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Our Favorite Classic Meatballs

  • Author: Molly
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 25 meatballs (6-8 servings) 1x


These Classic Meatballs are THE BEST! They’re tender and moist, full of incredible flavor, and have been declared the best meatballs ever by countless family and friends. They’re easy to make but taste decadent and comforting.


  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced or grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (you may need up to ¼ cup more)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup (yes, really!)
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lbs ground beef, pork, and veal (roughly equal parts of each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 batch of my bolognese sauce (marinara works great too)
  • Cooked pasta or toasted rolls, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the onion, garlic, panko, spices, ketchup, milk, and cheese.
  3. Add the salt and pepper and then taste the mixture. It should be VERY well seasoned – even a touch too salty. This will ensure that the meat has good flavor in the end. I always taste it before adding the raw egg or meat.
  4. Once you have it seasoned to your taste, stir in the eggs until everything is well combined.
  5. Add in the meat last, mixing it into the seasonings gently and until everything is well mixed. If the mixture is too gummy, add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs and mix again. I sometimes have to add up to ¼ cup of additional breadcrumbs – it really depends on your meat. The mixture should be easy to roll into balls – not too sticky or wet.
  6. Form the mixture into roughly 1.5-inch balls and place them on your baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, turn them once, and then bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. While they are baking, heat your sauce in a large pot. Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and let them simmer in the sauce for about 10 minutes (or longer!).
  9. Serve over pasta or on toasted rolls or by themselves with a little cheese grated on top.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: dinner

Keywords: the best classic meatballs, classic beef and pork meatballs, meatballs and sauce recipe, homemade meatballs recipe