Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Jessica Robinson · This post may contain affiliate links

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Grandma’s meatball recipe has been in our family for over 60 years. If you are looking for an authentic Italian style meatball recipe, these are tender, juicy and have irresistible flavors. Homemade meatballs, just like grandma used to make, ready in about 30 minutes.

Italian meatballs are delicious with spaghetti and meatballs, homemade marinara sauce, meatball subs or on homemade pizza.

Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (1)

This recipe comes from my mom’s kitchen and is by far the best homemade Italian meatballs ever. These easy to make meatballs are made with ground beef, Italian style breadcrumbs, eggs, herbs, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Mom’s meatball recipe is beyond delicious with homemade marinara sauce or on cast iron pizza. Meatballs are one of our go-to weeknight meals and reminiscent of my childhood with this comfort food recipe for Sunday dinners.

Italian meatballs, just like grandma used to make, ready in about 30 minutes. It’s the ultimate comfort food, great with pasta or as meatball subs on a Hoagie roll with melted provolone cheese.

And they’re freezer friendly! So make a big batch and plop them in the freezer for quick and easy weeknight meals!

Why this recipe works

  • Uses everyday ingredients – Ingredients for meatballs are readily available at most grocery stores.
  • Tender, flavorful and juicy – They are incredibly tender and moist because of the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
  • Ready in about 30 minutes – Quick and easy to make, dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes.
  • Make ahead and freeze – Meatballs can be made in large batches and frozen for several months. They reheat well, maintain freshness and make easy dinners.

What you’ll need

  • Ground beef – We recommend using ground chuck 85%. More lean meats will not yield as good of flavor or hold together well enough. The fat content is essential to keeping meatballs from falling apart while cooking.
  • Parmesan cheese – Always use fresh Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. It offers the most flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs – Italian seasoned breadcrumbs work best and save time.
  • Eggs – Eggs are used to bind the mixture together.
  • Onion and garlic powderMy mom always used onion and garlic powder in her meatball recipe. But, you can also use 1-2 garlic cloves minced for more fresh flavor.
  • Parsley – Mom always used dried parsley in her recipe, but you are welcome to use finely chopped fresh parsley.
  • Salt & black pepper – Since Parmesan cheese is has a high salt content, be sure not to use to much salt. Freshly ground black pepper adds the most flavor.
  • Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil works best, but you can use regular olive oil too.
Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (2)

How to make Italian Meatballs

  • Combine the ingredients – Use your hands to combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Shape into meatballs – Use a cookie scoop to shape meatballs into rounds. A cookie scoop will help achieve meatballs that are portioned evenly.
  • Cook – We prefer to pan sear meatballs in a cast iron skillet for optimum browning and flavor. However, you can also cook meatballs in the oven. (See directions below)
Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (3)

Tips on making homemade meatballs

  • Mix by hand only until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing ingredients will result in tough meatballs.
  • Use a cookie scoop to make perfectly portioned meatballs.
  • For optimum flavor, cook meatballs on the stovetop, rather than in the oven.
  • Use a cast iron skillet and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Turn with a pair of tongs to evenly brown all edges.
Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (4)

Recipe FAQs

Is it better to bake or pan cook meatballs?

Browning in the oven on high heat is neater than pan frying and great for making meatballs in large quantity. But, we prefer pan frying meatballs for much better flavor. Especially cooking them in a cast iron skillet.

Should you brown meatballs before putting in sauce?

We recommend browning meatballs in a skillet with a little olive oil prior to putting meatballs in sauce. It creates a good texture on the outside of the meatball, wonderful flavor and while allowing the inside to stay tender and juicy while continuing to cook in tomato sauce.

Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (5)

How to freeze meatballs

  • Cool cooked meatballs completely.
  • Place into freezer-safe container or freeze style zip-top bag.
  • Use a sharpie pen to label the freezer bag with date and contents.
  • Meatballs can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • To defrost; place the bag of meatballs into the refrigerator overnight or place directly into sauce and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook in the sauce until they are warm all the way through.
Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (6)

More Easy dinner ideas

  • Meat Lasagna
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Sausage and Peppers
  • Italian Pizza
  • Cast Iron Pizza
  • Italian Sausage Soup
  • Tuscan Chicken

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5 from 1 vote

Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (7)

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Italian Meatballs

Prep Time10 minutes mins

Cook Time20 minutes mins

Total Time30 minutes mins

Homemade meatballs, just like grandma used to make, ready in about 30 minutes.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Italian

Servings: 24 meatballs

Calories: 149kcal

Author: Jessica Robinson

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground beef (85% ground chuck)
  • 1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese (grated)
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic, minced)
  • ¼ cup dried parsley (or fresh parsley, chopped finely)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for pan frying)

Instructions

Meatballs

  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper with your hands until combined. (Food safe rubber gloves will help keep your hands clean.)

  • Use a cookie scoop to measure out meatballs and shape into rounds. (about 2 inch rounds)

  • Scoop them out and roll gently into the palms of your hands. Place on a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Cooking Meatballs on Stovetop

  • Add several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a 12-inch cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and heat over low heat.

  • Cook meatballs in batches, being careful not to crowd them so they brown well. Use tongs to carefully turn meatballs occasionally, browning all sides well. About 5-6 minutes.

  • Cook until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on clean, dry paper towels.

  • Add warm meatballs to warm marinara sauce or enjoy on subs.

Baking Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil onto a jelly roll pan.

  • Use a cookie scoop to measure out meatballs and shape into rounds. (about 2 inch rounds)

  • Scoop them out and roll gently into the palms of your hands. Place meatballs onto the prepared jelly roll pan.

  • Bake on middle or top rack. Turn meatballs with tongs occasionally as they cook.

  • Continue baking until nicely browned and cooked through. About 20 minutes total.

  • Drain cooked meatballs on clean, dry paper towels.

Recipe Notes

To keep things neat and clean, we recommend using food safe rubber gloves to easily mix meatballs.

For best flavor with meatballs

We recommending cooking in a cast iron skillet over low heat. Do NOT turn up the heat! Doing so will cause you to brown the exterior too quickly and meatballs will overcook and become dry!

Nutrition

Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Mary says

    How many eggs? It’s not listed in recipe

    Reply

    • Jessica Robinson says

      Hello Mary,
      Thanks for catching that I missed that ingredient. The ingredient list has been updated in the recipe card.

      Reply

  2. Janet Moore says

    Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (8)
    We are made these last weekend, they are soooo good with the Parmesan inside the meatballs. Another great recipe Jessica

    Reply

    • Jessica Robinson says

      So excited to hear you enjoyed my mom’s meatball recipe!! She’d be so happy to hear you loved it!

      Reply

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Grandma's Italian Meatball Recipe (2024)

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