32 Meatball Recipes That Put the 'Comfort' in 'Comfort Food'
Easy weeknight dinner, Italian, vegan, or keto — we have a meatball recipe for everyone.
Fall is the season when real cooking begins. You can sweep aside your salads and sandwiches to make room for heartier fare like roasts, casseroles, and stews — comfort food. Meatballs fall into that category, and on a practical level, they're great because they can take on different flavors; just about every culture has its own version the humble of meatball.
Some families have their own interpretations, too. I was hoping Joanna, my friend and colleague, would share her family recipe from New England — it calls for raisins. RAISINS. It sounds weird, but she has a worldly perspective on food that I appreciate, so I trust her. And after she shared her grandmother's recipe for Tomato Casserole, the raisin meatballs would be an easy sell (to me at least). Alas, she has yet to share. To tide you over until she changes her mind, we have 32 meatball recipes for you to check out — but none of them contain raisins.
The Best Classic Italian Meatballs
The Best Classic Italian Meatballs by Old House to New Home
To get you started down the meatball path, this is a recipe for classic Italian meatballs that's fairly simple, ingredient-wise. Some recipes call for both ground pork and ground beef, but this one keeps it simple with just beef. The other ingredients are what you'd find in most Italian recipes: Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasoning. Mix everything together, shape the meat mixture into balls (a cookie scoop works really well for this), place the balls on a baking sheet, and bake. These meatballs go best with marinara sauce on top of a pile of spaghetti, but we'll show you a few other ways to serve your Italian meatballs a bit later.
Keto Cheese Meatballs
Keto Cheese Meatballs by Fat for Weight Loss
Where there's a meat recipe, there's a keto recipe that inserts cheese to make it extra fatty. If you're a keto veteran, you know there are no breadcrumbs in this recipe — instead, grated parmesan is mixed in with the ground beef to help keep it all together. The mix is seasoned with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cubed cheese is then wrapped in the meat mixture. If you're wondering when the egg goes in, it doesn't. This recipe skips it and relies on the meat and cheese to maintain the shape.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Meatballs
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Meatballs by Cincy Shopper
If you want a recipe that requires little effort, your hunt for meatball recipes is over. This recipe calls for frozen meatballs (with the option of using homemade meatballs). Then whisk together honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, and garlic, and pour it over the meatballs in the slow cooker. Set it, and forget it (until dinnertime).
Buffalo Meatballs by Bakers Royale
These are true party meatballs. You're probably wondering what makes them "party meatballs" and you will be surprised when I tell you. First of all, this recipe uses store-bought frozen meatballs. Those take a long, chilly soak in Buffalo sauce before being dipped in egg and rolled in panko breadcrumbs. But the magic happens in a vat of boiling oil. Yep. They're deep-fried. And deep-fried is just another way of saying "delicious."
Authentic Swedish Meatballs
Authentic Swedish Meatballs by Shugary Sweets
As long as we're talking about party meatballs, we kind of have to include the OG party meatball: Swedish meatballs. Swedish meatballs did, in fact, originate in Sweden and Swedish people brought the recipe with them to the United States when they settled in the Midwest. They are smaller than other Euro meatballs because they were served on smorgasbords (kind of like buffets) with cream gravy and lingonberries. This recipe is pretty simple in execution and seasoning. The ground meat (pork and beef!) is mixed with onions, spices, and breadcrumbs (no egg!) and slathered with gravy made with beef stock, flour, butter, and cream.
30-Minute Vegetarian Meatballs
30-Minute Vegetarian Meatballs by Pinch of Yum
There are many very good vegetarian recipes, but this one has a ton of Yums (21K, if you're curious) and many excellent reviews. These "meat" balls are made with quinoa, oat flour, cauliflower florets, and eggs. They can be baked or fried and sauced any way you want. They're great for a weeknight meal or a filling lunch.
Meatball Parmesan Casserole
Meatball Parmesan Casserole by Mrs. Happy Homemaker
As promised, here's a super-easy way to serve your Italian meatballs as a meal; you can make it with store-bought meatballs if you don't have a lot of time. Other than that, you just need pasta sauce, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. It has 155 reviews on Yummly and a 4.5-star rating, so you know it's good.
Meatball Sliders by Lou Lou Girls
This recipe is a way to repurpose leftover homemade meatballs. The result is very similar to a meatball sandwich only it's made for a crowd. These are assembled in a casserole dish with Hawaiian sweet rolls, tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese, then baked. They can be served individually as an appetizer at a party or in pairs as part of a meal.
Cheesy Meatball Bombs by The Novice Chef
I hope you weren't expecting a keto fat bomb recipe with this one because these meatballs are wrapped in biscuit dough — a no-no on the keto diet, but a yes-yes for the Yummly diet! You can work your homemade Italian meatballs into this recipe, too. The biscuits are flattened with a rolling pin before the meatballs are placed in the middle of the dough, topped with tomato sauce, and sprinkled with cheese. Fold the biscuit dough up and it's ready to bake!
Roasted Garlic Turkey Meatballs
Roasted Garlic Turkey Meatballs by Kevin Is Cooking
OK, this recipe is all about the sweet-spicy-tart cranberry glaze, which is a recipe on its own (here's the recipe for the Roasted Garlic Turkey Meatballs made with ground turkey and 6 bulbs of garlic). The glaze is made very much like Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, only this recipe adds serrano peppers, ginger, and apple cider vinegar for flavor to the extreme.
Vegan Chickpea Meatballs
Vegan Chickpea Meatballs by The Curious Chickpea
There's a lot to say about these chickpea "meatballs." First off, because these are vegan, this blogger uses the binding power of rice and breadcrumbs mixed with olive oil to hold them together. They also call for nutritional yeast (a vegan pantry essential) along with pecans and seasoning. Then there's the SAUCE. Roasted red peppers blended with coconut milk, garlic cloves, and Italian spices. With this recipe, who needs meat?
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs by Let's Dish
This is another party recipe that's all about the sauce. Prep time is minimal — all you do is whisk together honey, soy sauce, pineapple juice, beef broth, and seasonings. Then heap your meatballs in the slow cooker, pour the sauce in and let the slow cooker do its job. People can serve themselves straight from the slow cooker and use toothpicks to eat.
The Perfect Paleo Meatballs
The Perfect Paleo Meatballs by One Lovely Life
We even have a recipe for people who follow the paleo diet. That means this one contains no breadcrumbs or dairy — everything else is pretty much the same as the classic meatball recipe.
Getting It Right
Now, if you want a tutorial on how to make the best meatballs, we can help you out there, too. For our paid subscription service, Yummly Pro, we teamed up with the Meatball Master: Daniel Holzman, who runs The Meatball Shop in New York City. He walks you through the recipe that's been feeding New Yorkers for the last decade.
Hungry for more?
Here are some more of our favorite meatball recipes — there's something on the list for everyone.