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Easy Baked Meatballs (Plus Meatball Subs!)

These Easy Baked Meatballs are tender, juicy, and full of incredible flavor – and there’s NO FRYING! Make them with your favorite ground meat and use them in all your favorite recipes (mine is Meatball Subs – recipe included)!

I love, love, love a good meatball! To me, meatballs are one of those things where, when they’re good, they’re totally awesome, but when they’re bad, they’re just…bad.

These meatballs, my friends, are good – really, really good – and they’re super quick and easy to make!

I make meatballs often, but I haven’t fried a meatball in years – and I haven’t missed it one bit. For me, baking meatballs is definitely the way to go. It’s quicker, cleaner, and there’s absolutely no sacrifice in the flavor of the meatballs.

Honestly, frying meatballs kind of stinks. It makes a splattering, greasy mess. If you’re making any quantity of more than a few meatballs, you’ll have to do it in batches and man the stove for quite a while. Sometimes the meatballs break apart when you try to turn them.

Then there’s the clean-up. Um…No, thanks.

When you bake the meatballs, on the other hand, you just roll them, put them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (easy clean-up!), pop them in the oven, walk away and go do other stuff for about 15 minutes, and then come back to awesomely cooked meatballs!

AND there’s a bonus…No frying means no oil, which means less calories!

plate of baked meatballs

You can use your favorite ground meat for these meatballs – beef, pork, meatloaf mix (usually a combo of beef, pork, and veal), turkey, or even chicken.

There is one thing to remember, though: Fat equals flavor and juiciness, so if you don’t want a dry meatball, stick with ground meat that has a fat content in the range of about 10 to 20%. I like to stick as close to 20% as I can.

My favorite meatball is actually a turkey meatball – which is what I used for the meatballs you see in the photos today. I can usually find an 85/15 version of ground turkey, and the meatballs have such a great texture, and they stay nice and juicy. I have used 93/7 ground turkey when that’s all I could find – a little drier meatball, but still really good!

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Ground meat with 10-20% fat content (beef, pork, meatloaf mix, turkey, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Egg
  • Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE EASY BAKED MEATBALLS:

three images showing steps to make easy baked meatballs
three images showing steps to make easy baked meatballs

To keep your meatballs tender and light, gently mix the meatball mixture just until everything is combined and evenly distributed. Overworking the meat is one of the main reasons why meatballs can become tough and hard!

I find that the best way to mix everything together is to just get in there with clean hands. You have to get them dirty anyway to roll the meatballs, so why not? Just make sure you wash them really good when you’re done and before you go touching other stuff (plastic disposable food prep gloves are also an option).

Overcooking the meatballs will also make them tough and dry. Cook them just until they reach the proper internal temperature for whatever meat you are cooking. According to foodsafety.gov, the minimum safe cooking temperature for ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb is 160°F. For ground turkey and chicken, it’s 165°F.

meatball cut in half on top of a plate of meatballs

These Easy Baked Meatballs are excellent for meal prepping. Make a batch or two and freeze them so they are there waiting for you. Just thaw and use them in your favorite recipes.

Here’s mine…

HOW TO MAKE MEATBALL SUBS:

This makes enough for 4 meatball subs:

  • Place 16 meatballs in a medium saucepan with one jar of your favorite marinara sauce (try my Quick & Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!); heat through.
  • Lightly toast 4 sub rolls.
  • Place 4 meatballs on each sub roll with some sauce (not too much, as it could make the bread soggy).
  • Top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese (put on as little or as much as you like!).
  • Broil until the cheese is melted.
  • ENJOY!
three meatball subs

SOOOO GOOD!!!

In addition to meatball sandwiches, I also use these meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, pizza, and soup!

I hope you try this recipe for Easy Baked Meatballs (and Meatball Subs) and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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baked meatballs stacked in a white bowl

Easy Baked Meatballs

These Easy Baked Meatballs are tender, juicy, and full of incredible flavor – and there's NO FRYING! Make them with your favorite ground meat and use them in all your favorite recipes (mine is Meatball Subs – recipe included)!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 (4 meatballs each – recipe makes 16 meatballs total)
Calories: 360
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground meat with 10 to 20% fat content (beef, meatloaf mix, turkey, etc.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix (I use my hands) just until everything is combined and evenly distributed. Note: Don't over-work the meat mixture, as this can make the meatballs tough. If the mixture is too wet and won't nicely hold the shape of a meatball, add a little more breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more milk.
  • Roll into 16 balls, each about the size of a golf ball, and place on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or just until the meatballs are cooked through (minimum safe temperature for ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb is 160°F; for ground turkey and chicken, it's 165°F). Note: Overcooking the meatballs can make them dry and/or tough.
  • The meatballs are now ready to use in your favorite recipes!

Notes

  • For the most juicy, flavorful, tender meatballs, I recommend using ground meat that is as close to 20% fat content as you can get. Leaner meat can result in drier meatballs.
  • Calorie estimate shown is for the meatballs only using 80/20 ground beef. Estimated calories per serving using 85/15 ground turkey is 324.
 
TO MAKE 4 MEATBALL SUBS:
    • Place 16 meatballs in a medium saucepan with one jar of your favorite marinara sauce; heat through.
    • Lightly toast 4 sub rolls.
    • Place 4 meatballs on each sub roll with some sauce (not too much, as it could make the bread soggy).
    • Top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese (put on as little or as much as you like!).
    • Broil until the cheese is melted.
    • ENJOY!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
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