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How to Bake Meatballs in the Oven

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How to Bake Meatballs in the Oven (left) Oven Baked Meatballs on a Baking Sheet (right)

Learn how to make meatballs in the oven to get perfectly baked meatballs each and every time with less mess and stress, compared to the pan-fried stovetop method.

Meatballs can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal or a hearty dish to feed a crowd, meatballs are a great option.

But, for many home cooks, the thought of making meatballs can be daunting. The stovetop method can be messy and more time-consuming, and there is always the risk of burning the meatballs or having them stick to the pan.

The oven, on the other hand, is a much simpler way to make meatballs. There is less mess and less risk of burning them. Plus, you don’t need to babysit them as they cook.

Simply place the meatballs on a baking sheet (with parchment paper for easy cleanup) and bake them to perfection. The result is evenly cooked, delicious meatballs—sure to be a huge hit with family and friends.

Oven Baked Meatballs

Follow our simple steps for the best baked meatballs—it’s easier than you think!

Meatball Ingredients Including Ground Beef, Milk, Crushed Cracker Crumbs, Egg, Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder

Ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Crackers: we love to use crushed Ritz crackers or saltine crackers, but you can use bread crumbs if you prefer. Make sure whatever you choose is finely crushed.
  • Doubling the recipe: this recipe is easy to double to make about forty 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch meatballs.
  • Italian baked meatballs: add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, Italian bread crumbs instead of crackers, red pepper flakes, and substitute the onion powder for garlic powder or Italian seasoning, perfect for Italian-style dishes like spaghetti and meatballs. Stuff with mozzarella cheese for added variety.
  • Ground beef: we use 85% lean 15% fat ground beef, so the meatballs are nice and juicy, and not dry. You can use 97% lean 3% fat, just be aware they will have a bit less moisture.
  • Ground meat varieties: this recipe also works wonderfully for ground chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey. You can also use half turkey and half ground beef.
  • Garnish options: garnish with fresh basil or fresh parsley.

Supplies

Step-by-step meatball recipe instructions and tips

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Then prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. This makes for easy cleanup. We love to use the pre-cut parchment sheets that fit a half baking sheet perfectly.

Next, add 20 to 24 crackers to a Ziploc bag and crush using a bowl or cup until you have finely crushed cracker crumbs.

Now you’re ready for the meatball mixture. Get out a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the ground beef, egg, milk, crushed crackers, salt, onion powder, and pepper.

Meatball Ingredients left, Ingredients in a Mixing Bowl (right)

Mix the ground beef mixture until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. We start by mixing the ingredients with a spoon and then knead the mixture with our hands.

Stirring Meat Mixture with Spoon (right), Knead Mixture with Hands (right)

Now you’re ready to form the meatballs. We use a 1.78″ meatball maker to scoop uniform-sized meatballs which makes the process much quicker. And also allows the meatballs to cook evenly in the oven if they are similar in size.

Pro tip: run the meatball maker in hot water before using so the meat mixture doesn’t stick to the inside of the meatballer. (You can use cooking spray, but there’s no need to add extra oil or cooking spray to your meatballs.)

If you don’t have a meatball maker or cookie scoop – keep dividing the meat mixture in half until you have 20 equal portions or meatballs 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in size.

Use your hands to roll the meat mixture into a round ball.

Form Meatballs with Meatballer (right) Roll with Hands (right)

Place the meatballs on your pre-prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Be sure to arrange the meatballs with plenty of space in between them to be cooked evenly.

Meatballs on Baking Sheet with Meatball Maker (right) Meatballs in Rows on Baking Sheet with Parchment Paper (right)

Bake in the oven for 18 to 22 minutes at 400 degrees. The meatballs should be nicely browned and juicy. You don’t want to overcook them or they’ll end up dry.

Meatballs on a Baking Sheet in the Oven

Use a meat thermometer to make sure the beef is at an internal temperature of 160°F. Or cut one meatball open making sure there is no pink on the inside.

Baked Meatballs on a Baking Sheet (left) Fork with Meatball Cut Open on a Plate (right)

There you have it, perfectly cooked meatballs to enjoy in the dish of your choice.

How long do you bake meatballs?

How long should you bake meatballs in the oven? It depends on the size of your meatballs and the temperate of the oven. For this recipe, we are using a meatball maker that is 1.78″ inches and the oven temperature is set to 400 degrees. At this size and oven temperature, bake the meatballs for 18 to 22 minutes.

