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Great-Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and parsley flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • Optional: Hot cooked pasta and pasta sauce


  • Preheat oven to 375°. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, seasonings and onion mixture. Add turkey and beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  • Place meatballs on a rack coated with cooking spray in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until lightly browned and cooked through, 18-22 minutes. If desired, serve with pasta and pasta sauce.
Nutrition Facts
About 7 meatballs: 271 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 125mg cholesterol, 569mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1 fat, 1/2 starch.


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  • Nickie
    Nov 29, 2020

    Great recipe! I was looking for something similar to what my grandma used to make. I made a few adjustments to taste. Thank you for taking the time to write this! To those complaining about advertisements.... maybe they can pay you for your recipe’s directly and skip the ad’s :)

  • Summy
    Nov 10, 2020

    My Mom was a great-grandma, and she wrote a turkey cookbook with recipes using ground turkey, and many turkey parts. I'm a huge fan of ground turkey, and I use no beef when making these meatballs. Turkey is a little dry, yes, so I add a tbsp of softened butter, just like my Mom aka Great-Grammy would do. I find that they are perfect to make in batches and freeze for appetizers or soup.

  • Joe
    Sep 10, 2020

    Tasty! I substituted pork sausage for the turkey used gluten free bread crumbs. Would reduce bread crumbs to 1/2 cup next time.

  • Stephanie
    Sep 7, 2020

    Delicious recipe! I would definitely make this again. I did make minor adjustments with what I had on hand. I used 3 eggs instead of 2, I used 1lb ground turkey and 1lb ground pork, I used shredded parmsean instead of grated due to running out of grated, and I used regular bread crumbs vs Italian (I thought I had Italian on hand but it was regular bread crumbs) I baked for 22 mins then flipped meatballs over and baked for an additional 6-7 minutes. I served over rice and chicken gravy with a side of mixed vegetables. The only complaint was from my oldest daughter who requested that I serve over mashed potatoes next time :-)

  • Kathy
    Sep 6, 2020

    No comment left

  • Paula
    Sep 2, 2020

    Used only 90% lean ground beef, but otherwise followed the recipe as is. I made them a day ahead and dropped them in simmering marinara the next day. The held their shape/texture perfectly. Delicious and now my go-to meatball recipe!

  • mrscessna
    Aug 29, 2020

    Great flavor and easy! I used 2 lbs 90% beef and used 3 eggs.

  • kiltyone
    Aug 22, 2020

    No comment left

  • Haley
    Jul 9, 2020

    This has become my go-to meatball recipe. I’ve used all combinations of ground beef, pork, and turkey including just ground turkey and they are always delicious. As to the validity of being “Great Grandma’s” recipe, I got curious and learned that lots of processed turkey products started coming out in the 1940s and ‘50s. Turkey burgers and meatballs became popular in the 1970s. (According to the book “The Turkey: An American Story” by Andrew Smith.) I’m in my 30s and my great grandmother would have been a young housewife in the 1930s and ‘40s. She would have been in her 60s when turkey meatballs became popular. These may not be from the old country, but it is feasible that Great Grandma developed this recipe. :)

  • Sherry
    Apr 7, 2020

    Made per recipe but seasoned the beef and turkey with homemade Italian sausage seasoning