Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (2024)

If you’ve been looking for the best homemade meatball recipe, you’ll love theseEasy Baked Meatballs. Made with ground meat, herbs, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs, this is a great meatball recipe for any occasion. To freeze meatballs, just pop them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months!

My Go-To Homemade Meatball Recipe

Do you have a go-to dish you make for company? I have a few, but the one I find myself making over and over again? Meatballs! And these easy oven baked meatballs are my all-time favorite homemade meatball recipe.

This is a great meatball recipe because:

  • They’re a TOTAL crowd-pleaser and the perfect recipe for large family gatherings.
  • You can easily double or triple the recipe, if needed.
  • You don’t need a food processor or any fancy kitchen equipment!
  • They’re super versatile: perfect for spaghetti and meatballs or for meatball subs or meatball sliders.
  • They taste INCREDIBLE, you’d never know they don’t have fresh garlic or fresh herbs in them!
  • You can keep them warm in a crockpot or slow cooker.
  • They pair great with marinara sauce or you can go crazy and cover them in bbq sauce, buffalo sauce, or cranberry sauce.
  • They freeze beautifully! You can freeze meatballs for up to 2 months.

Ingredients for Easy Meatballs

Now that you know how to make meatballs, let’s review the meatball ingredients:

  • Ground Meat:I suggest using the best variety you can afford! We use grass-fed ground beef from our farmers market. If you’d prefer using Italian sausage, check out my Italian sausage meatballs.
  • Eggs:Aka the binder that will hold the meatballs together! I suggest using large variety eggs.
  • Bread Crumbs:I prefer panko breadcrumbs or Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but any variety – including homemade – will work. Just keep in mind if you choose a flavored variety of bread crumbs, it will alter the flavor of these meatballs.
  • Spices:Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder add tons of flavor with minimal effort! If you want to use fresh herbs and fresh garlic, you can. I’d suggest using 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic and adding a tablespoon of minced fresh parsley and basil.
  • Cheese:Grated Parmesan cheese adds a pop of flavor! Asiago cheese would be a fine substitution if needed.
  • And Water:Water is a crucial ingredient in this homemade meatball recipe, so please don’t reduce it or be scared of it! It makes the meatballs moist without adding any calories.

Ingredients for Marinara Sauce

You don’t have to make my homemade marinara sauce, but if you choose to, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive Oil: No need to use the top-shelf fancy olive oil. I do suggest choosing Italian olive oil and a brand or flavor you enjoy. But at the end of the day, any olive oil will work!
  • Fresh Garlic: I don’t suggest subbing garlic powder for fresh garlic.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: I like using crushed tomatoes with basil best. Be sure not to sub diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. These won’t yield the texture we want for marinara sauce.
  • Seasonings: Salt, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar, and Italian seasoning give our homemade marinara sauce the perfect taste. If you don’t like any spice, you can omit the crushed red pepper flakes. The sugar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and I don’t suggest leaving it out.

How to bake Meatballs in the Oven

  • Cooking meatballs in the oven is a beautiful thing and simple by nature! So muchneater than frying meatballs – and much easier than frying multiple batches in a skillet.
  • With my oven baked method, you can make all the meatballs at once.You’ll simply roll the meat mixture into small balls, place them on the baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes.
  • Once you finish baking them, toss them in your sauce of choice and they’re ready to devour.

This is definitely the best way to make meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs!

How to Roll Meatballs

  • If you find the homemade ground meat mixture too sticky to roll, grease your hands with a little olive oil!
  • Use a small or medium ice cream scoop to help you create perfectly round and evenly sized meatballs!
  • Use your hands to gently smooth and roll the meat into a round meatball. Repeat with all ground meat mixture!

What to serve with Meatballs

  • Pasta! I can’t think of a more iconic pairing than spaghetti and meatballs!
  • Spaghetti Squash! A lower calorie, but still delicious, alternative to pasta. Learnhow to roast spaghetti squash!
  • A slice oftomato pieorpizza!
  • Lasagna! My family adores homemade lasagna with a few meatballs on the side. YUM.
  • Hoagie rolls, extra spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese, and provolone cheese! Place all of these ingredients on the table and allow your guests to make their own meatballs sandwiches. So fun and so easy! Or check out myItalian Meatball Sub Sandwichesfor more inspiration.
  • And finally, for a lighter meal, you could serve these quick and easy meatballs with a simple salad and a fewhomemade garlic knotsor a piece ofrosemary focaccia.

