Baked Italian meatballs are a delightful culinary adventure that brings Italian inspired flavors into your kitchen. Tender, juicy, and aromatic, these oven-baked delights have a timeless appeal that is perfect for family dinners or as an appetizer for gatherings and celebrations.
These oven-baked Italian-American-style meatballs are perfectly seasoned and will melt in your mouth, delivering a classic and easy recipe that guarantees tender and juicy bites. Pair them with your favorite sauce for the best-ever meatball experience. They’ll soon become a family favorite.
Get ready to elevate your next meal with these irresistible baked homemade Italian meatballs infused with the warmth of traditional Italian herbs and the comfort of home cooking. Your family and friends will surely be impressed by your culinary skills as they savor each delicious bite.
Why You’ll Love This Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe
- Super easy to make: This easy meatball recipe comes together in about 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight dinner option even in a hurry. I love an easy dinner!
- Meal prep-friendly: This recipe usually yields around 32 meatballs, so you can prepare a large batch and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for quick meals throughout the week.
- Full of flavor: Baked Italian meatballs are packed with a blend of herbs, spices, and cheeses that give them a rich, mouthwatering taste. No bland meatballs here! My family says they are the best meatballs!
- Lean ground beef: This will make up the base of your meatballs, providing texture and flavor. Lean ground beef helps to reduce excess fat and keeps the meatballs from becoming too greasy.
- Ground turkey: Adding ground turkey to the recipe lightens the texture and contributes a unique flavor profile, unlike just ground beef.
- White onion: The finely grated onion adds moisture and a subtle yet essential, savory flavor to your meatballs.
- Garlic: Don’t forget the garlic; it adds depth and enhances the Italian seasoning profile.
- Italian seasoning: This blend of herbs and spices is the key to making your meatballs taste truly Italian. It usually includes basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.
- Kosher salt: Salt is an important ingredient as it helps to season the meat and bring out the other flavors of the ingredients.
- Panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs help bind the meatballs together, giving them a tender and delicate texture.
- Parmesan cheese: Adding Parmesan cheese boosts the savory flavor and helps with the overall binding of the meatballs.
- Eggs: Eggs are an essential binding agent, holding everything together while the meatballs bake.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil adds a hint of flavor and helps keep the meatballs moist while baking.
- Milk: Milk, combined with the breadcrumbs, adds moisture and helps to keep the meatballs tender.
How to Make Baked Italian Meatballs
- Step One: Preheat your oven to 425℉. While that’s warming up, find a large mixing bowl and add both ground beef and ground turkey. Next, incorporate the onion, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning into the mixture. Mix the meat mixture with clean hands until it’s well combined.
- Step Two: Add the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, olive oil, and milk, and mix until everything is evenly combined.
- Step Three: Grab a medium cookie scoop and start shaping your meatballs. Roll them gently with your clean hands to create tight, uniform balls. Once you have a batch of meatballs ready, place them in a single layer on a baking rack atop a parchment-lined baking sheet. This setup will help make clean-up easier later.
- Step Four: Bake your meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook. The meatballs are fully cooked when the outside is browned, and a meat thermometer inserted in the center of a meatball reaches 165℉.
- Step Five: Now that your baked Italian meatballs are cooked to perfection, toss them in your favorite sauce and serve over steaming pasta.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
When it comes to enjoying baked Italian meatballs, there are many delicious ways to serve them.
- Marinara Sauce: A classic choice, marinara sauce is made of tomatoes, garlic, and onions, with a hint of basil and oregano. This sauce complements the flavors of Italian meatballs and adds a lovely, savory touch to your dish.
- Alfredo Sauce: For a richer, creamier option, consider serving your baked Italian meatballs with a silky alfredo sauce. This sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese, which adds a luxurious taste to your meatballs.
- Pesto Sauce: Opt for basil pesto if you want a fresh, herbaceous sauce. Made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, pesto sauce adds a burst of vibrant flavor that pairs well with baked Italian meatballs.
- Spaghetti: One of the most popular side dishes for baked Italian meatballs is spaghetti. Boil the pasta until al dente and toss with spaghetti sauce. Place the meatballs on top for a classic, comforting meal.
- Polenta: For a creamy, cornmeal-based side dish, try serving your meatballs with polenta. Follow your favorite polenta recipe, then spoon the meatballs and sauce over the top.
- Roasted Vegetables: Enhance the texture and flavor of your baked Italian meatball dish with various roasted vegetables. Select a mix of seasonal vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and onions, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast until tender.
