Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (2024)

If you’ve been looking for a simple recipe for Easy Baked Meatballs, you’ll love this one! Made with ground beef, Parmesan cheese, plenty of spices, eggs, breadcrumbs, and water, they’re juicy and flavorful. Once you try this easy meatball recipe, you’ll never want to make them another way!

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (1)

Best Meatball Recipe

Do you have a go-to dish you make for company? I have a few!But the one I find myself making time and time again? These easy oven baked meatballs!

That’s because they’re a TOTAL crowd-pleaser!!! And even picky eaters love this recipe. In fact, I ALWAYS double this baked meatball recipe when we have company over. Because they literally fly out of the crockpot! Especially when I serve them with my flavorful marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Just thinking about them is making me so hungry lol!

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (2)What to serve with Meatballs

  • Pasta! I mean, is there a more iconic pairing than spaghetti and meatballs?! We love serving them withsimple spaghetti fra diavolo, quick and easy bucatini all’ Amatriciana, or this one-pan tomato basil pasta!
  • Spaghetti Squash! A lower calorie, but still delicious, alternative to pasta. Learn how to roast spaghetti squash!
  • A slice of tomato pie or pizza!
  • Lasagna! My family adores this Lightened Up Chicken Parm Lasagna with a few meatballs on the side. YUM.
  • Gnocchi alla Vodka! I don’t make this dish enough… but when I do, you can bet I’m serving it with meatballs on the side!
  • Hoagie rolls, extra spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese, and provolone cheese! Place all of these ingredients on the table and allow your guests to make their own meatballs sandwiches. So fun and so easy! Or check out my Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches for more inspiration.
  • And finally, for a lighter meal, you could serve these quick and easy meatballs with a simple salad and a few homemade garlic knots or a piece of rosemary focaccia.

P.S. You can really serve your meatballs with ANYTHING. So if meatballs and brussels sprouts sounds good to you, I say go for it.

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (3)

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (4)

How to bake Meatballs

Cooking meatballs in the oven is a beautiful thing and simple by nature! Not only is it much neater than frying meatballs, but it’s also much easier than frying multiple batches in a skillet.

With my oven baked method, you can make all of the meatballs at once. You’ll simply roll the meat mixture into small balls, place them on the baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. That’s it! Once they’re done baking, you’ll toss them in tomato sauce and they’re ready to be devoured. This is definitely the best way to make meatballs for spaghetti, since you’ll be baking them in the oven, which leaves the stovetop clear for making your pasta and sauce.

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (5)

Ingredients for Easy Meatballs?

Now that you know how to make meatballs, let’s review the meatball ingredients:

  • ground beef: I suggest using the best variety you can afford! We use grass-fed beef from our farmers market!
  • eggs:Aka the binder that will hold the meatballs together!
  • breadcrumbs: I prefer panko breadcrumbs, but any variety will work.
  • spices: Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder add tons of flavor with minimal effort!
  • cheese:Grated Parmesan cheese adds a pop of flavor!
  • And water:This might sound strange, but water is a crucial ingredient. So please don’t reduce it or be scared of it! It makes the meatballs moist without adding any calories. Aa lot of recipes use milk, which adds tons of calories and not much else. My grandmother (who’s from Italy!) has been using water in her meatballs for years. It’s a little trick you’ll come to love!

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (6)

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (7)

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (8)

Pro Tip: To easily, and evenly, shape your meatballs, use a spring loaded cookie scoop! It’s so easy!

And that’s it! You’ll also need some olive oil, crushed tomatoes, and seasonings to make my simple marinara sauce recipe. You can find all of the details for that in the recipe box below. But feel free to skip the tomato sauce and use pesto instead!

What are the Best Meats for Meatballs? Can I use Ground Turkey?

So here’s the deal: if you want tender, juicy, and flavorful meatballs, you should choose fatty meat. Because fat equals flavor! A popular meat choice is 80/20 ground beef, and for a good reason. This variety is easy to find, relatively cheap, and produces juicy meatballs.

