How To Make Meatballs

by formerchef on March 7, 2012

Post image for How To Make Meatballs

I was never a Girl Scout, but I am always prepared.

Make that almost always prepared. 

Every year we throw a New Year’s Day brunch party. Over the years it has grown to about 40 people, complete with pounds and pounds of bacon, kick ass Bloody Marys, Hoppin’ John, crepes, pizzas and more. Two years ago, the party which started before noon, lasted well into the evening. We literally ran out of food (gasp!) with a dozen people still in the house. They didn’t go home until we ran out of booze. Alas, I was unprepared.

This year I vowed to be ready. What would be better to whip up in a flash but homemade spaghetti and meatballs?
A couple of days before New Year’s my mother shared with me her recipe and together we made 80 meatballs and a vat of sauce. The plan was to heat up the sauce and meatballs, boil the pasta, and voila, a feast for the hoards.

Guess what happened? Forty people showed up, consumed nine pounds of bacon, three gallons of Bloody Marys, seven dozen eggs, two pizzas, and vanished by 4pm. No meatballs needed. But I was prepared, and fortunately the meatballs freeze well.

Meatball Recipe
Printable Recipe in PDF for How to Make Meatballs

2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground pork
2 lbs ground chicken
2 Tbsp minced onion*
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1.5 cups coarsely ground breadcrumbs
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 eggs

Yield: 80 each, 2″ meatballs

Recipe Notes;
The recipe can be scaled back. Basically it’s 1 egg, and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs per pound of meat.
Feel free to play with the proportions on the meats if you want, but this mix yields a flavorful, tender, and slightly healthier (lower in fat) meatball.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Put all the meat in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix in the onion, garlic, oregano, bread crumbs, cheese and salt. Mix in the eggs making sure everything is evenly distributed. *Minced onion~my mother swears by dried or dehydrated onion in this recipe. I switched it out for fresh because I realize that it’s not someone everyone might have in their pantry. But if you have it, you can substitute 1 Tbsp dried for the 2 Tbsp fresh onion.

Mixing the meatballs

3. Roll out the meatballs. The ones I made were about 2″ in diameter and weighed 1.3-1.4 oz each. I used a scale to periodically check the weight as they had a tendency to creep up in size. I wanted them all to be even so they would cook evenly. Lay the meatballs out on a foil lined baking sheet.

Raw meatballs

4. Bake at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

Cooked meatballs

Cooked meatballs

5. Simmer the meatballs in marinara sauce on low after cooking for 30 minutes before serving for extra flavor.

Meatballs no cheese


1 angela@spinachtiger March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

Kristina meatballs is one of my favorite foods. I actually them best sans sauce. I love how you baked them. And, the combination of meats always make for great flavor and texture.

2 Myra March 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I love making meatballs, but I’ve never tried combining the three different meats . Plus, I don’t have a standard recipe; I throw ingredients in and hope they don’t fall apart. I’ll try this recipe this weekend; having a freezer full of meatballs and homemade marinara sounds like the perfect go-to meal.

3 formerchef March 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

They do freeze well! And according to my mother, my grandmother always mixed the meats, sometime using veal, sometimes even some sausage.

4 Kim March 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Interesting about 1 egg for every 1/4 lb. of meat! I’ve been using just one egg for my 2 lbs. of meat; will have to add more, especially since I’m up to my eyeballs in chicken eggs now (a dozen per day).


5 formerchef March 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Hi Kim! Actually, it’s “1 egg, and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs per pound of meat.” 😉 I think 1 egg per quarter lb of meat might give you a much different result!

6 Stefannie March 21, 2012 at 12:33 am

This is really delicious and we all know that meatballs are perfect for spaghetti and other pasta…Thanks for the recipe…

7 Sandra6 March 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

They are easy to make badly but I think after reading this I might give them another go as they can be used in so many things.

8 faye July 17, 2012 at 10:20 am

My dinner last night was deliciouso,am now cramelizing my onions for the maranara again.Waiting for meat to thaw so I can mix up these meatballs.I have lost 30 lbs in the past 6 months by skinnying up these recipe’s when I We eat good from the food here.Most of the time I make it as in the recipe.

9 formerchef July 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

Faye- Great! You could make a lower fat version of these meatballs with ground turkey if you want.

10 Kate February 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Yum. I usually mix meats, too, but in this tiny berg I can rarely find ground pork that hasn’t already been turned into sausage!
I use ground turkey a lot to lighten them up as you suggested in a comment above.
BUT, I was never exactly sure of the ratios, so I’m delighted to have your little tip on that. Thanks.

I often put on a pot of meatballs (with various sauces) for our weekly Karaoke: they are easy to nibble and can be reasonably light. No one wants the pasta when we’re here to sing, so the meatballs help keep the Cinnamon Whiskey to body weight ratio in check without ‘weighing’ us down…. oh, sorry…terrible pun…fully intended.

11 formerchef February 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Ground pork is harder to find, I’ll admit. In fact, tomorrow’s meatballs will be only beef and turkey mixed as I could not be bothered with going to find the ground pork.
And Cinnamon Whiskey? My my…

12 suzanne February 8, 2015 at 12:57 am

My aunt had aeatball recipe that called for ground beef and pork, though she usually used it for Swedish meatballs. Sounds like a lovely tradition.

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