Meatballs are a versatile dish, they can be used to make an appetizer, “beef” up a hearty pasta dish, and add more flavor to soups.
Almost every country has its own way of preparing the meatballs and has a range of differences in the final dish.
A meatball is ground meat rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasoning.
Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce.
There are many types of meatballs using different types of meats and spices.
The term is sometimes extended to meatless versions based on vegetables or fish; the latter are commonly known as fishballs.
Below are our latest meatball recipes published to date.
Did you know that March 9th is National Meatball Day? Click here to view all March Food Holidays.
The Chinese recipe “Four Joy Meatballs” is derived from Shandong cuisine, which originated in the native cooking styles of Shandong. Its history dates back to the Qin dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC).
The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius included many meatball-type recipes.
Early recipes included in some of the earliest known Arabic cookbooks generally feature seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized balls and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron. This method was taken to the West and is referred to as gilding. Many regional variations exist, notable among them the unusually large kufteh Tabrizi, having an average diameter of 20 centimetres (7.9 in).
Poume d’oranges is a gilded meatball dish from the Middle Ages.
Any type of ground meat can be used to make meatballs. The more popular meatball is a combo of beef and sausage.
Meatball Cooking Tips
A great juicy meatball begins with the right meat choice, remember, the fattier the meat, the more tender your meatballs will be. Also, since meat is the focus of your dish you should use higher quality meat than you may choose for another dish.
Did you know that using a combo of meats will not only give you more fat options, but it will also impact your flavor? Use a 3:1 ratio of lean to fatty meat. You can use the same meat, just a different fat ratio if you don’t want to use a combo of meats.
If you are using leaner meat such as ground chicken or turkey, be careful as it is easy to make a dry and tough meatball if you overcook them.
Please note, by adding more egg to your mixture will not make your meatballs moister.
Meatball Binding Ingredients
As a rule of thumb for eggs is 1-2 eggs per pound of ground meat for your meatball mix to bind the meat, breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs.
The rule of thumb is 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fine breadcrumbs per pound of meat. When adding breadcrumbs to your meatball mixture, be sure you don’t be heavy-handed with them. Too much and your meatballs may turn out more like a matza ball instead of a meatball.
When baking you want your ingredients at room temperature for a lot of recipes but for your meatballs, you want to keep all the ingredients kept as cold as possible until they are cooked. Pro tip: prep all your ingredients and place them in the refrigerator to allow all the ingredients to chill thoroughly before using them.
By keeping your ingredients cold, it will stop the fats from breaking down as they warm up.
When rolling your meatballs, try to keep the size of the meatball consistent for each one. This will help your meatballs cook evenly at the same time and avoid having some meatballs that are overcooked or undercooked.
Be gentle when rolling the meat for your meatballs. The more you “smush” the meat together, the denser they could possibly be which means you could have spongy or tough meatballs.
Most people avoid frying meatballs and use baking, broiling, or boiling methods to cook meatballs. While not too “vintage” as a cooking method, a slow cooker is a great way to make delicious meatballs.
The last stage of cooking your meatballs should be to finish them in the sauce or soup that they are being served with. This will help them stay juicy and tender while cooking and absorb the other flavors of your dish.
The internal temperature of a meatball should be 165° F for food safety.