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Spaghetti and meatballs on a white platter.

Italian Meatballs

These classic Italian Meatballs are ready to be sauced and served with spaghetti, on meatball subs, or as an appetizer. Pan-fry and baking instructions included!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings (3 meatballs each)
Calories 235kcal


  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 slice white sandwich bread (see note 1)
  • 1 pound ground beef (see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (about 1 cup, see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano crushed
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • In a large bowl, mash together egg, cream, and bread until a smooth paste forms. Add beef, onion, fresh parsley, dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a strong rubber spatula or your hands, mix well. Working with 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet (you should have about 24 meatballs).
  • Pan-fried meatballs: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally until brown on all sides and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper-lined plate.
  • Oven-baked meatballs: Adjust two oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and baking racks. Place formed meatballs onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until browned and crispy, about 15-20 minutes, or until an internal thermometer reads 160 degrees for 15 seconds. 


  1. White bread: This is key to achieve the best meatball consistency. Combine into a mash with the egg and cream to form a panade before mixing with the beef and herbs to ensure a juicy and tender texture.
  2. Ground beef: Ground bison, lamb, or pork would also work wonderfully; just skip super-lean chicken or turkey.
  3. Onion: To avoid biting into large chunks of onion in your meatballs, finely chop before adding to the beef mixture. 
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 24 meatballs, or 8 servings (3 meatballs each).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: The meatballs can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator.
  7. Freezer: Scoop, cook, cool, and line the meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 1 hour, or until solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe container, label, date, and keep for up to one month. To reheat, place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until heated through.


Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg