Easy Italian Meatballs

Homemade meatballs in a quick tomato sauce make for the perfect easy family dinner! Serve over spaghetti for the ultimate homemade meal.

close up of plate with spaghetti and meatballs

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for new recipes to make with ground beef. It’s such a budget friendly way of getting dinner on the table, but wow, it can get so boring. Homemade Italian Meatballs to the rescue!

I make these so often, I could probably whip them up in my sleep. In an effort of transparency though, I’d be lying if I said I never grab a bag of frozen meatballs and serve them with jarred sauce…

In contrast, this is my recipe for Italian Meatballs, completely homemade from scratch – still easy, but an actual recipe and not just instructions for how to combine pre-made foods.

A little disclaimer
Let me add this little disclaimer: This is not an authentic Italian recipe, as in I didn’t consult any actual Italians when making this. This is how I like to make meatballs in tomato sauce, and I didn’t know what else to call them. “meatballs in tomato sauce” sounded a teeny bit blunt to me.

BUT in all honesty, the all-American spaghetti and meatballs is not exactly authentic Italian anyways. Sure, there’s polpette in southern Italy. And I have been to Italy many, many times. Never have I been to a local, authentic restaurant that served meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti – have you? I’d love to know (food nerd over here)!

But hey, this dish is delicious. And that’s all I have to say on that matter ?

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for Italian meatballs: Ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, egg, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, olive oil, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red wine and tomato paste.
Ingredient notes
You don’t HAVE to use lean ground beef, you can also use regular ground beef – a higher fat percentage will still be OK since the meatballs end up in a sauce, they’ll just taste very rich. You can also swap in ground turkey if you prefer, we do it all the time. (I even have Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, that’s how much I like that swap.)
Instead of using dried parsley and garlic powder, you can also use chopped fresh parsley and freshly minced garlic. I prefer using garlic powder so my kids can’t complain about bits of garlic in their meatballs. And I use dried parsley because I only have fresh in the spring, when it grows out in the garden!
If you don’t want to cook with wine, you can just use some broth (or even water in a pinch…) to deglaze the pan.
If you do want to cook with wine but aren’t sure what kind to use, any dry red wine works well. A Merlot or Pinot Noir would be great.
I usually only have regular diced tomatoes on hand, so the sauce is perfectly delicious with those. But if you have fire roasted ones, they’ll add even more depth!
And if you don’t have any tomato sauce handy, try combining about ⅔ cup water with ⅓ cup tomato paste.
Step by step photos
1) Add all meatball ingredients to a bowl and 2) mix to 3) combine.

4) Shape into firm meatballs, then 5) bake.

Continue Reading in next page

Leave a Comment