The Best Meatballs. Ever.

I know, naming this recipe the best meatballs. Ever. exudes some confidence. But let me tell you. After over 20 years of eating and making meatballs, I think I’ve found the unicorn of recipes! Some of the ingredients call for “a little” of this or “a little” of that, but that is because true Italian recipes are just that, “a little of this and a little of that!”

The first time I made these best meatballs. ever. were for a girlfriend of mine. Her and her husband LOVED meatballs and ordered them out any chance they got. One weekend night they were coming over for dinner and I decided to make them meatballs. I hadn’t made meatballs in awhile but knew the basics that went into them and proceeded to make them.

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The unfortunate/fortunate situation

I finished baking the meatballs and let them rest on the stove while I prepared the sauce. Well unfortunately and fortunately once the they were finished our German Shephard puppy, Kaya, decided she was hungry and in the 5 minutes it took me to go change for dinner, Kaya had eaten about 38 out of 38 meatballs.

Now, I was upset. I sent a text to my girlfriend and told her what had just happened and told her I was ordering a pizza. But by then, we were all still craving meatballs! I rushed out of the house and shopped in about 10 minutes tops for some new items and ran home to cook. Once I got home I realized that in my haste I had gotten the wrong meat and the wrong breadcrumbs but I was making these meatballs no matter what at this point.

image of meatballs in tomato sauce with chopped basil in a skillet
Before baking with mozzarella

In The End

Had Kaya never eaten that first batch, I would have never mistakenly bought different ingredients that led to making the best meatballs. ever. I literally threw in different breadcrumbs and a meatloaf mix, not even caring at that point! Once the meatballs were baked I set them on the counter, this time FAR away from the edge. I tried one, whoa, it was good!

I still had the sauce I had prepped earlier, just a basic marinara sauce, and put them in the pot to soak. Then I looked in the fridge and I saw I had some sliced fresh mozzarella that I had planned on making into a caprese salad. I decided to lay the meatballs into a casserole dish and popped some of the mozzarella on top.

Once they were baked in a cast iron skillet, I broiled them about 5 minutes in the end just to get that nice melty look. Added a little fresh basil on top and served the dish.

When I tell you that the four of us ate every.single.meatball. you have to believe me. I made less meatballs this batch as I was in a hurry but there were at least 16 good sized meatballs! We loved every single bite. I am SO excited to share this recipe with you and hope to have some feedback on how they came out for you and yours! As always, buon appetito!

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The Best Meatballs. Ever.

Recipe by Sabrina HebertCourse: Appetizers, Dinner


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb Meatloaf Mix. Veal, Pork & Beef

  • About 1/3 Cup Whole Milk

  • 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
    (I used Gluten Free Aleia's Italian Breadcrumbs)

  • 1/4 White sweet onion, finely chopped

  • About 1/3 Cup Chicken Broth

  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup Parmeggiano Reggiano or more, no judgement!

  • Salt & Pepper to taste, start at 2 teaspoons each

  • Simple Tomato Sauce
  • 1 16 oz. can of your favorite tomato sauce

  • About 1/8th of a sweet white onion, finely chopped

  • 2 Tbsp good quality olive oil

  • A pinch of salt & pepper

  • * OPTIONAL; 1 tsp crushed red pepper


  • Make your sauce first by heating the olive oil in a medium to high heat pan for about a minute. Add the onion and stir the onion until it is translucent and soft. This should take less than 5 minutes. If adding the crushed red pepper, add now and stir.
  • Once the onion is fragrant and ready, add the tomato sauce can with the salt and pepper. Change heat setting to low and let simmer while you make the meatballs stirring occasionally.
  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees F*
  • Grab a large bowl and add both breadcrumbs and milk together. Give the mixture a whisk and set aside.
  • Meanwhile make the meatballs by adding the remainder of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the breadcrumb & milk mixture to the meat mixture and get ready to use your hands!
  • Once all the ingredients are mixed make the meatballs to your preferred size and add them on a parchment paper coated sheet pan. Pop the meatballs into the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165* (I like them a little more brown but the longer they bake the dryer and more dense they become)
  • Put the baked meatballs into the sauce pot and coat them in sauce. Add the saucy meatballs to a oven safe skillet or baking dish, top each meatball with a slice of mozzarella and put them in the oven to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. The last 5 minutes, set the oven to broil to get a nice stringy mozzarella. When you are ready to serve, chop fresh basil on top and serve warm with sliced garlic bread! Buon Appetito!

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