This easy homemade meatballs recipe with tomato sauce is bursting to the seams with savoury flavour! The meatballs are gently sautéed in a cast iron skillet to get a little colour. Then, they’re finished in the oven with a super easy red sauce. These skillet meatballs are delicious on their own, in pasta or even on a sandwich!
Hi there! How was your weekend? Despite being January, we had abnormally warm temperatures. It rained and we lost all our snow. For one a moment, I was thinking we were into spring. A girl can dream! Then, it turned cold again, lol.
I’m always in the mood for good eats (especially during the winter months). We make a lot of stick to ya ribs comfort food, like hunter’s chicken, chicken, sausage and peppers, baked gnocchi and skillet meatballs.
What’s your favourite comfort food recipe to make?
How to Make this Homemade Meatballs Recipe
These meatballs from mince are made with simple items that you probably have on hand in your fridge and pantry. Garlic, onion powder, chili flakes and oregano give a good punch of flavour and the breadcrumbs soaked in milk lend some moisture.
To make meatballs from scratch –
- Mix breadcrumbs with milk and lay to one side (this is a binder and adds moisture).
- In a large bowl combine mince, seasoning, parsley, parmesan and bread/milk mixture.
- Use a small scoop to portion, then roll into balls with your hands. Don’t overwork!
- Place in a skillet to brown for a few minutes and get a nice little colour.
- Stir in tomato sauce and bake.
- Garnish and enjoy!
Can I Prepare Meatballs the Day Before?
Yes! You sure can! Mix up the meatballs, store in fridge (in a covered container) and then brown and oven bake the next day.
Can I Freeze Cooked Meatballs?
Yes, you can. Of course, like with most things these are best made and enjoyed fresh, but freezing totally works. Let meatballs cool completely. You can either –
- Place cooled meatballs on a sheet pan to freeze and then vacuum seal. Store in freezer (the pre-freezing helps prevent the meatballs from getting squished when sealing) or
- Store cooled meatballs in freezer safe containers or bags.
Enjoy within a couple months. I like to reheat in a little sauce (like when they were originally made).
Easy Tomato Sauce Recipe – a Little Secret
Like these scratch made meatballs, this is an easy tomato sauce.
Want to know a secret tip for a whole lotta flavour? Add parmesan rind in the tomato sauce as it cooks. Don’t throw that stuff away!!!
It seriously infuses flavour into the sauce and once you do it, there’s no going back. Plus, you’re getting more bang for your buck when you buy that parmesan. What’s not to love?
Of course, no meatball would be complete without some parm on top. Garnish these beauties with a generous amount and eat up!
Do I Have to Cook Meatballs in The Sauce?
No, of course you don’t have to cook meatballs in sauce. I prefer to, though. Why? Because as these meatballs gently finish cooking in the sauce they infuse flavour into the sauce and vice versa. Plus, you have sauce to serve with the meatballs or to stir into pasta and the like.
If you would rather oven bake the meatballs (without searing first), that’s ok too. Keep in mind, though, they won’t quite have the same colour as browning and finishing in the tomato sauce.
To oven bake meatballs, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (according to the Government of Canada) and they’re no longer pink and cooked through.
Look how packed with flavour they are! Plus, they are juicy and just plain delish! What’s your favourite way to enjoy meatballs?
More Recipe Tips
The key to making meatballs is don’t handle them too much. I mean, form them but don’t overly handle them.
Don’t skimp on the fresh parsley! This adds brightness to the dish.
Leftovers should be removed from the cast iron pan and stored in food storage tub or container. Enjoy within 3 days.
Size matters. These are not your average meatballs! I made ’em a little bit on the larger size (a small scoop, which is a little more generous than a tablespoon) because they do shrink down a little when cooked. What you are left with is one delicious meatball and I’m pretty confident that you’re going to make again and again! With all the game day festivities coming up, they’re bound to make it to your table more than once. Though, admittedly, I do not watch the sports. I will, however, happily sit with you (or more likely alongside the food) and munch away 😉
How to Serve
- Enjoy as is
- Serve with garlic bread and mop up that delicious sauce
- Toss the tomato sauce and meatballs into cooked pasta
- Pile onto some bread (with mozzarella cheese) for a meatball sandwich
- Don’t forget to garnish with parmesan cheese
- Basil with this Italian meatball recipe is always a winner!
- Meatballs are also great with a Caesar salad (from Natasha’s Kitchen)
More Italian Comfort Food Recipes You May Enjoy
Hope you enjoy this easy homemade meatballs recipe as much as we do!
If you make these skillet meatballs, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed! Thank you!
Homemade Meatballs Recipe with Tomato Sauce
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1.5 pound lean ground beef
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley -roughly chopped
- ½ cup parmesan -grated on small hole on box grater
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Simple Tomato Sauce
- 28 ounce can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes (about a 828 millilitre can)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- small rind of parmesan cheese , about 2 to 3 inches, optional
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- parmesan cheese (to taste)
- fresh basil (to taste)
- In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and milk. Lay to one side.
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, salt, black pepper, chili flakes, oregano, garlic, onion powder, parsley, parmesan and reserved bread crumb/milk mixture. Stir with hands to combine. Form into balls (I used a small scoop) and used 2 scoops per ball (about 1 generous tbsp. of meat). Place on wax paper lined baking sheet.
- In a 10-inch cast iron skillet on medium high heat add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Working in two batches (6 balls per batch) gently brown meatballs about 2 minutes per side (4 minutes total). Note: They are not cooked at this point, just browned a little on the outside. Remove batch from cast iron pan and continue with second batch.
- Drain any excess grease. Add all meatballs to pan and top with tomato sauce mixture. Bake in 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. Garnish with more parmesan cheese and basil. Enjoy as is, with pasta or on a sandwich!
Simple Tomato Sauce
- In a bowl combine san marzano tomatoes with tomato paste, sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Pour over meatballs. Place parmesan rind (if using) in tomato sauce.
- After 30 minutes, remove parmesan rind and stir in balsamic vinegar.
- The key to making meatballs is don’t handle them too much. I mean, form them but don’t overly handle them.
- Don’t skimp on the fresh parsley! This adds brightness to the dish.
- Leftovers should be removed from the cast iron pan and stored in food storage tub or container. Enjoy within 3 days.
- Size matters. These are not your average meatballs! I made ’em a little bit on the larger size (a small scoop, which is a little more generous than a tablespoon).