Best Meatball Recipes | The Modern Proper (2024)

When it comes to how to make meatballs, we’ve got all the tricks. We’ve made them so many times, in so many different ways, and we’re not here to keep up the meatball mystique. We’re here to spill the beans! We want everyone to be as meatball-happy as we are. So, what is the secret to good meatballs? Whether you’re making classic Italian beef meatballs or different meatballs, like harissa-seasoned baked meatballs or even whipping up a meatball sub, making the best meatballs is easy to do. We’ll share our top three tips to make sure you really know how to cook meatballs before you dive into these 18 meatball recipes:

  1. For the most tender meatballs ever, you want to be sure that you don’t overmix the meatball mixture. Whether it’s beef, chicken, turkey or even a vegetarian meatball recipe—yep, this meatball recipe round up includes one of those!—this simple rule will help ensure meatball making success!

  2. Relatedly, don’t use a food processor to mix the meatball mixture! Your hands are your best tools when it comes to making meatballs. You can have a much lighter touch if you just use your hands to gently mix the meat, and that’ll help you to not overmix.

  3. Wet your hands when rolling the meatballs. This is our #1 meatball making tip and it probably appears in every single meatball recipe we’ve ever shared because it’s just so basic and just so true. To make the meatball rolling process easy and fast, keep a little bowl of water next to you as you roll the meatballs and stop every few meatballs to wet your palms a bit. The water will keep the meat mixture from sticking to your hands and everything will be easier.

Now that you know just how to make the best meatballs, let’s get cooking! Here are our 18 best meatball recipes:

The Best Swedish Meatballs & More: Appetizers Made to Please

  • Swedish Meatballs (cover photo). These are quite simply the best Swedish meatball recipe ever. Gently warmed with spices and covered in a heavenly creamy gravy sauce, they're irresistible.
  • Mediterranean Meatballs with Tzatziki. Seasoned with classic Greek herbs, this easy beef meatball recipe is great as a party snack or appetizer with plenty of tzatziki on the side for dipping.
  • Chimichurri Meatballs. These easy chimichurri lamb and beef meatballs make a fun, dippable party appetizer that's always a hit!
  • Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. Buffalo chicken meatballs, served with a creamy, chunky blue cheese dip, are everything you love about buffalo chicken wings, minus the mess!

The Very Best Italian Meatball Recipes

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs. Tender Italian meatballs made with beef and pork sausage, simmered in rich tomato sauce—just like Grandma used to make—served over a big bowl of al dente pasta is just about as good a meal as we’ve ever made. The meatball sauce alone is worth it! Classic, comforting, perfect.

  • Italian Meatball Soup. This Italian meatball soup recipe is everything we love—it’s as easy as soup + meatballs! A tomato-y broth, noodles and some mini Italian pork meatballs make for a hearty supper everyone’s gonna love.

  • Meatball Sub Sandwich. We’re just going to go ahead and call this pork-and-beef meatball-loaded sandwich the best meatball sub recipe ever. Because it just IS.

  • Healthy Italian Wedding Soup. Nearly carb-less (hello Whole30 & keto people!), and totally gluten-free, our super-healthy Italian wedding soup is loaded with pork-and-chicken meatballs and is the kind of simple, soothing, easy comfort food that feeds both body and soul.

And the Best Meatball Recipe for a Busy Weekday is? A Sheet Pan Meatball Recipe, Of Course!

  • Freezer Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs with Broccoli. Honey-sweetened homemade teriyaki sauce drizzled over juicy, garlicky chicken meatballs and broccoli make for a freezer meal that deliciously redefines the whole genre.

  • Sheet Pan Harissa Meatballs and Cabbage. Many cuisines around the globe have some sort of meatball in their recipe catalogue—from Swedish meatballs to kofta to classic Italian beef meatballs—and this meatball recipes' inspiration is harissa, a North African chili paste that’s full of warm, smoky spices. YUM.

  • Baked Teriyaki Meatballs with Roasted Broccoli. These pork meatballs are sweet with a teriyaki glaze with a small kick of heat (fully adjustable for even your pickiest eater) served up with roasted broccoli.

Delicious, Easy Chicken and Turkey Meatball Recipes

  • Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce. TBH, this is one of our very favorite meatball recipes. Herby, garlicky turkey meatballs simmered in a creamy red curry meatball sauce are the “fusion” flavor bomb you didn’t know you needed.

  • Italian Baked Chicken Meatballs. Make-ahead and freeze, or dig in tonight—seasoned with thyme, fennel, parmesan and lots of fresh garlic, our Italian baked chicken meatball recipe is a healthy take on traditional Italian meatballs.

  • Chicken Meatball and Vegetable Soup. Nothing flashy here—just a super healthy, Whole30-approved chicken meatball soup with spinach and vegetables. There’s a time and a place for everything and sometimes, simple and comforting recipes are what we need.

  • Chicken Shawarma Meatballs. These tender, generously-spiced chicken meatballs are seasoned within an inch of their life. Plus, they’re ideal for freezing! Hellooooo make-ahead meals!

  • Teriyaki Meatballs. Slicked with homemade teriyaki sauce (worth the extra 5 minutes), these chicken meatballs are quick, easy, healthy, kid-friendly. Oh yeah, and you’ll love them, too.

Really Easy Meatball Recipes—Meatball Newbies, Start Here!

  • Baked Chicken Meatballs with Broccoli Pesto Pasta. With just five ingredients, these parmesan-loaded baked chicken meatballs are good any way you serve them. But, paired with a hearty roasted broccoli pesto meatball sauce, they make for a lovable feast.

  • Meatball Shakshuka. This easy meatball recipe is all about taking familiar techniques and basic ingredients and creating a wildly delicious, one-pan, weeknight dinner that’s so good it’ll make you re-think your whole entire life.

