Baked Italian Meatballs

By Rachel Tiemeyer
January 22, 2021

Look no further for a delicious baked meatball recipe. Our Baked Italian Meatballs are a 30 minute meal staple in our house! The ingredients are simple but they are still packed with flavor. They make a great freezer meal because you can easily double the batch to freeze meatballs for later!

Baked Italian meatballs on a white plate with marinara sauce

Easiest Baked Italian Meatballs… EVER

Everybody loves a good meatball, right? Well, at least everyone in my crew does. And, as my mom friends out there know, it’s no small feat to prepare a meal that everyone eats and enjoys. These delicious, moist, Baked Italian Meatballs may get eaten before they ever make it atop whole wheat spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce or a Meatball Sandwich.

The ingredients in our baked meatballs are simple:

You likely have all of the ingredients for these easy baked meatballs in your pantry!

Baked italian meatball

Perhaps the best part: Skip the stove top mess and bake these away in the oven for only 20 minutes. They come out perfect every time. And, like so many of our recipes, you can make these meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for a quick, healthy meal later. Check out the freezer meal instructions in the recipe.

Here is a short video of how Baked Italian Meatballs come together

How to Freeze Meatballs

One of the best parts about this meatball recipe is that it is freezer friendly. Meatballs work beautifully to assemble and then freeze before baking for a meal down the road. I’d suggest rolling them up and placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet to freeze.

How to freeze baked italian meatballs

After they are frozen enough to hold together, place them in an airtight container or freezer storage bag.

The beauty of freezing meatballs is that you can now pop out as many as you need for future meals. No need to bake them all at once. These can be a great freezer meal for 1-2 people.

Use Baked Italian Meatballs to Double Your Dinner

We actually have an AMAZING resource you’re going to want to get your hands on. We have put together a free resource to help you easily double your dinner. So make a batch of these meatballs tonight and freeze a batch for later.

Ways to Use Baked Meatballs

Baked meatballs are incredibly versatile. Here are some ideas on ways to use them!

  • Serve them over whole wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce
  • Bake them and then assemble them as Meatball Sandwiches
  • Eat them plain! They can be a great appetizer.
  • Lighten up but don’t miss out on flavor by serving them over zoodles.
Baked italian meatball on a fork

What to serve with Baked Italian Meatballs

Here are some ideas that baked meatballs would go well with:


Baked Italian Meatballs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings (about 24 11/2 inch meatballs) 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


Everybody loves a good meatball! These delicious, moist ones may get eaten before they ever make it atop spaghetti or a sub sandwich. You’ll want to make this baked version of meatballs again and again.


  • 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef (This is where we get our favorite grass-fed ground beef.*)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs (or sub gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or sub more breadcrumbs)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk (your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

*affiliate link


Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Using clean hands, gently combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Use a medium dough scooper or a spoon to scoop and then roll about 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Line up meatballs on the sheet pan, leaving room between each.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside (160 degrees internal temperature).
  5. Optional: Serve with marinara sauce over pasta or on a sub sandwich.

Freeze For Later:

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Then, complete Steps 2 and 3. At this point, flash freeze uncooked meatballs by placing on the sheet pan (or in a baking dish) in the freezer for about an hour or so. Once frozen, dump meatballs in a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and place in freezer.

Prepare From Frozen:

Thaw meatballs using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook according to instructions, beginning with Step 4.

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20 replies
  1. Morgan says:

    I did the Double Your Dinner Challenge tonight and am glad I did! We put these on a hoagie bun and they were delicious! Great taste. Nice and juicy. I’m glad I have another set of them in the freezer!

  2. Alicia says:

    This is my go to recipe now for meatballs. I always make a double batch and bake everything. I actually freeze the cooked meatballs by themselves in dinner size portions. Then when I’m ready for dinner, I pull them out and very gently reheat them in a jarred sauce on the stove. It comes together so quickly if you already have the meatballs cooked! My whole family loves them and the quality stays the same even after being frozen and reheated.

  3. Andrea says:

    Hi, I have Celiac so I had to tweak the recipe, used GF bread crumbs. Also, I had a bit more meat then recipe called for. I used another egg and they were delicious but they fell apart. Do you have any recommendations die next time? Also, how do you know if you’ve “over worked” the meat? Thx

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      This recipe works “as is”, so something was likely off in your meat/liquid/binder/breadcrumb ratio. I’m sorry that happened! Sometimes I actually use almond meal in place of the breadcrumbs. It’s a bit denser of a meatball but still delicious. Overworked meatballs will come out tough, so the idea is to just work the meat until the ingredients are combined and balls are rolled, trying not to over do it.

      • Heather W. says:

        I love meatballs and this recipe looks delicious. I am looking forward to making it and then trying it out as a freezer meal for our family vacation in September. I am gluten-free and noticed that you have also tried almond meal instead of breadcrumbs. How much did you use per batch? And would Almond Flour work just as well? Thanks!

        • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

          Hi Heather. I’ve used both gluten-free breadcrumbs from the store (sub 1 to 1 ratio) and almond meal (I used about half the amount, since it’s more dense). Almond flour is even more dense than almond meal, so you could use it but maybe use a little less than half of the breadcrumb amount. It’s hard to screw up this recipe, so don’t stress too much. I hope that helps!

  4. Erin says:

    LOVE!!! These are the best meatballs I’ve ever had at home. They did take longer than 20 to cook for us. I think they may have been in there for an hour.

  5. Ellen says:

    I make and freeze these a lot! I’m gluten intolerant so I can’t eat these out in any form. BUT we love meatball subs. I make a sheet pan full of these, let them cool and freeze them in food sealer bags. They don’t normally last more than a few weeks before they’re gone.
    Making these in a large batch really takes no longer than making them a meal at a time! Great recipe!

  6. Krystle says:

    LOVED these meatballs. The only change I made was I used almond milk instead of regular because I can’t have dairy and they were delish and easy to makeahead and freeze. I actually want to make these as one of the trays for my sons 1st birthday. I was wondering how long can they be frozen without compromising quality of meat and flavor?

    • Rachel says:

      Hey, that’s great to hear. I would say they will be fine in the freezer for at least 3 months. The key is to package them in an air-tight freezer bag and get as much air out as possible so do well in the freezer.

      • Deborah J. Cerezo says:

        I’m excited to learn more about your recipes. I’m planning a garden wedding for June and as I’m making all the hordevoirs and buffet dinner myself, and have guests coming from out of town, I need to make as much as possible ahead of time. I’ll be interested to find out when I can start and best freezer time durations.

        • Rachel says:

          Wow, that’s impressive, Deborah. Make ahead freezer recipes will be a great help to you, and I think this meatballs would work nicely as an appetizer. Our cookbooks have some great recipes that might help, too. Best of luck!

  7. Lisa says:

    Simple recipe, very tasty. I was missing the parsley but they were still nice without it. I also liked baking them over frying, much easier.

  8. Leon says:

    Can I bake first them and then freeze them? I’m thinking then I can throw some frozen cooked meatballs into a crock pot with some sauce and let them cook throughout the day.

    • Rachel says:

      I have definitely cooked these ahead and frozen them in sauce before. I bet if you threw the frozen sauce and meatballs in a crock on low all day it would work out. Please let us know if you try it and how it goes, since I haven’t tested it that way.