Italian Meatballs

Creating the perfect meatball comes down to 5 simple steps. So I challenge you to try my method out, and taste for yourself the difference!


Mix the meats – A blend of ground beef, pork, and veal is the most classic mixture, although turkey and chicken can be used as well.

Moistened breadcrumbs – meat toughens as it cooks, so by adding bread crumbs* it keeps the meatball soft and tender. But to get them even softer, moisten the breadcrumbs with milk or water before you add it to the meat mixture.

*Don’t use finely ground breadcrumbs, it will just turn into a sticky paste once the liquid is added. Use a food processor and pulse the bread slices a few times to create medium sized crumbs (approximately 1/8-1/4″ size). Flavorings  –  this is really up to your own personal taste, and where you can really make a statement.

Here are a some you probably use, and maybe a few you haven’t thought of before:    dried Italian seasoning blend

  •     fresh herbs – parsley, oregano, and basil
  •     garlic and onions – raw, caramelized, flakes, or powder
  •     beef bouillon (gluten-free)
  •     Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free)
  •     Hot sauce (gluten-free)
  •     BBQ sauce (gluten-free)
  •     salt and pepper

Don’t over mix – use your hands, and mix until just combined. You don’t want to turn all those breadcrumbs into a paste. When shaping them into 2-3 inch balls, wet your hands with cold water. This will prevent the meatballs from sticking to your hand, and keep the fat from starting to melt. Sauté, then simmer – fry meatballs first in a fry pan or in the oven, to create a crust around the entire surface.

See also
Creamy Pumpkin & Rosemary Penne

Then finish cooking the meatballs in a marinara sauce, simmering until fully cooked. Creating a crust first (searing), seals in all the moisture that you’ve worked so hard to create. Now that you know all the tips and tricks to creating tender and flavorful meatballs, try making them for yourself in this savory Italian Meatballs recipe!


Italian Meatballs

Marla Hingley
Soft, tender, and filled with Italian spices.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Servings 6


  • 3 ½ cups fresh GF bread cubes about 5 slices of bread*
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp oil divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs mixed ground meat pork, beef, GF sweet/hot Italian sausage with casings removed
  • 1 cup Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Marinara Sauce


  • In a food processor, pulse bread crumbs until med-coarse in size. Place into a bowl and pour in milk. Set aside.
  • In a fry pan, sauté onions and garlic in 2 Tbsp oil until soft. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs until smooth, then add in remaining ingredients along with onion mixture. Use hands to mix eggs into meat, then add in bread crumb mixture and mix just until combined.
  • Use cold wet hands to form meatballs.
  • In a fry pan with remaining oil (or use a baking pan in oven 400°F for 20 minutes, turning once) sauté meatballs until browned on all sides.
  • Place meatballs in a large pot with marinara sauce to continue cooking until cooked throughout.


Variation: Cheesy Meatballs – form large meatballs, and press inside each a small cocktail size boccconcini (mozzarella ball), enclosing completely with the meat. Cook as directed.
*for a bread free alternative, try about 1 cup of almond flour.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
See also
Baked Ham


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