mixed in because it adds a ton of flavor and some heat. Turkey and chicken ground aren’t for me as I think the texture is just off.
There are ton of ways to serve these up, they’re not just for baked spaghetti y’all. If you have people coming over for the big game or want an Italian Christmas dinner dish this is a great one. Just pair with long toothpicks and serve right in the pan on a trivet.
Defrost them first (if they’re frozen meatballs) using directions on the back of the bag. The easiest and quickest way to do this in a bowl in your microwave for a few minutes.
1. Once thawed, add 2 tbsp of olive oil into a skillet
2. Add meat and brown on the outsides for a few minutes
3. If you are adding a sauce do that now and allow to bubble slowly for 10-12 minutes until warmed
You can but they will likely fall apart more than if you browned the outsides first. This will do two things; help them stay together in the sauce as they cook and keep the moisture inside so they are more tender and juicy when served.
How to Cook Meatballs in Sauce
I will share with you both methods though we rarely ever make this without homemade spaghetti sauce inside the pot. You can also bake in the oven following our cranberry meatballs recipe that is killer during the holidays.
Cast Iron Meatballs
If you have your own family favorite recipe for the meat mixture then by all means use that. You can just follow our directions below in regards to cook time and temp. We have used our Ninja Foodi meatloaf recipe and formed that into balls too and that was delicious. A simple mixture would be;
- Ground beef or half ground sausage and half beef
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Onion powder and any other seasonings you want
You’ll need a few tbsp of olive oil too to brown them nicely on the outside like you see here. That will not only give them a bit of texture but the sear will keep the moisture locked in so they become as moist and tender as possible.
Now if you wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs this way, it’s rather delicious too. You’ll want to boil the noodles separately until tender but slightly al dente (my preference). You’d want to start off with a much larger pan than this 12″ if just cooking the meat.
- Follow the same directions for making meatballs in a cast iron skillet first
- Boil pasta over medium high heat until slightly al dente.
- Then drain the cooked noodles and pour those in your cast iron pan (dutch oven works best since there will be more than just your skillet meatballs to combine.
- this is the correct cook time for spaghetti noodles
- Gently fold everything together so it’s all nicely coated, you may want another 1/2 jar of sauce for this version
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan on top!
You don’t have to use long pasta with this one either. Penne pasta or medium size shells works great as well and easier to eat for little ones.
How Long to Cook Meatballs on Stove in Sauce
I mean from start to finish including you combining your meatball mixture and forming them into the shape and size you want, it’s probably 30 minutes. If you wanted to sear the outside, pour in the sauce and bake meatballs inside a preheated oven at 375 F. you’d need about 20 minutes for that.
- In a large bowl, combine your beef (or make turkey meatballs for lower faat), breadcrumbs, milk, garlic, onion powder, salt and black pepper.
- Shape into about 24 homemade meatballs or so, they should all be the same size.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and swirl around the pan to coat. Cook the Italian meatballs in batches.
- Be careful not to crowd the pan, cook until browned on all sides.
- Drain any excess grease.
- Add all of the meatballs to the skillet and pour the marinara sauce over the top. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
There are tons of ways to serve these, below photo is just one but fun for kids for sure. If you can find those small slider buns or sweet Hawaiian rolls, cut them in half and serve one in the middle with a slice of cheese!
How to save leftover meatballs
You will want to keep them smothered with as much sauce as possible ideally. Use a container with a lid and reheat within 48 hours. A pot over medium heat will work to warm again, or put into the microwave for about 2 minutes stirring halfway thru until warmed. A great “free” second dish to enjoy later. 😉
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How to Cook Meatballs on the Stovetop
- 1 skillet or cast iron skillet, with a lid
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, breadcrumbs, milk, garlic, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Shape the mixture into 24 meatballs.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and swirl around the pan to coat. Cook the meatballs in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan, until browned on all sides. Drain any excess grease.
- Add all of the meatballs to the skillet and pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve inside slider buns with a slice of provolone for a fun dinner idea, or on top of spaghetti noodles.