Quick, easy homemade Italian meatballs are juicy, flavourful, and delicious, simmered in a rich and savoury tomato sauce. Make them in just 30 minutes.
For the meatballs:
- 1.5 lb. ground beef
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the tomato sauce:
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (2 cups)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine beef with breadcrumbs, milk, egg, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well and form the mixture into a uniform consistency.
- Take 2 spoonfuls of the beef mixture at a time and roll them into meatballs. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or shallow saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes until the hot oil sizzles. Slowly add the meatballs and gently stir to cook until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Make sure to stir gently to prevent meatballs from disintegrating. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside (Note that the meatballs are not fully cooked at this point).
- In the same skillet, add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
- Return the meatballs to the skillet and bring the sauce mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover the lid and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked.
- Sprinkle with extra Parmesan if desired and serve immediately over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Substitutions: There are plenty of ways to customize these family-favourite meatballs to change things up every once in a while. You can experiment with different flavours, but always be sure to include binding ingredients such as eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, or milk.
How to store: If you have any leftover Italian meatballs in tomato sauce, store them in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to allow the meatballs to cool to room temperate before storing them in the refrigerator.
How to freeze: Meatballs freeze beautifully (both cooked and uncooked).
- To freeze uncooked meatballs: Place the shaped meatballs on a large half sheet baking pan lined with parchment paper. Transfer the pan to the freezer and freeze until hard, about 1 hour. Then, transfer the meatballs into a freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To cook, allow the meatballs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator first, then cook as per recipe instructions on the stove.
- To freeze cooked Italian meatballs: Once they have cooled, store the meatballs and sauce in an airtight container or freezer bag (leaving room for expansion) for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat: Reheat in a shallow saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a little water if the sauce thickened up too much in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can reheat the meatballs in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 20-second increments. Be sure to cover the bowl to avoid tomato sauce splatter.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: italian meatballs, italian meatballs in tomato sauce, meatballs in tomato sauce, easy meatballs, ground beef meatballs