Easy Homemade Italian Meatballs

This recipe for Homemade Italian Meatballs is the only recipe you will need to make tender and delicious meatballs every time!

This recipe for Homemade Italian Meatballs is the only recipe you will need to make tender and delicious meatballs every time!

You are going to love how simple and versatile this homemade Italian meatball recipe is.

You can use these meatballs traditionally and serve them over pasta noodles, because, why not?

Or, if you feeling like ditching the fork, stuff these babies into a soft hoagie roll with all the melted mozzarella cheese on top to make easy meatball subs.

Or, simply serve them up in a bowl with melted mozzarella cheese, a hardy spoonful of marinara sauce and a side of garlic toast for dipping.

Easy Homemade Italian Meatballs are made tender and flavorful by slowly simmering them in a rich and delicious marinara sauce

How do you make homemade meatballs tender?

  • The first step to making tender meatballs is to make sure you do not over mix the ingredients! A great method I learned from The Kitchen on The Food Network is to make a pitchfork with your less dominate hand and then gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just incorporated (shout out to Sunny Anderson for this valuable tip!) Over mixing the ingredients will yield a heavy and dense meatball.
  • I use a ratio of 1 pound of ground beef to 1/2 a pound of ground pork.The pork provides some extra fat and makes for a more flavorful and tender meatball.
  • Soak the breadcrumbs in milk. This makes for a more airy and, dare I say, moist meatball. The milk helps the meat mixture retain some of it’s moisture during the cooking process.
  • My final tip to making tender meatballs is to cook them low and slow in marinara sauce. I have found that cooking meatballs all the way through at a high heat in the oven causes them to be more dry and dense. Instead, I pop them under the broiler to get the outsides nice and brown for flavor, then simmer them on the stove in marinara sauce to finish the cooking process.
Homemade Italian Meatballs simmered in a rich a flavorful marinara sauce

How do you cook meatballs?

  • Broil the meatballs for about 10-12 minutes (flipping halfway through) before simmering them in marinara sauce to finish cooking. Broiling the meatballs creates a nice golden brown color on the outside of the meatballs which also adds a little extra flavor to the sauce. I find that broiling the meatballs on the outside is much easier and less messy than searing the outside in a pan on the stove. Though, if you prefer that method, more power to you!
  • Simmer the meatballs in marinara sauce on the stove for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour until cooked through. Cooking the meatballs at a low temperature in the sauce yields a tender, juicy and delicious meatball.
  • That’s it! Does it get any easier than that?
Easy Homemade Italian Meatballs are made tender and flavorful by slowly simmering them in a rich and delicious marinara sauce

Did you make this recipe? Tell me how you liked it in the comments below!

This recipe for Homemade Italian Meatballs is the only recipe you will need to make tender and delicious meatballs every time!
5 from 1 vote

Italian Meatballs

Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword homemade meatballs, Italian meatballs, meatballs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 meatballs
Author Lauren


  • 1 lb. ground beef, 85/15
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • ½ cup dried panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion or half of a large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar of store bought marinara sauce


To prep the meatballs:

  1. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk and let them soak for at least 5 minutes – add more milk if needed. (The breadcrumbs should not completely absorb all the milk).
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions until softened and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and minced garlic, cook for 1 minute then stir in 1T tomato paste. Remove from heat and let cool while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, parmesan cheese, 1 beaten egg, a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and breadcrumb and milk mixture. Add the cooled onion, garlic and tomato paste mixture. Using your hands, gently mix until all the ingredients is just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Divide the mixture into approximately 2 heaping tablespoon portions and roll into balls using your hands. (Mixture should make about 12 meatballs).

To cook the meatballs:

  1. Place meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for about 5-6 minutes, remove the pan and flip meatballs over. Broil on the other side for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside but not cooked through.

  2. While the meatballs are browning, heat marinara sauce in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble slightly. Season marinara sauce as needed. 

  3. Add meatballs, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, or until meatballs are cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove the lid for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken a little.

Recipe Notes

Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months (thaw and reheat as needed).


  1. Kelsey | 29th Mar 19

    These look AMAZING! Thank you for sharing your recipe!!

    • Lauren | 29th Mar 19

      Thank you, Kelsey! They are really yummy and so simple to make. I hope you try them and enjoy them! 🙂

  2. Chris | 19th May 19

    These meatballs were delicious!? So flavorful and tender (nothing worse than a tough meatball). We ate them with pasta tonight and have plenty left for meatball subs. ???

  3. Chris | 10th Jun 19

    I made these meatballs last night and they were delish! So moist and flavorful. Even better than the ones at my favorite Italian restaurant!

    • Lauren | 11th Jun 19

      Thank you so much! That is such a nice compliment 🙂
      So glad you enjoyed them!

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