There’s something inherently comforting about a plate of perfectly cooked meatballs – those juicy, tender spheres of seasoned meat. While you can find meatballs on the menus of restaurants all around the world or in the freezer aisle at the grocery store, there’s nothing quite like the homemade version.
Meatballs are an extremely versatile food that can go from appetizer to main course. They can be made with many different flavors such as Italian or Swedish. This recipe is a great go-to traditional meatball recipe that will pair nicely with whatever flavors you are serving up! So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get cooking!
Ingredients For Homemade Meatballs
As with any kind of cooking the source and quality of your ingredients is key, especially when it comes to the meat and eggs. However, quality animal products can get pricey, so don’t let this stop you from making this great nutrient dense food. Traditionally raised animal products made in your home are still better than restaurants and the freezer aisle.
- Ground Beef: Grass-fed 80/20 beef works best here. The extra fat content keeps the meatballs from drying out. Plus grass fed beef from a local farmer has better flavor than anything you get in the store.
- Ground Pork: Pasture-raised is the best option. Much like the beef, it will have better flavor and a healthier fat profile since the pig will not be fed traditional corn and soy.
- Egg: Again, pasture-raised eggs are the best.
- Cheese: A raw milk cheese with a mild flavor is my cheese of choice, but feel free to try out whatever flavor of cheese you prefer.
- Salt: Non-iodized sea salt. I like Redmond’s salt.
- Garam Masala
- Milk (optional): When you source quality meats and eggs, I typically find the milk isn’t necessary in this recipe. The fats of a quality meat are enough to keep them from drying out. However, if you feel they are a little dry, adding in some milk will help!
You will notice bread crumbs or oatmeal are missing from this recipe. It is a common misconception that breadcrumbs are needed in order to keep the meatball from falling apart. This simply isn’t true. While they do provide a different texture and can be added depending on preference, they are just as good without! In fact, the breadcrumbs tend to dry them out in my opinion.
How To Make Homemade Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs
Homemade Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs
- 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
- 1 Stainless Steel or Cast Iron Pan
- 1 lb Ground Beef 80/20 percent fat
- 1 lb Ground Pork
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Cheese choose one with a mild flavor
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp Granulated Onion or onion powder
- 1/4 cup Milk optional (if mixture seems dry)
- Parsley optional - garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl add all ingredient except the cheese, milk, and parsley. Gently mix until all ingredients are distributed evenly. Be sure not to overmix as this can make the meatball too compact and tough.
- (Optional) If the mixture seems a little dry add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Add in cheese and gently fold it into the mixture.
- Heat a saute pan to medium-high heat. A stainless steel or cast iron pan are preferred or something that can be go in the oven. At this time you will also want
- Add a tablespoon of tallow, lard, butter, or ghee to the pan and place meatballs in pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until there is a nice brown sear on each side.
- Place entire pan in oven and put a meat thermometer in the largest meatball. Cook until it reaches 155 degree. Pull out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes. The meat will continue cooking to 160 degrees during this time.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy!
Ways To Customize Homemade Meatballs
Italian: Add a little tomato sauce for a traditional meatball recipe.
Mediterranean: You can also mix and match your meats to change the flavor profile of the meatballs. Swap out the ground pork for ground lamb and add dress with tzatziki sauce for a Greek inspired meatball.
Asian: Adding flavors like sesame oil or ginger and using a full 2lbs of ground pork gives the meatballs an Asian flare.
Curry: A little coconut milk and curry seasonings for a delicious curry meatball sauce. This one goes great over a spaghetti squash!
Creamy Fall Meatballs: This is one of my favorite fall recipes when squash is ripe and in season. It is the ultimate comfort food on a chilly day!
How To Store Homemade Meatballs
These will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or store in the freezer for up to 6 months. I like to put them in a vacuum sealed or airtight bag to prevent freezer burn. Pull them out to thaw and warm them up for a quick and easy weeknight meal!