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Easy Meatball Recipe with Tips- Great for Beginners

Updated on April 23, 2016
That's a big meatball!
That's a big meatball! | Source
Source

I have been making meatballs as long as I can remember. I started just mixing the ingredients for my mom. She hated getting that mess on her hands. To me, squishing around those ingredients was as close to playing with food as it gets. Eventually, I worked my way up to making them all by myself. For those of you that think this might be at all difficult, If a 12 year old can do it, so can you!

Over the years I have experimented with different ingredients and techniques, but always stay close to the basics I learned from my mom. I was always frustrated by two pieces of advice my mom gave me: The amount of an ingredient is always “some” and cooking time is always “until it’s done”. To my surprise that is some ot the best cooking advice I have ever recived.

This is my attempt to share my recipe for Italian meatballs that has received rave reviews on more than one occasion. For those of you not yet able to trust their senses to guide them, I will include quantities in the recipe. For those of you unfamiliar with the art of meatball making, I will try to point out those subtle things that cookbooks often leave out: the do’s and don’ts that can make a difference between a good meal and a great one.

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef (80% or 85% lean. Leaner beef makes for dry meatballs)
1/2 to 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
garlic powder
black pepper

Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, bigger the better. You need some room to work. Mix by hand. Really get your fingers into it. Mix just until all ingredients are blended. Do not over mix.

I don't reccomend pan cooking, but it can be done. I am too impatient and always end up with too much browning!
I don't reccomend pan cooking, but it can be done. I am too impatient and always end up with too much browning! | Source

Shape into roughly golf ball sized balls by scooping (or pinching) a small amout from the mix and very gently rolling it in your palms. Do not squeze. Moisten your hands slightly to keep the the mixture from sticking to them as much.

If you want to make a different size, think about 2 things: how long you have to let them cook and how large you want your serving size to be. Smallish and medium meatballs are perfect for pasta dishes. Tiny ones are great appetizers. Big meatballs work perfectly for subs and sandwiches.

Meatballs do not need to be perfectly round. Over handling will make for hard meatballs because you will over-pack the mix. Would you rather they look good or taste good? I find that guests are much more forgiving of an odd looking delicious meal than a great looking one that tasted lousy.


If you end up with an oversized ball, gently pinch off the amount to be removed and return it to the bowl. If it’s too small, take a bit more from the bowl and lightly add it to the ball by rolling it gently in your palms.

Cooking methods.
1) Drop into a pot of sauce and let cook for about 2 hours.This is my favorite method because it lets the flavor of the meatball into the sauce and the sauce into the meatball. DO NOT STIR IMMEDIATELY. You want to meatballs to cook a little and get firm before stiring. Otherwise you will smoosh them.

2) Bake at 325º in a shallow pan or on baking sheet until firm.

3) Frying Pan on medium heat. This is my least favorite method because I always end up browning them too much. You really need to keep the heat low and turn them frequently.

Don't be afraid to make extra. Cooked meatballs (no sauce) freeze very well.




A pot of homemade sauce is a perfect pairing
A pot of homemade sauce is a perfect pairing | Source

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    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Stacey - thank you so much for the feedback. i am thrilled to hear it. as a mom, i am sure you will appreciate that they freeze great. you can make a big batch and keep them in the freezer for a quick pasta night.

    • profile image

      Stacey 

      4 years ago

      First time meatballer and these turned out great! 20 minutes baked and my 2 y/o ate 3 as soon as they were done. Thanks!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Nikki - I am SO HAPPY to hear your input on this!!! I souns like your hubby isn't one for spicy food. I hope you do make these for him and I hope he likes them.

    • profile image

      Nikki 

      5 years ago

      I love this recipe! I've been searching for the perfect one but couldn't find one until I came across this. I did leave out the garlic powder and black pepper but they taste amazing in the slow cooker. :) Now I have to make them with plain breadcrumbs and not seasoned so my husband will eat them. Haha.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      moonlake - I love your story! So funny! you probably stirred them too soon or didnt add enough bread crumbs. I hope you have made meatballs since then and redeemed yourself!!! thanks for a good chuckle!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      Sounds good. When we were just married I cooked my meatballs in the sauce they fell completely apart. I have no idea why. We had friends that always stopped by at dinner time, once they ate the awful meatballs they never stopped again.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Gerard Bianco - Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Yes. Lead meaballs is a common problem. Be acreful not to overmix, and dont pack them into a ball, roll them!.. I stopped by your profile page. I am excited to check out your recipes..... Happy Cooking! :)

    • Gerard Bianco profile image

      Gerard Bianco 

      5 years ago from Portland, Maine

      I'm with you on the frying thing. Whenever I try to brown the meatballs first before putting them into the sauce they always come out cooked inside. Then, throwing them into the sauce to cook further they become lead bombers. I'll give your recipe a try. Thanks for posting.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Glimmer Twin Fan - Mushy meatballs! Oh No! It could be that you aren't using the right prportion of ingredients OR you are touching them too much when they are cooking. Don't try to stir or turn them unti they firm up a good bit.

