33 Mouthwatering Meatball Recipes

Meatballs on a plate with pita and salad
Meatballs on a plate with pita and salad - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Meatballs are perhaps more versatile than you'd think. Served with spaghetti, mashed potatoes, or bobbing about in a spicy soup, there are plenty of different ways to serve them up, and each one is delicious. They are a great way to seal in meaty juiciness with a wonderfully browned coating and succulently textured bites. With the right herbs and spices, you can create flavors evocative of the European countries of Italy and Sweden, while also branching out to the cuisines of Mexico and Asia.

Since they aren't challenging to make, you might want to work your way through our curated mouthwatering meatball recipes. There are dishes here that work as hot sandwich snacks, party-style bites, and comfort food mains with tomatoey and cream sauces. While rolling homemade meatballs is strangely satisfying, there are also plenty of ideas that use frozen meatballs if you love a shortcut. Here are some of our favorite mouthwatering meatball recipes.

Read more: Frozen Meatball Brands Ranked From Worst To Best

30 Minute Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs on a plate
Meatballs on a plate - Maren Epstein/Mashed

Whether you pair these meatballs with pasta or cram them into a sub, you're going to love the herby taste. The lighter flavor of ground turkey as opposed to traditional beef is a tasty change. This recipe recommends adding dried oregano into the meatball mixture, but sage, rosemary, and thyme also work wonders flavor-wise.

Sear the balls off before baking them in the oven. Aim for an even, quick browning rather than cooking them in the pan. Add Parmesan for a salty, tangy lift, and leave out the panko bread crumbs if you prefer.

Recipe: 30 Minute Turkey Meatballs

Copycat IKEA Meatballs

Meatballs with jelly condiment and creamy sauce
Meatballs with jelly condiment and creamy sauce - Jake Vigliotti/Mashed

Everyone knows you don't just go to IKEA for their convenient flatpack furniture, and one of the big draws is the Swedish-style meatballs served with mashed potato, creamy sauce, and a lovely tart lingonberry jelly.

When you're too exhausted to trail through the store, or already have enough furniture and nightlights, stay at home and make a copycat version of their famous meatballs instead. The ingredients that make this meatball recipe so delicious include equal amounts of ground beef and pork, panko for a toasty flavor, and heavy cream for the luxurious sauce.

Recipe: Copycat IKEA Meatballs

Anne Burrell's Meatballs

Meatballs in tomato sauce in bowl and serving dish
Meatballs in tomato sauce in bowl and serving dish - Cecelia Ryu/Mashed

Ann Burrell's meatballs are marvelous, and this take on the TV chef's recipe amps up the heat and adds two types of hard cheese. The result is a super umami-rich sauce that boosts the ground beef, pork, and veal meatballs with pancetta.

You're going to add more crushed red pepper flakes to the meaty mixture to start with. For the marinara sauce, elevate the spiciness with Calabrian chili paste and mix in not only Parmigiano Reggiano but also Pecorino Romano. Can't handle the heat? Tweak the quantities of hot ingredients you add to customize for your taste preference.

Recipe: Anne Burrell's Meatballs 

Homemade Meatball Subs

Meatball sandwich in sauce with melted cheese
Meatball sandwich in sauce with melted cheese - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

One of the most mouthwatering meatball recipes to try -- if somehow this dish has previously passed you by -- is stuffing the meaty spheres into a sub. There's something awesomely satisfying about that combination of soft bread, rich sauce, melted cheese, and tasty meat. A word of warning though, once you've made this hot sandwich you're going to hanker after it until it becomes a go-to.

Hoagie rolls work best, with pork and beef, although you can also use meatloaf mix, along with Parmesan. For the cheesy topping, what could be better than melted mozzarella?

Recipe: Homemade Meatball Subs

Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

Cheese-stuffed meatballs in tomato sauce
Cheese-stuffed meatballs in tomato sauce - Carrie Madormo,RN,MPH/Mashed

If you're a fan of meatballs and string cheese hacks, then you're going to adore this stuffed meat recipe. Each of the dairy sticks makes four meatballs, and the trick is to make sure the cheese is completely covered so that none leaks out.

Instead of searing the ground beef in a pan before adding them to the slow cooker, broil them instead. You'll be able to get rid of some of the grease while browning them. Let them cool before adding to the pot so that they don't stick together.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

5-Ingredient Meatball Pasta Bake

Meatballs in pasta bake with cheese
Meatballs in pasta bake with cheese - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Did the words "pasta bake" immediately grab your attention? They conjure up mouthwatering visions of stretchy, cheesy mozzarella, rich tomatoey and creamy sauce, and velvety pasta. Now imagine adding meatballs into each mouthful. Before you get carried away, face the wonderful reality that all this could be right in front of you on a plate with just five ingredients.

