BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe

by Joanna
Published: Updated: 0 comment

In just 30 minutes, whip up this authentic Italian meatballs recipe that promises to be a dinner favorite for everyone at the table. Perfectly moist, tender, and drenched in a rich tomato sauce, these meatballs redefine comfort food. If you’re looking for a quick yet delectable meal, this is a must-try that will have everyone asking for seconds.

Italian Meatballs Recipe

This classic Italian dish is a true crowd-pleaser that will take you to the charming trattorias of Italy. Made from naturally low-carb ingredients and with only 10 minutes of prep, this Italian meatballs recipe is an extremely easy-to-make recipe that pairs perfectly with many side dishes to create a complete meal for you and your family.

We love meatballs since they are such versatile and customizable dishes that can be enjoyed in many various ways for many occasions. We made ground beef meatballs for this recipe, but you can also make it with chicken meatballs or turkey ones.

What Are Italian Meatballs?

Italian meatballs, known as “polpette” in Italy, are a culinary delight made from a mixture of ground meat (often a combination of beef, pork, and sometimes veal), breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings. They’re different from the meatballs you might find in, for instance, an American Italian restaurant as part of “spaghetti and meatballs.” The actual Italian version is more versatile and not typically served with spaghetti in red sauce.

Italian meatballs are usually served with pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, and topped with a rich tomato-based marinara sauce. 

Why Are You Going To Love This Italian Meatballs Recipe

  • Super easy to make in only 30 minutes.
  • It can be made ahead of time and enjoyed on those busy days.
  • It’s a super versatile recipe. Feel free to enjoy this dish for lunch or even dinner with your favorite side dish.
  • It’s also a budget-friendly recipe.
  • Customizable recipe. You can add your favorite seasoning to the meatballs mixture.
  • It’s a crowd-pleaser recipe. These Italian meatballs are a hit for family dinners, potlucks, or parties. 
  • Made with keto breadcrumbs.
Italian Meatballs Recipe

Ingredients For Italian Meatballs Recipe

For The Meatballs

  • Ground Beef – Opt for 80-85% lean ground beef to ensure good flavor without excessive fat.
  • Egg – Acts as a binder, helping to hold the meatballs together.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Freshly shredded parmesan enhances the overall flavor. Avoid pre-packaged versions for the best taste.
  • Keto Breadcrumbs – Follow my keto breadcrumbs recipe to keep the dish low-carb. Store-bought versions might have hidden carbs.
  • Onion – Finely chopped for a subtle texture and taste.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic brings an intense and aromatic flavor. Alternatively, use garlic powder to your taste preference.
  • Parsley – You can either use fresh or fried parsley.
  • Salt and pepper – Essential seasonings to elevate the meatball flavor.
  • Olive Oil and Butter: Used for frying the meatballs, providing both flavor and browning.

For The Meatballs Sauce

Italian Meatballs Recipe Ingredients
  • Olive Oil – Used to sautee the aromatic. Alternatively, use your preferred vegetable oil.
  • Onion and garlic – They add depth, aroma, and complexity to the sauce.
  • Dried Oregano and Basil – Classic herbs that imbue the sauce with traditional Italian flavors.
  • Tomato Sauce – Opt for a version without added sugars to keep the sauce keto-friendly and authentic.
  • Salt & Pepper: Adjust to taste, ensuring the sauce’s flavors are balanced and robust.

How To Make This Italian Meatballs Recipe

You will love this delicious chicken recipe once you see how easy it’ to prepare in just a few minutes. Here is everything you have to do:

Prepare the Meatballs Mixture

Add the ground beef, eggs, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl and mix using a silicone spatula or your hands until everything is well combined.

how to make Italian Meatballs Recipe

Form The Meatballs

Form the meatballs into small balls the size of golf balls using an ice cream scoop.

how to make Italian Meatballs Recipe

Cook The Meatballs

Add the olive oil and butter to a large skillet over medium heat, and once melted, add the meatballs and cook them for about 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.

how to make Italian Meatballs Recipe

Make The Marinara Sauce

Add the olive oil to the same skillet and cook the onion and garlic until fragrant.

