Combining ground beef, ground pork and plenty of garlic and seasoning, these homemade meatballs are incredibly savoury, tender and delicious. Plus, the melty mozzarella cheese centre makes these cheesy jumbo meatballs extra fun and tasty. It’s such a comforting recipe that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or entrée.
Giant meatballs. Well, giant meatballs with cheese. How can that not put a big smile on your face and make your belly do a little happy dance?
Though it’s technically spring, the weather still hasn’t quite warmed up. As a matter of fact, I’m still wearing my warm winter jacket. So, suffice to say, comfort food is still going strong around here.
Anytime of year, homemade meatballs are a favourite, and these cheesy jumbo meatballs are a go-to.
The combination of ground pork, ground beef, milk-soaked bread crumbs and egg gives the meatballs lots of flavour and moisture. Aside from being tasty, they’re quite fun with the melty cheese interior. Everyone’s eyes light up as soon as they hit the table and especially with they cut the meatballs open.
- Fresh bread crumbs: You can usually find bags of fresh bread crumbs in the grocery store in the bakery section. They’re super convenient, but you can always make your own with bread you have on hand and using a food processor or blender.
- Milk: Used for soaking the bread crumbs.
- Ground beef: I use lean ground beef in this meatballs recipe.
- Ground pork: Adds another element of flavour and some richness to the meatballs than just using beef alone.
- Egg: One large egg helps bind the meatballs and adds moisture.
- Parmesan cheese: Go for freshly grated cheese for optimal flavour.
- Parsley: Parsley adds freshness and a little pop of colour.
- Seasoning: Onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes gives these meatballs tons of flavour.
- Garlic: There’s lots of garlic in these meatballs (5 whole cloves). I like to grate them on the small holes of a box grater so they’re finely minced and distributed nicely throughout the meatballs.
- Bocconcini: For this recipe, use mozzarella balls that are about 30 grams or 1 ounce each. I tried this jumbo meatballs recipe with a larger variety of bocconcini but found the cheese tended to leak out and the smaller variety worked best. Can’t find bocconcini in your grocery store? Get a block of mozzarella cheese and cut it into small cubes, about the same size as the bocconcini.
What Are Bocconcini?
Bocconcini are little mozzarella cheese balls typically packaged in whey or water. You can usually find them in the supermarket alongside other cheeses, like ricotta and mascarpone.
They’re pretty mild in flavour and melt beautifully. They can be used in all sorts of recipes, like salads and meatballs. You can even marinate bocconcini in olive oil, or enjoy them right out of the tub (which I’m totally inclined to do).
Bocconcini can be found in different sizes, ranging from itsy bitsy to larger. The size I used in these cheesy meatballs was labeled “mini mini bocconcini” and were 30 grams or 1 ounce per mozzarella ball.
How To Make Cheesy Jumbo Meatballs
Here is an overview of how to make these cheesy jumbo meatballs (full details are in the recipe card below):
Make the meatball mixture
- In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients (except the bocconcini).
- Mix until all the ingredients are distributed throughout.
Roll the meat into balls and stuff with cheese
- Divide the ground beef and pork mixture into 8 portions (8 meatballs)
- Press a ball of bocconcini in the centre each meatball.
- Encase the meat around the bocconcini so you have a nice, round meatball shape.
Tip: When stuffing your meatballs with cheese, try to ensure that the cheese is in the centre of the meatball and the meat has nicely enclosed it. This helps minimize cheese leakage. We want the cheese to stay inside the meatballs for a nice melty centre (if a little leaks out, though, that’s perfectly okay).
Bake the meatballs
- Place the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.
- Bake the meatballs until they’re fully cooked through, then serve. They’re so yummy, once you make these jumbo meatballs you’ll want to make them again and again!
How To Serve Them
I like to serve these large meatballs as an appetizer, one per person, with a little store-bought pasta sauce. Another option is to serve them with your favourite barbecue sauce for dipping.
You can also serve them as a main dish with your favourite pasta (I love spaghetti with these meatballs) or gnocchi, over polenta or with a green salad or garlic bread.
Feeling like a sandwich instead? Meatball subs are such a delicious treat! Another fun way to serve the meatballs is on sub buns with pasta sauce or marinara sauce. Because these are big meatballs, I like to cut them in half if enjoying as a meatball sub sandwich.
More Easy Meatball Recipes
If you make this cheesy jumbo meatballs recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
Cheesy Jumbo Meatballs
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ¼ cup milk, like 2% or whole milk
- 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish if desired
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1.5 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced (I like to use the small holes on a box grater to do this)
- 8 mini mini bocconcini, each ball about 1 ounce or 30 grams
- Chopped basil leaves, garnish (optional)
For Serving (optional)
- Pasta sauce, warm per jar instructions
- Pasta (such as spaghetti or linguine), cook pasta per package instructions and drain
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl. Set aside for a minute or two until the bread crumbs absorb the milk.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, egg, Parmesan, parsley, onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and the bread crumb/milk mixture. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
- Divide the ground beef mixture into 8 portions (basically 8 meatballs, each about 4.5 ounces or enough to fill a ½-cup measuring cup).
- Taking one meatball at a time, press a ball of bocconcini in the centre of the beef and pork mixture and encase the meat around it, rolling it into a nice, round meatball shape. Ensure that there are no cracks or seams in the meat because you want the cheese fully enclosed so it doesn't leak out as it cooks (if a little cheese leaks out, though, that's perfectly okay). Place the cheese-stuffed meatballs onto the prepared sheet pan, ensuring they're not touching.
- Bake the meatballs for 28 to 30 minutes or until they're fully cooked through (they should no longer be pink, the meat should be brown throughout, the cheese should be melty and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the centre of the meatballs when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer).
- If serving the meatballs as an appetizer, I like to serve them with pasta sauce and garnish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese as well as some parsley and/or basil. If serving the meatballs as a main dish, I like to serve them with pasta sauce and pasta, then garnish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese as well as some parsley and/or basil.If you just want to serve the meatballs as they are, they're perfectly yummy that way too.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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