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Classic Italian Meatballs

5 from 24 votes
Published on 04/18/2024 by Umamiology
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There is nothing better than Classic Italian Meatballs you find at a fine Italian restaurant. And luckily for you, our meatball recipe replicates that exact tender, soft & perfectly seasoned meatball experience – right in your own kitchen.

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The perfect classic Italian meatball recipe masters 3 specific characteristics. First, they are tender and soft – almost melt-in-your mouth, when you bite into them.

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Secondly, they are perfectly seasoned with Italian spices to give the meatball that robust onion, garlic and parsley flavor.

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And lastly, they are amazingly round in shape & perfectly baked.

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Follow this Classic Italian Meatball Recipe, and that’s exactly what you’ll end up with, in under 32 minutes.

What Is The Secret To The Classic Italian Meatball?

The biggest difference maker when cooking Italian meatballs is crafting the perfect bread, milk & ricotta cheese mixture. The addition of this mixture is what gives the meatball that tender, soft texture that simply dissolves in your mouth, as you take a bite.

But the ratio of this mixture to the meat has to be spot on – otherwise you risk having a meatball texture that is too weak to hold its shape, or not tender enough to be delicious.

Key Elements Of This Recipe

  • Ricotta Cheese: This creamy, slightly grainy cheese adds the perfect flavor and texture to your meatballs
  • Bread & Milk Mixture: Gives the meatball that tender, soft texture that simply dissolves in your mouth, as you take a bite.
  • Ground Beef & Ground Pork Mixture: Combining these two meats gives your meatball the perfect flavor, springiness and fat content

The Ingredients for Classic Italian Meatballs

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  • Meat
    • 1 pound Ground Sirloin Beef (90/10)
    • 1 pound Ground Pork
  • Bread Mixture
    • 1 cup Whole Milk (warmed)
    • 5 slices of White Bread (no crust)
    • 1/3 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 cup Bread Flour (for coating)
  • 30 oz Homemade Marinara Sauce (or any store bought pasta sauce)

The Equipment Needed

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Skillet
  • Baking Tray

How To Make Italian Meatballs

This recipe starts with the bread mixture. In a mixing bowl, pour in your warmed milk.

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Loosely tear your slices of bread into the warm milk and then let soak for about 2 minutes. Once 2 minutes have elapses, start to mash your bread until it forms a rough paste-like mixture in the pot.

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To that, add in your ricotta cheese and give it a good mix. Set aside.

Make Your Meatball Mixture

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In a separate bowl, combine your ground beef, ground pork, eggs, garlic, finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, eggs and grated parmesan cheese – and give it a good mix by hand, until everything is well incorporated.

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Then add in your bread mixture and mix by hand once more, until everything is thoroughly combined.

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Roll Your Meatballs

Prepare a wide bowl of your bread flour, so that you can coat your meatballs before baking.

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Place a generous spoonful of your meatball mixture into your hands and do your best to roll out a large uniformly shaped ball.

Pro Tip: Have a small bowl of water or milk alongside this step so that you can periodically wet your hands, as you roll the meatballs. This will help prevent the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands.

Then, roll each meatball in your bread flour until every spot has been coated. (Coating with bread flour helps the meatballs hold its shape.)

Set aside on a large tray or plate until all meatballs are coated with flour.

Bake Your Meatballs

Heat your oven to 400°F.

Once your oven is heated, place your meatballs on an oven safe baking tray and place the tray in the center of the oven.

Bake until the outer surface of the meatballs starts to brown and the internal temperature of the meatballs reach 170°F. (Should take about 15-20 minutes.)

At that time, pull them out and set them aside for about 5 minutes.

Putting It All Together

In a skillet or large sauce pan, pour in your Homemade Marinara Sauce, and bring it to a strong simmer.

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Then carefully add your meatballs into the skillet and spoon the marinara sauce over the meatballs to ensure full coating of the sauce.

Cover the skillet, lower the heat, and braise the meatballs for about 15 minutes, for that extra soft and tender texture.

Lastly, when you are ready to eat, plate the meatballs, and top with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a dash of finely chopped parsley. Enjoy!

