Home » All Recipes » Main Dishes » Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

These baked Italian meatballs with savory parmesan are perfectly tender and juicy on the inside, making them an easy appetizer and main. Serve with sweet marinara sauce, top them with fresh parsley, and dig in!

Bowl of juicy Italian meatballs with pasta.

Easy Italian Meatballs Recipe

If you’re wondering what to serve at your next gathering, these freezer-friendly Italian meatballs are for you. They’re made with a blend of beef, pork, and veal for a rich, authentic flavor. Spicy red pepper flakes, fragrant garlic, and sweet onions add a lovely flavor profile as well. Don’t forget the parmesan cheese for savoriness! Serve them at your next gathering and watch them disappear in no time.

What’s Special About These Italian Meatballs?

Everyone loves bite-sized meatballs on pasta or just for dipping into tomato sauce.

  • Oil-free. These tender meatballs don’t require any extra oil because they’re cooked in the oven.
  • Versatile. Serve them as an appetizer, with pasta, or in a sandwich with melty cheese.
  • Great for gatherings. You can make a large number of meatballs at the same time because you don’t need to stand over the stove.
  • Juicy. Lots of sweet onions and the soaked breacrumb mixture ensure these Italian meatballs come out super juicy every time.
Ingredients for Italian meatballs.

Recipe Ingredients

Italian breadcrumbs bring all the spice and herbiness without requiring you to add more ingredients. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient amounts.

  • Eggs – Feel free to use liquid eggs.
  • Milk – Any kind of dairy milk can be added.
  • Onion – You can use yellow or white onion.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic and garlic paste are best.
  • Italian breadcrumbs – Regular breadcrumbs or panko work too.
  • Parsley – Reduce the amount by half if it’s dried.
  • Parmesan – Freshly grated cheese is better than the bottled version.
  • Salt and pepper – I prefer kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.
  • Red pepper flakes – Cayenne pepper is a good swap.
  • Ground beef – Lean ground beef is best for this.
  • Ground pork – Make sure it’s completely thawed.
  • Ground veal – Feel free to use ground bison.
  • Marinara sauce – I love San Marzano Vodka Sauce and Schiavone’s Marinara Sauce.

How To Make Italian Meatballs

The meatballs need to be the same size to ensure even cooking. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card.

  • Prep the oven. Preheat it to 400F and line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Set them aside.
  • Make the mixture. Whisk the eggs, milk, onions, and garlic in a large bowl until smooth. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir well and let the mixture sit for 1 minute. Add the beef, pork, and veal. Use your hands to combine everything.
  • Shape them. Grab the mixture and roll it into 2-3″-sized meatballs. Arrange them on the baking sheets, leaving a 1″ space in between them.
  • Bake them. Pop them into the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce and enjoy!
Close-up of tender Italian meatballs with spaghetti marinara.

Tips & Variations

These garlicky meatballs are a great way to use up leftover croutons, salted crackers, and melty cheese.

  • Add crunch. Add 1/4-1/2 cup chopped pistachios, almonds, pecans, or walnuts into the mixture for a nutty crunch.
  • Fill them. Stick a 1/2″ cube of mozzarella, cheddar, or cream cheese into the center of each meatball. Re-roll them to make sure it’s completely well sealed. Bake as usual for a melty center.
  • Make sandwiches. If you don’t want to have more pasta with the meatball leftovers, make sandwiches. Add sliced or shredded cheese to a hoagie. Place the meatballs inside and press the sandwich on a warm griddle until nice and melty.
  • Swap the protein. Use ground Italian sausage instead of pork for more savoriness. You can also use all-beef, all-pork, or all-veal if you prefer.
  • Shake the baking sheets. Halfway through the baking time, gently shake the baking sheets so the meatballs roll over and cook evenly.
  • Add leftovers. Process leftover croutons and salted crackers until ultra fine. Use them instead of the breadcrumbs in the recipe.
Angled photo of a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs.

Serving Suggestions

These juicy Italian meatballs served over pasta are a comforting weeknight dinner. Use regular spaghetti or add them to my Broccoli Cauliflower Pasta Bake or Ricotta Dumplings. Try my Tomato Burrata Salad and Asparagus with Brown Buttered Breadcrumbs for easy sides. For soup ideas, make my Ribollita (Tuscan Bean Soup) or Italian Tomato Lentil Soup. If you prefer the meatballs as an appetizer, just pair them with some toasty sliced bread.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Always freeze some of the leftovers for later. These meatballs are life-savers on hectic weeknights.

  • Fridge: Store them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Transfer them to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual.
  • To reheat them: Microwave them for up to a minute or until warm. For larger portions, use the oven at 300F for 15 minutes.

More Meatball Recipes To Try

Landscape photo of Italian meatballs.

Italian Meatballs

This juicy Italian meatballs recipe with onions, garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes is an easy appetizer and main dish for gatherings. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings: 50 meatballs


  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Large Bowl
  • 2 large baking sheets
  • Parchment Paper


  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • Marinara sauce I use either San Marzano Vodka Sauce or Schiavone’s Marinara Sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line two baking sheets with foil for easy clean up
  • In one large bowl add eggs, milk, onion and garlic. Whip to comine.
  • Stir in bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese, red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir until bread crumbs are soaked
  • Add in the beef, pork, and veal. Use your hands to mix until it is evenly combined.
  • For into 2″-3″ balls and layout on baking sheets so that there is about 1″ space in between your meatballs.
  • Place baking sheets in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • You can serve on plate topped with marinara, pasta optional
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian



Let Us Know What You Think!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

11 comments on “Italian Meatballs”

  1. I agree, meatballs are one of the greatest dishes to make. I tend to make a big batch and freeze as well for those last minute dinners when we want something good but don’t have time to cook. They freeze perfectly!

  2. Now that I finally know how to make these meatballs, the fella at the Italian market and I won’t be seeing so much of each other any more!

  3. Avatar photo
    Heather - New House New Home

    The ultimate comfort food with a healthy spin – fantastic recipe, Amy. Thanks.

  4. Avatar photo
    Linda aka Crafty Gardener

    Yummy meatballs. We have spaghetti with meatballs once a week … my husband is the cook! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  5. Avatar photo
    Shelley @ Sow and Dipity

    I can literally taste these right now… I love the blend of veal, pork, and beef, definitely going to give this recipe a try!

    1. Hi Amy,
      I just tried your Italian Meatball Recipe, and i have to say it turned out fantastic. The meatballs werent too dry and the sauce was very tasty. Thankyou for a great recipe

Scroll to Top