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Italian-Style Meatballs

Here’s a great classic recipe for Italian-Style Meatballs that my husband has really perfected. These moist, tender meatballs are a savory combination of ground beef and pork (plus the option to include ground veal for added flavor and tenderness if you can find it at your grocer or butcher), and they are perfectly seasoned with onions, garlic, parmesan cheese and other herbs and seasonings.

We’re also sharing our trick to making these meatballs so tender and moist: slices of white bread soaked in milk are used to help bind the meat together, rather than dry bread crumbs which we’ve seen used in so many other Italian-style meatball recipes.

Italian Meatballs

This recipe makes a generous amount of meatballs so you’ll have lots of options for how to use them – and they freeze quite well!  Whether you are making spaghetti and meatballs with your favorite tomato sauce, or a classic Italian Meatball Soup, or eating them as is, this is a great go-to meatball recipe for you to have in your recipe collection.

Italian-Style Meatballs
Serves: 28 meatballs (approximately 2½ ounces each)
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (not sausage meat)
  • ½ pound ground veal (if you can’t get ground veal, increase beef to 2 pounds)
  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • ¾ cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup finely minced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced or put through a garlic press
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients to a large bowl (except olive oil). Mush up bread with your hands and add to beef mixture. Gently work the mixture to combine ingredients but do not over mix.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out meatballs to about 2 ½ ounces each (would roughly fit into a ¼ cup measuring cup). However you can make them any size you want, just adjust cooking times
  4. Keep wetting your hands and roll out the meatballs into a round shape. Place in the refrigerator to firm up if the mixture gets too warm. They will keep their shape better when cooking if not too soft.
  5. In a large 12”–14” skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches of three, gently place the meatballs in the pan and cook a few minutes on each side (top, bottom, and all sides). The meatballs will flatten just a bit and not stay exactly round but as you keep turning and browning, they will form back into a round shape. Total cooking time for each batch should be about 10-12 minutes.
  6. At this point, the meatballs are not fully cooked but can be used in a variety of recipes. For spaghetti and meatballs, put the meatballs directly into a pot of your favorite tomato sauce and continue to cook in the sauce for another five to ten minutes. Or place them into hot stock for an Italian Meatball soup. Or finish them off in a 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 to eat as is. Whichever way you use them, they just need another five or ten minutes to finish cooking outside of the skillet that you browned them in.

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  1. Gloria Natale :

    I’d not use milk…I’d use water…I think milk makes hard meatballs…I always put my bread, crusts and all , under the faucet and squeeze excess water out…them beat bread w/ my eggs and cheese to break it up well….a great cook from Atlantic City taught me years ago to bake my meatballs…much easier…no hard outside ….I’ve been doing them in the over for 65 years.

  2. Read your comment and found your tips very helpful,as my meatballs are always hard and dry.Any other nice successful recipes maybe a easy cheese cake?
    Thank you once again.

  3. Martha, thank you so much for sharing your recipes! I can’t wait to try them. You are now one of my go-to sites for great ideas!
    Sincerely, Marlene

  4. Read the review and discovered the ideas very useful, since my personal meatballs are generally always difficult and dried out. Another great effective dishes maybe a uncomplicated parmesan cheese cake?

  5. Walter Christie :

    Hi Guys:
    Got a question. I have been trying to find a recipe for good “old fashion” German Potato Salad. An old German lady used to make it for us when I was a child (my brother Fred Flintstone love it also) and in the past 35 to 40 years I’ve been searching for the recipe, or a similar one. If I remember correctly, it contained (ready?) real bacon bits and their drippings. I was too young to remember what the green leave pieces were and I remember it was best served warm. My next question will address Wilted Lettuce…can’t wait for that one, eh?

  6. HI! I have a Sicilian husband and have been trying to find new recipes to cook for him, your home made speghetti sauce and pork and beef meatballs sound awesome and I look forward to trying them for him, I’m not sure if you guys have one posted but a recipe I found I really wanted to try for him was eggs in purgatory. Thank you guys for the recipes! Makes me happy to see families still cooking at home instead of always going out.

    • Hi – We don’t have a recipe for eggs in purgatory – but it sounds delicious! I hope you enjoy the recipes and thank you so much for taking the time to write to us! (We love sharing our recipes!) 🙂

  7. thank you for sharing