      I hope you do try these and that they come out ok. If anyone has made them, no one has told me how they turned out!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Deb - They really do freeze great, don't they? I love making things that can be frozen like this. It is always good to have good food in the freezer so you can make a healthy meal in a minute. So much better than getting fast food!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      lovedoctor926 - thanks for popping by. this has got to be one of the simplest recipes i know. i had it down perfect by the time i was 12. cooking really is easy!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      ImKarn23 - LOL! Leslie, not surprised a bit that you foulf some things you like here ;)

      Yes. I cook. And I am great at it. Not just blowing my on horn here. People tell me all the time. My favorites are the times folks stuff themselves to the point of discomfort and then blame me beause the food was too good. Really, it is my plot to fatten them up so that I look thinner.

      You are welcome for dinner any time. I bet I can cook something almost as good as a KD.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Jools99 - Cooking with my mom is one of my favorite things from chilhood. I never realized how much she taight me until I got older. Back then it was just fun! Thanks for reading.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Sheri Faye - I thank my mom all the time for teaching me how to cook. What a great skill!... Thanks for the tip about the healthy additions. I will have to try that!

      Welcome to hubpages. Hope you like ti here. I look forward to following you.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Well - I know what we are having for dinner this weekend. Nice recipe and like the tip not to stir. Somehow my meatballs seem to turn to mush sometimes!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      I love meatballs! We make big batches and freeze the extra to use later. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 

      5 years ago

      This dish looks really good. I love meatballs. And yes, I agree that the instructions are simple. thanks for sharing

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      5 years ago

      MMMMmmmmmmmmMeat-balls - two things i adore!

      Not surprising i can find them both at your house, my amazing friend - who cooks too!

      When's dinner? LOL..

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      5 years ago from North-East UK

      Dana, they look yummy! Very easy to follow instructions and I liked your lead-in telling us about your time cooking with your mam; all of the best cooking comes from our earliest experiences of food with our mothers.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Yum! I will have to try these. I love your mom's...some of this and until it is cooked. Exactly the way I cook. I always put a spoon of wheat germ and ground flax seed in things like this. Makes them healthier and you don't even notice it. Congrats on your one year! I am at oe week.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Sunshine625 - Linda, THANKS A MILLION! After one year, I certainly am not rolling in cash, but I have met tons of great people. Hooray for hubs. :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I am going to make meatballs soon in honor of this awesome hub! Happy one year HP Anniversary Dana! (2/21/13)

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      TT - thanks for the revisit. I just randomly have the urge to toss an uncooked meatball at the wall to see if it will stick. I might try this next time I make them. I blame you for this. :P

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Still love this recipe!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      IntegrityYes -thanks for the vote! my grandpa has asked me to make these like every other week lately. so cute!

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 

      6 years ago

      I voted up for sure.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Mary - the recipe format wasn't available when i published this. it was my very first hub, before i knew a thing about what i was doing. now that i have been around the block a few times i will make some edits. hope you had a great dinner. with you cooiking, i am sure it was fabulous! :)

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      KDuBarry03 - Goodness! All that for just one simple little hub! THANKS! Cooking together as family is one of my favorite things to do and i really hope more people can have the meatball makin gfun that you and i know all about. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I love meatballs! Great recipe. I'm just curious as to why you didn't use the recipe format. I like it now that I'm used to it.

      I am making spagetti tonight, and you just reminded me to make meatballs...I'll make them your way.

      I voted this Hub UP and I will share. Mary

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 

      6 years ago

      My mom and I always make meatballs and a homemade red sauce to compliment it :) Great job! The thing about this recipe that I like is this: you can match it with any other sauce and add anything else to make it Italian, Swedish, or Polish!

      Voted up, Shared and Pinned!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo - wow. never expected u to read this. I was going to unpublish this, but instead I am trying a major overhaul. already took new pics.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      you made this easy to follow, enjoyable to cook and delicious to eat. great recipe, Dana. Thanks.

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Stephanie Henkel - Sounds like you know where it's at! I am Itallian and sauce in a jar makes me cringe! BUT, I still keep it on hand. It works greast in a pinch, and you can always jazz it up with spices or some diced tomatoes!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      Easy and yummy! I love making meatballs in big batches and baking them on a cookie sheet. Then I can freeze extras to add to spaghetti sauce - sometimes I even cheat and use sauce from a jar, but homemade meatballs fools everyone! :)

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Linda (Sunshine) - Thanks. I don't know what it is about meatballs. I love them I will even slice them (plain no sauce) and make a sandwich with with tomato and mayo. yummy!

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks TT. If you do try it, let me know how they come out. :)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      YUM! I am so gonna start making these! Thank you, DanaTeresa! :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Easy recipe, simple to follow and it's about meatballs! Fabulous hub Dana! :)

    • DanaTeresa profile imageAUTHOR

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Kelley - thank you so much for sharing this!!!!

      I really never cook with recipes so i hope this translates well. its a lot about technique. if you do try it let me know how it comes out. all i know is that every time i make meatballs people love them.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      This looks like a great recipe! I'm always looking for a new recipe to try. I'll bookmark this one! Shared! Kelley

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If it has meat in it, I'm on it! No more vegetarian recipes for this boy; give me meat or give me death!

      Great recipe Dana!

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