Best Homemade Meatballs

These amazing homemade meatballs are juicy, tender, and made with a simple list of ingredients. This easy recipe works like a charm for stovetop or baked meatballs!

Watch the Video

How to Make Meatballs Recipe Video

Consider this my essential meatball recipe. These meatballs are incredibly delicious and versatile. You can cook them in a skillet, bake them in the oven, slow-cook them in a crockpot, or crisp them up in an air fryer.

Serve with your favorite sauce, make meatball subs, add to soups, or enjoy them as a simple meatball appetizer.

A bowl of the best meatballs!

Key Ingredients

  • Ground meat: This recipe works well with most ground meat. Just keep in mind that ground meat with a bit of fat works best (look for 7% to 10% fat). I love the recipe for beef meatballs, but you can use ground pork, turkey, chicken, or lamb. I also love a combination (my favorite is a mixture of ground pork and turkey).
  • Breadcrumbs: I add breadcrumbs for texture. I also love substituting them for crushed saltine crackers like we do for this meatloaf.
  • Milk: Adds moisture and tenderizes the meat, making our meatballs juicy and tender once cooked.
  • Egg: Adds more moisture and helps the mixture firm up once cooked.
  • Parmesan: My secret ingredient for the best meatballs! Parmigiano-Reggiano adds flavor and salt to our mixture. I’m pretty generous with it.
  • Oregano, salt, and pepper: Help season our meatballs. I keep the seasoning simple since these are more versatile meatballs.

How to Make Meatballs

To make the meatballs, I stir breadcrumbs and milk in the bottom of a mixing bowl and let them thicken for a few minutes. Then I stir in the egg, parmesan cheese, and spices. Mixing all the ingredients before adding the ground meat helps ensure the seasonings are well distributed.

Next, I mix in the ground meat. Remember that this meatball recipe works well for most ground meat. I give the mixture a good mix so that all the ingredients are combined, and then we can form our meatballs. I love using a cookie scoop to make sure I’m making similar-sized meatballs, then roll them into a ball.

From here, you can cook them or freeze them for another day. I have included tips below for freezing uncooked meatballs.

How to Cook Meatballs

My favorite way to cook meatballs is on the stovetop, which adds a lovely golden-brown crust. I use a hot pan with some oil and then cook my meatballs over medium heat until they are browned on all sides and cooked in the middle.

Step shot showing how to cook meatballs on the stove

You can also make baked meatballs with this recipe. It’s easy and helps with cleanup. Add them to a baking sheet, drizzle over some oil, and then bake at 425°F until browned and cooked in the middle (about 20 minutes).

Step shot showing how to bake meatballs on a baking sheet in the oven.

You can also simmer meatballs in sauce, which is how we make these turkey meatballs cooked in a tomato basil sauce. When you cook the meatballs this way, they turn out incredibly tender.

Using a Slow Cooker, Air Fryer, or Instant Pot

You can use a slow cooker, air fryer, or pressure cooker to cook these easy meatballs. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Slow cooker: Simmer meatballs in your favorite sauce for 4 hours on LOW or 2 hours on HIGH.
  • Air fryer: Preheat to 375°F and air fry the meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked.
  • Instant Pot: Bring your favorite sauce to a simmer on SAUTE. Add meatballs and cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. Allow the cooker to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then manually release the rest.
Meatballs ready to eat

Storing Meatballs

Cooked meatballs will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container or frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

You can also refrigerate the raw meatball mixture overnight and bake it the next day. Or freeze raw meatballs for up to 3 months. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until firm. Then, transfer the frozen meatballs to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze. When ready to cook them, bake until lightly browned and cooked through.

What to Serve with Meatballs

Serve these delicious meatballs with your favorite sauce. I love this homemade red pasta sauce. These also make a great appetizer. I’ve served them with barbecue sauce and our buffalo wing sauce with some blue cheese dressing on the side.

You can turn these into meatball subs or stuff them into homemade pita bread with veggies and some hummus. I also love serving these meatballs with veggies. Some favorites are sautéed cabbage, baked sweet potato fries, and roasted broccoli.

More Meatball Recipes

A bowl of Homemade Meatballs

Best Homemade Meatballs

  • PREP
  • COOK

This is our essential meatball recipe. It’s quick to make, calls on ingredients we always have, and makes delicious, juicy, tender, and flavorful meatballs. The recipe calls for one pound of ground meat. The meat you choose is up to you. We especially love using a combination of ground pork and ground turkey.

Makes about 35 meatballs

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 pound (450g) ground meat, use beef, pork, chicken, turkey or a combination (I love a 50-50 blend pork and turkey)

1/2 cup (35g) breadcrumbs or crushed saltine crackers

1/2 cup (118ml) milk

1 large egg

1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil, for cooking, try avocado oil, grape seed oil and vegetable oil


  • Prepare Meatball Mixture
  • 1Stir breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, and then let sit for 5 minutes. Add the egg, cheese, oregano, salt and the pepper. Stir until well blended.

    2Add the ground meat and use a fork or your fingers to gently mix everything until combined. For the most tender meatballs, try your best not to over mix.

    3Wet your hands, and then form the mixture into small balls (1-inch to 1 ¼-inch balls). You should get about 35 meatballs. A small cookie scoop is useful for portioning out the meatballs.