Ground turkey – or even ground chicken – can work, but they don’t have as much fat as beef, so the meatballs will be a bit drier. If you’re feeling creative, you can also combine meat varieties. We often use 50/50 ground pork and ground beef.

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (9)

Can I make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs?

I have never made these meatballs without bread, so I cannot say for sure! However many readers have told me that crushed cracker crumbs and finely ground rolled oats can work as substitutes. As always, I suggest experimenting at your own risk 😉

Should Meatballs be Pink in the Center?

Yes and no. If you know that your meatballs are made from 100% beef, a slight touch of pink can be fine. But generally it’s not a great idea to eat pink meatballs. And the internal temperature should ALWAYS be 160 degrees (F) or above.

How to Store Meatballs?

Fully cooked, these meatballs will keep, stored in the fridge in an airtight container, for 3 days!

Can Meatballs be frozen?

Yes! These easy to make meatballs raw or fully cooked. Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange the meatballs side by side on the prepared sheet, and then pop the pan directly into the freezer. Once the meatballs have frozen enough to be solid to the touch, you can transfer them into a freezer safe bag or storage container, and then return to the freezer. The meatballs will keep, stored in the freezer, for 2 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then cook as directed.

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (10)

How many Meatballs per person?

This completely depends on the size of the meatballs… and the appetites of those eating them. But a good rule of thumb is 4 to 5 meatballs per person. When we have really large parties (like Superbowl or 4th of July), I triple this meatball recipe so I know there’s plenty!

Can I put Meatballs in a Crockpot?

Yes!!! But please fully cook them first. Otherwise they will fall apart. Once the meatballs are fully cooked, you can place them in the slow cooker, add in the sauce, and keep warm on the lowest setting. I suggest doubling the sauce if you’re going to have them in the crockpot for more than an hour.

For more Meatball Recipes, Check Out:

  • Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
  • 30-Minute Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
  • Quick and Easy Turkey Meatballs with Asiago and Fresh Herbs
  • Italian Meatball Soup (ugh… this is SO good)
  • Healthy 30 Minute Sriracha Teriyaki Meatball Bowls
  • Italian Sausage Meatballs

This is a great basic meatballs recipe you and your family are sure to love!

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”HU25dSsK” upload-date=”2019-12-12T00:46:33.000Z” name=”Easy Baked Meatballs” description=”Easy Baked Meatballs ” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (11)

Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (12)

Easy Baked Meatballs

Ashley Manila

If you've been looking for a simple recipe for Easy Baked Meatballs, you'll love this recipe! Made with ground beef, Parmesan cheese, plenty of spices, eggs, breadcrumbs, and water. Once you make meatballs in the oven, you'll never want to make them another way!

4.99 from 56 votes


Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 30 minutes mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Servings 36 meatballs (3 dozen)


For the Easy Baked Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (less if you prefer, but meat loves salt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

For the Easy Marinara Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Extra Parmesan cheese, for serving


For the Easy Baked Meatballs:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  • In a large bowl combine ground meat, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, egg, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing with your hands until everything is just combined. Don't over mix here or it'll make the meatballs tough. The mixture should be very moist but still hold its shape when rolled into meatballs.

  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop about one tablespoon of meat into your palms and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all of the meat.

  • Place the baking sheet in the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they're cooked though.

  • While the meatballs bake, make your marinara!

For the Easy Marinara Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for one minute, or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and seasoning and stir well to combine. Simmer the sauce for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

  • When meatballs are done cooking, add them to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve!

Tried it and loved it?Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram @Bakerbynature and by using the hashtag #BakerByNature


Easy Baked Meatballs Recipe & Video with Marinara Sauce - Baker by Nature (2024)


Is it better to bake meatballs at 350 or 400? ›

In an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, these meatballs should be fully cooked through and evenly browned in about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatball should read at least 165 degrees F.

Is it better to cook meatballs in sauce or oven? ›

The best meatballs are tender, baked and browned in a hot oven to seal in all the juices. Simmered in robust sauce for a couple of minutes ensures they soak up all of those saucy flavours, this is an easy dinner recipe that will be a hit with your family!

