Classic Italian Meatballs (Tender and Juicy!)

16 servings


15 minutes

active time

30 minutes

total time


½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (from 1-2 slices white bread, crust removed)

¼ cup milk

2 egg yolks

½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

2 garlic cloves (finely chopped or grated)

1 tablespoon Diamond kosher salt (OR 2 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt, OR 1 ½ teaspoons table salt)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground beef chuck

1 pound ground pork (or veal)

¼ cup grated onion (optional)

⅓ cup chopped parsley (or basil)

Olive oil


Put the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and pour the milk over. Let them soak for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mash together to form a coarse paste.

Put the beef, pork and onion (if using) in a large bowl and mix with a fork to blend. Add the bread mixture and parsley. Blend everything together well, using your hands, large wooden spoon or large fork. You can also mix in a standing mixer on low speed, just until blended. The meatball mixture can be mixed and refrigerated 2 days ahead of shaping and cooking.

Form the meatballs: Use a ¼-cup measuring cup or cookie scoop to portion the mixture and roll lightly into balls. They don’t have to be perfect — craggy meatballs have character and hold the sauce better!

To cook on the stovetop:

Pour enough oil into a large skillet to coat the bottom and place over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add as many meatballs as will fit in the pan without crowding. Note: They should sizzle as soon as they hit they pan or the pan isn’t hot enough.

Brown the meatballs on all sides. Cover the pan, lower the heat and continue cooking and until the meatballs are firm and cooked through (165 degrees on a instant thermometer), which should take about 15 minutes total. Repeat the frying with remaining meatballs, pouring out the oil and adding a fresh layer.

To finish cooking in tomato sauce:

After browning the meatballs, transfer them from the skillet to a simmering pot of marinara sauce. Cook 10-12 minutes.

To bake the meatballs:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange the meatballs on an olive-oiled coated rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then turn the meatballs over with a spatula or pair of tongs. Continue baking until nicely browned and cooked through, another 10-12 minutes.

Serve the warm meatballs with marinara sauce or your favorite prepared tomato sauce.


Serving Size



183 kcal

Total Fat

13 g

Saturated Fat

5 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat



61 mg


536 mg

Total Carbohydrate

3 g

Dietary Fiber

0.2 g

Total Sugars

0.4 g


12 g

16 servings


15 minutes

active time

30 minutes

total time
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