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Pan-Fried Italian Meatballs

Are you craving juicy meatballs? Then this quick and easy recipe for pan-fried Italian meatballs is perfect for you. They’re a delicious combination of ground meat, Italian herbs, and spices, perfectly pan-fried on the outside and incredibly juicy inside.

Meatballs without eggs, on tomato sauce, served on a white plate. A stack of plates and linen tea towel are in the background
Table of contents

Why you’ll love these Italian meatballs

  • Easy recipe: You’ll only need a few staple ingredients to whip up a batch of these juicy meatballs. Pan-fry or oven bake them.
  • Versatile: Beef meatballs make a handy high-protein snack, filling lunch in salads, sandwiches, or wraps, or easy dinner.
  • Perfect for meal prep: Double or triple the recipe for easy meals throughout the week. You can easily freeze them as well once cooked.

Italian meatball ingredients

  • Ground beef – I use grass-fed ground beef with a fat content of 18%. You can substitute the beef mince with 50% pork and 50% beef or use ground beef with a higher fat content as well. Leaner ground beef dries out easily and the meatballs can get very firm as opposed to juicy.
  • Breadcrumbs – You can make breadcrumbs with a slice of stale bread but I typically use store-bought ones. I recommend wholemeal breadcrumbs for this recipe but you can also use white breadcrumbs. Don’t use panko.
  • Milk – Full-fat milk works well but you can use lower-fat milk too.
  • Tomato paste – Tomato adds extra flavor and color to the meatballs. I don’t recommend omitting it.
  • Salt & pepper – Be generous. Beef mince is fairly plain on its own. I recommend adding at least 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper but season to your taste.
  • Smoked paprika & rosemary – Rosemary and smoked paprika give the meatballs extra flavor and depth but you can omit these spices. Alternative Mediterranean spices and flavors that work well are garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, or sweet paprika. You can also use 2 tsp of my Mediterranean spice mix to flavor the ground beef.
Meatballs without eggs alongside a sprig of rosemary in a cast iron pan which is placed on a wooden board. A linen tea towel is in the background.
Meatballs without eggs | caroha.com

Oven-baked Italian meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the meatballs on it. Bake them for 15 minutes, turn them individually, and bake them for another 15 minutes.

To bake Italian meatballs in tomato sauce, add the meatballs to an oven-proof dish and pour your favorite sauce over them. Make sure all meatballs are at least halfway submerged in the sauce. Cover the dish with a lid or tinfoil and bake them for 30 minutes.

Two meatball wraps on a black plate.

Serving

I suggest serving these juicy meatballs with a fragrant tomato sauce, alongside pasta, stewed potatoes or swede mash. You can also serve them as appetizers with some homemade Dijonnaise.

Make a delicious meatball wrap or Turkish bread sandwich with lettuce, red cabbage sauerkraut, and aioli as an easy lunch or dinner. Add them to the lunchbox for some tasty protein.

FAQ

How do you store meatballs without them drying out?

Once cooked, the meatballs last up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat meatballs without drying them out, place them in a covered dish with a splash of broth or sauce, and gently warm them in the oven or on the stovetop over low heat until heated through.

Can you freeze meatballs?

You can freeze the meatballs in an airtight, freezer-proof container once they cool down for up to 3 months. Simply reheat them gently in the oven or microwave.

If you like this easy meat dish, make sure to check out the following recipes as well:

If you loved this Italian Meatball Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating below. Thank you!

Meatballs without eggs alongside a sprig of rosemary in a cast iron pan which is placed on a wooden board. A linen tea towel is in the background.

Pan-Fried Italian Meatballs

Caro Jensen
Are you craving juicy meatballs? Then this quick and easy recipe for pan-fried Italian meatballs is perfect for you.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine European, Italian
Servings 20 meatballs
Calories 85 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef with onion, breadcrumbs, milk, tomato paste, and spices.
    500 g ground beef, 1 small onion, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • Form about 20 equally sized meatballs by hand.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs. Turn them after 3 minutes to ensure they are evenly browned. Fry them for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel covered plate for the excess oil to absorb.
    2 tbsp olive oil

Notes

To wrap the tortillas up, simply roll them up, or fold them like a fan like meatball-filled burritos by folding the bottom first followed by the two sides.
Add lunch wrap or tinfoil around the base to keep everything nicely in place.
Add additional sauce if your wraps are too dry.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 154mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
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