Best Ever Italian Meatballs

Total Time
1hr 55mins
Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

This is a recipe I was given from a lady from Italy. She told me that the secret of mouth watering meatballs is not to cook them before adding them to the sauce, as cooking them in the sauce will not only add more flavor to the sauce, but also to the meatballs. What I do is make these a day ahead of time, with my sauce. Then, I refrigerate it over-night, which makes any fat rise to the top and harden, where it is easily removed. This process also allows all of the flavors to "marry" together, making it especially delicious!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Shape into small meatballs.
  3. Drop the meatballs into simmering sauce. It is important not to stir the sauce for at least 25 minutes. This will allow the meatballs to firm up enough as not to break up in the sauce. Make sure your burner is low enough so that your sauce does not scorch during this process.
  4. Continue simmering until sauce reaches desired consistency and meatballs are cooked through.
Most Helpful

I made these meatballs with a couple changes and they were fantastic! I omitted the green pepper and did not use the anise seeds. I also put the meatballs in a 400 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes before putting them into my sauce. Then I simmered them in the sauce for about 10 minutes. I was hesitant about dropping raw meat into my sauce. My family really enjoyed them. This is now my meatball recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Sylvia E. September 16, 2015

My review is for those who, like me, may not have all the ingredients so the recipe was modified. Used all ground beef, no fresh herbs but substituted dried, omitted anise and green pepper. I cooked the meatballs in the sauce as directed but couldn't fit them all in the pan so baked the remaining ones - those in the sauce came out better. Didn't touch it for 25 minutes, turned them, simmered another 10-15. The sauced meatballs (12) were much larger than the size of a golfball and the baked ones (14) about the size of the golfball - so with 1 1/2 lbs. of meat, this makes quite a bit. Simmering them softens the onion where baking doesn't allow enough time for the onion to mellow. I'll use all fresh herbs next time - which I always prefer.

jemcomeau September 16, 2015

I just made these meatballs tonight and they turned out delicious. I did not however use Anise seeds as I didn't have them so they may be too spicy for some people. I also adapted the recipe where I cooked them for about 25 minutes in the oven and out them in sauce to simmer as another recipe said to do. Other than that I followed the recipe to the letter except for using more cheese and omitting the green peppers. They came out awesome and would be really great for meatball subs or over pasta. Thank you for this recipe, I will definitely use it again.

alice.l.campbell August 28, 2015