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Italian-Style Meatballs - A Family Feast

Here’s a great, classic recipe for Italian-Style Meatballs that my husband Jack has really perfected over the years. In fact, we originally shared this recipe here on A Family Feast back in January 2013 – and in addition to updating the photos, Jack made some additional tweaks to the recipe before sharing it again today!

These moist, tender Italian-Style Meatballs are a savory combination of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal, and they are perfectly seasoned with onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese and other herbs and seasonings. (If you can’t find the veal ground, buy veal stew meat and process in a food processor or meat grinder. Veal is an important part of this recipe).

We’re also sharing our trick to making these Italian-Style 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-Style Meatballs - A Family Feast

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.

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Italian-Style Meatballs - A Family Feast

Italian-Style Meatballs

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 28 meatballs (approximately 2 1/2 ounces each)
  • Category: entree
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 3 ounces (in weight) Italian or French bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup finely minced onions
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh garlic finely minced
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (not sausage meat)
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Soak bread in milk in a large bowl.
  2. After the bread soaks for 4-5 minutes, add eggs and beat with the wet bread.
  3. Add onions, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Add the beef, pork and veal and gently work the mixture to combine the ingredients but do not over mix.
  5. 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.
  6. Wet 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.
  7. In a large 12”–14” skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  8. Working in two batches, gently place the meatballs in the pan and cook a few minutes on each side (top, bottom, and all sides), using a few soup spoons to roll the meatballs over as they cook. 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. (strain out oil between batches with a slotted spoon to get rid of any burned bits). Total cooking time for each batch should be about 10-12 minutes. Use a probe thermometer and remove from pan at 150 degrees F.
  9. The meatballs are fully cooked and 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.
  10. These meatballs freeze well. Freeze on a single layer in a dish or pan. Once frozen, place in zip lock bags and place back into the freezer.

Keywords: Italian-Style Meatballs

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A classic recipe for Italian-Style Meatballs - moist and delicious on their own or served with your favorite Italian sauce. A recipe everyone should have in their collection!

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  • Tom wrote:

    Looks like a wonderful Meatball Recipe. I prefer to bake meatballs vs frying, then I put them is sauce and let simmer. What would you recommend for baking time and temp? Also, love your meat sauce and marinara sauces and other recipes!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Tom. When I fry these, I roll them around so they stay round. When you bake them, they will bake up with a flat bottom. As long as you don’t care about that, I would say 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes then finish in your sauce.
      Good luck,

  • Kp wrote:

    I’ve followed 2-3 dozen meatball recipes and have never been satisfied, this one works for texture, taste and simplicity.
    Beats so many recipes hands down.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much KP!

  • Sandra Wheatley wrote:

    This recipe is very flavorful and a great consistency. The meatball is juicy. I did not have veal on hand so I used 1 pound of ground pork and 2 pounds of ground beef. I also added a little Romano cheese to the parmesan ( about 1/4 of my cheese was Romano. Thank you for another keeper!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Sandra. We’re so glad you enjoyed the meatballs!

  • Sylvia Sharenow wrote:

    Made these meatballs today. So wonderful. My only change to the recipe was that I gently sautéed the garlic and chopped onion and when it was brown added it to the meat mixture. A bit more flavor thx for posting this recipe

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Sylvia.

  • Ray Balchi wrote:

    Excellent recipe for meatballs. I used 4 lbs of meat and adjusted the recipe accordingly. Didn’t have ground veal so substituted ground turkey for the veal. I did add some Italian flavored breadcrumbs to the recipe, about 3/4 cup. They were amazing!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Ray!

  • Joanne wrote:

    Just wondering if you think meatballs can be baked in the oven instead of fried.

    • Jack wrote:

      They certainly can. Only drawback is that the shape may flatten out a bit. Other than that, should be good. I’d drizzle some olive oil over them before baking.
      Good luck Joanne.

  • Kathleen wrote:

    Can’t wait to try these. How many slices of bread is 3 ounces if I have a loaf of Italian Bread?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kathleen – Loaves of Italian bread vary in size which is why we listed the ounces rather than slices. It could be anywhere from 1 large slice to two or three smaller (without crusts).

  • Mildred dubrow wrote:

    I love these meatballs. I have a batch in the freezer right now.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Mildred! (We do too!) 🙂 So glad you enjoy the recipe and thanks for writing to us today.

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