Best Italian Meatballs Recipe

When I first tried to follow an Italian meatballs recipe at a glance I thought it was just about some meat and seasoning with a round shape and cooked through, o how much I was wrong then...

Italian Meatballs With Tomato Sauce

Coming-up with the best meatballs is something more like playing a game rather than cooking, you have to be ready to lose too at a very first shot as I did. But you might be a better cook than I am and get them right away at your table. In what ever position you are if I made my best Italian meatballs surely you can too!

Serve Italian Meatballs With a Red Wine

Though this is an easy meatballs recipe with a simple tomato sauce, the problem could come when you try to form with your bare hands the round shape of meatballs that instead gets flat. Worst the flop could even arrive in the frying pan when they break and fall splitting in several chunks of meat. Don't worry then it just happened to me too, so lesson learned I'm passing you my authentic winning Italian meatballs recipe from my trials and errors game.

Italian Meatballs Ingredients

Enough amount of ingredients to make a good mixture and end-up with roughly 12/13 Italian meatballs are:

  • 8 oz. (225g) ground pork
  • 8 oz. (225g) ground beef
  • 4 slices of sandwich bread or 3 oz. (85g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (118ml) of milk
  • ½ cup (118ml) of frying oil
  • 1 oz. (30g) grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1 oz. (30g) of parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper

In a bowl break the bread in small bits and soak them with milk.

Break and Soak the Bread with Milk

Remove the leaves of parsley from the stems and put them on a cutting board to be finely minced. I prefer my “mezzaluna” (half-moon) knife to do this task because swinging up and down with this cutter makes the cutting process easy and safe.

I Prefer My Mezzaluna Knife
Swing Up and Down
Finely Mince Parsley and Garlic

By the way I added the garlic only at last because I forgot it, so better add it before and mince all together.

In the same bowl add all the ingredients:

  • ground pork
  • ground beef
  • fresh breadcrumbs soaked
  • egg
  • grated parmigiano cheese
  • parsley
  • garlic
  • salt & pepper

In a Bowl Add All the Ingredients

I belong to those whom like to work with their bare hands in kitchen and if there is one recipe in which you have to throw your hands in that is the Italian meatballs recipe. Of course you can still opt to mash all with a fork if you like, but even though you still have to make the round shape with your hands.

Use Your Bare Hands to Make Italian Meatballs

You must end with something very similar to a smooth and compact compound just like one giant meatball.

Form 1 Big Meatball

I like to make medium meatballs so not too big not too small, just taking about 1 ½ oz. (45g) of meat from the mixture I start rolling within the palms of my hands until I get a good round shape.

Within the Palms of Your Hands Form a Round Shape

I make about 12/13 meatballs ready to be fried, even though they are Italian meatballs recipes that skip this step. I like to slightly fry them so much of the grease will be released.

Make About 12/13 Italian Meatballs

Pour in a large skillet about ½ cup (118ml) of frying oil and arrange all the meatballs around and fry until lightly brown, then turn off the heat and keep aside while making a simple tomato sauce.

Fry the Meatballs
Fry Until Lightly Brown

Best Italian Meatballs Recipe



Total Time:


12/13 meatballs with tomato sauce


  • 8 oz. (225g) ground pork
  • 8 oz. (225g) ground beef
  • 4 slices of sandwich bread
  • ½ cup (118ml) of milk
  • ½ cup (118ml) of frying oil
  • 1 oz. (30g) grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1 oz. (30g) of parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 bottle - 2½ cups (560ml) tomatoes puree
  • 1/3 of onion
  • few basil leaves


  1. In a bowl combine the bread and milk together.
  2. In the same bowl add all the ingredients: beef, pork, egg, parmigiano, parsley, garlic, add salt and pepper.
  3. Mash all with your hands or with a fork until you have a smooth compound.
  4. To form the meatballs roll about 1½ oz. (45g) of meat within the palms of your hands.
  5. In a pan heat the frying oil over medium-high heat. Add one by one the meatballs and when the edge sizzles turn them around for several times until nicely browned on all sides.
  6. In a sauce pot pour the extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes puree and the onion. Remove all the fried meatballs from the frying pan to the sauce pot and cook for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  7. Once cooked through add a few basil leaves.
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I like to fry the meatballs so that most of the grease from the meat will melt in the pan and be discarded.

Simple Tomato Sauce for Italian Meatballs

If there's pureed tomatoes that I often use in my family for pasta sauces that is Mutti with which I made a simple tomato sauce for these meatballs too:

  • 1 bottle of tomato puree about 2½ cups (560ml)
  • ½ cup (118ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 of onion
  • a few basil leaves
  • a pinch of salt
Tomatoes Puree MUTTI

Pour the olive oil in a sauce pot with the chopped onion. Turn on the heat and start cooking.

Olive Oil and 1/3 of Chopped Onion

Add all the bottle of tomatoes puree.

Add Tomatoes Puree

Remove all the meatballs and plunge them into the tomato sauce. I prefer to cook them this way so all the grease from the meat will remain in the frying pan.

Plunge the Meatballs Into the Tomato Sauce

Add a pinch of salt and cover the pot with a lid.

Cover with a Lid

Now and then give a stir to the tomato sauce and cook well through for about 40 minutes. If the tomato sauce dries out you can add ½ cup (118ml) of water.

Cook for about 40 Minutes

After all it's ready, just add a few basil leaves in the sauce and you could even think to make spaghetti and meatballs or just eat them right away.

Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

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