  • Vegetarian Meatballs. Meaty—with no meat at all—savory and oh-so-satisfying, these delicious, super-easy, lentil-based vegetarian Italian meatballs give regular beef meatballs a run for their money.

So, Which Meatball Recipe is your Fave?

Try them all and let us know! We’ve got our favorites, but we also truly love all of these meatball recipes so much. They’ve each got their time and place—beefy Italian meatballs for midwinter comfort, and spicy harissa meatballs for a springy co*cktail party, the list goes on and on. When you’re cooking these meatball recipes up, snap a few photos or even a video and share and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Best Meatball Recipes | The Modern Proper (2024)


What does Bobby Flay put in his meatballs? ›

  1. Deselect All.
  2. 2 tablespoons, plus 1 cup pure olive oil.
  3. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
  4. 2 large eggs.
  5. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.
  6. 1/3 pound ground chuck.
  7. 1/2 pound ground veal.
  8. 1/2 pound ground pork butt.

What is the secret of a tender meatball? ›

Egg and breadcrumbs are common mix-ins to add moisture and tenderness. Another binder option that people swear by is a panade, which is fresh or dry breadcrumbs that have been soaked in milk. “The soaked breadcrumbs help keep the proteins in the meat from shrinking,” as food writer Tara Holland explained in the Kitchn.

What's the difference between Italian meatballs and homestyle meatballs? ›

Homestyle meatballs are typically larger in size, often about the size of a golf ball or even bigger [2]. Italian-style meatballs can vary in size, ranging from golf ball-sized to baseball-sized, depending on the desired serving style [1].

Is it better to bake or pan cook meatballs? ›

Baking will result in meatballs with a crunchy exterior, though the caramelisation achieved from frying will be superior. Baked meatballs take the least amount of effort, as you'll only need to turn them once or twice throughout the cook and you can make a larger batch at once.

Is it better to bake meatballs at 350 or 400? ›

In an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, these meatballs should be fully cooked through and evenly browned in about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatball should read at least 165 degrees F.

What are great value meatballs made of? ›


What is the best binding agent for meatballs? ›

Egg acts as a binder for the ingredients, but you only need a small amount. One small egg will do for one pound of minced meat. Alternatively, if you're following an egg-free diet, you could soak fresh bread in milk, squeezing out any excess milk, to use as a binder.

Do meatballs get more tender the longer they cook in sauce? ›

As the collagen in the meat dissolves over time, it transforms into gelatin, which not only adds a silky texture to the sauce but also contributes to the overall richness and depth of flavor. The longer the simmer, the more tender and succulent the meatballs become.

What is the best binder for meatballs? ›

You can use eggs, breadcrumbs, grated or creamy cheeses (think ricotta or feta here), ground nuts, or a mixture of these ingredients to bind the balls and help them stay together while you cook them and as you eat them—no one wants a meatball that breaks apart all over the plate.

What are Sicilian meatballs made of? ›

Sicilian meatballs, on the other hand, are typically made from a combination of ground beef and ground pork, along with ingredients like garlic, onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, and sometimes even pine nuts and raisins. They are often served in a tomato sauce or a sweet and sour sauce made from vinegar and sugar.

What is a Swedish meatball made of? ›

Swedish Meatballs

The meatballs themselves are made with a combination of ground beef and pork, along with a touch of allspice and nutmeg. Onions and garlic add flavor and texture, and milk, egg, and breadcrumbs act as a binder. Finally, Parmesan cheese is a little “Cozy” touch that adds a subtle pop of flavor.

Why do Swedish meatballs taste different? ›

The Seasoning

While both varieties include ingredients such as grated onion and panade (milk-soaked bread) or bread crumbs, plus the usual salt and pepper, Swedish meatballs traditionally use spices like allspice, nutmeg, white pepper, and sometimes ground ginger as flavoring.

Should I fry my meatballs before putting in sauce? ›

You can brown the uncooked meatballs in a sauté pan before adding them to the sauce. You can brown them in the oven. Or you can skip browning altogether and put the raw meatballs straight into the sauce to cook.

Should you bake meatballs before putting in sauce? ›

Yes. You can fry or bake the meatballs before letting them simmer in the tomato sauce.

Why do you chill meatballs before baking? ›

This is especially important when working with pork, turkey and chicken, which are very wet when ground. Refrigerating gives the fat in the meat time to solidify, which helps maintain the shape. Chill your meatballs for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.

What is Bobby Flay's Bobby's sauce? ›

His fry sauce in particular has become a staple of Flay's, reflecting his signature style with a spicy twist. The best part about the recipe for Bobby Flay's fry sauce? It requires just three ingredients: mayonnaise, roasted red pepper puree, and adobo sauce.

What are the ingredients in plant chef meatballs? ›

INGREDIENTS: Rehydrated Textured Soya Protein (62%), Water, Onion Purée (8%), Rapeseed Oil, Soya Protein Concentrate (2%), Chickpea Flour, Yeast Extract, Stabiliser (Methyl Cellulose), Tomato Purée, Parsley, Garlic Purée, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Garlic Powder, Salt, Malted Barley Extract, Dextrose, Black Pepper, ...

What makes Bobby Flay so good? ›

Within the culinary world, Flay is well-known for his dynamic dishes that emphasize grilled everything, especially meats grilled with glazes, relishes and spicy sauces, all distinctly infused with the flavors and heat of the Southwest.

Is Bobby Flay a billionaire? ›

What is Bobby Flay's net worth in 2024? Bobby Flay's net worth in 2024 is estimated at $60 million. Flay's made his fortune not just through his Food Network stardom, but also through his ownership of restaurants and chains like Amalfi, Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Bobby's Burgers and Bobby's Burger Palace.


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