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Juicy Meatball Recipe (VIDEO)

Our go-to Meatball Recipe! Find out the secret to flavorful and juicy homemade meatballs. These are make-ahead, freezer-friendly, and perfect for meal prep.

This recipe is so versatile. The meatballs can be baked or sauteed and they can be served as appetizers or the main course. Try them simmered in a marinara sauce for the best Spaghetti and Meatballs or put them in hoagie rolls for incredible meatball subs. Make some tonight!

Juicy Meatballs in a skillet in marinara sauce

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The Secret to Juicy Meatballs!

Every element in this recipe builds a flavorful and moist meatball but what makes them truly juicy is adding the bread crumbs. They are tender all the way through and never tough. The moist bread crumbs also help these reheat really well. Make these and you will be known for your meatballs.

We use a combination of meats here, mixing ground pork and ground beef with an egg. This combination produces the best taste and a fork-tender meatball. The flavorings are simple and make these an Italian-style meatball with the addition of parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley and of course salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Italian Meatballs with ground beef, pork, bread, egg, parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper

Pro Tips for the Best Meatballs:

Here is our best advice for ensuring the juiciest plump meatballs. Avoid these common pitfalls which can cause meatballs to be tough and dry.

  • Do not overmix the meat. Overworking the meat will result in tough meatballs.
  • Don’t skip the bread crumb and water mixture, which adds moisture to make the meatballs juicy.
  • Form even-sized meatballs for even cooking. A trigger release ice cream scoop makes it easy.
  • To form perfect meatballs, dip your hands in a bowl of cold water and use wet hands to roll the meatballs.
  • Avoid overcooking. Sautee or bake just until they reach 160˚F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Don’t crowd meatballs in the skillet or on the baking sheet which can cause them to steam cook and prevent a good sear from forming.

Upclose juicy meatball seared on the outside

How to Make Meatballs:

  1. Remove crusts and dice 3 slices of bread. Place in a large bowl and mix with 2/3 cup water. After 5 minutes, mash with a fork.
  2. Into the same bowl, add ground beef, ground pork, parmesan cheese, 1 egg, minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir the mixture together with your hands. Do not overmix.
  3. Portion onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (2 Tbsp per meatball). With wet hands, roll meatballs into 1 1/2″ diameter balls.

How to make juicy meatballs by combining meat mixture with hands then forming round balls with wet hands

How to Cook Meatballs:

Sauteed Meatballs (Favorite Method): Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add meatballs to the skillet, placing them in one at a time. Cook in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding, adding more oil as needed. Sautee 6-8 minutes total, turning every 2 min or until all sides are browned and the internal temperature reaches 160˚F. Promptly remove from the pan (to avoid overcooking) and transfer to a serving platter.

Baked Meatballs: Place on a lined baking sheet, about 2″ apart and bake in a preheated oven at 400˚F for 20-23 minutes, or until the centers register 160˚F. If you want a prettier color to your meatballs, broil for the last 2-3 minutes.

Sautéed meatballs and baked meatballs

How to Freeze Meatballs:

Meatballs are great for make-ahead dinners and meal planning because they can easily be frozen raw or cooked. Place in a single layer, cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours or until solid then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and freeze up to 3 months.

Thaw frozen meatballs overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Cooked meatballs can be thawed or reheated straight from the freezer. You can even warm them in marinara sauce (see “How to Serve Meatballs” below).

Frozen and reheated meatballs in marinara sauce

How to Serve Meatballs:

  • Meatballs in Marinara Sauce – heat 2 cups marinara sauce in a skillet. Add freshly cooked or frozen meatballs and simmer until heated through. Serve as Spaghetti and Meatballs.
  • Meatball Subs – Place 3-4 warm meatballs in marinara sauce in a hoagie roll, top with mozzarella cheese and broil 1-2 minutes just to melt the cheese.
  • Meatball Soup – Put uncooked meatballs into any soup that calls for meatballs or in this Sausage Kale Soup.
  • BBQ Meatballs – Roll cooked meatballs in warm barbeque sauce and serve on a platter with toothpicks as an appetizer.
  • In Gravy – put meatballs into your favorite Gravy and serve over creamy Mashed Potatoes.

