Chef John's Italian Meatballs Homemade meatballs are a very easy to make, and since we skip the very messy step of pan-frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes downright simple. Here I use a standard half-beef/half-pork mixture. You can substitute water or beef broth for the milk, if preferred.

prep: 20 mins cook: 35 mins additional: 1 hr 20 mins total: 2 hrs 15 mins Servings: 30 Yield: 30 meatballs


  • ⅓ cup plain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    Step 1

    Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

    Step 2

    Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl for 20 minutes.

    Step 3

    Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes.

    Step 4

    Mix beef and pork together in a large bowl. Stir onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into meat mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

    Step 5

    Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

    Step 6

    Using wet hands, form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange onto prepared baking sheet.

    Step 7

    Bake in the preheated oven until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

Some recipes use equal portions of beef, veal, and pork, which is also nice, yet more expensive. These days you can find all sorts of lean-to-fat ratios for ground beef. Most stores sell 90% lean, 10% fat, but I prefer the 80% lean, 20% fat ratio for this recipe.


Once cooked, you can add the meatballs to your favorite prepared tomato sauce for 1 to 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 82 calories; protein 6.2g; carbohydrates 1.7g; fat 5.5g; cholesterol 32.3mg; sodium 192.1mg.


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