Maria's Italian Meatballs

Maria's Meatballs
Maria's Italian Meatballs. Photo: Diana Rattray
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ratings (45)

These authentic Italian-style meatballs are perfect for your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara and pasta. Shape and bake these well-seasoned meatballs and simmer them with the sauce on the stovetop or slow cooker. 

From Maria - "This is my Italian mother's recipe for meatballs. Everyone always loves them and you can adjust the seasonings to taste."

The meatballs are shaped and then broiled, but they may also be baked at 350 F for about 20 to 30 minutes.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (85% to 90%)
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (see the tips and variations for homemade)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water (or enough to moisten; see instructions)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion (finely minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • spaghetti sauce or marinara (homemade or ready-made)

How to Make It

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Don't add all of the water at one time. The mixture should be moist but not so that the meatballs fall apart.
  2. Shape meatballs to desired size and place on the oiled rack of a broiler pan. Moisten your hands with water as you work to keep the meatballs from sticking. Alternatively, line a large baking pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooling rack in the pan.
  1. Broil about 4 inches from the heat source for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned. Turn the meatballs over and broil the other side. 
  2. When the meatballs are browned on all sides, add them to a medium saucepan with spaghetti sauce and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Serve the meatballs and sauce over hot cooked spaghetti, linguini, or another kind of pasta.


Tips and Variations

  • To make your meatballs uniform in size, roll the meat mixture into long 1 1/2-inch thick logs and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Shape the pieces into round meatballs.
  • Add an extra clove of garlic to the meatballs.
  • Homemade Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs: To 1/2 cup of fine, dry bread crumbs, add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, dried parsley, pepper, and garlic powder. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of dried leaf basil and oregano.


Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
232 Calories
10g Fat
9g Carbs
24g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)