This oven baked Italian meatballs recipe is perfect for Sunday dinner! Made with a combination of ground pork and ground beef, these baked meatballs are super juicy and have great flavor.
Meatballs have been a staple in our house for many Sunday dinners. We love them with Italian gravy and spaghetti and they also are a great recipe to use for meatball subs.
This easy meatball recipe uses simple ingredients and is what I based my Italian meatloaf recipe on. Trust me, the whole family will go crazy for these!
These are the best meatballs served up with homemade marinara sauce over hot cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Serve them alongside sausage and peppers, calamari and tiramisu cups and you will be set!
🥩 Ingredient notes
- Meat - I prefer using a 50/50 meat mixture of pork and beef. It makes super juicy meatballs while also enhancing the flavor. All beef or all pork can be used if that is your preference. Look for meatloaf mix at the grocery store which contains an already pre-mixed ground meat mixture of both pork and beef.
- Bread - Instead of bread crumbs, I like to soak a piece of bread in milk and then mix it in with the seasonings. It makes super tender meatballs. Any slice of plain white bread will do.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Meat - Use lean ground beef and ground turkey to make a lighter meatball. They will have less fat in them, so make sure to not overcook them. You can also add in some ground Italian sausage to the beef and pork mixture for additional flavor.
- Gluten Free - Simply use a slice of your favorite gluten free bread in place of the regular white bread.
- Dairy Free - Use a dairy free or plant based milk substitute or beef broth in place of the whole milk.
- Spicy - Add ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a little spice.
🥣 Step by step instructions
In a large bowl, soak the slice of bread in the milk until it's soft and the milk is completely absorbed.
Add in the eggs, minced garlic, dehydrated onion, dried herbs, kosher salt and black pepper and mix until everything is well combined.
Add in the ground meat and using a spoon or clean hands, gently mix until the ingredients are just combined. You want the ingredients to be evenly distributed, but that's it.
Bake the meatballs in a preheated 400˚ oven for 14-17 minutes until cooked through. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce over your favorite pasta!
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Make sure the bread completely soaks up the milk so it easily breaks into smaller pieces and mixes with the eggs.
- The secret to a good meatball is to not over mix the meat. You want the ingredients evenly distributed, but over mixing can make for a dense meatball.
- PRO TIP: Use a 1 ounce cookie scoop to evenly portion out the meatballs.
- Don't overcrowd the sheet pan with the meatballs so they cook quickly and evenly. 12 meatballs per sheet pan works out perfectly!
- Bake the meatballs to an internal temperature of 160˚ when checked with a kitchen thermometer so they are cooked through but not dry.
- If you like your meatballs a little bit crispy on the outside, flip on the broiler for a couple of minutes towards the end of cooking.
🥘 Alternative cooking methods
STOVE TOP: Instead of cooking these in the oven, the meatballs can be seared in a hot skillet or pot in olive oil over medium heat. Once they are browned on all sides, add your favorite spaghetti sauce and lower the heat. Let the meatballs simmer until cooked through.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
These homemade Italian meatballs can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored uncooked on the prepared sheet pans wrapped in plastic wrap. They can also be frozen on the sheet pan and then transferred to a freezer safe bag or container and frozen for up to 2 months.
Defrost the meatballs on a sheet pan in the refrigerator and then bake as directed. Cooking times may be a little bit longer since the meatballs will be cold.
🥡 Storage suggestions
Leftover cooked meatballs will be keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or they can be frozen and will keep for up to 2 months. Refrigerated or frozen meatballs can be reheated in the oven, microwave or in tomato sauce on the stovetop.
🍝 More Italian recipes
If you loved this baked Italian meatballs recipe, check out these other Italian recipes that I know you will love too.
- Sausage and Gnocchi
- Great Chicago Italian Recipes
- Tri-Color Tortellini with Pesto
- Struffoli Honey Balls
Oven Baked Italian Meatballs Recipe
- 1 slice white bread
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic approximately 3-4 cloves
- 2 teaspoon dehydrated minced onion
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- In a large mixing bowl, add the slice of bread and pour the milk over the top of it. Let it sit until the bread completely absorbs the milk.
- Add the egg, minced garlic, dehydrated onion, dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano, kosher salt and black pepper.
- Mix together with hands or a spoon until the bread and eggs are completely broken up and combined with the seasonings.
- Add the ground beef and ground pork and mix gently with hands or a mixing spoon until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Be careful not to overmix the meat or it will make dense meatballs.
- Use a 1 ounce cookie scoop or large spoon to portion out the meatballs into 24 pieces on the prepared sheet pans. 12 meatballs per sheet pan will make sure they cook evenly and don't get overcrowded.
- Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 14-17 minutes until cooked through. Ground meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160˚ when checked with a kitchen thermometer.
- Use the meatballs immediately or cool and store for use later. Instructions for storage are listed below.
Substitutions and Variations
- Meat - Add ground Italian sausage to the meat mixture for additional flavor. Lean ground beef or turkey will make a lighter meatball. They will have less fat in them, so make sure to not overcook them.
- Gluten Free - Use gluten free bread.
- Dairy Free - Use a dairy free or plant based milk substitute or beef broth.
- Spicy - Add ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.