Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Basic Homemade Meatballs

A great, no-frills, meatball that can be used in casseroles, on sandwiches, for spaghetti and meatballs, and of course, our fabulously loved grape jelly meatballs.

Basic Homemade Meatballs

This is my favorite basic meatball recipe that I have been using since I started cooking, and the same one I use when I make my spaghetti with meatballs, and those famous grape jelly meatballs that we southerners are so endeared to.  It is a very basic meatball recipe that you can use for sandwiches and even for casseroles, though you can certainly jazz them up by adding whatever extras you like. I prefer them simple with very basic seasonings.

This is a perfect recipe for freezer meatballs too. Simply multiply the ingredients as needed, prepare, let cool and flash freeze on a greased baking sheet. Once frozen, pop 24 meatballs into zippered freezer bags and place into freezer until needed and use them for everything - spaghetti and meatballs, meatball po'boys, casseroles, sweet and sour meatballs, for meatball stroganoff, all your favorites.

Here's how to make them.

If baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the one pound of ground beef, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, 1/3 cup of onion that has been finely minced, 1/4 cup of milk, one large egg, one tablespoon of parsley, one teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. An 80/20 blend of ground beef is the best tasting. Gently shape into 1-inch balls.

I like to use a medium cookie scoop to extract the meat so that the meatballs will be fairly uniform. Run your fingers around the edges of the scoop to knock off the extra meat. Then dump the scoop into your hand.

Then just roll the meat into a ball.  You'll get about 24 meatballs out of a pound of ground beef using the small scoop.

From here it's just cooking them! Pan frying is more traditional than baking, but baking is easier and less messy if you ask me, so I usually bake them. If baking, place on a baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick spray, and bake on the center rack of the oven, for about 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning once halfway through. If cooking in a skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the meatballs, and set aside.

For some recipes using meatballs, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Recipe: Basic Homemade Meatballs

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 24 meatballs

  • 1 pound (80/20) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (regular or Italian)
  • 1/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, more or less, as needed (omit if baking)

If baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, milk, egg, parsley, salt, pepper and Worcestershire. Gently shape into 1-inch balls.

To bake, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup and spray with non-stick spray. Bake on the center rack of the oven, for about 25 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. If cooking in a skillet, heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the meatballs, turning to brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Makes about 24 meatballs, depending on size.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs: Prepare as above, except press a deep indentation into the meatballs after shaping. Stuff each meatball with the cherry sized fresh mozzarella balls and wrap meatball around them to completely cover. Finish as above.

Cook's Notes: I like to use a medium cookie scoop (about 1-1/2 tablespoons) to keep the meatballs uniform in size and then roll the meat into a ball.

To Freeze: Allow meatballs to cool completely, then transfer to a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with non-stick spray.  Place into the freezer until frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag.

Makes about 24 meatballs.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on March 24, 2009

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  1. I love your meatballs Mary, they're my go-to meatball recipe! I just finished making a double batch for the freezer! :)

  2. Oh thanks! Yeah, these are good basic meatballs, but its an OLD recipe - aren't those always the best?!

  3. I made a double recipe of these yesterday. They were really very good, and I made a Swedish meatball casserole out of them. Next I will use them in a redsauce and use the linguini left over from your chicken spaghetti bake. YUM!

  4. Sounds great! Wanna share that Swedish meatball casserole??? ;)

  5. I just wanted to let you know that I have reall7y been enjoying trying things from your site. I have made quite a few things. Our favorite, would have to be the Crawfish Etoufee. That was wonderful. Then, I made the deep dish pizza bake for supper last night, and I have a coffee cake in the oven now. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your recipes with us.

  6. Thanks so much - glad that you are enjoying the site!

  7. I always thought meatballs were difficult to make. These go together so easy with common ingredients that I always have on hand. I even switched up some of the spices and used onion flakes instead of onion. They look, smell, and taste fantastic! thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks so much Nikki! Yeah, these are easy and not fancy, but they're a good basic meatball! Glad you enjoyed them.

  9. Love this recipe! They are so easy to make. I just made a double batch but I made them twice as big since my hubby likes huge meatballs in his spaghetti.

    1. I made this recipe over the weekend and WOW they were delicious! It was my first time making home made meatballs and I can't wait to make them again. My Mom always pan fried hers and I hate doing that because of the mess, this recipe made me realize how easy home made ones can be, thank you!

    2. You're welcome! I'm so glad you enjoyed them & thank you for taking the time to stop back by and let me know!! Occasionally I'll pan fry then but the oven method really makes it easier and they cook through better too. They really are easy and a great make ahead dish too for when ground beef goes on sale!

  10. I'm going to try your recipe for meatballs. In the past I've tried to repliate an old Pepperidge Farm recipe that used to be on the back of their herb seasoned stuffing bag - about 50 years ago. It called for sauteed onions, beef broth, Italian Seasoning, the stuffing, Parmesan Cheese, and a few other things. I've lost the recipe over the years, and the company can't give it to me either.

    I think the best of both worlds is to brown them on the stove top and then finish them off in the oven.

    1. You're right - the searing does seem to add something. Too bad about that PF recipe - you'd think at least THEY would be able to tell you, geez! If I ever run across it I'll sure share it here on the blog for you.

  11. Thanks and God bless you for sharing your recipes

    1. You're welcome Sherry! Hope you enjoy the meatballs.

  12. 1/4 cup or more parmesan mixed in with the meat mixturet makes it a more "authentic" Italian meatball...yum

    1. These aren't actually Italian meatballs, authentic or otherwise, but more of an all-purpose meatball. Thanks for your suggestion on making them Italian style though!

  13. Can I make the meatballs & place them uncooked in my slow cooker to cook with a grape jelly sauce?

    1. I recommend cooking them before putting them in the slow cooker as they aren't likely to hold up otherwise. Most frozen meatballs are fully cooked before freezing as well, so we're either just browning and/or warming them through when we use them.

  14. Can I use dried parsley instead of fresh? I'm snowed in and can't even get out of my apartment or drive to the store. But I wanna make these for spaghetti tonight. Thanx for your response. Gina

    1. Hi Gina! Stay safe in all that snow!! Yes, dried parsley is fine - just use about a teaspoon to start, maybe 1-1/2 if you feel you need a little more.

  15. These meatballs are wonderful. I froze a double batch of them to use in some of your recipes in the future but not without trying a few first, of course! I used your idea of putting them on hoagie rolls with some marinara sauce and they were delicious. Now, I'm off to pour through your site to find more uses out of our meatballs.
    They were very easy to make and your directions/pictures helped a lot, thank you. Being able to freeze these makes them very convenient as well. Thank you so much for sharing they were excellent!


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