Great-Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min.


8 servings

Updated: Dec. 24, 2023
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


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Great-Grandma's Italian Meatballs Tips


What do you eat with Italian meatballs?

If you’re looking for a side to eat with Italian meatballs, of course a classic pairing is spaghetti and pasta sauce. Use leftover meatballs in a tortellini soup recipe or in our three-cheese meatball mostaccioli recipe.  

Can I freeze meatballs?

You can freeze meatballs if you’d like to save them for later. Here’s how: Bake meatballs according to recipe and allow to cool. Then arrange meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Place meatballs in freezer bags or freezer-friendly containers and store up to 3 months. When you want to use them, take out of the freezer a day ahead of time and allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator.  

What are Italian meatballs made of?

Italian meatballs can be made from different types of meat, but commonly use lean ground beef and then a fattier meat like pork or veal to add richness. Italian seasonings, breadcrumbs, and a binder of egg are typically what make up traditional meatballs, as well, but you can try so many different meatball recipes to change things up! 
Research contributed by Sarah Fischer, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

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.