Treat your family to spaghetti and meatballs tonight! These easy Italian meatballs are truly the best -- and so simple!
Servings 4 - 6 people (about 16 meatballs)
- 1 lb. ground beef or "meatloaf mix" consisting of a combination of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons minced, grated, or pressed fresh garlic (about 1-2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more, for frying
- 1 large jar (at least 24-35 oz) marinara sauce (or use homemade sauce)
- For serving: pasta of choice, cooked according to package directions
In a large bowl, combine meat, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Use your hands or a fork to gently mix. Shape the meat mixture into 2-inch balls.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add the meatballs to the skillet (working in batches, if necessary) and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Add more oil to the skillet, as needed, to prevent the meatballs from sticking. Remove meatballs from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
Warm the marinara sauce in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes (or until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink). If the sauce starts to get too thick as it simmers, you can cover the pan at any point.
- Pick a ground meat with some fat in it. I like a meatloaf mix or 85% lean ground beef, but any similar ground pork, beef, veal, or lamb will work. The fat in the meat helps to keep the meatballs tender and juicy, so if you pick a lean meat like chicken or turkey, you'll need to watch the cooking time carefully to make sure that they don't dry out.
- Combine the meatball mixture with your hands -- not with a wooden spoon. The more gentle you can be, the more light and tender your meatballs will stay. Don't overmix, or you'll end up with tough, dense, and dry meatballs.
- If you have some extra time, chill the meatball mixture for at least 1 hour before shaping. I don't always do this (it's not necessary), but it does make the shaping easier if the mixture is more firm.
- A cookie dough scoop helps form even meatballs that cook in about the same amount of time. Scoop, roll gently in your hands, and then fry!
- Use a high-quality store-bought marinara sauce (we love Rao's brand), or make your own quick recipe at home. The sauce is such an important component of spaghetti meatballs, so you want it to be the best!
- If you'd like to bake your meatballs (rather than pan-frying them), arrange them on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 425°F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a pot of warm sauce, then serve!
Serving: 4meatballs and sauce | Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1471mg | Potassium: 973mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 864IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 5mg