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

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

Maybe I am crazy, but these meatballs were terrible. I have cooked the Ina Garten recipe for years, and that recipe rocks! I was in the mood this afternoon for a change and found this recipe via google. I followed the directions exactly, and I can cook. I have done so professionally for a living and personally for my family for 20+ years. These meatballs tasted like something you would eat at a retirement center, and smelled weird after cooking. I didn't make homemade sauce this time, as these meatballs need more prep time than my usual recipe, so I went with Rao's Marinara. It wasn't the marinara. I am confused? Perhaps I had a bad ingredient...will not try again.

john598919 February 15, 2016

This recipe is AMAZING! I omitted the anise because I didn't have it but it turned out yummy anyway. I've read the other reviews to leave out the green peppers so I'll try that next time. Also, the sausage I used for this was the Jimmy Dean sage flavor (it was all I had) which itself is seasoned to perfection so I also went easy on the salt. DELICIOUS!

Gee M.P January 26, 2016

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