Easy Baked Meatball recipe makes tender, homemade meatballs in just under an hour! Also includes directions on how to freeze meatballs.
If meatballs are an option, that will always be the option that I choose. They’re just a delicious way to make any dish better. For example, spaghetti is good, but spaghetti with meatballs is amazing!
I’ve made quite a few Italian meatball recipes trying to find one that was 1) easy 2) actually held together and 3) tasted good. This easy baked meatball recipe is my favorite because it fits all three criteria!
How to make baked meatballs
These meatballs are really easy to make! The step-by-step photos show how to make them. The full recipe is below.
Step 1: Begin by adding all of the ingredients except the marinara to a large bowl.
Step 2: Mix the ingredients together until just combined.
Tip >> I recommend mixing the meatball mixture by hand just until combined. Overmixing the meat mixture can make the meatballs tough.
Step 3: Portion meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Tip >> I use a medium cookie scoop (1.5 tablespoons) to make it easy to get uniform meatballs.
Step 4: Bake until the meatballs are cooked through.
Step 5: Pour the marinara over the meatballs and continue baking for about 10 minutes.
Meatballs can be fried, cooked in a skillet, or baked. Baking meatballs is incredibly easy to do!
Eggs help to bind the ingredients to keep the meatballs together. They don’t provide much moisture (that’s what the ricotta is for), but they are a great binder.
No, the meatballs should be cooked through after the initial 20 minute cook time. As long as the meatballs have reached 160F, there’s no need to continue baking the meatballs if you don’t want to.
How to freeze meatballs
I like to make these meatballs ahead of time and then save them until I’m ready to use them. I just make them through step five.
Then, let the meatballs cool to room temperature. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan to quickly freeze.
Once frozen, place the meatballs in a resealable container. Then, when ready to use them, just defrost them, and heat them up in a skillet with sauce.
Store any leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The meatballs will keep for up to 4 days when properly stored.
More meatball recipes!
If you’ve tried this baked meatball recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Baked Meatball Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
- Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, and fennel in a large mixing bowl. Mix by hand until well-combined.
- Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 ½ inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. A medium cookie scoop works well.
- Place the balls in the prepared baking dish. The meatballs should be touching one another.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 160F.
- While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over mediu heat, stirring often.
- When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove from the oven.
- Drain the excess grease from the pan.
- Pour the marinara over meatballs.
- Return the meatballs to the oven, and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Adapted from Epicurious.com.
Originally published 8/5/16. Updated with new photos and tips 9/2/19.
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