Easy Baked Meatballs (all beef)

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5 from 6 votes

Pinterest image for baked beef meatballs.

These Baked Meatballs are made with all beef, they’re SO EASY to make, and this recipe uses only a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand. Serve them with spaghetti and red sauce, use them for Italian meatball subs, and more! PLUS, they’re freezable.

Overhead photo of spaghetti topped with three baked beef meatballs on a white plate.

If you’re looking for the PERFECT meatball, you have to try these easy baked meatballs. They’re so versatile, and they’re such a great comfort food.

My kids loved them, and since this recipe makes a lot we were able to enjoy them all week long!

And I love using 100% ground beef for this recipe. These meatballs are pork free, veal free, sausage free… it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to make meatballs when you aren’t messing with a bunch of different kinds of meat!

There are a few secrets to making PERFECT fluffy meatballs that are moist and juicy, don’t fall apart, and are packed with yummy Italian flavor.

Tricks for the fluffiest, juiciest, most flavorful baked meatballs

  1. Use GRATED fresh onion (plus the juices from grating it). This will ensure the flavor of the onion will imbibe the entire meatball, and chunks of onion won’t disrupt the fluffy texture or cause them to fall apart.
  2. Make the binder first, then add the meat. This will ensure the breadcrumbs absorb all the flavors, as well as ensure you don’t have to handle the meat as much which can make meatballs tough.
  3. Use your hands to add the meat to the mixture. A spoon may cause the meat to be over-mixed and result in dense meatballs.
  4. Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to form the meatballs. This will ensure they’re evenly sized and fluffy.
A close up photo of a meatball being cut in half with a fork on a plate of spaghetti.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for these all-beef baked meatballs. You only need a handful, and you probably already have most of them on hand!

  • Beef- I prefer 80/20 for the juiciest meatballs, but you can use lean if you prefer. You can also use this recipe method for making meatballs with other kinds of ground meat- turkey, chicken, pork, etc., but final results will vary.
  • Onion and Garlic- You’ll definitely need a fresh onion, but you can use garlic powder instead of minced fresh garlic if you like.
  • Dried oregano- You can use fresh instead (and double the amount), or use Italian seasoning in place of it.
  • Breadcrumbs- I used regular, plain, unseasoned breadcrumbs for this. You can use panko if you prefer, and you can also use gluten-free meatballs. If you use seasoned breadcrumbs, you may want to omit the oregano in this recipe, and omit or decrease the amount of salt and pepper.
  • Eggs- These are necessary in this recipe to get the fluffiest meatballs that hold together really well.
  • Milk- I prefer whole for the juiciest meatballs, but 2% would also work, and skim in a pinch. You can use a dairy-free milk substitute if you want, but the meatballs may not be quite as juicy.

Here’s a dairy-free, egg-free, wheat-free meatball recipe, if you need it!

How to make baked meatballs

  • First, make the binding mixture. Start with grating an onion, and adding it plus any accumulated juices to a large bowl with breadcrumbs, milk, egg, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and dried oregano. Stir until the breadcrumbs are completely saturated.
  • Then, add the beef. I recommend using your hands to mix it up so you know everything is evenly distributed without handling the beef TOO much (which can result in tough, dense meatballs).
Process collage showing how to make a meatball mixture with grated onions.
  • Then, form the meatballs. I like to use a large disher scoop for this, so the meatballs are fluffy and evenly sized. You can use a smaller scoop if you prefer, or just form them with your hands.
  • Place them on a baking sheet and bake until cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
Process collage showing scooping meatball mixture with an ice cream scoop onto a baking sheet.

Freezer instructions

You can freeze these meatballs for 3-4 months for the best quality (but they will still be safe after that).

Place the cooked meatballs on a baking sheet or plate, and freeze for about 30 minutes. This is called flash freezing, and will ensure the meatballs don’t stick together.

Once they’re flash frozen, place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container to store in your freezer.

You can bake frozen meatballs at 350 for about 20-30 minutes. But for best results, I recommend defrosting them first, then reheating them so they don’t overcook.

You can also add frozen meatballs directly to spaghetti sauce in a pot, or to crockpot meatball recipes, or directly to soups!

Spaghetti and meatballs on a plate.

Ways to use cooked meatballs

Other all-beef meatball recipes

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Easy Baked Meatballs (all beef)

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5 from 6 votes

These easy baked meatballs are made with all beef, and are perfectly juicy and fluffy every time! Serve with spaghetti, on a sub, and freeze for later.

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Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Total Time45 mins

Course: Beef

Cuisine: Italian

Servings: 20 large meatballs

Calories: 151kcal

Author: Elizabeth Lindemann

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup milk preferably whole
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 yellow onion grated, plus any juices
  • 1 clove garlic grated on a microplane zester
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground beef preferably 80/20

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

  • In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs (1 cup), milk (3/4 cup), eggs (2), grated onion plus the juices, minced garlic (1 clove), dried oregano (2 teaspoons), kosher salt (1 teaspoon), and black pepper (1/2 teaspoon) until everything is uniformly wet.

  • Add the ground beef (2 lbs) and mix until everything is just combined. Try not to overwork it. Mixing with your hands is best, but you can use a spoon if you don’t like handling raw meat.

  • Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop, scoop the meatball mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet (alternatively, you can form the meatballs with your hands).

  • Bake the meatballs in the center of the oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature is at least 160 degrees.

  • Serve the meatballs with sauce and grated parmesan cheese on top of pasta, in subs, in a salad, or however you like!

Notes

  • You can make small meatballs using a smaller scoop or forming them with your hands. If you do this, you may need two rimmed baking sheets and less baking time. I recommend baking for 20-25 minutes, and rotating the baking sheets from the bottom to top rack halfway through baking if both don’t fit on the center rack.
  • To freeze, arrange cooked meatballs on a baking sheet or plate and place in freezer for about 30 minutes to flash freeze. Remove to a zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 4 months for best quality.
  • To use lean ground beef, I recommend coating the bottom of your baking sheet with a coat of olive oil to avoid sticking.
  • For easier clean-up, line your baking sheet with foil.

Recommended Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 42IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

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