What are the Best Meats for Meatballs? Can I use Ground Turkey?

So here’s the deal: fortender, juicy, and flavorful meatballs, you should choose fatty meat.Because fat equals flavor!A popular meat choice is 80/20 ground beef, and for a good reason. This variety is easy to find, relatively cheap, and produces juicy meatballs.

Ground turkey – or even ground chicken – can work, but they don’t have as much fat as beef, so the meatballs will be a bit drier. If you’re feeling creative, you can also combine meat varieties. We often use 50/50 ground pork and ground beef.

Can I make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs?

I have never made these meatballs without bread, so I cannot say for sure!However many readers have told me that crushed cracker crumbs or finely ground rolled oats can work as substitutes. And gluten-free bread crumbs are also a good alternative. As always, I suggest experimenting at your own risk 😉

Should Meatballs be Pink in the Center?

  • If you know that your meatballs are made from 100% ground beef, a slight touch of pink can be acceptable.
  • But generally it’s not a great idea to eat pink meatballs. And the internal temperature should ALWAYS be 160 degrees (F) or above.
  • Never consume undercooked meatballs, especially ones made with pork, chicken, or ground turkey.

How to Store Cooked Meatballs

  • Allow the cooked meatballs to cool fully before putting them in the fridge. To help speed up the cooling process, you can remove the cooked meatballs from the baking pan and place them in shallow containers.
  • Transfer the cooled meatballs into airtight containers and ensure that you fully seal the lids. Wrap the containers with aluminum foil, then place them in the fridge.
  • Store cooked meatballs in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully before use!

How to Freeze Meatballs

  • You can freeze cooked or uncooked meatballs.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange the meatballs side by side on the prepared sheet. They should not be touching.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until the meatballs are solid. This will take about 1 to 2 hours.
  • Once the meatballs freeze solid, transfer them into a freezer bag. I suggest labeling the bag with the date and with what’s inside, so you don’t forget. Then place the freezer bag back into the freezer.
  • The meatballs will keep, stored in the freezer, for 2 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then cook as directed. Or reheat in your favorite sauce.

How many Meatballs per person?

  • This completely depends on the size of the meatballs… and the appetites of those eating them. But a good rule of thumb is 4 to 5 meatballs per person.
  • When we have large parties (like Super bowl or 4th of July), I triple this meatball recipe so I know there’s plenty! Better to have leftovers than not enough. And you can always freeze any extra meatballs for up to 2 months.

Can I put Meatballs in a Crockpot?

  • Yes, you can put these meatballs in a crockpot, but please fully cook them first. Otherwise they will fall apart.
  • Once you fully cook the meatballs, you can place them in the slow cooker, add the sauce, and keep them warm on the lowest setting. I suggest doubling the sauce if you’ll have them in the crockpot for more than an hour.
  • I do not suggest putting these meatballs in an instant pot.

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Easy Baked Meatballs

Ashley Manila

If you’ve been looking for a simple recipe for Easy Baked Meatballs, you’ll love this recipe! Made with ground beef, Parmesan cheese, plenty of spices, eggs, breadcrumbs, and water. Once you make meatballs in the oven, you’ll never want to make them another way!

4.99 from 56 votes


Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 30 minutes mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Servings 36 meatballs (3 dozen)


For the Easy Baked Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (less if you prefer, but meat loves salt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

For the Easy Marinara Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Extra Parmesan cheese, for serving


For the Easy Baked Meatballs:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  • In a large bowl combine ground meat, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, egg, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing with your hands until everything is just combined. Don’t over mix here or it’ll make the meatballs tough. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape when rolled into meatballs.

  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop about one tablespoon of meat into your palms and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all of the meat.

  • Place the baking sheet in the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked though.

  • While the meatballs bake, make your marinara!

For the Easy Marinara Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for one minute, or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and seasoning and stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

  • When meatballs are done cooking, add them to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve!


Tried it and loved it?Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram @Bakerbynature and by using the hashtag #BakerByNature


Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (2024)
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