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overhead head shot of spaghetti meatballs in pan surrounded by forks, fresh basil and garlic bread
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5 from 5 votes

Homemade Meatballs

A few incredibly simple but crucial steps to making soft & juicy homemade meatballs. Once you try this recipe you'll never make them any other way! (makes approx 20 meatballs)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 622kcal
Cost: £4 / $5


  • Large Deep Pan (combining sauce and meatballs)
  • Pot (for spaghetti)
  • Baking Tray (to cook meatballs)
  • Large Mixing Bowl (to make meatballs)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Wooden Spoon & Tongs
  • Box Grater



  • 9oz / 250g Ground Beef (15%+ fat)
  • 9oz / 250g Ground Pork (15%+ fat)
  • 2 thin slices Plain White Bread, sliced into small cubes (crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup / 60ml Milk (whole, skimmed, semi-skimmed)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup / 35g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 medium White Onion, grated
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced (or finely grated)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


  • 1X 14oz/400g can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1x 14oz/400g carton Tomato Passata (Pureed Tomatoes in US)
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Red Wine
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, finely diced
  • 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

To Serve

  • 12.3oz / 350g Spaghetti
  • extra Parmesan
  • extra Basil Leaves


  • Begin by combining your Bread, Milk, Worcestershire Sauce, Garlic and Onion in a suitably sized bowl and allow to soak for a few minutes.
  • Add in your Parsley, Parmesan, Egg, Oregano, Salt and Pepper and stir until combined. Add in your Pork and Beef and combine with your hands. Don't overwork the meat, only combine until all the ingredients are evenly spread.
  • Spray or lightly coat an oven tray with Oil, take a tbsp of each mixture and evenly distribute across the tray. Wet your hands and roll each dollop into balls.
  • Broil under the grill on high for around 6-10 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Flip once half way and shake a couple of times to ensure an even coverage.
  • In a suitably sized pot or pan, brown of your Onions and Garlic in a drizzle of Olive Oil, then add your Wine and simmer for a few minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Stir in your Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Passata, Basil, Parsley, Salt & Pepper. 
  • Add in your Meatballs and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens and the Meatballs are piping hot through the centre. (15-20mins)
  • Meanwhile, pop your Spaghetti in salted boiling water and cook according the packet instruction. Drain when finished.
  • Serve by mixing in your Spaghetti or plonking the Meatballs on top. Either way, sprinkle some extra Parmesan and Basil to serve!



a) Meat Fat - You don't want to use lean meat for this recipe. Using non-lean meat will help lubricate the meat and keep the meatballs from drying out. I usually use 20% fat of both meats.
b) Bread - I usually use plain white bread, but feel free to use other types as preferred. However I would stay away from seeded/wholegrain types of bread as the seeds don't blend well in the meatballs.
c) Seasoning the Meatballs - I find that 3/4 tsp of Salt works perfectly, however every palette is different. What I always recommend when making sausages, burgers, meatballs etc is to fry up a tiny bit of your mixture before shaping them. That way your can tweak the seasoning before it's too late!
d) Broiling - You don't need to cook the meatballs all the way through, they will finish cooking in the sauce. This is just to ensure they brown on the outside. Also, if you are struggling the shape the balls, a short stint (no longer than 10mins) in the freezer should help firm up the meat.
e) Can I fry the meatballs instead? - Sure! Just heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and fry for 4-5mins or until golden, shaking frequently. Again, just focus on getting colour and don't worry about being cooked right through.
f) Can I Make Meatballs in Advance? - Yep! You can either roll them and pop in a large casserole dish with cling film on top and store in the fridge (up to 24hours). Or you can cook them (with or without sauce) and store in an airtight container in the fridge (3-4days). If you're doing this I recommend cooking the meatballs right through, just so you're not storing meatballs that are half raw/half cooked. 
g) Can you Freeze Meatballs? - Yep! You can either freeze them before cooking (easiest way is to spread out on tray and freeze then transfer to zip lock bag or container). Thaw in fridge and then cook. Or you can freeze cooked meatballs (just cool and put straight in zip lock bag or container) and just cook straight from frozen in the sauce until piping hot through the centre. Both store for up to 1 month.
h) Calories - Based on 20% fat meat, whole milk, 15g extra parmesan to sprinkle and 1 tbsp of olive oil to fry, divided by 4 people.


Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.56g | Protein: 46.68g | Fat: 31.27g | Saturated Fat: 31.27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14.77g | Trans Fat: 0.63g | Cholesterol: 273mg | Sodium: 430mg | Potassium: 990mg | Fiber: 8.8g | Sugar: 7.87g | Vitamin A: 3700IU | Vitamin C: 36.3mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 6.7mg