The Best Meatballs
These classic all-purpose meatballs have the best blend of ground meat, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. Easy to customize to your tastes and adjust serving sizes!
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Table of Contents
- About The Best Meatballs
- What kind of meat should you use?
- Can you double this recipe? Can you half this recipe?
- How long are meatballs good for?
- Can you freeze meatballs?
- Should you freeze meatballs before or after cooking?
- What to serve with meatballs
- More fun appetizers
- More easy dinners
- How do you make the best meatballs?
- Recipe Details
About The Best Meatballs
When I started to learn how to cook, one of the first recipes I tracked down was an all-purpose meatball recipe.
And really, can you blame me? When are meatballs not the perfect fit for any situation?
They’re an easy go-to option whenever you need to whip up something tasty that doesn’t require a lot of planning. I’ve made them for appetizers (either on their own or jazzed up with a sauce) and have numerous dinner recipes where meatballs are the showcase. Plus, I love that this recipe can be made with any type of meat, giving you even more freedom to create different tastes with a single recipe.
That’s why I consider this to be the best meatball recipe: a freshly baked batch of these meatballs opens up so many options for just a few simple steps!
What kind of meat should you use?
The idea behind this recipe is to create an all-purpose meatball, so the ingredients are mild enough that they will complement any type of meat.
For me, I like to use a 50/50 split of beef and pork, so that is how this recipe is written. However, you can substitute one (or both) of these meats for all beef, all pork, chicken, turkey, or any other type or combination of ground meat. So long as the total amount of meat you use equals two pounds, then you’re good to go with creating a meatball that perfectly suits your tastes.
Can you double this recipe? Can you half this recipe?
Yes, you totally can (to both questions).
This recipe already makes a pretty big batch (48 meatballs), but that might seem a little short for a party or a little big for dinner. I’ve adjusted the serving size of this recipe multiple times with great results, so feel free to make as many (or as little!) as you need.
How long are meatballs good for?
Once prepared and cooled, meatballs can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three to four days.
Can you freeze meatballs?
Absolutely! Meatballs are great for freezing. And better yet, whether you’re freezing them cooked or uncooked, the process is the same:
- Place room-temperature meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Note: this means that if you’ve already cooked the meatballs, they should first be cooled completely.)
- Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer until the meatballs are frozen.
- Remove the baking sheet from freezer, then add the frozen meatballs to a sealed container or freezer bag.
- Seal bag and store in the freezer for up to three to four months.
When you’re ready to use the meatballs, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can follow the cooking instructions (if uncooked) or reheat them (if already cooked) as desired.
Should you freeze meatballs before or after cooking?
This really comes down to personal preference, because meatballs will freeze just as well raw as they do cooked.
But if you’re having trouble deciding, there are some minor benefits between the two:
- Freezing raw: Since you don’t need to wait for cooking or cooling, this method means there’s less upfront work. So you can make the meatballs, freeze them, then move on to something else.
- Freezing cooked: While you do have to spend time cooking the meatballs and waiting for them to cool, the cooked meatballs will be tougher and more likely to keep their shapes. Plus, with cooked meatballs, you can add a sauce of your choice to the freezer bag for easy meal planning.
What to serve with meatballs
Meatballs are one of those recipes that go good with just about everything, but a few of my favorites are:
- Your favorite sweet or savory sauces, such as marinara, BBQ, or sweet and sour.
- The true classic: on a bed of your favorite pasta.
- Garlic bread, whether it be cheesy or extra buttery.
- Steamed or grilled veggies (green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, etc).
- Sweet or savory salads.
- In a meatball sub.
More fun appetizers
More easy dinners
How do you make the best meatballs?
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a large bowl, add some panko breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, chili powder, black pepper, and salt, then mix them until thoroughly combined.
Step 2 – Add two pounds of ground meat (I used a 50/50 split of beef and pork, but feel free to use whatever you prefer), beaten eggs, olive oil, and garlic. You can either use a fork to mix the ingredients together or knead it together with your hands. Whichever method you choose, do your best to get the meats mixed, the eggs and oil distributed, and the dry ingredients are absorbed.
Step 3 – Use a cookie scoop to measure out a meatball size of your choice (standard meatball size is about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in width). Roll the meatball between your hands, taking care to occasionally press the ingredients together; doing this will help the meatball keep its shape. Once finished, place the rolled meatballs on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
Step 4 – Bake!
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
The Best Meatballs
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef, *
- 1 pound ground pork, *
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together panko breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper.3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, olive oil, and garlic to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Using a spatula (or even just your hands), mix or kneed the meat into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop (or just pinch off the same amount), scoop out meat mixture and work it with your hands. For best results, gently press the meat as you roll it into a ball. Doing this will help the meatballs keep their shape. If there are any seams in the meatball, pinch them closed, then roll the meatball between your hands until smooth. Take about 10-20 seconds for each meatball to ensure they're rolled correctly. Once finished, place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet; it's okay if the meatballs are placed close together, so long as they're not touching. Repeat this step until all the meat mixture has been used.
- Bake meatballs for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.