Here is a quick reference on how long to bake meatballs at various sizes and oven temperatures:

350 degrees Fahrenheit400 degrees Fahrenheit
1.5 to 1.75-inch meatballs2o to 25 minutes18 to 22 minutes
2-inch meatballs 30 to 35+ minutes24 to 28 minutes

Keep in mind these are general baking guidelines – each oven can be slightly different, and it’s recommended by the USDA to cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F using a meat thermometer. You can also slice one meatball open to check that there is no pink on the inside of the meatball.

How long to bake meatballs at 350

At 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch meatball for 20 to 25 minutes or longer, reaching an internal cooking temperate of 160°F. With 2-inch meatballs, you will need to cook them longer, 30 to 35 minutes or more.

How long to bake meatballs at 400

At 400 degrees Fahrenheit, bake a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch meatball for 18 to 22 minutes or longer, reaching an internal cooking temperate of 160°F. With 2-inch meatballs, you will need to cook them longer, 24 to 28 minutes or more.

How long do you bake turkey meatballs?

If you decide to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef this recipe calls for and make turkey meatballs—you can use the same baking times as noted in the guide above. As a general rule, ground meat meatballs, whether ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken, cook similarly. To determine how long to bake each, you need to consider the size of your meatballs and the temperate of your oven.

So at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cook your 1 1/2 to 1/3/4 inch turkey meatballs for 18 to 22 minutes. Make sure your meatballs reach the recommended cooking temperature of poultry, cooking your turkey meatballs to an internal temperate of 165 ºF.

Baked Meatballs on a Baking Sheet (left) Baked Meatballs in a White Bowl (right)

Meatball Meal Ideas

  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Meatballs and gravy with mashed potatoes
  • Meatball subs with marinara sauce
  • Meatball marinara pizza
  • Swedish meatballs
  • Meatball casserole
  • Barbecue meatballs with homemade bbq sauce
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How to Bake Meatballs in the Oven

Easy Oven Baked Meatballs

An easy, foolproof, and amazingly delicious recipe for baked meatballs the whole family will love. Use for pasta dishes, meatballs & gravy, appetizers, and more. 

  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 20 meatballs 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Then prep a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  3. Next, add 20 to 24 crackers to a Ziploc bag and crush using a bowl or cup until you have finely crushed crackers.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the ground beef, egg, milk, crushed crackers, salt, onion powder, and pepper.
  5. Mix the ground beef mixture until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Start by mixing the ingredients with a spoon and then knead with your hands.
  6. Now you’re ready to form the meatballs. We use a 1.78″ meatball maker which makes it so easy to scoop uniform meatballs and makes the process much quicker. (Run the meatball maker in hot water before using so the meat mixture doesn’t stick to the inside of the meatballer.) If you don’t have a meatball maker or cookie scoop – keep dividing the meat mixture in half until you have 20 equal portions or meatballs 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in size.
  7. Place the meatballs on your pre-prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Be sure to arrange the meatballs with plenty of space in between them to be cooked evenly.
  8. Bake in the oven for 18 to 22 minutes at 400 degrees. The meatballs should be nicely browned and juicy.
  9. Cook to an internal temperature of 160°F, using a meat thermometer. Or cut into one meatball to make sure it is no longer pink.
  10. Enjoy in your favorite main dish or appetizer!

Notes

Crackers: we love to use crushed Ritz crackers or saltine crackers, but you can use bread crumbs if you prefer. Make sure whatever you use is finely crushed.

Doubling the recipe: this recipe is easy to double to make about forty 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch meatballs.

Italian baked meatballs: add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, Italian bread crumbs instead of crackers, red pepper flakes, and substitute the onion powder for garlic powder or Italian seasoning, perfect for Italian-style dishes like spaghetti and meatballs. Stuff with mozzarella cheese for added variety.

Ground beef: we use 85% lean and 15% fat ground beef, so the meatballs are nice and juicy, and not dry. You can use 97% lean and 3% fat, just be aware they have a bit less moisture.

Ground meat varieties: this recipe also works wonderfully for ground chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey. You can also use half turkey and half ground beef.

Garnish options: garnish with fresh basil or fresh parsley.

  • Author: Northern Yum
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 meatball
  • Calories: 73
  • Sugar: 0.4 g
  • Sodium: 112.4 mg
  • Fat: 4.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.7 g
  • Protein: 4.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.8 mg

Keywords: meal idea, dinner

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