Authentic Italian Meatballs

The BEST Authentic Italian Meatballs. Loaded with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and garlic. They melt in your mouth and are incredibly tender. Takes less than 30 minutes to make!

Looking for more Meatball Recipes? Try my Crockpot Italian Meatballs or my Italian Meatball Soup!

The Best Italian Meatballs | chefsavvy.com

I recently visited a restaurant that served the most amazing Homemade Italian meatballs. So good that as soon as they were gone we had to order more. They were loaded with Parmesan cheese and were slightly under baked. One thing came to my mind. I need to make these at home.

They took a little experimentation but I think I came pretty darn close. The meatballs turned out super tender, moist and loaded with Parmesan cheese.

The trick to these baked Italian meatballs is the buttermilk. It adds tons of moisture to the meatballs and helps bind everything together. I make my own buttermilk by combining milk + lemon juice and letting it sit for 5 minutes until curds start to form. As for the meat I use a blend of ground beef and ground pork. I always steer clear of the lean meat when I am making meatballs. I like to do 80 / 20 when making meatballs to ensure they have enough fat and will stay juicy and tender.

Ingredients

The full ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

  • Ground beef and ground pork: I have found that 50/50 ground beef and pork make the best meatball! You can always just use all ground beef or a combination of ground beef, sausage, veal or even bacon if you prefer!
  • Buttermilk: You can use store bought buttermilk if you have it. However making it at home is so easy! Simply combine milk and lemon juice and let sit until the mixture develops small curds.
  • Day old bread: You can use baguette, french bread, or Italian bread. Just make sure to cut off the crust.
  • Parmesan cheese: Makes the meatballs super cheesy and adds a nice saltiness to the meatballs.
  • Eggs: Help to bind the mixture together and also adds extra moisture to the meatballs.
  • Onions + garlic: Add so much flavor to the meatballs. You can’t make an authentic Italian meatball without adding garlic!

Meatballs broiled on a baking sheet | chefsavvy.com

How to make Italian Meatballs

  • Make homemade buttermilk: Combine milk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. You will see curds at the top.
  • Soak bread: Add bread to a small bowl and pour the buttermilk over the bread. Allow the bread to soak up all the milk and mix a little with your hands. Add the bread mixture to a large bowl.
  • Saute onions and garlic: Meanwhile add olive oil to a small skillet. Add in onion and sauté until tender about 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for one minute.
  • Mix up meatballs: Add onion and garlic to the bowl with the bread along with the ground beef, pork, cheese, eggs, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Combine the mixture using your hands just until combined. Try not to over work the meatballs. The mixture will be wet. Let stand for a couple of minutes before rolling.
  • Roll: Into 16 large meatballs. I make them the size of golf balls.
  • Brown meatballs: Drizzle a skillet with olive oil. Over high heat sear the meatballs on all sides to brown. About 1-2 minutes on each side. (If meatball sticks to the pan give it more time before flipping). Also be careful when flipping meatballs they are pretty fragile.
  • Bake: Place meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. They will be slightly undercooked on the inside but they will continue to cook as they come out of the oven. If this is an issue leave in the oven for longer (5 minutes) or simmer in tomato sauce for a few minutes.
  • Serve: The meatballs immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish.

How long to cook meatballs

These Authentic Italian meatballs get baked in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. They will be slightly undercooked on the inside but they will continue to cook as they come out of the oven. If this is an issue leave in the oven for longer (5 minutes) or simmer in tomato sauce for a few minutes.

Easy Italian Meatballs | chefsavvy.com

Tips for making The BEST Meatballs

  • Do not over mix: I combine the ingredients with my hands just until it’s combined. That’s it. When you portion the meatballs they tend to get a little sticky. I recommend wetting your hands with water before you start rolling out your meatballs.
  • Buy 80/20 beef: If you can find it 80/20 beef makes the best authentic meatballs. They turn out super juicy and tender.
  • Don’t over crowd the pan: When cooking the meatballs. This will cause them to steam and stick together. They will be also difficult to flip.
  • Let the meatball mixture sit for a couple of minutes before rolling. This makes it easier to roll.
  • I like to make my meatballs about the size of golf balls. Keep in mind they will shrink a bit while they cook.

Broiled beef meatballs on baking sheet | chefsavvy.com

What to serve with these Italian Meatballs

Serve the meatballs with your favorite tomato sauce, lots of shredded parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley or basil for garnish. I love serving the meatballs over a big pile of homemade spaghetti! They are also wonderful with raviolis or tortellini. Serve alongside a side salad and focaccia bread for dipping in the tomato sauce!

How to freeze meatballs?

This Italian meatball recipe freezes really well! After the meatballs have been broiled then baked allow them to cool then transfer to a freezer bag and remove as much air out as possible. If you serve these meatballs with tomato sauce I recommend freezing the meatballs and tomato sauce separately.

Meatballs in homemade tomato sauce

Here are more Easy Meatball Recipes to try!

Super Tender Italian Meatballs

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 meatballs
Super Tender Italian Meatballs. Loaded with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and garlic. They melt in your mouth and are incredibly tender. Takes less than 30 minutes to make!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups bread cubed (I used a day old baguette)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine milk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. You will see curds at the top.
  • Add bread to a small bowl and pour the buttermilk over the bread. Allow the bread to soak up all the milk and mix a little with your hands. Add the bread mixture to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile add olive oil to a small skillet. Add in onion and sauté until tender about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in garlic and sauté for one minute.
  • Add onion and garlic to the bowl with the bread along with the beef, pork, cheese, eggs, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Combine the mixture using your hands just until combined. Try not to over work the meatballs. The mixture will be wet. Let stand for a couple of minutes before rolling.
  • Roll out 16 meatballs. I make them the size of golf balls.
  • Drizzle a skillet with olive oil. Over high heat sear the meatballs on all sides to brown. About 1-2 minutes on each side. (If meatball sticks to the pan give it more time before flipping). Also be careful when flipping meatballs they are pretty fragile.
  • Place meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. They will be slightly undercooked on the inside but they will continue to cook as they come out of the oven. If this is an issue leave in the oven for longer (5 minutes) or simmer in tomato sauce for a few minutes.
  • Serve the meatballs immediately with your favorite tomato sauce and pasta.
Nutrition Facts
Super Tender Italian Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 163 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 171mg7%
Potassium 148mg4%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 121IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 97mg10%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Easy Weeknight Dinner, Ground Beef, Ground Pork, Italian Meatballs

 

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