How to make meatballs that don t fall apart in sauce? ›

You can do a few things while preparing the meatballs to ensure they don't fall apart once they go into the tomato sauce.
  1. Don't add too much moisture: ...
  2. Keep the meat as cold as possible: ...
  3. Don't overwork the meat: ...
  4. Add meatballs to a simmering sauce, and don't over-stir:
Mar 15, 2019

Do meatballs get more tender the longer they cook in sauce? ›

As the collagen in the meat dissolves over time, it transforms into gelatin, which not only adds a silky texture to the sauce but also contributes to the overall richness and depth of flavor. The longer the simmer, the more tender and succulent the meatballs become.

Should meatballs be covered when baking? ›

Baked Meatball Recipe FAQ

You can check the internal temperature of your meat with an instant-read thermometer. Ground beef is cooked when it reaches an internal temp of 155°F. Should you cover meatballs with foil when baking? We recommend leaving the pan uncovered.

Should I brown meatballs before adding to sauce? ›

Browning meatballs in a pan or oven before adding them to the sauce gives them a darker colour on the outside, which some people prefer.

Is it OK to put raw meatballs in sauce? ›

Yes. If you have a tomato sauce already cooked, you can add it to a slow cooker and place in your uncooked meatballs. You can also add some Italian sausage which go great with meatballs and pasta.

Is it better to use milk or water in meatballs? ›

The Key to Tender Meatballs

Here, we're soaking fresh or dried breadcrumbs in a little milk until the bread becomes soggy, then mixing that right into the meat. This binder (aka panade) helps add moisture to the meatballs and also prevents the meat proteins from shrinking and becoming tough.

What not to do when making meatballs? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Meatballs
  1. Not seasoning the meat.
  2. Not adding any moisture to the meat.
  3. Over-mixing the meat.
  4. Not shaping the meatballs correctly.
  5. Not forming evenly-sized meatballs.
May 1, 2019

What is the trick to keeping meatballs together? ›

How to make meatballs that won't fall apart
  1. Massage your meat. True story. ...
  2. Add breadcrumbs. Add breadcrumbs to the mixture, but not too many breadcrumbs. ...
  3. Add egg. ...
  4. Don't add much apart from meat. ...
  5. Roll your meatballs in flour. ...
  6. Give your meatballs space. ...
  7. Shake your meatballs. ...
  8. Brown your meatballs first.
Mar 3, 2022

Why do you chill meatballs before baking? ›

Chill your meatballs: refrigerating your meatballs an hour before cooking helps them hold their shape throughout the cooking process. They can chill in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking, making meatballs a great make-ahead dish, too.

Why do my meatballs fall apart when I cook them? ›

Whether it's breadcrumbs or egg (or both), or simply salt, binding the mince is a crucial step in maintaining the softness of your meatballs while preventing them from falling apart. Try soaking your breadcrumbs in milk for extra moisture and fluffiness.

What makes meatballs stick together better? ›

Most meatball recipes call for a bit of starchy filler, such as dry breadcrumbs, oatmeal, or soaked bread, which is meant to keep the meatballs tender, hold everything together, and help add bulk.

What temperature do you cook perfect meatballs? ›

A beef, or beef and pork meatball should be cooked to 155 degrees, internally. A poultry meatball should be cooked to 165 degrees internally.

What temperature should meatballs be cooked at? ›

A good rule of thumb is to bake meatballs for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit. Every oven is different so the cooking time will not be the same for everyone. You will know the meatballs are ready when the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165 degrees.

How do you keep meatballs from burning in the oven? ›

How to keep meatballs from burning in the oven - Quora. Cover an oven tray with parchment paper. Leave some space between the meatballs. Place them in a preheated oven at about 200 degrees.

Are meatballs better the longer you cook them? ›

Just like a sausage, a hamburger, or a steak, the hotter you get them and the longer you cook them, the more moisture they lose. On the other hand, it was undeniable that the sauce got better and better as it cooked, both by reducing and by picking up flavor from the meatballs as they simmered.

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