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Italian Meatballs

The best Italian meatball recipe for the ultimate spaghetti and meatballs.

For perfectly round meatballs
For perfectly round meatballs

Whether you make them for the ultimate plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a zesty meatball sandwich, or meatball soup, having delicious Italian-style meatballs is key. Wonderfully spiced meat with those great Italian flavours, all simmered in a zest tomato sauce, can't be beat.

Meatballs are an easy and quick dish for anyone short on time. It's literally, mix, form, and cook. There is only one bowl and one pan needed, so clean up is fast as well. They can be prepped ahead of time and frozen for future meals making them even faster to prepare.

To get really tender meatballs, ensure you do not use extra-lean beef. 'Lean' is as fat reduced as you should ever go with ground beef. These meatballs come out even better if using a 50/50 mix of beef and veal, but they become more expensive to make, so I usually just stick to ground beef, or sometimes mix in a little ground pork, which can be more economical.



(Makes 6 servings)


  • 1lb lean ground beef

  • 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/4 cup 2% milk

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 can (796ml / 28oz) San Marzano tomatoes, crushed

  • 1 bay leaf



In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef along with all the other ingredients listed under meatballs. With clean hands, thoroughly knead the mixture until all the ingredients are well combined. Using a medium cookie scoop or soupspoon, form the meat into 1-inch diameter balls and set aside on a plate. There should be roughly 30 meatballs.

Great cast iron pan for this recipe
Great cast iron pan for this recipe

In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, begin browning the meatballs on all sides, working in batches, if necessary, to not overcrowd the pan. Meatballs can fall apart, so be gentle and roll them carefully. Remove the browned meatballs back to the plate and set aside.

To the still hot pan, add the finely chopped onion and sauté until it softens and starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute more before adding the salt, ground black pepper, dried spices, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Add the can of crushed tomatoes (if unable to find crushed San Marzano tomatoes, use a fork or clean hands to crush then before adding to the pan), mix well, then add the bay leaf. Bring the pan to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

Reintroduce the meatballs, fitting them all into the sauce. Cover with lid. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Check occasionally while cooking, turning the meatballs carefully when doing so.

Discard the bay leaf and serve with your favourite pasta, or in a meatball sandwich.


Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 280 | total fat = 13.48g | saturated fat = 4.5g | cholesterol = 86.67mg | sodium = 554.88mg | net carbohydrates = 15.95g | dietary fibre = 2.02g | sugars = 5.13g | protein = 20.81g

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