Easy Italian Meatball Recipe

Updated on February 20, 2020
Shesabutterfly profile image

Cholee is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys creating family and budget-friendly recipes from scratch.

Italian meatballs with elbow noodles and homemade garlic bread.
Italian meatballs with elbow noodles and homemade garlic bread. | Source

Whether you are looking for a quick and easy recipe or one that you can add your own flavor profile to, this Italian meatball recipe is perfect. Everyone loves the versatility of these simple, yet delicious meatballs.

With four easy-to-follow steps, you can have these Italian meatballs for your family too. Great for pasta, soups, or even as a pizza topping, they are a great addition to any meal. My husband refuses to eat spaghetti unless I make these as well. After all, what is spaghetti without meatballs?

Easily frozen, they can be made in advance and used throughout the week. These will keep for months at a time in the freezer if prepared and packaged properly. By using basic seasonings, they can be used for different meals within the same batch, making them a versatile and budget-friendly must-have freezer ingredient.

Making a large batch for the week or even the month allows for fast and easy meals right at your finger tips. For those who are too busy to take the time to create a healthy and tasty meal, these meatballs add the ability to throw something together in under 30 minutes. I love making these and using them for spaghetti, meatball sliders, and casseroles. There really is no end to what you can do with them.

2 stars from 1 rating of Italian Meatballs

Cook Time:

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 20-25 meatballs depending on size

Ingredients for Italian Meatballs:

  • 1 lb Ground Italian Sausage, (Ground hamburger works for those who want less spice)
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Water, (more or less)
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic salt and pepper to taste, (if preferred you could add Oregano as well)
Ingredients for Italian meatballs
Ingredients for Italian meatballs | Source


  1. Before I start mixing my ingredients, I like to ground the sausage a little more with my hands. This creates a finer textured meatball.
  2. Mix all ingredients together; add the water last. Add the water in small increments so you do not add to much moisture to your meatballs. Too much water will create soggy meatballs that fall apart. Again, it is easiest to mix the meatballs with your hands so you can keep an eye on moisture content as well as make sure the seasonings are evenly coating the meat and being dispersed among all the individual balls.
  3. Shape meat mixture to desired size balls and place on a broiler pan. When shaping, I've found it easier to have slightly wet hands as this creates a more rounded meatball that won't stick to your hands.
  4. Broil until outsides are slightly brown, approximately 5 to 10 minutes depending on your oven. Flip them half way through cooking to ensure even browning.
  5. Add to desired sauce and simmer. I prefer to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure the meatballs are cooked all the way through. The longer you simmer your meatballs, the more the flavors of the meatballs and sauce will blend together.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ready to be turned into meatballs.Italian meatballs ready for the broiler.Italian meatballs after broiling. Simmering in sauce.
Ready to be turned into meatballs.
Ready to be turned into meatballs. | Source
Italian meatballs ready for the broiler.
Italian meatballs ready for the broiler. | Source
Italian meatballs after broiling.
Italian meatballs after broiling. | Source
Simmering in sauce.
Simmering in sauce. | Source

Meals With Meatballs

If making a larger batch of meatballs than you need for one recipe, here are some simple and quick recipes to use up your extras. Freeze your Italian meatballs until needed and then thaw and serve.

  • Spaghetti and meatballs: Use the above recipe.
  • Meatball subs: I love using Italian meatballs for warm sub sandwiches as well. Subs are a great way to not only use up any unused portions, but it gives you a way to reuse any leftover sauce as well. A toasted sub topped with these meatballs and melted parmesan or provolone cheese is the perfect leftover lunch.
  • Stroganoff meatballs: Mix with a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 pkg. of dry brown gravy mix. Serve over noodles.
  • Sweet and sour meatballs: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1tbs. catsup, 2 tbs flour, 2 tbs soy sauce. Mix, pour over meatballs, and bake.
  • Barbecue meatballs: Cover with your favorite barbecue sauce or create your own and enjoy. I like to use the slow cooker and let them simmer on low for several hours. This allows the barbecue sauce to seep into the meatballs creating a succulent, saucy bite.
  • Sausage Pizza: These meatballs add a spicy kick to homemade pizzas. However, if you want to use left over meatballs for pizza, make sure to prepare them ahead of time so you can ensure the meatballs are the right size. When making them for pizza, you will end up with more than 20 or 25. I would suggest using half a pound or even a fourth of a pound of ground beef or Italian sausage for pizza toppings and the other half or three quarters for over noodles or in a soup or sandwich.
  • Other pasta dishes: Most any pasta dish can benefit from meatballs. Spaghetti is not the only pasta dish I use these with, especially since I come from a family who loves their meat. I make a very delicious pasta with cottage cheese and spinach that would pair nicely with any leftovers you might have from this recipe.

This recipe is great for letting the kids help with dinner. They can help pour ingredients into the bowl and shape the meat into balls. This recipe is a simple and family-friendly recipe that even the kids will love.

© 2012 Cholee Clay


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    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks cardelean. Hope you enjoy them!

    • cardelean profile image


      8 years ago from Michigan

      I love meatballs and HATE the premade frozen ones. Can't wait to give this recipe a try. I love the variations that you gave as well.

    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks K9, I did it myself! They are just as easy to make as the pictures so. That's why I love them:)

      Thanks theclevercat. I like the broiled way better, not only healthier but they don't fry in the grease either:) Hope you like them!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I like the way you broil them instead of frying. I'm going to try that! Looks great!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      First, nice manicure! This sounds like a really yummy meatball recipe! I really appreciated the picture guide you offer, you make it look so simple. Great stuff!


    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for stopping by and the comment Teresa Coppens!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These sound so delicious and easy to make. My boys love meatballs and I enjoy a recipe that makes extra for freezing on dats when extracurricular activities take over my evening. Wonderful hub!

    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hope you like them alissaroberts! I've made them several times and they always turn out yummy :)

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      8 years ago from Normandy, TN

      These meatballs look so yummy! I love how you can freeze them and make a variety of meals for the week. Going to have to try this recipe out. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting eye say.

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 

      8 years ago from Canada

      this sounds so easy, thanks for posting...

    • Shesabutterfly profile imageAUTHOR

      Cholee Clay 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      I do the same thing ithabise! I have a hard time following recipes as I like to add my own twists to things I make. Hope you enjoy them! They are super easy to make and taste delicious.

    • ithabise profile image

      Michael S 

      8 years ago from Danville, VA

      I'm hungry now! I enjoy Italian recipes. I add my own spin to spaghetti and lasagna all the time. But I've never tried my hand at meatballs. Thanks for the challenge!


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