This is comfort food at its best. Aside from cooked frozen meatballs, you'll need ziti noodles, a jar of tomato pasta sauce, whole milk, and mozzarella. That's it.

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Meatball Pasta Bake

Halloween Meatballs

Meatballs with pastry wrap and mustard
Meatballs with pastry wrap and mustard - Kristen Carli/Mashed

It's spooky how amazing meatballs taste when they are wrapped in pastry. And it doesn't have to be the witching hour to make them either. Kids will wolf them down at any time of the year and be howling for more. For any parents looking for a magic spell for kids to eat up all their food at mealtimes these Halloween mummy meatballs are super easy to make.

Wrap strips of crescent dough around seared homemade meatballs to look like bandages. Once out of the oven, add yellow mustard dots for the eyes and you've got a spooktacular treat that tastes good all year round.

Recipe: Halloween Meatballs

Teriyaki Meatballs

Meatballs with rice and green onions
Meatballs with rice and green onions - Petar Marshall/Mashed

Elevating the flavor profile of meatballs can transport the taste outside the tradition of Italian cuisine. Leave European culinary influence behind and head to the fabulous flavors of Asia with these terrific teriyaki meatballs.

Enhance the ground beef meatballs with soy sauce, brown sugar, and ground ginger, plus garlic and honey incorporated into a sauce. Once you've baked the meatballs, simmer them in the teriyaki sauce for 10 minutes so that the sweet, salty flavors permeate the meat. Keep up Asian tradition and serve with sweet and savory tasting bites with rice or noodles.

Recipe: Teriyaki Meatballs

Lentil Meatballs

Meatballs with pasta in bowl and serving dish
Meatballs with pasta in bowl and serving dish - Miriam Hahn/Mashed

Not all meatballs have to be meaty, and there's so much more to this dish than that. It's the taste of the marinara sauce and herby balls that create mouthwatering meatball recipes, not necessarily the meat. This version uses lentils for texture and substance and the results need to be tasted to be believed.

Another change is mixing ground-up flax seeds with water and using the mixture in place of an egg. If you're happy to include dairy, then add flavor to the lentils with Parmesan, and combine the blended mixture with onion, mushrooms, and parsley. This recipe can also easily be adapted for a vegan diet by swapping the Parmesan for a vegan alternative.

Recipe: Lentil Meatballs

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs with rice and creamy sauce
Meatballs with rice and creamy sauce - Melissa Olivieri/Mashed

Cooking in a slow cooker means that this recipe is easy and it's mouthwateringly reminiscent of a dish you might find in a well-known European-branded furniture store. Sear beef and pork meatballs and add them to your slow cooker with vegetable broth. Enhance the taste as you cook these for over three hours with Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, and lemon juice.

Once you remove the meatballs, use the flavorful broth to create a gorgeously creamy sauce with a scrumptiously sweet note. The secret is to stir in sour cream and cranberry sauce.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

Budget-Friendly Porcupine Meatball

Meatballs in serving dish with French bread
Meatballs in serving dish with French bread - Molly Madigan/Mashed

Don't worry, these porcupine meatballs aren't made using the eponymous animal. The name comes from one of the ingredients that you add which is long grain rice. This idea comes from close to a century ago, to create a recipe that makes meat go further during tough times. However, the fact remains that this budget-friendly recipe is upliftingly tasty.

Of course, the fun name and quirky look of these meatballs make for imaginative mealtimes with little ones, adding a child-friendly bonus. Simmer the lean beef balls in a tomato purée and oregano sauce.

Recipe: Budget-Friendly Porcupine Meatballs

Little Monster Meatball Sliders

Creative meatball sliders with olives and cheese
Creative meatball sliders with olives and cheese - Patterson Watkins/Mashed

A collection of mouthwatering meatball recipes has to include little monster meatball sliders. They look so playful that they are bound to be a monster of a crowdpleaser at gatherings for all ages.

Toasted garlic and Parmesan slider rolls create a robust crunchy casing to stuff with cooked frozen meatballs warmed up in pizza sauce. Cut pointy fangs along one side of deli-style slices of mozzarella so that each one hangs down over the meatballs. Spear pimento-stuffed green olives with toothpicks on top of the bread to create ogre-like eyes.