Add the tomato sauce over the aromatics together with the oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.

how to make Italian Meatballs Recipe

Bring the sauce to a simmer, then return the meatballs to the pan and cook for 5 more minutes.

BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe 3

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, and enjoy.

Tips and Variations

  • Uniform Size: Ensure that all meatballs are roughly the same size so they cook evenly. An ice cream scoop can help achieve consistent sizing.
  • Baking Option: Instead of pan-frying meatballs, you can bake meatballs in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes or until they’re cooked through. This method reduces the amount of oil needed and offers a more even cooking.
  • Mixing the Meat: Use your hands to mix the ingredients for a more even distribution, but don’t overmix.
  • Sauces: While marinara is classic, try other sauces like creamy Alfredo, pesto, or even a spicy arrabbiata for a change.
  • Cheese Inside: Place a small cube of mozzarella or another cheese in the center of each meatball for a cheesy, melty surprise when bitten into.
Italian Meatballs Recipe 3

How To Store

  • Fridge – you can store these Italian meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer – you can also freeze these Italian meatballs in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.


  • Refrigerated Meatballs: Reheat them in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through. You can add a bit of water or sauce if necessary to prevent sticking or drying out.
  • Frozen Meatballs: If they’re frozen without sauce, you can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in a saucepan. If you’re reheating meatballs in sauce from frozen, you can do so directly in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Italian Meatballs Recipe 4

Italian Meatballs Recipe Serving Ideas 

A great thing about this recipe is that you can serve this chicken meatball alfredo with many side dishes to enjoy a complete meal. Here are some great ideas:

Can I Make Italian Meatballs Ahead Of Time?

Absolutely! Making Italian meatballs ahead of time can actually be advantageous, as flavors often meld and develop even more when allowed to sit. Here’s how to do it:

  • Raw Meatballs: After you’ve shaped them, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag and store in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, you can either thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or cook them from frozen, adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
  • Cooked Meatballs (Without Sauce): Once they are cooked, let them cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Meatballs in Sauce: If you’ve cooked your meatballs in sauce, let the mixture cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors will meld and often become even more delicious over time. For longer storage, freeze the meatballs and sauce for up to 3 months.

More Meatballs Recipes

Italian Meatballs Recipe

Italian Meatballs Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Prep time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yelds 6 servings


In just 30 minutes, whip up this authentic Italian meatballs recipe that promises to be a dinner favorite for everyone at the table. Perfectly moist, tender, and drenched in a rich tomato sauce, these meatballs redefine comfort food. If you're looking for a quick yet delectable meal, this is a must-try that will have everyone asking for seconds.


For the meatballs:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
  • ½ cup keto breadcrumbs or almond flour
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the marinara sauce:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preparing the Meatballs:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, ground beef, keto breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, parsley, and salt. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined.
    BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe 4
  • Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.
    BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe 5
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Once melted and hot, add the meatballs.
  • Cook the meatballs for about 5 minutes on each side or until they’re browned. Once browned, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
    BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe 6

Making the Marinara Sauce:

  • In the same skillet, add the extra-virgin olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, then sprinkle in the dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
    BEST Italian Meatballs Recipe 7
  • Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Once simmering, return the browned meatballs to the skillet.
  • Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for about 10-20 minutes to ensure they’re cooked through and to let the flavors meld.
    how to make Italian Meatballs Recipe
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.


  • Garnish the meatballs and sauce with additional chopped parsley.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!


If your meatball mixture feels too wet, add a little more keto breadcrumbs to help bind it. If it’s too dry, you can add a splash of water or another egg.
If you have fresh basil or oregano on hand, you can use them instead of dried. Fresh herbs usually have a more vibrant flavor. Use about three times the amount when substituting fresh for dried.
If you find your sauce is too thin, you can simmer it longer to reduce and thicken. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water or broth to thin it out.
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving.
Total Carbs
Net Carbs

How do we calculate the nutrition info?

These nutrition facts listed are determined using nutrition information from the USDA Food Database. Our nutrition facts are accurate, but if you are using different products, please make your calculations. Net carb count is calculated by subtracting both fiber and sugar alcohols because they don’t raise blood sugar.

Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian Meatballs Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @MyketoPlate_ or tag #MyKetoPlate!

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