- Garlic Bread or Crusty Bread: For a simple and scrumptious side, serve your baked Italian meatballs with warm, buttery garlic bread. Perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce on your plate, garlic bread complements the flavors of Italian meatballs perfectly.
Other Ways to Enjoy
- Add to a sandwich: Place them in hoagie rolls, top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and then broil it for satisfying meatball subs.
- Enjoy as an appetizer: You can serve these meatballs with toothpicks and dipping sauce on the side for an irresistible party snack.
Variations and Substitutions
- Omit the ground turkey and make beef meatballs. You can also use ground turkey for turkey meatballs.
- Substitute ground chicken or ground pork for the ground turkey.
- Swap out the fresh garlic and onions for one teaspoon of garlic powder and one teaspoon of onion powder.
- Use Italian bread crumbs instead of panko breadcrumbs.
- Add a bit of heat with the addition of red pepper flakes.
- Include some fresh herbs like chopped basil.
Tips for Perfect Meatballs
- Avoid overmixing the ground meat. Overmixing can result in compact and tough meatballs. A good trick is to work with your hands to combine the ingredients more quickly and gently. Also, beat the eggs before adding them to the mix.
- When shaping your meatballs, aim for uniformity in size. This will ensure even cooking and prevent some meatballs from being undercooked while others overcook. A cookie scoop or similar utensil can help achieve a consistent size for each meatball.
- If you have the time, preparing the meatball mixture can help develop the flavors. Cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight, then shape and bake the meatballs the following day.
- Bake the meatballs on a baking rack over a rimmed baking sheet. This will allow the grease to drip off the meatballs instead of pooling around them. If you don’t have a baking rack, you can cook them directly on parchment paper, but you may need 1 to 2 minutes less baking time.
If you have leftover meatballs, allow them to cool completely at room temperature. Once cooled, transfer them to a sturdy airtight container or resealable plastic bags, making sure to remove any excess air. You can then store your meatballs in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To avoid any risk of bacterial growth, it’s best not to leave your meatballs at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Can I Freeze?
Yes, you absolutely can freeze your baked Italian meatballs! Freezing meatballs is convenient, allowing you to have a delicious, home-cooked meal, even on busy weeknights. Depending on your preferences and time constraints, there are a couple of methods for freezing meatballs.
Firstly, you can choose to freeze your meatballs raw. Prepare the meatballs according to the recipe, but stop before baking them. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet without them touching, and place the sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are solid, transfer them to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Be sure to label the container with the type of meatballs and the date they were prepared. When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and bake them according to the recipe instructions.
Alternatively, you can freeze the meatballs after they’ve been baked. Follow the recipe and bake the meatballs as instructed. Allow them to cool completely before freezing them on a baking sheet.
Once frozen, transfer the cooked meatballs to a freezer bag or container, again labeling with the date and type of meatballs. When ready to enjoy, thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight and reheat via your preferred method, such as the oven or stovetop.
Whichever method you choose, your frozen meatballs should maintain their quality in the freezer for 1-2 months.
How to Reheat
- Microwave: The microwave is a convenient and fast option for reheating your meatballs. Simply place your baked Italian meatballs on a microwave-safe plate, ensuring that they are evenly spaced apart. Use short intervals of 30 seconds at a time, checking the internal temperature to see when they are heated through. Remember that high-wattage microwaves can heat food quickly, so frequent checks are crucial to prevent overcooking.
- Oven: Reheating your meatballs in the oven is another great option to preserve their juicy texture. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place your baked meatballs on a lined baking sheet. Heat them for approximately 15-20 minutes or until they are warmed through. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t dry out.
- Stovetop: You can also reheat your baked Italian meatballs using a pan on the stovetop. Place them in a non-stick pan with olive oil over low heat and gently stir them as they warm up. This method can also work if your meatballs have a sauce, as you can combine them in the pan and heat them together.
- Air Fryer: If you own an air fryer, it’s another efficient way to reheat your meatballs and can provide a nice crust. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C), and once it’s ready, place your baked meatballs in the basket. Reheat them for approximately 6-8 minutes, checking to see when they are warm and slightly crispy on the outside.
Baked Italian Meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 425℉.
- Add the ground beef and ground turkey to a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix together with clean hands until combined.
- Add the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, olive oil, and milk to the meat mixture. Mix well until combined.
- Form meatballs with a medium cookie scoop. Roll them into tight balls with clean hands.
- Place the meatballs on a baking rack on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes. The meatballs are done when the outside is browned and a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the meatball is 165℉.
- Toss meatballs in the sauce of your choice and serve over pasta.