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.
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.
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.
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. It took a lot of trial and error. 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.
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup dried parsley
- ¼ cup oregano
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 sleeve of 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 1½ inches in diameter, like the size of a golf ball.
- Place meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet about a half inch apart. To help clean up, I'd suggest lining the pan with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until they're brown.
- Add to your favorite spaghetti sauce and serve immediately over pasta.
Tips for How to Make Meatballs
Making the best homemade meatballs is very easy, but here are a few tips and suggestions for how to make meatballs:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 soups and other recipes.
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.
Along with these homemade meatballs, you may also enjoy the Grilled Meatloaf Burgers I learned how to make from my parents, the Asian Turkey Meatballs shared by Ashlyn at Belle of the Kitchen or some of the other pasta recipes here on Kenarry: Ideas for the Home. If you liked this recipe for how to make meatballs, we would love if you’d please share it with your friends or pin it for later: