Tender, juicy, perfect Oven Baked Meatballs are made with ground beef, spices and a secret ingredient that may put your old standby meatball recipe to shame. Easy to make and freezer friendly, this Italian meatball recipe is the only one you need.

Spaghetti and meatballs in a white bowl with a leaf of basil on top.

Baked Meatballs

A great meatball seems like it should be a simple thing to nail. But, in my lifetime, I’ve had meatballs that weren’t something I ever wanted to encounter again for a meal. A dry meatball is not a good thing….nor is one that falls apart when you look at it.

A really amazing homemade meatball is tender, juicy and flavorful. Hints of herbs, onion, cheese and beef should really shine through without having to cover them with a ton of sauce. These Oven Baked Meatballs are exactly that…..they’re absolutely the BEST ever. Boom. Done. Now impress that Italian Nonna with your skills.

You don’t have to be Italian or date an Italian or hire your Italian bestie to enjoy a tender, juicy Italian Meatball. You just need to know how to make them all by yourself.

What are meatballs?

A meatball is generally made with ground beef, I like to use a blend of meat like beef, sausage and veal because the extra fat adds more flavor. The meat is rolled into a ball with other ingredients like Italian Seasoning, parmesan cheese, onion, eggs and bread crumbs.

I like to boost the flavor even more with a bit of Fish Sauce…..yes, that’s right. Fish Sauce….the same stuff I use in most of my asian inspired recipes. If you’re not a fan or you don’t want to buy another item for the pantry, you can replace the fish sauce with Worcestershire sauce with excellent results.

Both add a deep, meaty flavor that will make your meatballs totally crave-worthy.

Meatballs are cooked by frying, braising, steaming or baking….as we’re doing in this recipe.

spaghetti and baked meatballs in a white bowl on a white background.

How To Make Baked Meatballs

This easy Italian Meatball recipe is really simple to make. You can even make a big batch and freeze them for easy weeknight dinners.

  1. Mix the beef, veal and sausage.
  2. Blend the onion and garlic until pureed
  3. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball.
  5. Arrange on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes or until done.

Be sure not to bake the meatballs for too long. You may need to bake them a little longer if you made your meatballs larger or for less time for smaller meatballs. Just check them at the 25 minute mark for doneness.

Raw meatballs ready for the oven on a baking sheet with foil.

How to Keep Meatballs Moist

To keep my meatballs lighter, I really like to use a Panko breadcrumb. Panko is a variety of flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods.

It’s made from bread baked by electrical current, which yields a bread without a crust, and then grinding the bread to create fine slivers of crumb.

Panko keeps the meatball from becoming dense and tough. You can use regular breadcrumbs in it’s place but only add half the amount called for in the recipe below.

Baked meatballs on a baking sheet with foil.

Tips for the Best Meatballs

  • Fresh ingredients work best here. Fresh meat, cheese, herbs, eggs, etc are only going to enhance the flavor of your meatballs.
  • Don’t be tempted to buy lower fat meats, you need the fat to keep the meatballs juicy, tender and flavorful. Stick with about 80% lean meat.
  • Cheese, don’t buy it shredded in a bag. Grate it yourself….it takes a minute….it’s totally worth the extra minute of prep time.
  • When shaping your meatballs, don’t overwork the meat. Mixing and rolling is tough on meat….and if you manhandle it…you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Be gentle.
  • Roll your meatballs into balls of a similar size so they cook evenly. I like to use a cookie scoop to ensure they’re all about the same size.

Now you can serve your meatballs with spaghetti and your favorite spaghetti sauce or go extra meat and top with a healthy dose of Bolognese. Totally a dude’s dinner….they like their meats!

If you don’t want to fire up the oven, we love these easy Stovetop Meatballs, too! They’re super easy to whip up.

We, also, like to use these meatballs for our game day favorite Sweet and Sour Meatballs!

Oven baked meatballs in a white bowl with a leaf of basil.

How To Freeze Meatballs

I LOVE to make a big batch of baked meatballs to freeze for later. And they make a great potluck meal or food gift for a neighbor in need.

Simply assemble your meatballs on the baking sheet and freeze them in an even layer BEFORE baking them.

Once frozen, transfer your meatballs to a zip top bag and press out the air. Seal.

Freeze your meatballs for up to 3 months.

To bake your frozen meatballs, arrange the desired quantity on a baking sheet and bake as directed for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Baked meatballs on top of spaghetti in a white bowl with a blue and white background.

How To Serve Baked Meatballs

We LOVE Spaghetti and Meatballs but that’s not the only thing you can use them for. We also like to use our baked meatballs to top a pizza for Pizza Friday or stuff them into a roll for an easy Meatball Sub!

Add them to this easy Pesto Cavatappi for a full one pot dinner OR just serve them with a side of basil pesto for dipping at a party.

More Meatball Recipes

If you love this Homemade Meatball recipe, you may also like these easy Ricotta Meatballs….I created them after trying a similar one at Maggiano’s that blew my mind. Or try these easy Porcupine Meatballs….kids LOVE them!

Or skip the trip to IKEA and make these super easy Swedish Meatballs.  The sauce is amazing all by itself but the meatballs are a dead ringer for the big box store’s cafeteria version.


Spaghetti and meatballs in a white bowl with a leaf of basil on top.

Get the Recipe: Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe

Tender, juicy Baked Meatballs are the best topping for your favorite pasta! Easy to make and freeze for quick dinners during the week.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 pound ground beef I used 80/20
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound sweet italian sausage
  • 1 large vidalia onion cut into quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten


  • baking sheet


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
  • Using your hands, lightly mix the beef, veal and sausage. Set aside.
  • In a blender, add the onion and garlic. Blend until pureed.
  • Add the onion mixture, stock, fish sauce, panko, parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper and egg to the meat mixture and, using clean hands, mix the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Gently shape the mixture into balls approximately the size of a golf ball and place on the baking sheet being sure they are not touching.
  • Bake the meatballs in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until done.


YouTube video


Baked Meatballs can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
To reheat, either warm in a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of water until warmed through or bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
What is fish sauce? Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine. It can be used interchangeable with Worcestershire sauce with great results.
Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 114mg, Sodium: 751mg, Potassium: 401mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 233IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 177mg, Iron: 2mg