  • Baked Meatballs
  • 1Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil or a silicone baking mat.

    2Place formed meatballs onto the baking sheet, leaving a little space in between each meatball.

    3Lightly spray the top of the meatballs with cooking spray or brush with oil.

    4Bake until they are cooked through, the outsides are browned, and they register 165°F in the middle on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes.

  • Stovetop Meatballs
  • 1Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a wide Dutch oven or nonstick pan over medium heat.

    2Place the meatballs down into the hot oil and cook until they are cooked through, the outsides are browned, and they register 165°F in the middle on an instant-read thermometer; about 15 minutes. Depending on the shape or size of the pot, this might need to be done in two batches.

  • Storing
  • 1Cooked meatballs will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container or frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Cooking tips for using a slow cooker, pressure cooker (Instant Pot), and in an air fryer are in the article.
  • Dairy-free: Substitute the milk for unsweetened dairy-free milk and the cheese for 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  • Gluten-free: Substitute the bread crumbs for crushed gluten-free cereal or crackers
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We included 8 ounces of ground turkey and 8 ounces of ground pork for the calculations.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 5 small meatballs (recipe makes about 35) / Calories 189 / Total Fat 11g / Saturated Fat 3.8g / Cholesterol 74.4mg / Sodium 396.7mg / Carbohydrate 6.9g / Dietary Fiber 0.4g / Total Sugars 1.4g / Protein 15g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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93 comments… Leave a Review
  • Kimberley Valstar. March 4, 2024, 1:21 pm

    This recipe is perfect !! Easy to make.
    First time making them I got lots of compliments from my son and husband.
    This recipe will always be my go to.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Adam March 4, 2024, 2:21 pm

      Wonderful! So glad that your family loved them 🙂

  • Kim February 20, 2024, 6:20 pm

    This is our favorite meatball recipe that we have made many times. I like to make them in the oven for easiest cleanup. I think the milk and breadcrumb mixture is key to tender meatballs.

    • Adam February 20, 2024, 6:21 pm

      Yes, the milk and breadcrumbs are key here. So happy you loved the recipe 🙂

  • Ju January 29, 2024, 6:52 pm

    Fantastic! Flavorful! Moist!

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:36 pm

      Woohoo! That’s exactly what we aim for.

  • Rachel January 13, 2024, 3:09 pm

    Followed the recipe exactly. Did not turn out so great. I used chicken and maybe this is not the best meat for this recipe because the mixture was too soft.

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:35 pm

      Thanks for giving the recipe a try! It sounds like the mixture might have been a bit too wet. Chicken sometimes stays a bit more soft than other proteins, so reducing the milk slightly or increasing the breadcrumbs next time could help tighten things up. Let me know if you try it again and how it goes!

  • Linnea December 6, 2023, 11:46 am

    I’m looking for a healthy, interesting and delicious Christmas Eve appetizer, and these meatballs would tick all the boxes. HOWEVER – we follow a ketogenic diet, so we can’t use breadcrumbs or panko. Do you have any suggestions for keto substitutions? Thank you!

    • Joanne January 6, 2024, 5:29 pm

      Hi Linnea, We have always used bread crumbs or saltine crackers, but I do know that some people sub almond flour for them. I am unsure as to how much, so you might need to do some experimenting yourself.

  • Fran October 24, 2023, 1:44 pm

    I want to cook the meatballs and sauce the day before. Is it okay to refrigerate the sauce and meatballs together for reheating the next day?

    • Joanne October 24, 2023, 6:03 pm

      Yes, definitely!

  • TINA BURGER October 19, 2023, 4:59 am

    I am going to make it for the Rugby Eng and Springbokke !! Sounds delicious !!

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:36 pm

      Let us know how it works out!

  • Raewyn vork September 4, 2023, 5:22 am

    I am a good cook but my meat balls always break up when cooking so tomorrow I will use your recipe and hopefully they will not break up

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:37 pm

      I hope the recipe helps! Let me know how it goes – good luck and I’m rooting for perfectly formed meatballs.

    • James March 24, 2024, 1:53 pm

      I add spices to make the meatballs more flavorful. Options are allspice, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, etc.. I also make a sauce that often includes cream, nutmeg and Dijon to taste. Otherwise the result tastes a little bland to me.

  • Tina May 17, 2023, 4:02 pm

    So happy I found this recipe. SO GOOD.

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:37 pm

      Yay! It’s definitely one of our favorites too.

  • Recipe land May 17, 2023, 8:15 am

    Very easy recipe to follow. Thanks for sharing

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:38 pm

      You’re so welcome! Glad it was easy for you.

  • margie March 19, 2023, 4:46 pm

    Thanks for letting us know the smell amazing. Wonder what they taste like.

    • Joanne February 15, 2024, 3:38 pm

      My personal experience says the taste lives up to the smell!

  • Margie December 24, 2022, 4:12 pm

    Making these to take to a family gathering. Look and smell amazing.

    • Joanne February 27, 2023, 4:35 pm

      That’s wonderful, Margie!

  • Kathryn Marie Wasylak October 27, 2022, 2:56 pm

    Just found your site looking for a great,easy chicken soup recipe.Yours sounds perfect. Love the videos! Makes the cooking look so easy.Thanks

    • Joanne February 27, 2023, 4:35 pm

      So happy that your found us!


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