Rao's Famous Meatballs

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

I saw this on the Today Show. I made them one night and now my family asks for them at least once a week. They may seem labor intensive but they are most certainly worth the effort. You can serve them with spaghetti or on their own. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large bowl, place the meat and rub the minced garlic into it.
  2. Press the meat in the bowl.
  3. Add in this order: Salt, pepper, parsley, 2 eggs and water. Then sprinkle the cheese over the top as if you are going to cover the water. Finally, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cheese.
  4. Mix from the outside of the bowl to the middle, folding it inches Do not overmix!
  5. After the ingredients are mixed, start to roll the meatballs in your hands, about 6 ounces per meatball.
  6. After your meatballs are rolled, take a 10 inch frying pan and add your oil and the reserved whole clove of garlic and heat. When the clove starts to brown, the oil is ready.
  7. Fry the meatballs, cooking and flipping until golden brown, about 4 1/2 to 5 minutes per side.
  8. Remove the meatballs after frying and put on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
  9. (If you want you can bake the meatballs on a lightly greased tray at 350 degrees-the taste is totally different than frying).
  10. Add the meatballs to your tomato sauce to finish cooking.
  11. Let simmer for at least 45-60 minutes.
  12. Serve with the sauce.
Most Helpful

These meatballs are the best. Don't be afraid to mix in all that water. It is really okay. They are worth the money for the ingredients, especially the cheese. I used my own homemade breadcrumbs that were highly seasoned so I added no other seasonings. I also baked mine because I doubled the recipe. I baked them at 350 for 1/2 hour. I will be making their marinara sauce next (on the website). I used the Rao's jar of marinara sauce and it was fabulous. Given the cost of San Marzano tomatoes, the price for a jar of Rao's is really not that bad. I was really shocked about how much the water made the difference in the mix. I also thinly sliced the meatballs and put a layer of them on top of the rigatoni pie made in the springform pan.

vmydogwillow April 13, 2014

Absolutely wonderful. Fork tender; tasty and simple to make. Don't let the recipe scare you. It you follow the step-by-step instructions you can't go wrong. I paired with the sauce from the spaghetti and meatball recipe number 221905. A great family dinner.

Ann Rotatori September 06, 2010

I have always loved hearing stories about the famous Rao's restaurant in NYC. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a whirl. I'm so glad that I did. The meatballs were actually fun to make, the way the directions are written (ie. pressing into the bowl to make a well, adding ingredients and then mixing/folding in inches). I was worried about the amount of water but it all seemed to work out well! This recipe made 24 large (about 2-3 inch) meatballs. I fried them in two batches so I wouldn't overcrowd the skillet. After letting them drain on paper towels, I put them into a simmering pot of tomato/basil sauce for about 30 minutes. Then served it over some egg noodles for a different spin. The flavor and constistency of the meatballs are wonderful! ~Made for Spring 2010 PAC~

LifeIsGood April 08, 2010