Baked Meatballs made with tender ground beef and seasonings, and smothered in savory gravy. Pair it with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or vegetables for a tasty, family-friendly meal.
Although I feel as though I don’t cook with it often enough, ground beef is one of the easiest meats to work with and to shape into whatever kinda meat shape you’re feeling. Hamburgers, meatloaf, tacos, pasta dishes, lettuce wraps, you name it, ground beef can do it. However, when I cook with ground beef, I like to spice it up a little. It’s kinda like chicken in that you can give it lots of different flavorings and the beef will be able to handle it.
One of my favorite ways to use up ground beef is to make Italian meatballs. Mix together the ground beef with some spices, breadcrumbs, and some egg as a binder and a few minutes in the oven later, you have yourself a baked meatball your Italian grandmother would be proud of. Or any grandmother, really!
Here’s How You Make it
- Ground Beef – I use ground beef with a little bit of fat in it to keep it moist as it cooks. Making meatballs with very lean meat can end up dry. You could also use ground pork, Italian sausage or a mixture of two or three.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – I love Panko breadcrumbs because they are slightly bigger and toastier than a typical breadcrumb. But if you don’t have Panko, you could substitute regular breadcrumbs or those with Italian seasoning already in them.
- Eggs – Any kind of large eggs will do just fine. They’ll act as a binder in the meatballs, keeping them together as they bake.
- Salt – Any kind of fine salt you have is great here.
- Cracked Black Pepper –Use freshly ground pepper if you have it but if not, you can use any kind of ground pepper. Use it sparingly to taste.
- Garlic Powder – I like to use a name-brand garlic powder, but any kind will do.
- Onion Powder –The same goes for onion powder, use a well-known brand if you have it.
- Red Pepper Flakes – Totally optional if you like a little bit of spicy kick in your meatballs.
- Marinara Sauce or Gravy –I just love these meatballs in a little bit of spaghetti sauce or gravy to finish them. Other ways you could finish them would be to doctor up some tomato sauce or add mozzarella cheese over the top during the last 5 minutes of baking.
Step By Step Directions
Baked meatballs in sauce, I love you so. And you can love to dine on them too, even sooner than you think in just 5 easy steps.
- First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a large baking sheet or casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Second, combine the beef, panko, eggs, and spices in a large bowl. Stir together with a large spatula, then follow up with a good mix with clean hands until all the beef and spices are incorporated.
- Third, use a ¼ cup cookie scoop or measuring cup to portion out the meatballs themselves. Roll each into a tight ball and place on your baking sheet or casserole dish about 2 inches apart.
- Fourth, put those puppies in the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
- Fifth, and finally, take them out and serve over mashed potatoes or pasta with your favorite marinara sauce or easy beef brown gravy.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- I make my meatballs on the larger side, so a serving of 3-4 can be very filling when paired with a side like potatoes or pasta. But feel free to roll these up in whatever size meatballs you prefer. If they are a lot smaller, though, keep an eye on them as they cook as they will cook faster than larger meatballs.
- Want to make a big batch and freeze some for later? You can do this before or after they are baked. I like to put the meatballs on a sheet pan to freeze first, then transfer them to a resealable bag or airtight, freezer-safe container. This way, they don’t stick and mush together.
- Feeding a small group? You can very easily half this recipe for a smaller batch, using only 1 pound of ground beef.
- To really highlight the Italian flavors of these meatballs, consider adding a tablespoon of Italian seasoning to the mix.
- Want to make these meatballs with more than just ground beef? You could also use only 1 pound of ground beef plus a pound of ground Italian sausage or ground pork.
- The gravy I cover the meatballs with in this recipe is my EASY BEEF BROTH BROWN GRAVY and is incredibly simple but has fantastic flavor. If you’re going to try it yourself, add a 1/2 cup sour cream to the gravy recipe by stirring it in before you bring it to a boil so that the sour cream doesn’t curdle, then continue to follow the recipe as written.
- Alternatively, you can make the meatballs as directed (plus some Italian seasoning) and then put them on top of cooked pasta with your favorite spaghetti sauce on top. To make this version even more delicious, top that spaghetti sauce with mozzarella cheese!
- Another way to cook these meatballs is to first brown them in a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat, then pour a can or two of your favorite tomato sauce mixed with Italian seasonings on top and finish cooking them on the stovetop right there in the doctored up tomato sauce.
How do I Keep Meatballs from Sticking to my Hands
If you, like me, end up more often than not with loads of the meatball mixture sticking to your hands rather than the balls you’re trying to roll, try greasing your hands with a little olive oil before digging in, scooping, and shaping the meatballs together.
How Long does it take to Brown Meatballs in the Oven?
Cooking meatballs in the oven should only take about 25 minutes at about 400 degrees. You could also cook them at 450 for 20 minutes if you are in a hurry.
If you like them a little brown and crispy on the outsides before baking them, you can pan-sear them first before popping them in the oven, or turn them 1-2 times while they are baking.
Can you use Parchment Paper to Bake Meatballs
If you want less mess, you can line your baking sheet or casserole dish with parchment paper first. The meatballs won’t stick to the baking sheet and you’ll be able to pull it right off when they’re done baking, making clean up a cinch.
There’s no need to grease the parchment paper too unless you just really want to make sure nothing sticks!
Can you Freeze Meatballs?
Yes, you can freeze meatballs. In fact, in one of my notes below the instructions, I let you all know that this recipe makes a lot. Because of that, I like to freeze some of the leftovers. You can freeze the balls cooked or uncooked, I just recommend you do them in a single layer if you’re going to freeze uncooked balls, otherwise, they will freeze together into a big ball of mush.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Greek Meatballs
- Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Meatballs
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- French Onion Chicken
- Baked Chicken Meatballs
Did you make this Baked Meatballs recipe? GREAT! Please rate the recipe below!
Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - optional
- 1 25oz jar of marinara sauce - OR 1 batch of gravy, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a large baking sheet or a casserole dish.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, panko, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes (if using). Stir with a large spoon or spatula, then use clean hands to mix the ground beef until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Use a 1/4 cup cookie scoop (or a 1/4 cup measuring cup) to portion out the beef mixture. Roll each into a tight ball and place on prepared baking pan 2 inches apart.
- Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta with your favorite marinara sauce or my easy beef broth brown gravy (see note).