Recipe: Little Monster Meatball Sliders

Christmas Meatballs

Meatballs with dried cranberries and boiled potatoes
Meatballs with dried cranberries and boiled potatoes - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

Magnificent meatballs deserve to be celebrated but don't think that you have to save these festive monikored ones just for the holidays. They are a gift at any time of year and elevate meatballs from a simple dish to a more sophisticated serving in a light broth.

Dried cranberries, thyme, and sage add Christmassy notes which complement a beef broth with brown sugar sauce. Be sure to coat the meatballs in the rich sauce in the pan and get just the right consistency so that it's perfect for mopping up with buttery mash or boiled potatoes.

Recipe: Christmas Meatballs

Greek Meatballs

Meatballs in a bowl with salad and pita bread
Meatballs in a bowl with salad and pita bread - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

A hero ingredient in plenty of Greek dishes is lamb, and this meatball recipe is no exception. The flavors of Greece are amplified with red onion, garlic, and fresh mint. Add ground beef to the mix along with fresh parsley and dried oregano and fry them so that they are cooked through. You shouldn't be able to see any pink inside.

You don't need to drench these flavor bombs in a sauce. They work brilliantly as part of a Greek mezze platter, as appetizers, or stuffed in a hot pita with fresh salad.

Recipe: Greek Meatballs

Easy Instant Pot Meatball Soup

Meatballs in pasta with spicy soup
Meatballs in pasta with spicy soup - Carlos Leo/Mashed

It doesn't get much heartier than a meatball soup, and there's comfort in cooking any dish in an Instant Pot, too. While this soup is homemade, the meatballs don't have to be so choose whatever frozen mini ones you prefer. You're going to use ditalini pasta too, which is short macaroni.

Add carrots, zucchini, and garlic along with herbs, tomato paste, smoked red pepper flakes, and chicken stock. Add a creamy tang to the taste by popping in a few Parmesan rinds that will melt in the soup. Recipe: Easy Instant Pot Meatball Soup

Copycat Subway Meatball Marinara Subs

Meatball and cheese sandwich
Meatball and cheese sandwich - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

The Subway Meatball Marinara Sub is a classic favorite that's super-easy to recreate at home. Whether it's the Super Bowl or a regular game night, serve up these meaty hot sandwiches and you're guaranteed a win.

Just as you choose your bread at the sub sandwich chain, it's up to you what roll to use. However, you won't want it to be too flimsy as the filling is far from delicate. The only other ingredients you're going to need are premade beef meatballs, marinara sauce, and sliced processed cheese.

Recipe: Copycat Subway Meatball Marinara Subs

Spaghetti And Meatballs Pizza

Meatballs and spaghetti on pizza
Meatballs and spaghetti on pizza - Lauren Schumacker/Mashed

Don't you just love recipes that combine two of your favorite dishes into one? What's not to love about a spaghetti and meatballs pizza? Make homemade meatballs with pork, parsley, and fennel with garlic and oregano. Make spaghetti and a sauce with tomatoes, green pepper, and onion. Make homemade pizza dough and slather garlic butter on top before adding the meatball pasta and topping with fresh basil and mozzarella and baking in the oven.

You can take shortcuts with ready-cooked meatballs, a jar of sauce, and ready-made pizza dough or crust.

Recipe: Spaghetti And Meatballs Pizza

Homemade Italian Meatballs

Spaghetti in sauce with meatballs and serving utensils
Spaghetti in sauce with meatballs and serving utensils - Kristen Carli/Mashed

What's a list of mouthwatering meatball recipes without including a recipe for homemade Italian ones? This version is quick to make, but you need to let the ingredients savor and allow for a couple of hours of simmering time to get the full flavor.

Get the Parmesan, parsley, and Italian-style breadcrumbs ready, along with eggs and garlic to easily mix into ground beef with your hands. Heat homemade marinara sauce or a good-quality jarred one. Pop the meatballs in the saucepan, making sure that they are completely covered. Serve with al dente linguini.

Recipe: Homemade Italian Meatballs

Giada's Turkey Meatballs With A Twist

Cheese-stuffed meatballs with spaghetti
Cheese-stuffed meatballs with spaghetti - Mackenzie Ryan/Mashed

Trust Italian-American chef Giada De Laurentiis to make magnificent meatballs. The TV culinary star makes this classic dish using dark turkey meat and hot Italian sausage with parsley and garlic. To make the sauce for this recipe you'll need crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and herbs with fennel seeds.

What changes up the taste is adding chili flakes to the sauce to add a little heat. Another yummy twist is stuffing each meatball with a cube of fresh mozzarella so it melts into a gooey center.

