How to Make Easy Meatballs

Wondering what the secret is to making gorgeous, tender meatballs in a cinch? Our easy meatball recipe shows you how to whip up this delicious comfort food quickly.

Homemade meatballs are so much tastier than anything you’ll pick up at the supermarket. They’re a simple comfort food perfect for everything from quick pasta dishes and stews to hearty sandwiches and appetizers. This easy meatball recipe is an inexpensive 30-minute meal that is a fantastic option if you’re looking for quick meal prep ideas.

How to Make Easy Meatballs

Our Test Kitchen created this quick and easy meatball recipe that’s simple enough to make on a weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/3 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef

Step 1: Make the Binding

Pour the eggs, onion, garlic, water, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and seasonings into a large bowl. Whisk it well until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed.

The eggs and breadcrumbs are essential for binding the meat. Thanks to their moisture content, eggs help keep your meatballs lovely and tender.

Step 2: Add Beef and Shape

Crumble the ground beef into the egg mixture. Use your hands to combine everything but do not overwork the beef. I can’t stress this enough! If you overdo it, you run the risk of tough meatballs. Instead, gently work the mix until it’s just combined.

Once you’re happy with the beef mixture, lightly shape the meatballs to be about 1 to 1 ½ inches. You can make larger meatballs, if you choose.

Pro Tip: No matter whether you decide to go big or small, you’ll want to keep them all roughly the same size. Otherwise, they’ll cook unevenly.

Step 3: Into the Oven They Go

Grease a rack and place it in a shallow baking tray. I pour a little olive oil onto a paper towel and rub the rack down, but a nonstick cooking spray would work here. Arrange the meatballs, and then put them in the oven. Bake at 375° for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until your instant-read thermometer says they’re cooked through (160-165°).

Homemade Meatballs Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t limit yourself to beef! Swap it for pork, chicken, lamb, turkey or game meat to put a new spin on this tried-and-true classic. If you’re hankering for ultra-tender meatballs, fatty meats are the way to go.
  • If lean meats like chicken or turkey are on the menu, consider adding a splash of milk to the egg mix. This will moisten the breadcrumbs and help prevent the meatballs from getting tough.
  • While this recipe calls for Italian seasoning, a sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil pack some serious flavor. Mint would be gorgeous with lamb, while cilantro gives pork and chicken meatballs a zesty flair.
  • You can freeze your meatballs to enjoy later. After they’re out of the oven, let them cool down completely before freezing them. Or prep the meatballs and put them in an airtight container in the fridge to cook later in the week—just be sure to cook them within 2 to 3 days.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of the perfect meatball, here are some of our best Italian meatball recipes to try out.

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.