These Oven-baked Meatballs are a crowd-pleasing dish that pairs with just about anything. They are versatile, simple, and ready in under an hour. Fun to make and packed with flavor, this Italian classic is sure to become a weeknight staple.
Sometimes it’s tough to make an everyday dinner that’s both easy and satisfying, especially with a long day behind you. Having most of your work done for you can be a big help.
My baked meatballs are a great make-ahead choice you can pull right out of the freezer and pop into your oven or air fryer. Baking frozen meatballs is easy, and they’ll be ready for your table in no time!
They’re also super simple to customize to your family’s preferences. Use a combination of ground beef and pork, or go all in with baked pork meatballs. The spices and types of ground meat are really up to you!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Great for parties- makes 40 meatballs, which serves a large crowd as an appetizer.
- Bake or Air-fry- use your favorite method.
- Make-ahead option- these can be made ahead of time and frozen. You can even bake them without thawing them first, which is convenient.
- Customizable- very easy to switch up seasonings to achieve different flavors.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
There are so many ways to make meatballs a success! You can ramp up the spice or keep it mild, make it keto or more traditional, and use whichever combination of ground meat you want. Just be sure to add the essential elements below for moist meatball deliciousness.
- Ground beef - Use a 85/15 or 80/20 ratio to keep it juicy. You substitute ground turkey for a leaner version.
- Pork sausage - This adds more flavor and spices. You can eliminate pork and use only ground beef, but sausage adds more flavor.
- Almond Flour - Normal breadcrumbs are also an option here. I use almond flour for a scrumptious keto meatball bake.
- Almond Milk - Some liquid is essential to keeping the meatballs from drying out. almond milk keeps it low carb, however, you can use cow’s milk, or a milk of your choice.
- Eggs- Eggs are a binding agent here, it helps keep the meat, cheese and breadcrumbs/flour together.
- Parmesan Cheese- Freshly grated is best, however, the canned kind works if you are short on time.
- Seasonings & Spices- It's all about the flavor! This is a great, versatile combo, but you can experiment with other spices as well.
How To Make Oven Baked Meatballs
Before you get started, preheat the oven to 425°, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
- Combine the milk and flour into a small bowl and mix together, let it sit for about 5 minutes. It will be like a paste. This helps to bind things together and retain moisture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl, or to the bowl of a stand mixer (my secret weapon). Then add the almond flour mixture.
- Gently mix until blended well. Don't overmix! I like to use the paddle attachment of my stand mixer and set it on "stir". If that's not an option for you, your hands are your best tool here.
- Shape the meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
Pop into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160°.
Tips for Shaping Meatballs
- Use a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop to get uniform sizes. You can use a measuring spoon if you prefer, but I find the cookie scoop to be the easiest.
- Place the meat into your hand.
- Gently roll the meat into a ball.
- Place each ball on the baking sheet. They should not be touching, leave a small space in between each meatball.
Expert Tips and Variations
- Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you’ve got it, this will make mixing a snap. If you don’t happen to have one, your hands are the perfect tool.
- A tablespoon-sized cookie scoop is great for shaping and sizing them. If you want bigger oven baked meatballs, you can use a larger size cookie scoop or your hands to create whatever size fits the dish you’re going for. This recipe will bake well either way!
- For a crispier crust, try air frying! If you love a little crunch on the outside of your meatballs, your air fryer can come in handy here. Cooking instructions are in the recipe card.
- Substitute bread crumbs for almond flour. These oven baked meatballs are delicious in their keto, low-carb original version, but can also be made with breadcrumbs instead of almond flour. Cow’s milk, or any other milk product, also works well as a substitution for the almond milk if desired. The point is to use an appropriate liquid to help retain moisture and cohesiveness.
- Melting cheese happens! You may notice the parmesan cheese melting out a little as they bake. This is totally normal, so don’t worry if this happens.
- These make a hearty meal, or the perfect party appetizer. Pair them with different kinds of pasta and sauces, place them atop mashed potatoes, or eat them as-is.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, no. Cooking them uncovered will give a nice browning effect which also adds flavor. If you were cooking them in a sauce, then you could cover them and you will have more of a steamed effect.
For food safety, it’s important to make sure they’re cooked completely. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach a temperature of 160 degrees.
Storing and Freezing
- Raw shaped meatballs will store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Cooked meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- I recommend flash freezing cooked meatballs as a make ahead option. You can reheat them from frozen, or thaw them in the refrigerator first, and then reheat them.
- To flash freeze: Place the meatballs on a wax paper lined rimmed baking sheet, place in the freezer for 3 hours, or as long as it takes for them to freeze. Then transfer to a freezer storage bag, release as much air as possible before sealing.
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Oven Baked Meatballs
- Half-size rimmed sheet pan
- parchment paper
- Cookie scoop (optional)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- 1 cup almond flour or breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup almond milk or cow’s milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the milk and flour into a small bowl and mix together, it will be like a paste. This helps to bind things together and retain moisture.
- Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Gently mix until blended well. Your hands are your best tool here.
- Using a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop the meat mixture, one scoop at a time, into your hands, roll into the shape of a ball, place on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160°
Airy Fryer Instructions
- Preheat Air Fryer to 425°.
- Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket, cook for 10-12 minutes.
- Some of the cheese will melt out a little bit, this is normal.
- I recommend using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to combine everything really well, if you don’t have one, your hands are the best tool.
- A cookie scoop works great for measuring the meatballs.
- Double the recipe for a large batch that you can freeze and use multiple ways.
- When air-fried, the texture on the outside is a bit crispy, and the inside is juicy.
- These are tablespoon-sized meatballs, you can make them larger if you wish.
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