Recipe: Giada's Turkey Meatballs With A Twist

Crockpot BBQ Meatballs

Meatballs with barbecue sauce and toothpick
Meatballs with barbecue sauce and toothpick - Angela Latimer/Mashed

Combine the sweet tang of barbecue sauce with the juiciness of crockpot-cooked meatballs and you have a mouthwatering dish. The bold flavors make a change from the traditional Italian-style profile, too. You can make homemade barbecue sauce to control the sweetness and any heat or use a bottled one.

You mix this in with ground beef, along with yellow mustard, paprika, and garlic powder. For a herby note, add fresh parsley to the meat. Or what about adding liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce to the barbecue sauce for some extra oomph?

Recipe: Crockpot BBQ Meatballs

Easy Swedish Meatballs

Spooning creamy sauce on meatballs and mash
Spooning creamy sauce on meatballs and mash - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

Succulent meatballs in a cream sauce are the hallmarks of the Swedish version of this Italian dish classic. This recipe combines equal amounts of beef and pork and adds milk into the mixture to create juicy, tenderized meatballs.

To make the sauce, create a roux with flour and melted butter and build on this with beef broth and heavy cream. Nutmeg adds a little sweetness with Worcestershire sauce bringing a savory tanginess. The secret to the spicy notes for the creamy sauce is adding Dijon mustard which creates heat without overpowering the senses.

Recipe: Easy Swedish Meatballs

Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs and cream sauce with pasta twirls
Meatballs and cream sauce with pasta twirls - Kristen Carli/Mashed

The simplicity of this Instant Pot Swedish meatball recipe is as appealing as the taste. It pairs ingredients that taste great together such as ground beef, parsley, and garlic for the meatballs. For the sauce, heavy cream, beef broth, and Dijon mustard are a marvelous trio that makes for a rich savory flavor that's also luxuriously creamy.

The trick to forming perfect meatballs that don't fall apart is cutting the onion fine enough so it almost melts into the meat. Once ready, serve with velvety mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Recipe: Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

20-Minute Italian Meatballs

Meatballs and tomato sauce in a bowl
Meatballs and tomato sauce in a bowl - Kristen Carli/Mashed

The idea of tomato sauce bubbling away for hours with tasty meatballs bobbing about is a romantic notion of Italian cuisine. However, for a weekday night, when you don't have that kind of time luxury, you don't have to miss out and can still enjoy the herby, garlicky taste of homemade meatballs made with ground beef. Keep the ingredients classic by adding Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and egg.

A great tip for forming the spheres and minimizing mess is to use culinary plastic gloves so that you can handle the meaty mixture without it sticking to your hands.

Recipe: 20-Minute Italian Meatballs

Easy Spaghetti And Meatballs Casserole

Meatballs and spaghetti with cheese in casserole dish
Meatballs and spaghetti with cheese in casserole dish - Lindsay D. Mattison/Mashed

If you can't imagine how to make spaghetti and meatballs more delicious, then you probably haven't tried this casserole, but now is your chance. Use ground beef that's 80% lean so there's enough fat to add flavor and give this a boost by making the meatballs with Italian sausage, too.

Add marinara-coated cooked spaghetti into a greased casserole dish. Top with seared meatballs and push these down into the pasta. Add a little more sauce to cover everything and top with shredded mozzarella before baking to golden, melted cheese perfection.

Recipe: Easy Spaghetti And Meatballs Casserole

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Meatballs

Cheese meatballs in bowls
Cheese meatballs in bowls - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Adding ingredients that are not the norm can turn mouthwatering meatball recipes down a whole new culinary avenue. Take these Tex-Mex meatballs, for instance. What promises a departure from the traditional Italian taste is the addition of some heat-inducing ingredients.

Combine cumin, chili powder, and Mexican shredded cheese with ground beef along with garlic and chipotle adobo sauce. Slow cook these for four hours covered with canned diced tomatoes with green chilis and more of the cheese. This is a perfect snack for football season with chips and salsa.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Meatballs

Party-Pleasing Grape Jelly Meatballs

Meatballs in a sticky sauce
Meatballs in a sticky sauce - Kate Shungu/Mashed

Grape jelly, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce might not sound like an obvious combination of ingredients. But this trio of tastes is enough to get the party started when combined with meatballs. The result is a sweet, tangy crowd-pleasing snack that's meaty with a little heat, too. What more do you want from a snack or buffet table plate?

What's great about this recipe is that using frozen meatballs is a recommendation rather than a shortcut. When cooking the meatballs in a crockpot, you don't want them falling apart, so frozen works better for this dish.

