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How to make easy weeknight meatballs

Classic Italian meatballs with parmesan cheese are pure comfort food, but they aren’t exactly weeknight friendly. These easy weeknight meatballs will give you all the flavors you’re craving in a fraction of the time.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my easy ricotta meatballs and my one pan meatballs and mushroom orzo recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my meatball recipes in one place.

easy weeknight meatballs in tomato sauce with fresh parsley and cheese

A quick bake in a hot oven ensures the meatball is tender inside and nicely browned outside. Because they are baked and not fried, there are no greasy splatters to clean up. Like my Thai turkey meatballs, these are great for leftovers the next day.

Beef meatballs for busy weeknights

Meatballs are one of our favorite go-to dinners. I often make a double batch of these baked chicken meatballs so I can stash half of them in the freezer for later.

These meatballs freeze well too, so I encourage you to make a double batch for those days when you need a jump start on dinner.

beef meatballs in white bowl with tomato sauce and parsley

You can swap out ground turkey for the beef to make baked turkey meatballs to save a few calories.

What these meatballs are: a quick, stripped down version of Nonna’s Sunday dinner version. What they are not: Meatballs that simmer all day in a pot of Sunday gravy.

How to make meatballs

The first step is to add everything except for the ground beef and the olive oil to a bowl.

Use a heavy duty rubber spatula to mix everything together until it is uniform.

step by step photos for making meatballs

Add in half of the meat and mix it until it is mostly incorporated. It’s easier to work in the breadcrumb mixture with half of the beef and then add in the other half.

Finally, mix in the remaining ground beef until the mixture looks fairly uniform. Use a 2 ounce scoop to portion meatballs – you should have about 10.

Rolling meatballs

Oil a half sheet pan and lightly oil your hands. Using light pressure, roll the meatballs until they are round and place them on the baking sheet.

rolled meatballs ready for the oven

Try not to use too much presure when you are rolling. You don’t want really dense meatballs.

Another favorite around here are these Greek chicken meatballs. They are great for meal-prepping with a bit of orzo or veggies.

Easy weeknight meatballs

These are done in roughly 40 minutes from start to finish – including rolling time. If you have an extra set of hands to roll meatballs, even less.

They are easy enough to handle after a workday.

sprinkling cheese on meatballs

Sprinkle them generously with finely grated parmesan and maybe a bit of gooey mozzarella. You can serve them with your favorite homemade or jarred tomato sauce.

meatballs in tomato sauce with mozz and parm

We had them with a bit of bucatini pasta and roasted broccoli for dinner one night. Then, we each ate two meatballs and sauce the next day for an afternoon snack!

One of my personal favorites for quick weeknight dinners are these lamb meatballs. They are delicious tucked into a pita with a little hummus.

No matter how you serve them, meatballs are always a hit.

If you are serving them with pasta, consider a dollop of ricotta cheese with them. It’s a delicious combination with the meat and tangy tomato sauce.

There you have it, friends. A delicious and easy weeknight recipe that will feed the whole family and possibly provide leftovers the next day.

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How to make easy weeknight meatballs

Cheryl Bennett
Easy weeknight meatballs will give you all the flavors you're craving in a fraction of the time.
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian-American
Servings 10 meatballs
Calories 270 kcal


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper – a few grinds of the peppermill
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1 lb. 85/15 ground beef
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped (optional, but recommended)


  • Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas mark 7.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together egg, panko, milk, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, basil, parmesan and parsley (if using).
  • Add in half of the ground beef and stir to mix until almost incorporated.
  • Add remaining beef and mix, until mixture is fairly uniform.
  • Using a 2 ounce scoop (or a 1/4 cup), portion out meatballs until all the mixture is used.
  • Oil a baking sheet with olive oil and make sure it is evenly coated.
  • Lightly oil your hands and using light pressure, roll into round meatballs and place on oiled baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite sauce.


This recipe is easily doubled and I highly encourage it!


Serving: 2meatballsCalories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 16gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 517mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g
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  1. This is almost the same way my non I used to make her meatballs. Obviously she didn’t use panko breadcrumbs, but she used a broiler pan to brown the meatballs in the oven, then they would finish cooking in the pan of gravy. My wife would always argue with me that it was called sauce not gravy, but she now learned to call it gravy. Keep sending your great recipes.

    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Mike!!! That’s high praise 🙂 I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I’m glad your wife now calls it gravy 😉

4.88 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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