This easy method for oven-roasted meatballs results in moist, juicy, and flavorful meatballs that don’t require frying. Serve with marinara sauce and your favorite pasta shape for a satisfying dinner your entire family will love!
Pro tip: When making meatballs, skip the frying, and the messy stovetop, and start baking your meatballs in the oven instead!
These hearty Italian meatballs are my go-to! Because they are baked in the oven, rather than fried they are healthier than traditional meatballs. You can serve them with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce. I’ve included my simple marinara sauce recipe below but you can also use a store-bought jarred sauce. Rao’s is my favorite.
Serve The Best Baked Meatballs alongside Kale Caesar Salad, Chopped Salad, or Broccolini with Calabrian Chilis.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Recipe Step by Step
Step 1. Saute the Onion
Saute the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil just until they’re translucent and fragrant.
Step 2. Make the Binder
The binder, aka “panade” for the meatballs is made by combining breadcrumbs and milk. This helps the meatballs hold together and provides moisture.
Step 3. Mix the Meatballs
Mix the ground beef and pork with the binder, eggs, herbs, and spices. Be careful not to over mix. Roll the meatballs to your desired size. I usually aim for the size of a golf ball. You can also use a cookie or ice-cream scoop to get uniform meatballs.
Step 4. Bake
Bake the meatballs on a baking tray for 20-25 minutes. Serve with pasta and sauce.
FAQs and Expert Tips
I personally prefer to bake meatballs. For one, it’s so much easier and less messy. Two, they are just as flavorful and delicious, maybe even more so since they won’t be submerged in frying oil. Three, they’re going simmer in the marinara sauce anyway so why bother trying frying until golden brown?
My favorite method for testing meatball doneness is to just rip one open and see if it’s cooked inside. If you prefer to use a thermometer look for a temperature of 160F, or higher. Just remember they will carry over and you can always finish cooking them in the sauce.
For moist and juicy meatballs it’s very important to not over mix or over cook.
Yes. Let the cooked meatballs cool completely, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost meatballs in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in a pot of sauce on the stovetop.
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The Best Baked Meatballs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 c panko breadcrumbs
- 1 c milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 c grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb ground pork preferably 20% fat
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4-6 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the diced onion. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, the onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl, pour in the milk, and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes while the breadcrumbs absorb the milk then, whisk in the eggs, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, salt, and sauteed onion mixture.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes. The meatballs are done when the outsides are golden and the center is cooked through. Serve with marinara sauce and your favorite pasta!
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until combined. Next, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes, basil leaves, oregano, chili flake, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the basil leaves before serving.
- Beef/Pork: You can use all beef for this recipe or even ground turkey/chicken.
- Breadcrumbs: for gluten-free meatballs use GF breadcrumbs.
- My favorite method for testing meatball doneness is to just rip one open and see if it’s cooked inside. If you prefer to use a thermometer look for a temperature of 160F. Just remember they will carry over and you can always finish cooking them in the sauce.
- Leftover meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave.
- Let the cooked meatballs cool completely, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost meatballs in the refrigerator overnight then reheat in a pot of sauce on the stovetop.