Jen’s Incredible Baked Meatballs

By Ann Fulton

These tender, flavorful baked meatballs have been a family and reader favorite for many years. Hundreds of readers have called them the best meatballs ever! Serve them with spaghetti and your favorite sauce, as an appetizer, in a meatball sandwich-or all by themselves. A perfect meal prep recipe that freezes well, too!
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These tender, flavorful baked meatballs have been a family and reader favorite for many years. Hundreds of readers have called them the best meatballs ever! Serve them with spaghetti and your favorite sauce, as an appetizer, in a meatball sandwich-or all by themselves. A perfect meal prep recipe that freezes well, too!

 

Perhaps you are like me in this way:  I have recipes everywhere…a shelfful of cookbooks, a box with recipe cards, and various pages torn from magazines, newspapers…and so many slips of scrap paper with my own hand-written notes that I scratch out as I create in the kitchen.

Amidst all the recipes, I return often to the gems given to me by my friend, Jen. Like me, Jen  likes to experiment with new recipes and acquired many of her favorites from her grandmother.

This meatball recipe reduces mess–and fat–by baking the meatballs instead of pan-frying. Parmesan and panko add great flavor and texture. Make them ahead and simmer with Basic Marinara sauce (your favorite store bought works, too) in a crock pot set on low. Or heat on the stove as you are boiling water for pasta.

A single recipe yields two dozen golfball-size meatballs. The recipe can easily be doubled and the baked meatballs freeze well.  I made the batch pictured below with a friend.  Meal prep is inherently rewarding–and so much more fun when chatting the whole time!

 

 

Jen's Incredible Baked Meatballs have been a reader and family favorite for years!

Click here for my favorite gluten-free option to panko.  And for a sauce option using vine-ripened plum tomatoes, I love this recipe for Balsamic Pesto Marinara Sauce.

slider-Blender-Tomato-Sauce

Shortcut Blender Tomato Sauce (above) pairs beautifully with these meatballs and is perfect when vine-ripened tomatoes are in season.  When canned tomatoes are the best option, Basic Marinara (below) is a great option.

Basic-Marinara
Jen’s Incredible Baked Meatballs
Tip #1: Double the batch and freeze half to serve later as mini meatloaves. Or reheat with sauce, top with cheese and make into a mean meatball sandwich. Tip #2: If you have a leftover piece of rind from the Parmesan, let it simmer in the crock pot with the marinara sauce or save for another soup recipe. This will add a great flavor boost to most any sauce or soup.

Yield: approximately 24 meatballs
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger, grass-fed if desired
  • 2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup panko or breadcrumbs (see notes)
  • 1 small onion, minced or grated (1/2 a large onion)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients with hands.
  2. Form into golfball-size meatballs.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Notes
  • For a gluten-free option, crushed Rice Chex work beautifully.
  • When making a big batch, I recommend mixing all of the ingredients except the beef first. This will ensure everything is well incorporated but help prevent over-working the meat.
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These tender, flavorful baked meatballs have been a family and reader favorite for many years. Hundreds of readers have called them the best meatballs ever! Serve them with spaghetti and your favorite sauce, as an appetizer, in a meatball sandwich-or all by themselves. A perfect meal prep recipe that freezes well, too!

Jen’s Incredible Baked Meatballs. One of our most popular recipes!

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Comments

  1. Lori
    (5/5)

    Baked the meatballs in the oven and froze them for later use. Made about 24 meatballs. Also, made several burgers for grilling on the barbecue. Used fresh parsley from the garden. The grilled burgers were delicious. Great recipe. Will make again.

    Reply
  2. Beth
    (5/5)

    We made this recipe x 7 for meal prep, keep that in mind with the following.

    We had 2 cups of fresh parsley & 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil. We also 2 different kinds of panko (1 was coarser but both were plain). We used store brand grated parmesan cheese 4 cups. We used 10 good size garlic cloves and 3-4 medium onions and we used white ground pepper and kosher salt to our liking.

    This was a huge hit and we will continue to make them this way. Btw we made 242 meatballs with 7x recipe and not all made it into the freezer LOL YUMMY!!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Oh my gosh Beth, I love that! SO many meatballs! Thank you for your terrific feedback. I’m delighted they were a hit and love your variations.

