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, herbs, and spices, perfectly golden brown on the outside and incredibly juicy inside.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick and easy recipe
- Easy snack or dinner
- Perfect for meal prep
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.
Oven-baked Italian meatballs
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 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.
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.
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.
Pan-Fried Italian Meatballs
- 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
- 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