Easy and Traditional Meatballs

This easy-to-follow recipe for traditional meatballs guarantees delicious results every time.

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When I get a meatball craving, there is a certain kind of meatball I have in mind: one that is completely tender all the way through, without any toughness whatsoever. They're not so enormous that you can't fit a few on your plate, but neither are they too small to be ignored. We could throw in some onions and herbs for good measure. Typical Fare Absolutely traditional

That's right, it's a recipe for meatballs like those. This is more than just a recipe; I'll show you how to do everything from mixing the meat (with your hands!) to from gathering the ingredients (to making the meatballs) to cooking them (to achieving the desired result) Today's dinner plans are set in stone. Do you

Since meatballs are a type of comfort food, I don't want to overcomplicate this explanation, but I will go over a few fundamentals.

It's up to you to choose the ground meat or meat blend. Meat mixtures that include both beef and pork are always my first choice. For variety, I've also used ground beef alone and pork by itself. You can also use ground pork, beef, buffalo, or veal.

When making meatballs, keep in mind that the juicier the meat, the more tender they will be. Because they contain less fat, meatballs made from turkey, chicken, or lean ground meat (or a combination of these) need to be cooked at a slightly lower temperature for a shorter period of time to prevent them from becoming tough.

Meatballs can be made extra tender after cooking by including a binder in the mix. Whether using fresh or dried breadcrumbs, we'll first soak them in milk until they're soggy, then add them to the meat as they're being mixed. In addition to binding the meat proteins together, this binder (also known as panade) helps add moisture to the meatballs. (Don't forget the eggs; they make a difference in tenderness as well. )

Panko, a piece of stale bread, or crushed saltine crackers can stand in for breadcrumbs in a pinch. Milk can be replaced with yogurt, buttermilk, or yogurt thinned with water.

Meatballs can be made tender by not overworking the meat; instead, mix the meat with the binder and other ingredients only until they are combined. For this step, I find that using my hands is the most effective and efficient method, as I am less likely to overwork the meat because I can feel when the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

However, I can see how the thought of squishing meat with your fingers might be off-putting. Use a stiff spatula or spoon if you'd like.

Finally, we'll go over the meatball cooking instructions. You can either roast them or simmer them in a sauce.

If you want to serve the meatballs without a sauce or put them in the freezer for later, roasting is the way to go.

Because the meatballs' exteriors caramelize in the oven, roasting them enhances their flavor. The meatballs can be cooked either quickly under the broiler for a browned, crispy exterior, or slowly in a hot oven. Below, I'll go over both of those choices.

Simmering: if you want to serve the meatballs with a sauce, you can cook them right in the sauce. The meatballs become the softest and most flavorful you've ever had, and the sauce deepens in flavor and richness as it slowly simmers.

Additional Suggestions for Meatballs:

With this easy-to-follow guide, you'll be able to make perfectly juicy and flavorful meatballs every time.

  • sugar-conscious
  • shellfish-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • low-carb
  • fish-free
  • alcohol-free
  • soy-free
  • peanut-free
Based on 6 servings, the price is per Daily Value (in %)
  • Calories 215
  • Fat 8.8 g (13 6%)
  • Saturated 4.3 g (21 5%)
  • Carbs 9.8 g (3 3%)
  • Fiber 0.8 g (3 3%)
  • Sugars 2.3 g
  • Protein 24.0 g (48 0%)
  • Sodium 331.2 mg (13 8%)
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup

    fresh parsley leaves that have been finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons
  • Cracked black pepper, just ground

  • 1 pound

    ground meat, which can be a combination of different kinds of meat or just one

  • 1/2 cup

    thinly sliced onion (or onion grated using a box grater with large holes)

  • 1 clove
  1. Meld the bread crumbs and milk together. Toss the breadcrumbs with the milk and mix well in a small bowl. Put aside while you get the rest of the ingredients ready for the meatballs. Once the milk is absorbed by the breadcrumbs, they will become mushy.

  2. Egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley should be whisked together. Break the egg up in a large bowl with a whisk. Then, whisk in the Parmesan, parsley, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Blend in the ground meat Mix the meat with the eggs. Be sure to use your hands to thoroughly incorporate the egg mixture into the ground meat.

  4. Toss in the onions and the breadcrumbs that have been soaked. Put in the rehydrated breadcrumbs, onions, and garlic. Use your fingers to thoroughly incorporate them into the meat. Don't knead the meat too much; instead, pinch it gently between your fingers.

  5. Roll the meat into little balls. Prepare a baking sheet with a rim. Take a heaping tablespoonful of the meat mixture and roll it gently between your hands to make meatballs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Form additional meatballs until all the meat is gone, spacing them evenly on the baking sheet.

  6. First, you could bake or broil the meatballs. If broiling, place the meatballs in the oven for 20–25 minutes; if roasting, place them in the oven at 400°F for 25–30 minutes. (Be very careful if you're making meatballs out of lean meat. When an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the meatballs are done cooking. Immediately serve

  7. The second option is to simmer the meatballs in their sauce. Toss as many meatballs as will fit into a pan with a simmering sauce for pasta. For the next 30–35 minutes, keep covered and at a low simmer. When an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165 degrees F, the meatballs are ready. Insist on instantaneous consumption

This recipe is easily multiplied for larger gatherings.

Meatballs, whether served on their own or with a sauce, can be kept fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days if stored in a covered container. You can reheat it in the microwave or a saucepan over low heat.

Meatballs can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to a day in advance. Lay them out in a casserole or on a baking sheet, but don't crowd them. Keep, covered and chilled, for up to a day.

Preparing Meatballs for Freezing: Steps 1 through 5 Make a flat layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. The meatballs can be frozen for up to a month after being transferred to a freezer safe container or freezer bag. (Meatballs have a longer storage time in the freezer but suffer more from freezer burn.) Simply put the frozen meatballs in the fridge the night before you plan to cook them, and they will be ready to go in the morning.

Meatballs can be frozen for later use by allowing them to cool completely, then placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing them until they are solid. Put in a freezer-safe container or bag and store for up to two months. Meatballs from the freezer can be thawed overnight in the fridge or reheated straight from the freezer. Reheat the meatballs for 10–15 minutes in a warm oven or in a sauce simmering on the stove.

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