Skillet Meatballs {with Simple Tomato Sauce} -

Homemade Meatballs Recipe with Tomato Sauce

These easy Skillet Meatballs are bursting to the brim with savoury flavour! They're gently sautéed in a cast iron skillet to get a little colour and caramelly flavour. Then, they're finished in the oven with a super easy marinara sauce - delicious on their own, in pasta or even on a sandwich!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword homemade meatballs, marinara sauce, Italian meatballs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 meatballs
Calories 160kcal
Author Dawn Coombs


Skillet Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1.5 lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic -minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley -roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan -grated on small hole on box grater
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 1 can whole san marzano tomatoes -28 oz or 828 ml can
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • small rind of parmesan cheese -about 2-3 inch, optional
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


  • parmesan cheese -to taste
  • fresh basil -to taste


Skillet Meatballs

  • 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 F 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).
Tried this recipe? That's awesome!Mention @dawn.girlheartfood or tag #girlheartfood!


Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 483mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5.2% | Vitamin C: 6.3% | Calcium: 9.2% | Iron: 13.4%