Simple Meatball Recipe

Whether it is for spaghetti, subs or potluck dinners, meatballs are a staple in our household. This simple meatball recipe will make 30 absolutely yummy meatballs.

Simple Meatball Recipe

By Yamaguchi先生 at English Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

My first passion in the kitchen was Italian dishes. Spaghetti and meatballs were (and still are) top of the list. Making my own meatballs is an essential component of many excellent Italian dishes. Since then, I have branched out into meatball subs, potluck meatballs and meatball stew. But it all starts with fresh meatballs!

Recipe adapted from Quinn, Lucinda Scala (2012-08-28). Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys (p. 150). Artisan. Kindle Edition.


Simple Meatball Recipe
Yields 30
Simple meatball recipe for any occasion. Forget frozen processed meatballs. You can make fresh, tasty meatballs in a flash!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. ⅓ cup milk
  2. 2 slices best-quality bread, crusts removed
  3. 1 pound ground pork
  4. 1 pound ground beef
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 2 tablespoons minced onion
  7. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  8. ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  10. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  11. ½ teaspoon coarse salt (use 1 teaspoon if Parmesan is substituted for the Romano)
  12. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  13. 2 28-ounce cans best-quality whole tomatoes, pulsed with juices in a blender
  14. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Soak the bread in the milk, turning the slices over to absorb it. Cool and mince the bread. Place it in a large bowl. Add the meats, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Using clean hands, mix together until completely combined.
  2. Have a rimmed baking sheet or platter ready. If you have time, chill the raw meatballs to firm them up. Roll into 1½-inch meatballs. (If you periodically run cold water over your hands, the meat won’t stick to them as you roll.)
  3. Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets to fry in batches) over high heat. Add the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Don’t crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Fry the meatballs without moving for a few minutes, then turn as they cook to brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil from the pan, carefully scraping around the meatballs.
  4. Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot pasta with 3 meatballs on top, some sauce, the grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
  1. Meatballs in our family are no laughing matter. One set of my father’s Italian grandparents insisted that formed pork meatballs be dropped into the simmering sauce to cook. The other set insisted that the meatballs be fried first and then added to the sauce. My non-Italian mom brought her own refinements to the controversy, making baked mini meatball sandwiches, but she still used only pork meat for her version, never beef. My husband and I are the ones who introduced beef into the mix. Whatever your preference start with 2 pounds of ground meat for this recipe. What type of meat is up to you: all beef, half beef/half pork, part veal. If spaghetti and meatballs are for dinner, you’d better have made enough for seconds, late-night raids, and leftovers. They freeze beautifully in the sauce. Parmesan cheese can be substituted for the Pecorino Romano, but the Romano brings a more pungent flavor.
Adapted from Recipe adapted from Quinn, Lucinda Scala (2012-08-28). Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys (p. 150). Artisan. Kindle Edition.
Adapted from Recipe adapted from Quinn, Lucinda Scala (2012-08-28). Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys (p. 150). Artisan. Kindle Edition.
Cooking for Guys

Simple Meatball Recipe Video by Lucinda Quinn

Chef Mancave Tips

  • I use coconut or almond milk instead of regular milk for health reasons
  • I use seasoned Italian bread crumbs instead of bread
  • I always chill the meatballs before frying them
  • I make my marinara sauce separately. (see article)

Simple Meatball Recipe Alternatives from Famous Chefs

  • Gordon Ramsay Coconut Meatballs
    Chef Ramsay creates a flavorful gourmet dish of meatballs cooked lemongrass, ginger and coconut milk. All made in one fry pan. Not a single swear word used in this video.
    (watch video)
  • Rachel Ray Meatball Stoup Video
    Rachel Ray demonstrates her “stoup” (stew and soup) meatball dinner. Brilliantly simple to make and oh so delicious.
    (watch video)

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