Baked Meatballs with Marinara Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese

5 from 1 vote

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Baked meatballs are a classic dish that many people enjoy. They can be served with pasta, in a sandwich, or even on their own.

If you’re looking for a simple and tasty recipe for baked meatballs, look no further! In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of making delicious homemade meatballs with a few simple ingredients.

A plate of baked meatballs.

About this recipe

These easy baked meatballs are an easy and delicious dish that people of all ages can enjoy. This classic recipe is simple and requires only a few ingredients, most of which can be found in most households.

These baked Italian meatballs are so much better than the store-bought meatballs from the grocery store!

What’s in them

This recipe for baked meatballs calls for several simple and flavorful ingredients that work together to create a final result that is a delicious and hearty dish. Let’s take a closer look at each ingredient.

Ingredients for meatballs.
  • Ground beef is a staple ingredient in many meatball recipes. It provides a rich, beefy flavor and a good amount of fat to keep the meatballs moist.
  • Ground pork sausage adds a lot of flavor and moisture to the meatballs. It has a slightly sweet and spicy taste that complements the beef.
  • Bread crumbs bind the meat together and give the meatballs a good texture. They also absorb moisture, making the meatballs more tender.
  • Milk is added to the breadcrumbs to make them softer and to keep the meatballs moist. It also adds a slight creaminess to the meatballs. Add a cup of Flour to this to help absorb moisture and keep the meatballs firm.
  • Eggs are another binding agent that holds the meatballs together. They also add richness and flavor to the meatballs.
  • Fresh parsley adds a fresh and vibrant flavor to the meatballs. It has a slightly bitter taste that complements the meat.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a rich and nutty flavor to the meatballs. It also helps to bind the meatballs together.
  • Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme that are commonly used in Italian cooking. It adds a lot of flavor and depth to the meatballs.
  • Salt and pepper are added to the meatballs to enhance their flavor and to balance out the other ingredients.
  • Marinara sauce: A jar of marinara sauce is used to coat the meatballs and to add a rich and tangy tomato flavor. You can use your favorite brand or homemade marinara sauce.
  • Grated mozzarella cheese is sprinkled over the meatballs during the last few minutes of baking to add a gooey and melted cheese topping.

By using these simple and flavorful ingredients, you can make delicious baked meatballs that are perfect for any occasion.

How to make these

(Full instructions in the recipe card below.)

A bunch of ingredients to make meatballs.

Start by pre-heating your oven to 425° F. Then, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1. Combine the milk and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and mix them to a pasty consistency.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the marinara) to the mixture.
  3. Use your hands to combine thoroughly.
  4. Use a 1-tablespoon size cookie scoop to scoop up the meat and then roll it in the palm of your hands to make a uniform shape. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake these for 10-12 minutes to an internal temperature of 160°F.

6. Take them out of the oven.

Adding shredded cheese to meatballs.

7. Pour some of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, add the meatballs and the remaining sauce. Cover with the mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.

Expert tips

When making baked meatballs, there are some key points to keep in mind to ensure that they turn out delicious and flavorful:

  1. Choose the right meat: The recipe calls for a combination of ground beef and pork sausage, but you can use other types of meat if you prefer. Just make sure the meat has a good amount of fat to keep the meatballs moist.
  2. Use fresh ingredients: Use fresh ingredients, such as fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to give your meatballs a flavorful and aromatic taste.
  3. Don’t overwork the mixture: When mixing the ingredients, be careful not to overwork the mixture. Overworking the mixture can make the meatballs tough and dry.
  4. Soak the breadcrumbs: Soak the breadcrumbs in milk to make the meatballs moist and tender.
  5. Form the meatballs evenly: When forming the meatballs, make sure they are all the same size so they cook evenly. You can use an ice cream scoop to make the meatballs the same size.
  6. Bake at the right temperature: Bake the meatballs at 400°F for 20-25 minutes until they are browned on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.

By following these key points, you can make the best meatballs that are delicious and flavorful every time.

How do you store these?

Once you have made your baked meatballs, you may be wondering how to store them. The good news is that they are very easy to store and can last for several days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.

In the fridge

If you want to store your baked meatballs in the refrigerator, simply place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can reheat them in the oven or in the microwave before serving.

In the freezer

If you want to store your baked meatballs in the freezer, you can do so by placing them on a baking sheet and freezing them for about an hour. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat them in the oven or in the microwave.

Variations and substitutions:

The great thing about baked meatballs is that you can customize them to your liking by using different meats, herbs, and spices. There are many different ways to bake delicious meatballs. Here are some variations and substitutions that you can try:

  • Instead of using ground beef and pork sausage, you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, or even lamb.
  • Use different seasonings. You can use other dried or fresh herbs and spices such as oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, or red pepper flakes. Garlic powder also tastes great in this easy meatball recipe.
  • You can use crushed crackers, oatmeal, or cornmeal, instead of breadcrumbs.
  • Substitute the milk with buttermilk, cream, or yogurt.
  • Instead of using parmesan cheese, you can use other types of cheese, such as cheddar, feta, or gouda.

