Oven Baked Handmade Meatballs

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These Handmade Oven Baked Meatballs are so simple, and they are a great way to have homemade meatballs without having to cook them on the stovetop. This is also a great option if you don’t want to braise them. You won’t believe how easy these homemade Italian meatballs are to make. This is a simple recipe great for subs or pasta! 

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There are few things more iconically Italian American than homemade meatballs. Every family has their version, and this is the one made most often in my home. This is a simple meatball recipe you will make again and again. 

There are no fancy ingredients here, just the right ratio of ground beef to ground Italian sausage and dried herbs, a little salt and pepper, and some torn fresh bread and a little bit of milk. It really is that easy. 

Why bake them in the oven? I love this method because once you put them in the oven they are very hands off, so you can work on other things while they cook. They get nice and brown on all sides as well. They do get flat on one side from sitting on the sheet pan, but I think it’s a small price to pay.

Baked meatballs in a skillet

Meatballs are actually quite easy to do right, and are great for a make ahead meal. They reheat well as leftovers also! I made these with a mixture of 85/15 ground beef and mild Italian sausage.

I know it is common to use dried bread crumbs in meatballs, but I really like using fresh bread. This is a wonderful opportunity to make use of bread heels! If you know anything about making meatballs (or meatloaf, as the technique is very similar) you know that bread crumbs are important. I just think fresh bread does a better job of keeping them from being dry.

meatball ingredients

Frequently Asked Questions

At what temperature should meatballs be baked?

I bake these at 350 degrees and they turn out great. You can bake them at a higher temperature for less time if you prefer.

How long should meatballs be baked?

I bake these for 25 minutes and they turn out perfectly brown and ready to use.

How long should the meatballs bake at 375?

You could bake these at 375 for 20 minutes, which is 5 minutes less than you would bake them at 350 degrees.

Could dried bread crumbs or panko be used instead of fresh bread?

You could use one of these ingredients, but I find that the meatballs come out drier this way. Torn up fresh bread is the best option, and a great way to use up bread heels. 

Can hot Italian Sausage be used instead of mild?

Absolutely! If you want an extra kick by all means go for it! You can substitute hot for mild in the same quantity.

Could the sausage be left out?

Yes! To make these meatballs all beef, just substitute the same amount of beef as sausage in the recipe. You could also substitute an equal amount of plain ground pork.

How large should the meatballs be?

I make these about an inch and a half in diameter, about the size of a golf ball.

Important Tips for Homemade Meatballs

  • Be sure to allow the breadcrumbs a few minutes to soak up the milk before adding into the meat mixture. It provides more moisture to the meatballs.
  • To ensure they are evenly sized, I use a cookie or ice cream scoop to portion out the meat. If you don’t have either, two to three tablespoons of meat per meatball is a good amount, just be sure they are about an inch and a half around.
  • Try not to overmix or over handle the meat mixture. If you work it too much it can get a bit tough.
  • If you decide to substitute more beef or ground pork for the Italian sausage, be sure to go up about ¼ tsp each on the salt, pepper, dried, oregano, dried, basil, and dried parsley to account for losing the seasoning that is in the sausage.
  • I prefer to use a rimmed baking sheet or oven safe skillet for cooking, so that any drippings are caught and they don’t drip down into the oven. The drippings are great to add to your sauce if you are making any while the meatballs cook.
  • If you want the meatballs to finish cooking in some sauce, take them out of the oven about 5-10 minutes early and add them right into your sauce.
  • The only downfall to baking them is that the side of the meatball that lays on the sheet pan will flatten, so your meatballs wont be perfectly round. You can try to prevent this by turning them on the sheet pan frequently, but I don’t like having to open my oven that often. They can be  browned in a skillet as well, just be sure to turn them often so that each side browns. 
meatballs in a large skillet with a dish towel and spoon

Serving Suggestions

These are great with pasta or in subs. You can also serve them on their own in a little sauce with a vegetable or salad on the side. For sauce options, take a look at my recipe for Sunday Sauce or Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! For more great recipes straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter below. Happy Cooking!

Baked meatballs in a skillet
Yield: 4-5 Servings

Oven Baked Handmade Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1/4 cup Fresh Bread Crumbs (white bread torn into small pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp Whole Milk
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb. Mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 Clove Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Large Egg


  1. In a small bowl, tear the brad into small pieces and add the whole milk. Set aside for the bread to soak up the milk while you combine the other ingredients.
  2. While the bread soaks up the milk, place the the ground beef, sausage, garlic, and all the seasonings in a large bowl and stir gently with a fork to incorporate.
  3. Beat the egg with a fork in another small bowl. Add the egg to the meat mixture and stir a few times.
  4. Add the bread crumbs and milk to the meat, and using a fork or your hands, mix well. Using your hands or a cookie dough/ ice cream scoop, roll the mixture into meatballs about one and a half inches in diameter.
  5. Place on a sheet pan or in an oven safe skillet and bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or take them out a few minutes early and let them finish cooking in a pot of simmering marinara sauce.


For the bread crumbs, I used a piece of white bread torn into small pieces. This is a great way to use up bread heels.

Hot sausage may be used in place of mild, or all ground beef or plain ground pork may be used. See Tips in the post about adjusting the seasonings.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 775Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 260mgSodium: 1621mgCarbohydrates: 12gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 57g

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