      Reply
  3. L.Dahl
    (5/5)

    This is the best meatball recipe. I usually add Italian seasoning and more garlic, but the moisture level is just right with the eggs and milk. I always at least double the recipe also so I have some for the freezer for future meals. I cook them on parchment paper.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I’m delighted these have become a go-to and love the seasoning ramp up.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Billie, You could bookmark the recipe. I also have an email list if you’d like to receive new recipes and maintain a regular connection to the site. Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  4. Linda
    (5/5)

    Do you have nutritional info on just the meatballs? I had bariatric surgery and would like to know.

    I didn’t try the rice Chex but will next time!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      So happy you liked these, Linda, and that you’ll be making again! The reason we don’t list nutritional breakdowns next to each recipe is because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how precise the measuring is. I know post-bariatric surgery needs are unique to each individual, so if you email me (you can do it through the contact page on this site), I can have the FAK dietitian provide you with an estimate of the specific nutrients you would like to know about. We are happy to help!

      Reply
      1. Emily

        Hi Sandra, thanks for checking in. I will email you separately about the questions you may have regarding nutritional information.

        Reply
  5. Kathryn
    (5/5)

    These are seriously the BEST meatballs I’ve ever made. I’ve made them multiple times and they’re always perfect. They’re tender and so flavorful. I took your suggestion and grated the onion on the large holes of a box grater— the meatballs hold together so much better that way! I recently made a double batch and made them with 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground pork and they were so tasty. I’ve also made them with 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb Italian sausage— oh lordy! I always make a double batch so there’s plenty for meatball subs and some to freeze for later!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you, Kathryn, for your glowing review and the added details. I’m thrilled these meatballs have become a go-to and heartily approve of all your variations!

      Reply
  6. CJ

    So glad I found this recipe. The sub for panko is excellent! I will be making the meatballs soon and will use the Rice Chex ‘bread crumbs’ in other recipes. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Kristen Thomas
    (5/5)

    I’ve made these several times and they’re delicious! This time there was somewhat of a jelly substance that comes out of them. I’m guess this is the egg? Any remedy for that?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      So happy the meatballs are a keeper, Kristen. What you describe sounds like fat that cooked out while baking, and it can simply be scraped away. My guess is that the meat used for your most recent batch was a little less lean than what you had used before. If you have any other question, feel free to ask!

      Reply
  8. Rita

    These meatballs were easy and delish for the whole family. Skipped parsley because I didn’t have any, but still worked out fine. We used them for meatball subs!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Meatballs subs are a fabulous way to enjoy these meatballs. I’m happy you discovered the recipe and that the whole family enjoyed!

      Reply
      1. Kathryn
        (5/5)

        Our favorite way to make meatballs subs is to take a loaf of Italian bread from the grocery store, slice it down the middle (horizontally), and make garlic bread with it in the oven on a sheet pan.
        We then use put sliced provolone or sliced mozzarella on the bottom inside of the bottom half of the bread (so it doesn’t get soggy from sauce,) then add leftover meatballs with some leftover marinara and some more mozzarella or provolone. We then broil it quickly to melt the cheese, then top with the other half of the bread. They are amaaaazing!

        Reply
    2. Kathryn

      If I don’t have fresh, Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, I add approximately 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of dried parsley

      Reply
  9. Mary
    (5/5)

    Just made these meatballs and they are very good, with good texture and a very nice flavor. I lined a half sheet pan with foil which I gave a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Used a small scoop, rolled the meatballs by hand to keep them together, then put the meatballs on the pan and gave everything another light drizzle. I think next time I’ll skip the foil because the little browned bits on the foil are very tasty. I’d like to scrape them up and add them to the sauce. These needed a bit more salt than the recipe called for, probably because I had 1 1/3 # of ground sirloin, not the 1# called for. I had to taste these to see how they turned out. Six meatballs later…I can confirm that they’re delicious!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for the detailed feedback and your five star review, Mary. I love the mention of the browned bits, too. Such good flavor there!

      Reply
  10. Kelly

    If making ahead and then reheating with sauce how long do you “cook” for? Or can I just use the warm setting? Trying to reheat next day for build your own party sliders.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Kelly, After baking, you don’t need to cook the meatballs further. The warm setting is perfect – build your own party sliders will be so much fun!

      Reply