Italian Meatball Recipe

Although this Italian meatball recipe might not be the easiest and fastest pasta recipe out there, you got this. is here to help you make one of the best dishes out there!

Once you have made this Italian Meatball Recipe, you have enough experience to call yourself a kitchen hero! It’s all in the meat and the techniques!

We’ll teach you how to make the perfect Italian meatball recipe smothered in tomato sauce and herbs! This Italian meatball recipe can also be used for great hamburger patties, baked meatballs or even meatloaf recipes.

This Italian meatball recipe is made up out of 3 parts:

  1. We will discuss how to prepare the perfect meatball.
  2. We suggest using an upgraded tomato sauce and guiding you through this!
  3. We help you how to cook the meatballs to perfection in a tomato sauce.

And because the preparation of this Italian meatball recipe is a rather time consuming (90min) you might want to make this for special occasions or keep for yourself.

Italian Meatball Recipe

Techniques you’ll learn with this recipe

  • Get a correct meatball consistency: beat, roll, beat, roll technique
  • How to slow cook an tomato-sauce infused tender meatball
  • How to easily upgrade a tomato sauce that is unheard off

With the recipe you want to invest

  • About 90 minutes in the kitchen to prepare
  • About 60 minutes slow cooking the meatballs in tomato sauce
  • About $20 for a 6 person meal

Italian Meatball Recipe step-by-step

Italian Meatball Recipe – Ingredients

Italian Meatball Recipe ingredients

Ingredient How much Imperial How much Metric
Oil 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Ground beef 17 ounces 500 grams
White bread About 4 slices About 4 slices
Milk (just a little bit) 1oz 25ml
Egg 1 egg 1 egg
Ketchup 4 tablespoons 4 tablespoons
Onions 3 big onions 3 big onions
Garlic 5 cloves 5 cloves
Grated cheese 10 ounces 300 grams
Dried oregano 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper 2 teaspoons 2 teaspoons

Italian Meatball Recipe Sauce ingredients

Ingredient How much Metric How much Imperial
Oil 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons
Tomato Pasta Sauce 70 ounces 2 liter
Garlic 10 cloves 10 cloves
Onion 1 big onion 1 big onion
Anchovy 1-2 ounces 50 grams
Olives 4 ounces 100 grams
Capers 1-2 ounces 50 grams
Sundried tomatoes 4 ounces 100 grams
Oregano Big Tablespoon Big tablespoon
Sugar (brown if possible) 1 Tablespoon 1 Tablespoon

* don’t worry about a fishy taste. The anchovy gives the saltiness to the sauce. If you don’t like anchovies, change it to 7oz or 200gram of bacon

Slow cook the meatballs in the tomato sauce

So, this is the easy part. You have made your meatballs and you have upgraded you tomato sauce. Now we will slow cook the meatball in the tomato sauce. This will bring all part of this Italian meatball recipe come together.

  1. Add the meatballs 1 by 1 gently into the sauce. You might want to use a spoon.
  2. Once all the meatballs are in, dont stir. This may damage the meatballs.
  3. Keep the heat low. We are slow cooking, the lower the heat the more tender the meatballs will be
  4. Cook for about 60min at low temperature.
  5. Check if the meatballs are cooked. Just cut a meatball in half. If the meatball is not raw on the inside you’re okay!
  6. Unless you are cooking for a 10 people you can freeze the Italian meatballs for later! Just let it cool off and freeze them later. They will get better over time!

Italian Meatball Recipe Preparation

Preparation for the meatballs:

  • Cut 1 onion as small as possible. By small we mean really small!
  • Cut the garlic as small as possible.
  • Cut/tear the white bread as small as possible
  • Add the milk to the chopped pieces of white bread and stir a bit
  • Prepare a tray or large plate to put the meatballs on, preferable with some baking paper.
  • Wash your hands! We are working with raw meat, better clean those hands!

Preparation for the tomato sauce

  • Cut the onion as small as possible!
  • Chop the garlic as small as possible!
  • Cut the olives in half
  • Cut the sundried tomatoes in small pieces
  • Cut the anchovies in small pieces (don’t throw away the anchovies oil!)

Italian Meatball Recipe Cooking Instructions

  1. Put ground beef in a large bowl
  2. Add the ingredients
    1. The chopped onion
    2. The chopped garlic
    3. The white bread with milk
    4. The ketchup
    5. The grated cheese
    6. The dried spices such as oregano and thyme
    7. Add the salt and pepper
  3. Mix everything into one consistency. We are looking for a consistency that doesn’t stick too much and is a bit firm. A bit like clay.
    • If you think the meat is too moist, add some more bread
    • If you think the meat is too dry, add an egg or some more ketchup
  4. Now we will make Ping-Pong sized meatballs.
  5. Put a bit of meat in your hand and start rolling. You might want to use the beat roll, beat and roll again technique. Beat the meat a bit in your hand. Roll it into a ball. Beat it again in your hand. Roll again. Nice and firm balls!
  6. Continue to make all meatballs and put them on a plate.
  7. Let the meatballs rest a little in the fridge. This will stiffen the meatballs and let all flavors and ingredients to become friends! 30min will do also just fine!

Tomato Pasta Sauce Cooking Instructions

  1. Put all of the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion.
  2. Add all of the garlic and stir! It should start to smell really nice now!
  3. Add the olives and the sundries tomatoes.
  4. Put the heat on high and add the anchovy until it dissolves. Perhaps you need some more oil? Use the oil from the anchovies can!
  5. Add all of the tomato sauce and stir, stir, stir!
  6. Wait until the tomato sauce boils. When it boils put the heat on low.
  7. After 5min on low temperature add the oregano and let the sauce cook for 5 min more
  8. Add the sugar. This will take off some sharp edges and make all flavors come alive even more
  9. If you want, add some red wine for flavor too! Why not! And have a glass yourself!
Italian Meatball Recipe
Italian Meatball