This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.
This easy Italian meatball recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner. The juicy beef meatballs are cooked in a delicious sauce for a satisfying meal.
When it comes to weeknight dinners, we want it delicious yet quick. Some of our favorites are caprese pizza, Italian stuffed peppers and eggplant parmesan. These Italian meatballs are another family favorite that are super easy to make. Be sure to read to the end of the post for my tips and tricks for perfect meatballs!
Why this recipe works
Meatballs are comforting any time of year! When cooked in a delicious tomato based sauce and topped with cheese (like the one we have here!) they are the definition of comfort food.
Here are a few reasons you might want to try this recipe:
- Quick and easy: No resting or chilling is needed for this recipe. Simply make the mixture, cook and serve. It takes less than 40 minutes from start to finish.
- They’re tender: No more chewy and rubbery meatballs. Follow this Italian meatball recipe and you’ll get juicy and tender meatballs.
- Absolutely delicious: This is going to be your go-to Italian meatball recipe. With fresh and dried herbs, these meatballs are flavorful in every bite.
- Leftovers are delicious: This recipe makes about 25 large meatballs and if you have leftovers, they reheat beautifully and taste just as good. They also freeze very well.
What goes into Italian meatballs?
The key to delicious meatballs is quality ingredients. Here is what you need to make these homemade beef meatballs:
- Ground beef: I used O Organics® grass fed 85% lean ground beef for this recipe. It results in some of the most tender meatballs I’ve tasted. O Organics products are budget friendly without compromising quality and taste.
- Breadcrumbs: The addition of breadcrumbs make these meatballs soft and gives them a nice texture.
- Milk: Adding the milk to the breadcrumb makes a mixture that makes the meatballs moist.
- Eggs: I used O Organics Grade A organic eggs. You need eggs to bind the ingredients together.
- Basil: You can use dried or fresh basil for this recipe to add flavor and freshness.
- Parsley: I suggest you use fresh chopped parsley in the mixture and as a final touch.
- All purpose flour: No flour goes into the mixture, but the meatballs are rolled in flour before cooking for that brown delicious coating!
- Pasta sauce: You can use your favorite homemade or store-bought pasta or marinara sauce to cook the meatballs.
- Mozzarella: I topped the meatballs with O Organics shredded mozzarella at the end before serving. Always say yes to the melting cheese!
I shopped at Safeway in my local area, but you can also find O Organics® products exclusively at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, and Tom Thumb. Safeway also offers Grocery Delivery and Drive Up & Go™ for convenient ways to shop!
Shop O Organics® offers high quality USDA-certified organic back to school essentials available in every aisle of the store at a value. It’s available in the Maryland area exclusively at Safeway stores or one of Albertsons Companies family of stores.
How to make homemade Italian meatballs
Make the mixture
In a large bowl, place the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, dried basil and chopped parsley. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together until well combined and forms a ball. You want this mixture to be pretty sticky and coherent.
Prepare the meatballs
Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out the meatball mixture and form the balls, placing them on a baking sheet. Roll each meatball in flour and place it back on the baking sheet.
Sear in the pan
Heat some olive oil over medium heat and sear the meatballs on all sides until they are brown. At this point, we don’t want them to cook completely, but just deep brown. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.
Cook in the sauce
Add the pasta sauce to the same pan and bring it to a low simmer. Add the meatballs to the sauce and let them cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re fully cooked. I like to ladle some sauce on them a few times while cooking.
Once the meatballs are cooked, sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top, then cover and cook for another 2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Top with parsley and serve immediately.
Can I bake these meatballs?
Yes! To make Italian baked meatballs, skip rolling them in flour. Instead, place them on a baking sheet and coat them with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then place them in the pasta sauce and simmer for a few minutes.
These Italian beef meatballs go well with many different sides. Here are a few suggestions:
- Starchy sides: white rice, brown rice, pasta, roasted potatoes or simply some crusty bread.
- Lighter sides: Mediterranean salad, eggplant caponata, caprese salad and cucumber tomato avocado salad.
Storing and freezing instructions
As for leftovers, simply store the meatballs in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. These meatballs also freeze very well. You can freeze them cooked or uncooked:
- Freeze cooked meatballs: Once the meatballs are seared on all sides, transfer them to a baking sheet and let them cool completely. Freeze them in freezer bags for up to 3 months. To serve, heat pasta sauce in a pan or a pot and place the meatballs in the sauce. Cook until completely heated through.
- Freeze uncooked meatballs: Form the meatballs but don’t roll them in flour. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for one hour until they’re solid. Transfer them to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, thaw the meatballs in the fridge, roll them in flour and proceed with the recipe as instructed.
Easy Italian Meatball Recipe
- 2 lb ground beef 85% lean
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Place the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, dried basil, parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands mix the ingredients until well combined. The mixture will be sticky.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out and shape the meatballs. Place them on a baking sheet. Roll each meatball in all purpose flour and place back on the baking sheet.
- Heat olive oil in a pan and sear the meatballs in batches until they're brown in all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
- Heat the pasta sauce in the same pan and bring it to a low simmer. Place the meatballs in the sauce and simmer for a few minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked. Top with shredded mozzarella, cover and cook for about two minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
- For gluten free meatballs, use gluten free breadcrumbs.
- You can use dairy free milk such as cashew milk or almond milk.
- As for the pasta or marinara sauce, you can use homemade or store-bought.
- You can serve these Italian meatballs with the following side dishes: