Italian Classic Beef Meatballs. Round, tender, juicy, not dried out and packed with flavor. Typically served over pasta in sauces and sub sandwiches or served on platters for appetizers, meatballs are everyones friend. Today let me show you how to make classic Italian Beef Meatballs, what goes in them and how versatile they are for any meal!
Classic Beef Meatballs
While I have several meatball recipes already here on the site I figured it best to start at the beginning and show you How to Make Classic Beef Meatballs.
These Italian Beef Meatballs use ground beef, are light in breadcrumbs, get added fat from ricotta cheese and are seasoned beautifully with red pepper flakes and ground fennel.
I don’t go the bread soaked in milk route for these as the moistness coming from the ricotta is good, the cheese flavor doesn’t overpower, and they keep their shape well.
How to make meatballs with ground beef?
In a large bowl add the ground beef, eggs, ricotta, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs and seasonings. Mix thoroughly by hand.
By hand or scoop, make 24 to 28 meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Stack them tightly in the baking dish so all sides are touching.
Roast for 20 minutes (internal temp should be 165°F).
While roasting heat your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy).
After the 20 minutes pour spaghetti sauce evenly over meatballs and eat or simmer in sauce (optional) another 15 minutes.
There is no wrong way to cook these. Many roast, some pan fry others braise them in a sauce.
How long do your cook meatballs?
I prefer to roll them, fit them snug in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes in a 450°F oven (internal temp should be 165°F). I serve them up right from roasting with sauce poured over OR you can simmer them in the sauce and roast 15 minutes longer (optional).
This beef meatball recipe is perfect for any meatball sandwich, covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Piled high atop al dente spaghetti, napped with your favorite sauce (or gravy) depending on where you’re at. I believe calling it gravy elsewhere alludes to meat in the sauce though.
For these meatballs you can use my Spaghetti Sauce (Marinara Sauce) or my favorite, Arrabbiata Sauce. It’s a wonderfully rich, zesty and spicy tomato sauce made from crushed tomatoes, red wine, garlic and red pepper flakes that is slowly simmered with herbs and onion. My Pesto Alfredo is great for those who do not like a tomato based sauce.
For other Italian meals, try my Classic Chicken Meatballs, Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce, Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach, or this Cheese Crusted Baked Ziti. For more meatball recipes, search the site and keep your eyes peeled for more in the series once a month. Enjoy!
Watch how to make Italian Beef Meatballs below!
How to Make Italian Classic Beef Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground beef (See Note 1)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup basil chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 32 oz spaghetti sauce (See Note 2)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat bottom of a 13x9" roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, set aside.
- In a large bowl add the ground beef, eggs, ricotta, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs and seasonings. Mix thoroughly by hand.
- By hand or scoop, make 24 to 28 meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Stack them tightly in the baking dish so all sides are touching.
- Roast for 20 minutes (internal temp should be 165°F). While roasting heat your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy). OPTIONAL: Feel free to simmer cooked meatballs in your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy) or serve immediately with sauce spooned over your favorite pasta or in a sub sandwich.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.