Simple Italian Meatballs are a delicious, easy meatball recipe made with ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and herbs. They are cooked on the stove in olive oil and lightly simmered in a little broth, so they are tender and moist. Serve them alone or with pasta or rice for a hearty, savory dinner.
I have several meatball recipes, and this is my favorite simple one. They’re the ones I make when I don’t have a lot of time because they are ready in about 35 minutes. Add a favorite marinara sauce and pasta, and dinner is ready in no time.
With this recipe, you don’t have to worry about dry or dense meatballs. Milk and egg in the mixture add a lot of moisture, so you get a batch of tender meatballs with lots of flavor. I’m also sharing tips for making them, so they turn out exactly right for you every time.
- Ground beef
- Parmesan cheese
- Bread crumbs
- Large egg
- Minced garlic cloves
- Dried herbs like parsley or oregano or fresh herbs like parsley
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Vegetable or beef broth – either homemade or store bought, if using store bought check the salt content.
Mix the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly add the milk and mix until you have a soft, compact meat mixture.
Scoop the mixture and form it into small balls (a cookie scoop makes this easy). You should get approximately 36 meatballs.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Place the meatballs in a single layer and brown them on all sides for about five to six minutes. Turn them often so they cook evenly.
Add the broth and cover the pan and adjust the heat to medium or low. Cook the meatballs in the broth for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are cooked through. Take the lid off and cook them on high heat for two to three minutes longer or until the broth has reduced and thickened.
Yes, you can use ground pork, veal, or Italian sausage. I prefer meat with a higher fat content because the meatballs are more flavorful and tender. If you prefer something lean, you can use ground turkey for this recipe, too. Or, do a mix of different ground meat.
The best meatballs are made with meat that has some fat in it. It makes them more tender. Also, when you mix the meat mixture, be sure to use a light hand. Mix only until the ingredients are combined. When you roll the meatballs, don’t pack them too tight. They should hold together, but if you squeeze or roll them too tightly, they will be dense once cooked.
If you want baked ones, you might like my baked Italian meatballs.
Yes, they freeze great. I like to freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until they are frozen and then transfer them to a freezer container. They will keep for several months. You can warm them in sauce or broth when you are ready to serve them.
Cooked meatballs will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container.
Maybe it’s a surprise, but you won’t find a lot of spaghetti and meatballs in Italy. That is an Italian-American thing and not a common dish here. Italians like to serve meatballs just as they are or simmer them in a sauce or broth with some bread or a vegetable on the side.
Homemade Italian meatballs have never been so easy to make. This is a great recipe to have on hand when you want a quick and easy dinner when it’s busy. I hope you give these simple Italian meatballs a try – Enjoy!
More Recipes You Might Like
Simple Italian Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon parsley (or ½ tablespoon chopped fresh)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 dashes black pepper
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓-½ cup broth (vegetable or beef)
- In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk until you have a soft compact mixture. Form the mixture into small balls.
- In a large pan add the olive oil and the meatballs, brown on all sides turning often. Cook for approximately 5-6 minutes. Add the broth, cover and cook on medium/low heat for approximately 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. Stir occasionally to make sure the meatballs don't burn. Remove the lid and cook 2-3 minutes on high to thicken slightly. Serve immediately. Enjoy!