Meatballs in marinara sauce with mozzarella cheese perfect for spaghetti or meatball subs

Our Top 5 Meatball Recipes:

We love a good meatball recipe, actually, we love several! These are our top-rated recipes that are easy to make and easy to serve. You’re sure to find a new favorite.

I hope this Meatball recipe becomes a new favorite go-to dinner for you. If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to our Youtube Channel and don’t forget to click the bell icon so you get a notification when we post a new video. Thank you so much for subscribing!

Juicy Meatball Recipe

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Meatballs in skillet with marinara sauce

These Flavorful and juicy homemade meatballs are make-ahead and freezer friendly so they're perfect for meal prep. The meatballs can be baked or sauteed and served as appetizers or the main course.

Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $15-$18
Keyword: meatball recipe
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Main Course
Calories: 305 kcal
Servings: 8 people (makes 24 meatballs)


Ingredients for Juicy Meatballs:

  • 3 slices white bread crusts removed, diced
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1 lb lean ground beef 85/15 fat content
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil to sautee


How to Make Meatballs:

  1. Combine diced bread in a large bowl with 2/3 cup water. Set aside 5 minutes then mash with a fork. Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Into the bowl of mashed bread crumbs, add ground beef, ground pork, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp parsley, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Use your hands to stir the mixture together just until well combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Portion onto a lined baking sheet (about 2 Tbsp per meatball - an ice cream scoop makes it easy). With wet hands, roll meatballs into 1 1/2" diameter balls.

How to Cook Meatballs:

  1. To Sautee: Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add meatballs to the skillet, placing them in one at a time and cook in batches to get a good sear. Sautee turning every 2 minutes (total 6-8 minutes), or until evenly browned and the internal temperature reaches 160˚F on an instant-read thermometer. Serve as is or in any recipe that calls for meatballs.

  2. To Bake Meatballs: Place on a lined baking sheet 2" apart and bake in a fully preheated oven at 400˚F for 20-23 minutes, or until fully cooked and the centers reach 160˚F. If you want a prettier color to your meatballs, broil for the last 2-3 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Juicy Meatball Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 305 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 99mg33%
Sodium 466mg20%
Potassium 387mg11%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 138IU3%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 81mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen


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Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • C S
    April 3, 2020

    Hi Natasha, I always enjoy seeing your recipes and the way you present it.
    I’m allergic to egg and I was wondering if egg can be dropped or replaced from this recipe? I understand it’s a binding agent, but I have had packaged meatballs that don’t use egg. I’m not sure what they use for binding. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 3, 2020

      Hello CS, I haven’t really tried making this recipe yet without the egg so I’m not so sure how it would turn out. You can probably try mayo but as I’ve said I haven’t tested that yet. Sorry hope that I can be more helpful! Reply

    • Julie
      April 4, 2020

      Hi CS,
      Here in Australia you can buy egg substitute called ORGRAN NO EGG EGG REPLACER 200G.
      If you can’t find, then I’m sure you would have an equivalent in USA.
      Julie Reply

  • Natalie Lebeda
    March 9, 2020

    Meatballs were absolutely amazing so lush with flavor and juicy omg. Even as they say they were yummy! Crowd pleaser!!!! Great job Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 9, 2020

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite! Reply

  • Rubenee
    March 2, 2020

    Hi Natasha, can i use chicken meat only ? Reply

  • Nasrulah
    March 1, 2020

    Very nice thank Reply

  • Barry
    February 29, 2020

    Hi Natasha… I used the pork from Hot Italian sausage as a twist on you great recipe… Makes meat balls with some attitude for appetizers. Thanks for all your hard work. Kudos to you, your husband and beautiful children. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 29, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me Barry! I’m so glad you liked this recipe! Reply