What Do You Serve With Meatballs?

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Of course, these classic Italian meatballs go well with a traditional Spaghetti Bolognese. But beyond that, here are a few great suggestions for using these delicious morsels of Italian seasoned meat.

  • Meatball Sub Sandwiches: Use these meatballs as the filling for a delicious sandwich or sub, topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese.
  • Meatball & Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a comforting side dish that pairs well with meatballs.
  • Garlic Bread & Meatballs: The buttery, garlicky goodness complements the savory flavors of the meatballs – making this a perfect pair.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: Stuff large mushrooms with these meatballs with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic & herbs for a decadent appetizer or side.
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Classic Italian Meatballs

5 from 24 votes
There is nothing better than Classic Italian Meatballs you find at a fine Italian restaurant. And luckily for you, our meatball recipe replicates that exact tender, soft & perfectly seasoned meatball experience – right in your own kitchen.
Author: Umamiology
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
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Ingredients 

Meat

  • 1 pound Ground Sirloin Beef, (90/10)
  • 1 pound Ground Pork

Bread Mixture

  • 1 cup Whole Milk, (warmed)
  • 5 slices White Bread, (no crust)
  • 1/3 cup Ricotta Cheese

Meatball Seasoning

Instructions 

How To Make Italian Meatballs

  • This recipe starts with the bread mixture. In a mixing bowl, pour in your warmed milk.
  • Loosely tear your slices of bread into the warm milk and then let soak for about 2 minutes. Once 2 minutes have elapses, start to mash your bread until it forms a rough paste-like mixture in the pot.
  • To that, add in your ricotta cheese and give it a good mix. Set aside.

Make Your Meatball Mixture

  • In a separate bowl, combine your ground beef, ground pork, eggs, garlic, finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, eggs and grated parmesan cheese – and give it a good mix by hand, until everything is well incorporated.
  • Then add in your bread mixture and mix by hand once more, until everything is thoroughly combined.

Roll Your Meatballs

  • Prepare a wide bowl of your bread flour, so that you can coat your meatballs before baking.
  • Place a generous spoonful of your meatball mixture into your hands and do your best to roll out a large uniformly shaped ball.
  • Pro Tip: Have a small bowl of water or milk alongside this step so that you can periodically wet your hands, as you roll the meatballs. This will help prevent the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands.
  • Then, roll each meatball in your bread flour until every spot has been coated. (Coating with bread flour helps the meatballs hold its shape.)
  • Set aside on a large tray or plate until all meatballs are coated with flour.

Bake Your Meatballs

  • Heat your oven to 400°F.
  • Once your oven is heated, place your meatballs on an oven safe baking tray and place the tray in the center of the oven.
  • Bake until the outer surface of the meatballs starts to brown and the internal temperature of the meatballs reach 170°F. (Should take about 15-20 minutes.)
  • At that time, pull them out and set them aside for about 5 minutes.

Putting It All Together

  • In a skillet or large sauce pan, pour in your Homemade Marinara Sauce, and bring it to a strong simmer.
  • Then carefully add your meatballs into the skillet and spoon the marinara sauce over the meatballs to ensure full coating of the sauce.
  • Cover the skillet, lower the heat, and braise the meatballs for about 15 minutes, for that extra soft and tender texture.
  • Lastly, when you are ready to eat, plate the meatballs, and top with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a dash of finely chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 587kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 40gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 2918mgPotassium: 1046mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1027IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 231mgIron: 5mg

*Nutritional information is just an estimate derived by an online calculation tool.

FAQ

What are traditional Italian meatballs made of?

The key ingredients are usually ground beef, ground pork, bread mixture, ricotta cheese, eggs and a variety of Italian spices.

Is it better to fry or bake Italian meatballs?

Either method works, but for this recipe, I chose to bake them.

What is the secret to the classic Italian meatball?

The biggest difference maker when cooking Italian meatballs is crafting the perfect bread, milk & ricotta cheese mixture. The addition of this mixture is what gives the meatball that tender, soft texture that simply dissolves in your mouth, as you take a bite.

Share this recipe!