These bison meatballs are tender, juicy and packed with flavour from plenty of herbs, like parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary. They’re coated in a simple sweet and savoury sauce that just complements them so deliciously. If you’re looking for a new homemade meatball recipe to try, these easy bison meatballs are a great place to start!
We really enjoy meatball recipes in our home. I mean, little balls of flavoured ground meat? What’s not to love?
And I’m always on the lookout to try different proteins. Growing up, bison was definitely not something that was readily available in our grocery stores. These days, though not quite as popular as ground beef, you can usually find ground bison alongside other ground meats.
If you like ground beef, chances are you’ll enjoy ground bison too. Bison is not gamey in taste, it’s flavourful and it’s lower in calories and fat compared to beef. You can typically use bison in many of the same ways you’d use beef, which makes it a great alternative for when you’re trying to mix things up.
Fan of meatballs? Check out this moose meatball recipe!
- Ketchup: I like to use a low sodium ketchup, but feel free to use a regular variety if that’s what you have on hand or prefer.
- Blueberry jam: Blueberry jam pairs so lovely in the sauce and compliments the bison meatballs nicely. Blackberry jam is also another yummy option.
- Yellow mustard: Helps provide some tang to the meatball sauce.
- Fresh bread crumbs: Acts as a binder for the meatballs. Plus, once it’s combined with milk, adds moisture.
- Milk: I like to use at least 2% milk fat.
- Ground bison: I used extra lean ground bison, but lean would also work.
- Egg: Since bison is pretty lean, an egg adds richness and moisture to the meatballs. In addition, it acts as a binder to help form the meatballs.
- Garlic: Finely minced garlic adds plenty of flavour. Use a garlic press or the small holes on a box grater to mince.
- Onion: Yellow onion adds flavour and moisture to the meatballs.
- Herbs: A combination of parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary is used. You can opt for either fresh or dried. If using dried herbs, use ⅓ the amount of what you would use for fresh herbs (as dried herbs are more potent). For instance, 1 tablespoon (or 3 teaspoons) of fresh rosemary is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary.
- Worcestershire sauce: Adds a great umami or savoury flavour.
- Salt and black pepper: Classic to pretty much any scratch-made meatball recipe.
How To Make Bison Meatballs
Here is an overview of how to make bison meatballs (full details are in the recipe card below):
- Prepare the meatball sauce by whisking ketchup, blueberry jam and yellow mustard together in a bowl. Place half of it in another bowl. The reason why we do this is that one portion will be used to brush over the meatballs halfway through cooking and the other half will be used to serve with the meatballs. You don’t want to contaminate the sauce you are serving the meatballs with with the sauce that you brushed over them.
- Combine bread crumbs with milk in a small bowl and allow that to sit for a few minutes, then combine it in another bowl with the other bison meatball ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined.
- Form the meat mixture into meatballs and place them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
- Bake the bison meatballs about halfway.
- Carefully remove the meatballs from the oven and brush them all over with some of the prepared sauce mixture.
- Return the meatballs to the oven and continue to bake them until they’re fully cooked through. Serve the meatballs with the reserved sauce.
As mentioned, bison is quite similar to beef in its flavour profile. If you can’t find bison, you can make these homemade meatballs with ground beef.
What To Serve With Them
Of course, you can totally serve these bison meatballs on their own with sauce for dunking. However, if you want to round things out and serve them as an entrée with a side, here are some of my favourites:
- If you feel like you need a little more binder for your bison meatballs, add in a little more bread crumbs as necessary.
- When rolling the ground bison mixture into meatballs, dampen your hands with a little water to help minimize the meat sticking to them.
- Want to know if the meatball mixture is seasoned enough to your liking? There is an easy way to check! After combining the meatball ingredients, take a little bit and fry it up in a skillet on the stovetop until cooked through. Give it a taste and see how you like it. If you feel it needs more salt or herbs, for example, add more to your meatball mixture before forming the meatballs and baking.
- If you’d rather skip brushing the meatballs with sauce, that’s completely okay! Just bake them as is until they’re fully cooked through. Once done, you can serve the meatballs with your favourite sauce on the side for dunking or simply enjoy them as is.
More Easy Meatball Recipes
If you make this bison meatball recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
- ½ cup ketchup, I used a low sodium variety
- ⅓ cup blueberry jam
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk, I like to use at least 2% milk fat
- 1 pound extra lean ground bison, or lean
- 1 large egg
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, blueberry jam and yellow mustard until well combined. Take about half of the sauce mixture and place it in another bowl (basically, half of the sauce will be used to brush over the meatballs partway through baking and the other half will be used to serve with the meatballs once cooked; you don't want to contaminate one with the other).
- Place the bread crumbs and milk in another small bowl and stir to combine. Let it sit for a few minutes just until the bread crumbs absorb the milk. The bread crumbs are not overly soaked here, just moistened by the milk.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the milk-soaked bread crumbs, ground bison, egg, garlic, onion, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper, then mix until everything is well combined.
- Form the meat mixture into meatballs (about 1.5 tablespoons of the meat mixture per meatball). Place them on the prepared sheet pan as you are finished rolling them.
- Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Brush one-half of the reserved sauce all over the meatballs (as mentioned, the remainder will be used to serve with the meatballs once cooked).
- Return the meatballs to the oven and continue to bake them for another 10 to 12 minutes or until they're fully cooked through (they should no longer be pink, be brown throughout and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the centre of the meatballs when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer).
- Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve with the reserved sauce. Enjoy!
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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