Recipe Baked Meatballs in Meatball Sauce

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Meatballs are found all over the world. From Chinese soups dotted with miniature pork meatballs to meaty Swedish meatballs bathed in sauce, nearly every culture has its own take on this dish. It’s no wonder too: meatballs are easy to make, can be flavored however you like, store and freeze well, and are easy to serve with any kind of starch.

This recipe for homemade meatballs in meatball sauce is inspired by the classic Italian-American dish, which comes in a rich tomato sauce. Italian meatballs are quite versatile when it comes to flavors and ingredients. But at the most basic level, meatball recipes contain at least one kind of minced meat, a binder, and flavorings.

In this recipe, I drew inspiration from classic ingredients that are native to Italy. The meatball base is minced beef. For a binder, I use whole eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs. The milk adds moisture to dry breadcrumbs, which acts as a natural glue to hold the meatballs together.

For flavor, I pack these meatballs and meatball sauce with savory garlic, onions, tomato, creamy Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings.

How to Make Meatballs

Even though meatballs and tomato sauce make a hearty and show-stopping dinner, this is really a quick and easy recipe to add to your weeknight menus all year long.
Here’s how to do it:

To make meatballs, simply combine all of the ingredients: beef mince, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands. At this step, be careful not to overmix the meat, as it can get tough. I like to use just my fingertips to delicately mix the flavoring agents into the ground meat without handling the tender beef too much.

Next, form your flavor-packed meatball mixture into evenly sized balls. Line them up on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and pop them in a hot oven until they’re cooked through.

How to Make Oven-Baked Meatballs at Home

There are several different ways you can cook meatballs, but I prefer to use the oven. The stovetop method can get messy! In the oven, you can simply line the meatballs up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Then bake them in a hot oven until the meatballs are cooked through, about 24 minutes total. You’ll want to turn the meatballs carefully halfway through cooking. This ensures that the meatballs brown evenly and maintain their round shape.
baked-meatballs-in-meatball-sauce

How to Make Homemade Tomato Meatball Sauce

The rich and flavorful tomato sauce is just as important as the meatballs in this recipe. To make a deeply flavorful sauce to bath your homemade meatballs and pasta, the key is to simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes to develop flavor. You can simply simmer the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove while the meatballs bake in the oven.

Can I Freeze Homemade Meatballs in Meatball Sauce?

These oven-baked meatballs in meatball sauce are an excellent make-ahead meal. You can use them as part of your weekly meal prep plan becaus they store well in the fridge or freezer.

To store the meatballs and sauce, let them cool, then transfer to an airtight container. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. In the fridge, they’ll be good for 3 to 5 days.

To defrost, simply let the meatballs and sauce thaw on the counter or in the fridge overnight before serving. Then reheat in a covered pot on the stove or in a baking dish in the oven.
I don’t recommend freezing pasta with the meatballs, as pasta does not defrost well. Instead, cook the pasta just before serving for the best flavor and texture.
baked-meatballs-in-meatball-sauce

Can I Double or Half this Recipe?

Yes! This versatile meatball recipe can easily be doubled or halved. Why not make a big double batch of meatballs and sauce and freeze them? Then on a busy weeknight, all you need to do is heat them up for a satisfying meal in minutes.

Likewise, you can easily cut all of the ingredients in half and make a half batch of meatballs and sauce to feed a smaller crowd. On a smaller scale, you can even serve these meatballs as a first course or appetizer for entertaining. Simply stick a toothpick into each meatball and there you have it: a tasty finger food that’s easy to pass around and won’t last long!

What Serve With Oven Baked Meatballs and Sauce

I love to spoon my homemade meatballs and creamy tomato sauce over springy pasta. Spaghetti is always a classic, but any noodle that you have on hand will work.
These meatballs will also be delicous paired with creamy polenta, rice, or even a thick slice of toasted crusty bread.

Baked Meatballs in Meatball Sauce

 
Easy, protein-packed and healthy Baked Meatballs in Meatball Sauce make a tasty weeknight Italian dinner.
 

INGREDIENTS

  • 750 g minced beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup cheese Parmesan
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 can tomato
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 basil leaves
  • A splash of vegetable oil
  • A bunch of parsley chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven at 200°C. Lightly grease an oven tray. Grab a large bowl and add 750 g of minced beef, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 a diced onion, 2-3 crushed garlic cloves, salt to taste, pepper to taste, a pinch of oregano and mix. Shape minced beef mixture into equal sized balls and add to the prepared tray. Bake for 12 minutes on each side.
  • Meanwhile, puree 1 can of tomatoes in a blender.
  • Heat a splash of oil in a pan. Add 1/2 a diced onion and cook for a few minutes. Then, pour in blended tomato and 1 tbsp tomato puree. Season with salt to taste, pepper to taste, a pinch of oregano, 1-2 tsp of Italian seasoning, 2 basil leaves and stir. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add the baked meatballs to the meatball sauce in the saucepan and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve!