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Easy Meatballs

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1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef

Easy Meatballs

Easy Meatballs is a wonderful flavorful recipe using Italian seasoning, onions, and garlic.

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Meatballs are easy to make. And this recipe is very popular, has lots of flavor, and can be made in the oven or in a skillet. This recipe for Easy Meatballs is one of my favorites.

When you make meatballs you have to keep food safety in mind. Ground beef has been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks. And there are often recalls for contamination. So pay attention to USDA recalls.

Then, be aware of what you are touching when you are working with ground beef. Way too often I see television chefs touch ground beef, then, without washing their hands, dip their fingers into a salt cellar, or grab a pepper mill, or open the refrigerator. Do not do this. When you have touched ground beef, if you want to handle anything else, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

And gloves don’t help. The gloves are contaminated as soon as they touch the raw meat. If you are using gloves to handle ground beef, take them off before you touch anything else.

Now that’s out of the way. Let’s get to the recipe.

You can flavor your meatballs anyway you’d like. This is a classic recipe that uses onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning. You can omit the onion, add more garlic, use oregano or basil or marjoram. Add jalapeños if you like that kind of thing. Add fennel seeds, or use onion and garlic powder instead of the real thing.

Use these meatballs in my recipes for Meatball Stew en Casserole, Pesto Rice with Meatballs, Baked Beans and Meatballs, or check out the collection in my Best Meatball Recipes.

How to make the best Easy Meatballs

  • The real key is to mix all of the other ingredients first, then add the meat. That way the meat is worked as little as possible and the meatballs are tender.
  • Choose a ground beef that is 75% or 80% lean. Any leaner and the meatballs will be dry.
  • Don’t work the mixture too much. A light touch is necessary.
  • Always cook meatballs to a final internal temperature of 160°F. And check with a food thermometer. No exceptions. You can’t tell doneness by checking juice color or the color of the meatballs.

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If you want to bake the meatballs, preheat the oven to 350°F.


In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, onion, and garlic. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Continue this repetition until the onions and garlic are tender. Remove to a large bowl.


Add the egg, milk, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and salt and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes.


Add the ground beef and mix gently but thoroughly with your hands just until combined. Wash your hands with soap and water.


Get out a jelly roll pan if you are baking the meatballs. Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch balls. Make them as close to the same size as you can. You can use a small ice cream scoop for most accuracy. Put the meatballs on the pan. Wash your hands again.


Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the meatballs register 160°F on a food thermometer. Remove the pan to a wire rack. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove the meatballs to the wire rack to cool.


If you want to cook the meatballs on the stovetop, put a large skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the meatballs in batches. Brown, carefully shaking the pan and moving the meatballs around with a spoon so they brown evenly, until they are 160°F. Don't move the meatballs until they release easily from the pan or they will stick and tear. Wash your hands often as you are working.


Meatballs freeze very well. Cool them completely, then freeze on parchment paper in a single layer. When frozen, put them into a hard sized freezer container, label, seal, and freeze up to three months. To thaw, let stand in the fridge overnight. In many of my recipes you can add them straight to the recipe frozen.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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