Meatballs are always a fan favorite. This recipe is one to save for a few reasons. Number one it's delicious, and number two because it makes more than one dinner. These Baked Italian Meatballs are perfectly freezer ready which makes them absolutely perfect for any busy family or professional.
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Ground Beef
- Ground Pork
- Parmesan Cheese
- Minced Garlic
- Italian Seasoning
- Diamond Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Marinara Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese
For this recipe, you'll need a baking dish (glass, ceramic, or foil) to build everything in. You will also need a mixing bowl to prep your meatballs in. Note: If you are making this for the freezer you will want to use a foil pan only!
In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and milk and let sit for about 5 minutes until the breadcrumbs absorb all the milk. Then, add your meat, seasonings, and parmesan cheese and combined it thoroughly.
Now that your meatball base is done, I highly recommend cooking a small piece at this point. Tasting it to make sure you don't want to adjust the salt & pepper (or garlic). By making a mini hamburger-style patty and pan-searing it until it's cooked through. Then add a little bit of tomato sauce so you can get an idea of all the flavors together.
Once you are happy with the flavor we are going to line two large baking dishes with the pasta sauce. About a ½ cup in each one. Just enough to cover the bottom. Portion out meatballs into about 2" circles. A portion scoop is a lifesaver for this step if you have one.
Now we are going to top the meatballs with the remaining sauce, and then give a heavy sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatball hits 145 degrees and the cheese has goldened.
These can be eaten as-is, served alongside roasted potatoes, or on top of pasta. Dealers choice.
It is so perfectly simple, while also just crushing it in flavor. I was skeptical about baking meatballs for a while because I know that a good pan sear can add so much flavor to a dish. This worry flew out the window.
Here is a marinara sauce recipe I recommend for this recipe, but your favorite jar sauce will work just fine.
👩🏼🍳 Chef Tip
One of the weirdest things I ever learned and took away from my time at Culinary School was a story a Chef told me about how he judged his Mom so much for always putting breadcrumbs in her meatballs. Then at one of his first big catering events meatballs were requested.
He made them, sans breadcrumbs, and said once they were baked, they were the densest hockey puck meatballs ever. The embarrassment stuck with him his whole life, or at least long enough to pass along this life lesson to his students.
I also always considered the breadcrumbs a "filler" of sorts. In reality, it helps prevent the meatballs from drying out and maintain their juiciness. And who doesn't love a big juicy meatball?
🧊 Freezer Variation
About a year ago I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy (cancer is stupid & all is now well) and wanted to make sure to have some dinners in the freezer to pull out and bake whenever. I bought a huge pack of disposable foil baking dishes and went to town.
My favorite part about these Baked Italian Meatballs is that they are very easily made freezer ready. You will prepare your dish exactly the same way. The only thing you might need to make this dish ready is...
- A Freezer to Oven Safe Baking Dish (with a lid)
- Lots of Plastic Wrap
You'll want to wrap the whole foil pan in plastic multiple times BEFORE adding the lid. Moisture will cause freezer burn! Make sure to label the top of the foil with Sharpie. I put "MeatyBalls - Remove Plastic, and bake at 350 for 1.5hrs"
Baked Italian Meatballs
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 Eggs - beaten
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1 pound Ground Pork
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Diamond Kosher Salt - 2 teaspoon if using table salt
- 2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
Base & Topping
- 32 oz Pasta Sauce - 2 jars or a double batch the marinara recipe linked in post
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh Basil - optional
- Pasta - optional
- In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and the milk and let sit for about 5 minutes to absorb.
- Add all remaining meatball ingredients and combined thoroughly.
- I highly recommend cooking a small piece at this point and tasting it to make sure you don't want to adjust the salt & pepper (or garlic). Make a mini hamburger-style patty, and add a little tomato sauce once it's cooked through so you can get an idea of all the flavors together.
- Now that you are happy with the flavor we are going to line 2 large baking dishes with the pasta sauce. About a ½ cup in each one. Just enough to cover the bottom.
- Portion out meatballs into about 2" circles. The portion scoop linked above is a life saver for this step.
- We are going to top the meatballs with the remaining sauce, and then give a heavy sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatball hits 145 degrees and the cheese has goldened.
- These can be eaten as-is, served alongside roasted potatoes, or on top of pasta. Dealers choice.
Want to take your cooking game to the next level? Here's a list of some of the tools I use every time I make this recipe that help make this a breeze!
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