How to make vegetarian baked meatballs.

It is possible to make a vegetarian version of baked meatballs. Here are some substitutions you can make:

  1. Instead of ground beef and pork sausage, use a plant-based meat substitute like Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat.
  2. Instead of eggs, use a flax egg. To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for 5 minutes until it thickens.
  3. Instead of milk, use plant-based milk like almond milk or soy milk.
  4. Instead of Parmesan cheese, use a vegan Parmesan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast.
  5. Instead of meat-based marinara sauce, use a vegan marinara sauce or make your own using canned tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil.

By making these substitutions, you can create a delicious vegetarian version of baked meatballs that is just as flavorful and satisfying as the original recipe.

How to serve these

The recipe for baked meatballs is a versatile and delicious dish that can be used in many ways. The basic ingredients for this easy baked meatball recipe allow you to enjoy them in many ways:

  • As a Main Dish: Baked meatballs can be served as a main dish on their own with a side of vegetables, salad,pasta, and garlic bread. The marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese make a perfect topping for the meatballs and add a lot of flavor to the dish.
A dish of baked meatballs with marinara sauce.
  • In a Sandwich: Baked meatballs can be used as a filling for sandwiches, hoagies, or subs. Simply place the meatballs on a bun or roll, add a spoonful of marinara sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese.
  • With Spaghetti or Pasta: Baked meatballs go great with spaghetti or other types of pasta. All you have to do is to cook the pasta, top with marinara sauce, and add the meatballs on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and bake for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
A plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
  • As an Appetizer: Baked meatballs can be served as an appetizer at a party or gathering. Place them on a platter with toothpicks, along with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping.
  • In a Sub: Baked meatballs can be used to make a delicious meatball sub. Place them on a sub roll, add marinara sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese. Toast the sandwich until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • As a Pizza Topping: Baked meatballs can be used as a pizza topping. Put on top of a pizza crust, add marinara sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake the pizza in the oven until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted.
  • Meatball soup is comforting and hearty with meatballs, vegetables, and broth. You can use the baked meatballs recipe to make the meatballs and then add them to a pot of broth with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion.
A bowl o meatball soup.
  • Meatball sliders are a fun and easy appetizer that features meatballs served on slider buns. You can use the baked meatballs recipe to make the meatballs and then add them to slider buns with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

By using baked meatballs in these ways, you can create delicious and flavorful dishes that are perfect for any occasion.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make the these ahead of time and freeze them?

Yes, you can make these ahead of time and freeze them for up to three months. To freeze them, simply follow the instructions mentioned above.

Can I use a different type of sauce?

Yes, you can use a different type of sauce if you prefer. You can use tomato sauce, alfredo sauce, or any other type of sauce that you like.

Can I make the recipe without eggs?

Yes, you can make the recipe without eggs. You can substitute the eggs with a tablespoon of mayonnaise or a tablespoon of olive oil.

Can I use different types of meat?

Yes, you can use different types of meat. You can use ground turkey, chicken, or lamb instead of ground beef and pork sausage.

If you enjoy making baked meatballs, there are many related recipes that you might also enjoy.

This recipe can be a great way to introduce young children to cooking and a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy.

These can be served with pasta, in a sandwich, or on their own, making them a versatile and tasty addition to any meal. We hope you enjoy making and eating these delicious oven-baked meatballs!

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Baked Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
Homemade baked meatballs are a flavorful and versatile dish that can be enjoyed on their own or with pasta, sandwiches, or as an appetizer. This recipe combines ground beef and pork sausage with breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, and seasonings, and is baked in marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Yield: 10 4 Meatballs per serving


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork sausage
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grarted
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded


  • Preheat the oven to 425° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine the milk and breadcrumbs into a small bowl and mix together, it will be like a paste. This helps to bind things together and retain moisture.
  • Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Gently mix until blended well. Your hands are your best tool here.
  • Using a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop the meat mixture, one scoop at a time, into your hands, roll into the shape of a ball, place on the baking sheet. Continue until all the meatballs are made.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160°F. or 71°C.
  • Pour 1 cup of sauce to cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add the meatballs.
  • Add the remaining sauce and gently toss to cover the meatballs in the sauce.
  • Cover with the mozzarella cheese (you can use more or less based on your personal preference.
  • Bake in a 350° oven, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes


  • Some of the cheese will melt out a little bit, this is normal.
  • Double the recipe for a large batch that you can freeze and use multiple ways.
  • These work well in an airfryer too, temperature is still 425 and time is still 10-12 minutes. When air-fried, the texture on the outside is a bit crispy, and the inside is juicy.
  • These are tablespoon sized meatballs, you can make them larger if you wish.
**If you are starting with cold meatballs, increase the baking time to 10-20 minutes for a total baking time of 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and meatballs are warmed through. If cheese is getting too brown, then loosely tent with foil to stop the browning.


Calories: 420kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 1191mg, Potassium: 518mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 595IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 242mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Italain
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

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Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. Hi
    Second point……Did you mean the bread crumbs and the milk? There is no flour in the ingredients.