Meatballs are a genius move for weekday meals. They're easy to make, inexpensive, and offer oodles of variety. And the kids love them, too! Also, they freeze well. So make a pile on a lazy weekend and stash them in the freezer for quick dinners on your busy days.
It may seem counterintuitive, but meatballs are also a good option if you're cutting back a bit on meat. With meatballs, the serving size is easy to control, so long as you keep a mindful grip on the serving spoon. For best results, go big on the tomato sauce or other supporting ingredients and let the meatballs be your bonus.
With these recipes, we've chosen the best of the best, including all types of meatballs, featuring beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, even full-on vegetarian "meatballs." For more on making and freezing meatballs, check out How to Make the Best Meatballs.
We'll start with a classic. This top-rated baked meatball recipe combines pork and beef. "Homemade meatballs are very easy to make," says Chef John. "And since we skip the very messy step of pan-frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes downright simple."
With these ground turkey meatballs, you'll tuck little cubes of mozzarella cheese inside meatballs well-seasoned with onion, garlic, pesto, and Italian cheese. The cheese-stuffed meatballs are then baked in the oven and finished in a pan of simmering marinara sauce.
Here's another ground turkey-based meatball recipe. Seasoned with cumin, cayenne, oregano, and smoked paprika, these tender meatballs are finished in a creamy tomato sauce flavored with a little crème fraiche and sherry vinegar. "As these turkey and rice meatballs simmer in the sauce, the rice absorbs moisture, swell ups, and creates a relatively tender, moist meatball," says Chef John. "Delicious served over saffron basmati rice."
Ready for some meatless meatballs? The key to making these no-meat meatballs super-savory with a meaty taste and texture is to brown the mushrooms thoroughly. "The garlic, cheese, and parsley do the rest," says Chef John. "What really blew me away was how close the texture was to actual meatballs. They are officially approved for use on spaghetti!"
These Swedish-style meatballs combine ground beef and pork gently spiced with nutmeg and allspice. Bake and serve with sour cream gravy. To go full Swede on them, enjoy with boiled potatoes and lingonberry preserves.
These meatballs achieve the ground-meat trifecta, combining beef, veal, and pork, along with minced garlic and freshly grated Romano cheese. Finish 'em off in your favorite tomato sauce. "This is sooo close to my Nonna's authentic Italian recipe," raves RookieMom. "I am telling you, these meatballs ROCK!"
These amazing, slightly exotic lamb meatballs are a little sweet, a little spicy. You'll simmer them in a spicy tomato and eggplant sauce. Enjoy them over rice pilaf.
Here's a terrific way to stretch your ground turkey breast. You'll mix the turkey with mashed butter beans and seasonings. "A lighter version of Italian meatballs that go well with pasta," says Susan. "Serve with spaghetti and sauce or any other pasta."
"These Thai-inspired meatballs are packed with bright and aromatic flavors and simmered in a fragrant tomato coconut curry sauce," says France C. "While not a true Thai curry, I love experimenting with Thai ingredients and reinventing dishes. Serve over jasmine rice or rice noodles."
10. VIDEO: World's Fastest Meatballs
Here's your go-to meatball-making method when you’re craving meatballs on a weeknight but don’t have tons of time. There’s no chopping, no rolling, no frying or baking. And there’s no need to fret about over-combining the meat mixture, either -- these meatballs are indestructible. Popping them under the broiler means your meatballs are ready in about half the time that baking or frying requires. Check it out:
Check out our collection of meatball recipes.
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