Recipe: Party-Pleasing Grape Jelly Meatballs

Homemade Instant Pot Spaghetti And Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs with Parmesan
Spaghetti and meatballs with Parmesan - Carina Finn/Mashed

Forget the stovetop, you can make spaghetti and meatballs using your Instant Pot instead. To olive oil, add onion, garlic, and tomatoes. For an umami flavor, what about adding anchovies, capers in white balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes?

Add homemade or frozen meatballs. Create a haystack of dried spaghetti broken in half and cover with beef stock. Pep up the sauce if you're using canned tomatoes by adding garlic powder, hot paprika, cracked black pepper, and sea salt. Serve with Parmesan. Recipe: Homemade Instant Pot Spaghetti And Meatballs

Easy Slow Cooker Spaghetti And Meatballs

Spaghetti with meatballs in sauce with French bread
Spaghetti with meatballs in sauce with French bread - Laura Sampson/Mashed

Savor a fantastically savory spaghetti and meatball sauce that's been bubbling away for hours in a slow cooker. You'll need canned crushed tomatoes in purée, tomato paste, and a can of tomato sauce. This recipe calls for frozen meatballs, but to impress, you can make yours from scratch. Add these along with bell pepper, onion, and Italian seasoning. Garlic and red pepper flakes lift the taste.

You'll have to cook the pasta on the stove, but you can add this to the slow cooker when everything is ready.

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Spaghetti And Meatballs

Bobby Flay's Salisbury Steak

Meatballs with mushrooms on egg noodles
Meatballs with mushrooms on egg noodles - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Chuck steak served in a creamy beef and mushroom sauce gives this recipe -- based on a Bobby Flay classic -- its signature flavor. What's different in this version, compared to the famed chef's is that the ground beef is shaped into meatballs, rather than patties. Another variation is how it's served, which is with pasta or potatoes. This dish simply has to be included in a compilation of mouthwatering meatball recipes.

Make the sauce by adding half-and-half, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce to sautéed mushrooms and onions along with tomato paste.

Recipe: Bobby Flay's Salisbury Steak


Dutch oven meatball soup with zucchini and potatoes plus serving bowl
Dutch oven meatball soup with zucchini and potatoes plus serving bowl - Kristen Carli/Mashed

If you've never tried this Mexican meatball soup then be prepared to taste one of the most mouthwatering dishes. There the plenty of ingredients and quite a bit of prep involved for this recipe. However, you don't need any super special foods to make it and there aren't any complex culinary techniques either. What makes these meatballs stand out is that you add uncooked rice to them, along with mint, cilantro, and cumin.

Add the meatballs to sautéed veg, including poblano pepper, and chicken bone broth along with potatoes and zucchini. Simmer making sure the meatballs are submerged.

Recipe: Albondigas

Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

Meatball and orzo soup with basil and spinach
Meatball and orzo soup with basil and spinach - Christina Musgrave/Mashed

This Italian wedding soup is one of the most mouthwatering meatball recipes. However, don't expect to be making meatballs out of ground beef for this one. Instead, form the balls from spicy Italian sausage. The heat gives the chicken broth, veg, and orzo a deliciously spicy kick that it just wouldn't be the same without.

The best way to cook this comfort-food soup that's also got a gourmet quality is on the stove in a Dutch oven. Make a meal out of this by serving with a hunk of bread and a side salad.

Recipe: Spicy Italian Wedding Soup

Spicy Albondigas Soup

Meatball soup in pot with two bowls
Meatball soup in pot with two bowls - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Chili powder, cayenne pepper, and cumin give this meatball soup its signature spicy flavor profile. However, if you're sensitive to a lot of heat in dishes, feel free to dial it back.

Unlike a lot of meatball recipes which call for ground beef with a little more fat, this one calls for a lean cut. Ground sirloin could easily dry out in a lot of meatball meals, but since you simmer them in beef broth with fire-roasted tomatoes they stay super-flavorful and succulent. This is after searing and baking them in the oven.

Recipe: Spicy Albondigas Soup

Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup

Bowls of meatball soup with kale and couscous
Bowls of meatball soup with kale and couscous - Kristen Carli/Mashed

While this meatball soup recipe lists ground beef, you can also make a lighter version with chicken instead. After sautéeing mirepoix with garlic in an Instant Pot, add your homemade meatballs. This is the stage to also add couscous. Kale gives the soup a vibrant color, but be sure to only add it at the end as it cooks fast.

In fact, the cooking time altogether is less than 10 minutes. Just enough time to lay out a big bowl and soup spoon and a rustic hunk of bread to enjoy this with.Recipe: Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup

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