Chef John's Italian Meatballs Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Chef John's Italian Meatballs Recipe
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How to Make Italian Meatballs
See the secret to tender baked Italian meatballs. See more
  • READY IN hrs

Chef John's Italian Meatballs

Recipe by  

"Homemade meatballs are a very easy to make, and since we skip the very messy step of pan-frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes downright simple. Here I use a standard half-beef/half-pork mixture. You can substitute water or beef broth for the milk, if preferred."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 30 meatballs Change Servings
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  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    35 mins
  • READY IN

    2 hrs 15 mins

Directions

  1. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Soak bread crumbs in milk in a small bowl for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes.
  4. Mix beef and pork together in a large bowl. Stir onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into meat mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.
  5. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  6. Using wet hands, form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange onto prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
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Footnotes

  • Cook's Note:
  • Some recipes use equal portions of beef, veal, and pork, which is also nice, yet more expensive. These days you can find all sorts of lean-to-fat ratios for ground beef. Most stores sell 90% lean, 10% fat, but I prefer the 80% lean, 20% fat ratio for this recipe.
  • Cook's note:
  • Once cooked, you can add the meatballs to your favorite prepared tomato sauce for 1 to 2 hours.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 06, 2012

I made Chef John's meatloaf a week or so ago and it was quite tasty which made me excited to try his meatball recipe. The bread crumbs I used in this recipe were made from homemade garlic-butter croutons and I cut back on the salt just a bit. To make uniform meat balls, I used my small cookie scoop. After baking my meatballs, I drained the fat off of them and added them to a homemade marinara and let them sit in the sauce for 20 minutes or so before I served them on pasta. The family really thought these were quite good. They held up well (to both cooking in the oven and sitting in the marinara) and had a nice flavor. Next time, I'd double the italian seasoning but that's really just personal to our family.

 
Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 06, 2013

I just took these out of the oven and they were swimming in liquid!! They weren't browned or even close - the flavor of the meat is good but the consistency of the cooked meatballs is wrong - won't make again!

 
Apr 21, 2012

These meatballs were awesome! I added more breadcrumbs than the recipe called for, left out the red pepper, and used beef broth instead of milk. They were a big hit and I even posted a picture! Thanks Chef John!

 
Apr 26, 2012

CJ's Italian Meatballs Haiku: "I can't believe it. These beat 'Meatball Nirvana' And they held up too!" So my biggest praise for these meatballs is that after I made a double-batch, w/o changing the recipe, I froze them into weekly portions, but after thawing a handful of them in sauce last night, I couldn't have been more delighted that they held their meatball shape and didn't fall apart! So I don't know what of CJ's method, or ingredients, resulted in a firm (oh yes, and scrumptious!) meatball, but I think this recipe has replaced AR's 'Meatball Nirvana' in our house from now on.

 
Apr 27, 2012

These are FANTASTIC meatballs! I used meatloaf mix, b/c it was cheaper (believe it or not) than buying the beef and pork seperately. I also used seasoned breadcrumbs instead of plain and dried parsley in place of the fresh. Followed the recipe exactly otherwise and would not change a thing next time. I was scared b/c the mixture was so soft (even after refrigeration), but I proceeded on, and I am so glad I didn't add extra breadcrumbs like I wanted to...these held their shape and were so moist, tender, flavorful and delicious...one of the best I've made/eaten! I used my large cookie scoop and got 26 out of this recipe. My family RAVED over these...even my 10 month old twins couldn't get enough, lol. Seriously, these are sooooo good! I will def be using this recipe over and over~YUM! Thanks for sharing. :)

 
Oct 06, 2012

Amazing!! Made these to add to my spaghetti sauce and they were delicious exactly as written! We froze half of them and I can't wait to use them for meatball subs!

 
Aug 04, 2012

Wow. This recipe is a keeper. I followed the recipe to a T and I wasn't disappointed. These meatballs were intended for sub sandwiches with marinara, but after tasting them fresh out of the oven, I felt like I was doing an injustice to this fine specimen of meat by slopping marinara over it. Thanks for the great recipe. I will be using this for years.

 
Jan 10, 2013

These tasted really good and were super easy to make. Just a couple of things: I think next time I'll use maybe a 1/3 cup of milk as they were almost too juicy to form into balls. Also, next time I will try baking them with a rack in the pan as they really did make a lot of grease and I think they would taste better without sitting in it. Third, I wish they would have browned up a little better. I even kept them in the oven for a few more mintutes at 450 and that didn't help. But, again, the best tasting meatballs I've ever made. Nothing wrong with the recipe as written, just personal preference, a five star recipe for sure!

 

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Nutrition

  • Calories
  • 82 kcal
  • 4%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 1.7 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 32 mg
  • 11%
  • Fat
  • 5.5 g
  • 8%
  • Fiber
  • 0.2 g
  • < 1%
  • Protein
  • 6.2 g
  • 12%
  • Sodium
  • 192 mg
  • 8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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