How to Make Meatballs: The Best Homemade Recipe


Learn how to make meatballs in this easy tutorial. From this old family recipe, you can create the best homemade meatballs to enjoy now or freeze for later.

What’s your favorite food? For me, hands down, it’s my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. Today I’m sharing how to make meatballs with easy to follow instructions that I learned from her. Using this old family recipe she passed down to me, you can create the best homemade meatballs to enjoy now or freeze for later.

How to Make the Best Homemade Meatballs That Your Family Will Crave

I love celebrating birthdays. This year is no exception even though this month I’m reaching the grand milestone of forty years old. Growing up, it was always a tradition in my family that you got to pick the dinner on your birthday. For nearly all of my 40 years, I’ve picked the same thing – my mother’s spaghetti with the very best homemade meatballs.

Enjoying the Best Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs at Age 1

When I reached adulthood and started to learn to cook, I had several recipes I couldn’t wait to have my parents teach me. Top on my list, of course, was learning how to make meatballs from my mom.

She says she learned how to make these amazing meatballs from her aunt who was Italian. Unfortunately, her recipe is one of those she has in her head and just sort of knows how to throw together quickly by sight. Or in her case, she usually tells me she knows she has the right meatball mix by the smell! It must be all that delicious parmesan, garlic and parsley she packs into these tasty morsels.

Homemade meatballs topped with parmesan cheese in a bowl full of spaghetti

What you need:

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Kitchen tools needed:

Ingredients Needed:

These are the ingredients you’ll need. All the exact amounts are in the printable card at the bottom of this post.

Overhead close-up of Italian meatballs and tomato sauce on a bowl full of pasta

It took me the longest time to finally get my mom to help me figure out and document the proportions she actually uses in the homemade meatball recipe. There was a lot of trial and error involved.

It actually felt like that episode on Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray wants his mom to teach his wife, Debra, how to make meatballs, his favorite dinner. Spaghetti and meatballs is his mother’s specialty, but she keeps leaving out one SECRET ingredient when she teaches Debra so that the wife’s meatballs are never quite as good as her own.

I finally cracked the code, though, and figured out all of my mother’s secrets for the best homemade meatballs. The key is really the quantity of parmesan. This recipe makes a large batch to serve a hearty birthday feast or to stock some away in the freezer to enjoy in the months to come.

Side view of meatballs in a bowl of spaghetti

Tips for How to Make Meatballs

Making the best homemade meatballs is very easy, but here are a few tips and suggestions:

  • When mixing the ingredients to make meatballs, my mom taught me just to use my clean hands to combine everything well. You’ll need to get your hands dirty to roll the meatballs anyway. Just be sure to remove any rings. You could also wear latex gloves if you prefer.
  • To help with clean up later, I’d suggest lining the cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  • This recipe makes a very large batch. After baking, you can allow some meatballs to cool and then freeze them to enjoy later.
  • Meatballs can either be frozen individually or in spaghetti sauce in a large resealable bag.
  • Frozen meatballs can be placed in a slow cooker early in the day. Cover them with a jar of spaghetti sauce and allow the homemade meatballs to cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  • Whenever I make this homemade meatball recipe, I also make some into smaller meatballs, about 3/4 inch in diameter to put in Sausage and Meatball Soup and other recipes.
Close up of a homemade italian meatball on top of spaghetti noodles
Learn how to make meatballs like these homemade italian meatballs served on a bowl full of spaghetti
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make Meatballs

Use this old family recipe to create the best homemade meatballs to enjoy now or freeze for later.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs
Servings: 16
Calories: 262kcal
Author: Carrie Ypma


  • 5 lbs Ground Beef
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • 1 cup Parsley Dried
  • 1/4 cup Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Sleeve Saltine Crackers approx. 37 crackers


  • Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add eggs, parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Top with crushed saltine cracker crumbs.
  • Mix all the ingredients together until it’s thoroughly combined.
  • Roll the beef mixture into a large ball by hand. Each meatball should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, like the size of a golf ball.
  • Place meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet about a half inch apart.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until they’re brown.
  • Add to your favorite spaghetti sauce and serve immediately over pasta.


Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 555mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag us on Instagram at @kenarryideas or leave us a comment rating below.

What’s your favorite food to have on your birthday? Please leave a comment and tell me all about it. We’re always looking for new ideas and would love to hear what foods you crave when your birthday rolls around.

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Along with these homemade meatballs, you may also enjoy some of these other easy dinner ideas:

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Easy Recipe for the Best Homemade Meatballs

Originally published March 2015. Updated March 2019. Photos Updated February 2020.

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  1. I’ve been searching for a great Italian meatball recipe for a while, so I hope this one does the trick. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Carrie, these look amazing. My husband really hates spaghetti, but I’m dying for some good spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve pinned this recipe and maybe will have to host a girls’ night or something so I can have people to cook for who will be excited for the recipe. And, you know, so I can eat some too. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Julie! They are my absolute favorite. If your husband hates spaghetti, though, these meatballs would be every bit as amazing served on sub buns and topped with melted mozzarella. Enjoy!

  3. I love homemade meatballs! They are one of my favorite things to eat — with a great marinara sauce and parm cheese. Yum!! I’m going to try your recipe this week. Visiting from SITS.

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