Pesto Meatballs

Pesto Meatballs

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 30 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
93 Calories
6g Fat
2g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 93
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 100mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 32mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 107mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Meatballs are undoubtedly a great comfort food that you can season in a multitude of ways and make using ground pork, beef, veal, or chicken. Typically, they're made with breadcrumbs, dried herbs such as oregano and/or basil, egg, Parmesan cheese, and garlic.

But these meatballs take a shortcut to maximum flavor with the addition of pesto into the mix. These pesto meatballs are a real crowd-pleaser. The basic flavors of pesto are natural fits with the foods meatballs are typically served with. Indeed, pesto goes with just about everything, and putting some into meatballs makes them even more tender and delicious. You can use prepared, store-bought pesto, or make your own.

Use in recipes or cool and freeze for later use.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2/3 cup pesto

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pesto Meatballs ingredients

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  2. Preheat oven to 350 F and heat a small skillet with olive oil and butter over medium heat.

    oil and butter in a cast iron pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

    onions and garlic cooking in a cast iron pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  4. Beat in pesto, cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper and mix well.

    pesto, cheese, egg, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  5. Add beef and sautéed onions and garlic and mix gently but thoroughly with hands until combined. Form into 1-1/2-inch meatballs. Place on a cookie sheet with sides.

    bowl with meat mixture, meatballs on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F.

    Pesto Meatballs frying in oil

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii


Try to handle the meatballs as gently and as little as possible so they remain tender when they cook.


Pesto is traditionally thought of as containing basil, Parmesan, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic, but pesto really just means sauce. To that end, you can use different kinds of pesto in these meatballs to vary the taste.

How to Store and Freeze Pesto Meatballs

These meatballs will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for three to four days. Reheat them with a little sauce over medium heat until hot all the way through.

You can also freeze them for longer use (three to six months) if you place them individually on a baking sheet and let them freeze. Then, once they're frozen, transfer to a zip-close freezer bag and return to the freezer.