Go Back
+ servings
Great Italian Meatballs
Print Recipe Pin
4.80 from 5 votes

Great All-Purpose Italian Meatballs Recipe

I make and freeze these tender, moist Italian meatballs to have on hand for quick meals of spaghetti, subs or wedding soup. Admittedly, a few disappear before they hit the freezer. Delish.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, make ahead
Cuisine: Italian
Servings (change as needed): 60 meatballs
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoon minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3 pound ground beef, veal and/or pork (any combination)

Seasoning/Binding for Meat

  • 3 slices white bread (to make 2 cups coarsely torn bread)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (or water)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat) parsley
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • PREHEAT OVEN to 500F. Line 2 pans (with 1 inch sides) with tin foil and spray with oil. I use one large and one smaller pan to fit side by side in my oven, but use whatever you have.
  • PREPARE INGREDIENTS: Onion and parsley can be chopped with knife. Bread can be torn into small pieces by hand. Alternatively, use processor to first finely dice onion, then coarsely process bread, then finely mince parsley.
  • SAUTE ONIONS AND GARLIC: Heat oil on medium high. Add onions and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent (not brown). Add garlic and saute another minute. Allow to cool while you continue.
  • MAKE MEAT MIXTURE: In large bowl, add seasonings/bindings for meat (bread, milk, parsley, eggs, salt and Parmesan). Mix to combine well. Mixture will be mushy. Add ground meats, onion and garlic. Using clean hands, mix all ingredients together GENTLY. Don't overwork the meat. (I spread fingers on one hand, form a cup and use a twisting motion to mix). Wet hands (to avoid sticking) and lightly form balls about 1 1/2-2 inches diameter (or any size you like). I make about 60 balls. Lay on prepared pans 1/2 inch apart.
  • BAKE MEATBALLS: Bake meatballs for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. If pans don't fit side by side, bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, rotating pans halfway through. Meatballs will be light on top and nicely browned on the bottom. If desired, turn meatballs over halfway through to brown more evenly. I don't bother.


Make Ahead:
  • Freeze cooked meatballs for 30-40 minutes in a single layer on a pan, then transfer them to a ziploc bag. They can be frozen for months. You can also freeze the uncooked meatballs the same way, then bake them when needed at 500F for 10-12 minutes from frozen.
  • Cooked meatballs will also keep will in the fridge for several days.
Nutrition Values are best estimates. 
Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 77IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg