I’m covering everything on how to make meatballs further below!
Read up some useful tips on how to prepare the best, soft, moist, juicy easy round meat balls from scratch at home or watch my short video further below.
I love all kinds of minced meat dishes but I can be rather picky. I hate to bite into a burger patty or a meatball and watch myself grind and chew on a dry tasteless uneven piece of sad cooked meat preparation.
You know, cooking is not always my favorite activity of the day but I LOVE to eat delicious food. In the spirit of good food, nothing beats a perfect homemade meatball.
Over the years, while mixing and trying different approaches, I got rather satisfied with the outcome of my meatball. I had a breakthrough after learning on how to handle the meat in the French pork Crépinette patties!
Paul gave a green light, and now it’s time to post my findings on how YOU can make perfect soft meatballs every time.
To prepare basic homemade meatballs with mince, you will need quality meat cut with a good amount of fats.
Fats are important for a juicy meatball. Lean meat results in dry boring meat. Pick an 80-20% or 70-30% ratio for the best result.
You can mince your own meat! In fact, that way you know what’s in it. You can do that with a meat mincer or if you have a kitchen aid machine, get the mincer/food grinder attachment.
For the meat pick beef and/or pork (see below in my tips why and how to combine). Lean poultry meat is a poor choice because it turns out dry. You can use chicken or turkey meat but be warned.
For the binding agent, I use bread crumbs and an egg.
Bread soaked in milk wasn’t my winner because sometime the mass would turn out super wet and un-shapable. Bread crumbs are small and mix in well into the meat, creating these wet pockets between the meat. Combined with the egg, it holds well together!
For the seasoning, I choose, first and foremost, ground allspice seeds (aka Pimenta seeds). This is the ultimate secret ingredient of most sausages.
I also season the meatballs with salt and black pepper, besides rosemary (because I add pork, and rosemary compliments pork) and a splash of vinegar to support the other flavors.
How to prepare juicy meatballs? [SECRET TIPS]
If you want juicy moist meatballs (and I bet you want!) you need to do the following:
- pick only quality meat cuts. Check the labels for meat origin and if it’s grass fed and without antibiotics.
- Mix 50% Beef with 50% Pork meat mince. Pork contains more fats, so mixing beef with pork is the best meatball meat combination ever. The flavor is great, the meat turns juicy delicious!
- Add a binder such as an egg and bread crumbs or stale bread soaked in milk. The binders are mixed into the meatball mass and lock the moisture into each meatball during the cooking process.
- Do not overcook your meatballs. The longer you cook them the drier they get. Cook your meat through but don’t overcook it. I know it’s a fine balance.
How to bake Meatballs in the oven? [VIDEO]
To prepare baked meatballs in the oven, you will need to keep a baking tray and parchment paper ready.
Prepare your meat mince with all the ingredients mixed together in a large bowl. Then shape all the meat into same-sized round balls, so that they cook all evenly in the oven.
The balls are then placed on the baking paper next to each other in a row. They are then baked for about 15 minutes or up to 20 minutes depending on the meatball size and your oven.
How to cook meatballs on the stove top?
As an alternative, you can cook meatballs by searing them in a pan. The cooking time is almost the same.
The only difference between cooking a meatball in a pan and baking it in the oven is the amount of oil you will use and the fact that you need to keep an eye on your cooking balls.
The meat needs to be turned frequently or it won’t turn out to be a ball shape.
You typically require less oil to roast your meat in the oven.
Can I freeze meatballs?
Yes, you can freeze your homemade, already shaped, meatball! You can freeze the meat raw or cooked. I prefer raw because cooked frozen meatballs tend to lose taste and juiciness.
That’s how you freeze raw meatballs:
- Prepare the basic meatball mass.
- Shape the meatball into round balls.
- Place the meatballs side by side onto a tray or container
- Place the tray with the raw meat into the freezer
- Take out when just frozen so that the balls hold their shape and place into freezer bags or containers.
- Keep frozen up to 4-6 months max (for food safety and obvious quality reasons)!
How to defrost meatballs?
For raw meatballs simply:
- Defrost, let the meat thaw for 30-60 minutes on a defrosting tray (so that it’s quicker)
- Cook your meat as usual.
For cooked frozen meatballs, let the meat thaw to retain some of the food quality. You can do that in a microwave too.
Meatball serving suggestions and ideas:
- Asian meatball Recipe [Appetizer]
- Meatball Curry
- Swedish meatball with Grape Jelly [Appetizer] by bunsinmyoven.com
- Alfredo Meatball Subs by thesaltymarshmallow.com
- Classic Italian spaghetti marinara sauce and meatballs
Basic Meatball Recipe below:
- ¾ Pound (350 grams) Meat Mince (*see Notes)
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 6 Allspice seeds (aka Pimenta) ground
- 1 Teaspoon dried Rosemary
- ¼ cup (about 30 grams or 1 ounce) dry Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- 1 small Egg
- Place the minced meat into a large bowl.
- Season with salt, black pepper, ground allspice, and rosemary.
- Also add in the breadcrumbs, vinegar, and egg.
- Mx everything well with a spatula. You should have a smooth perfect meatball mass.
- Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit/180 Celsius.
- Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Shape the meatball mass into individual same-sized meatball. Don't make them to big or they will take longer to bake and might turn undercooked in the center and dry at the edges.
- Place the meatballs next to each other on the parchment paper.
- Take the baking tray with the balls into the oven and bake your meatballs for about 15-20 minutes or until done at 350 Fahrenheit/180 Celsius. The baking time depends on your oven and the size of your balls. The smaller the short the baking time.
- See serving suggestions in the post above the recipe card.
2. Nutrition details as per 1 serving = 1 meatball.
Meatball Recipe variations
How to make Italian Meatballs?
Italian meatballs are seasoned with herbs. Fresh herbs are always preferred but you can use dried herbs as well.
Try to mix some of the following herbs and seasoning into the basic meatball recipe:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Fennel (small quantity)
- Italian seasoning blend
How to make Swedish Meatballs?
Swedish meatballs can be served on a toothpick as a party appetizer or as a main course meal in a thick sour cream sauce, which is known as Köttbullar in Sweden.
The creamy bechamel style roux Swedish meatball sauce coats the balls. It’s a food delight!
How to make Meatballs without breadcrumbs or eggs?
I personally don’t like to prepare meatballs without breadcrumbs or egg because they tend to fall apart easily. Especially when you fry them in a pan!
Bread crumbs bind and hold the ball-shaped meat together. You can substitute bread crumbs with stale bread soaked in milk.
If you are into Gluten-free food, try gluten-free bread crumbs.
If you are into egg-less food, skip the egg but expect the meatball to slightly fall apart.
By using double ground, (almost mushy) ground mince, you can make perfect balls happen without bread crumbs or eggs. The meat becomes kind of sticky and pressing together can hold the meatballs very well.
However, I personally prefer to make my meatball mass with breadcrumbs and eggs because it locks in some of the moisture.
Dear Reader, How do you like to serve your meatballs?