  • Mimi L
    February 25, 2020

    Hi Natasha,
    can I use wheat bread instead of white bread?
    Thank you,
    Mimi L Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 25, 2020

      Hi Mimi, I haven’t tested that but I imagine that will work. If you experiment please let me know how you like the recipe. Reply

  • Pamela
    February 25, 2020

    We use milk instead of water, and Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of sliced bread. Try it? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 25, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Reply

      • Rachel
        March 1, 2020

        Hi Natasha, is it ok to leave out the cheese for this? Or is there a non-cheese substitute you could suggest? Reply

        • Natasha
          March 2, 2020

          Hi Rachel, the meatballs would still work if you left out the cheese. I hope you love the meatball recipe! Reply

      • Laarni
        March 27, 2020

        Hi! do you cooked them first to freeze or you can freeze it uncooked? Reply

        • Natasha
          March 27, 2020

          Hi Laarni, either way will work. Please see the “How to Freeze Meatballs:” section for more details. Reply

    • irene
      April 3, 2020

      how much bread crumbs? Thank you Reply

  • Pam
    February 24, 2020

    Could you drop the meatballs in the sauce to cook instead of baking or sautéing? Reply

    • Natasha
      February 25, 2020

      Hi Pam, it would probably fall apart if it wasn’t cooked before adding it to the sauce and you would end up with a Meat SauceReply

  • Lina Beydoun
    February 23, 2020

    HI Natasha,

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I don’t eat pork, can I substitute with ground lamb or double ground beef? Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 23, 2020

      That should work too, Lina. Let us know how it goes if you do give it a try! Reply

  • Natalya
    February 22, 2020

    We made this tonight for dinner and everyone was excited that they were plump and juicy 🙂

    I did make a change that I think added great flavor for us – we used seasoned croutons and softened them with half and half. This made the meatballs so flavorful and tender. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 24, 2020

      Very nice! Thank you for sharing that with us, Natalya. That’s also a great tip! Reply

  • Victoria
    February 21, 2020

    Hi Natasha! Love love love your recipes and YouTube channel! Would you recommend all chicken, turkey, or pork to substitute beef for non beef eaters for this meatball recipe? Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 22, 2020

      Hi Victoria, thank you for that wonderful compliment. That should work, ground turkey would make the meatballs leaner but should still work fine. Reply

    • Kate
      February 25, 2020

      I made these meatballs for supper tonight using all pork meat and they turned out delicious!
      Also used rye bread instead of white as that is what I had on hand Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        February 25, 2020

        Yum! That sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Reply

  • Sharon S
    February 21, 2020

    Great recipe, I did add 1/4 cup minced onion as I love onions in my meatballs. They freeze well. thanks Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 21, 2020

      That’s so great Sharon! Thank you for sharing that with us! Reply

  • Virginia
    February 21, 2020

    Since I don’t eat beef, can I exchange it with ground turkey? Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2020

      Hi Virginia, ground turkey would make the meatballs leaner but should still work fine. Reply

  • Matt Taylor
    February 21, 2020

    I love homemade meatballs! These will go perfect in homemade marinara in a bread bowl! Thanks for sharing. Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2020

      Oooh my goodness yes that sounds amazing! Speaking of bread bowls, we just made something in bread bowls that we will be airing in a few weeks. I can’t wait to share it with you! Reply

  • Kristin
    February 21, 2020

    If I made these a little bigger and cut them in half, they’d be great as sliders. They sound so flavourful! Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2020

      Yes! What a smart idea to make the meatballs go even further. Thank you for sharing that suggestion with us! Reply

  • Erin
    February 21, 2020

    Some great tips here! Definitely don’t over mix the meat before forming into meatballs. Wonderful recipe! Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2020

      Thank you so much Erin! Yes, it’s wild how much of a difference it makes versus using a spatula or spoon where it’s so easy to overmix and just mash it together. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and tips for making meatballs. Reply

  • katerina @
    February 21, 2020

    WOW!! These meatballs look incredibly delicious!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2020

      Thank you Katerina, I hope they become a new favorite go-to recipe for you. Reply

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