While they certainly ARE scrumptious savory meatballs, this post should almost be called, “Meatballs, the Easy Way”. At first glance, the ingredient list seems long, but with the exception of one, they’re pretty common pantry ingredients (many of them seasonings) that come together in minutes!
Secondly, Scrumptious Savory Meatballs are baked, not pan fried, so there’s no standing over the stove rotating them in and out of the skillet. And, the recipe makes a huge batch, so you have plenty to freeze for future meals. Saving meal-time prep in the future? You bet, I’m okay with that!
Where’d This Recipe Come From?
My recipe was developed around ten years ago, when our youngest requested spaghetti for her birthday supper. She didn’t want just regular spaghetti sauce with ground beef in it, though. She wanted meatballs.
I put this recipe together, and it has become one of her, and my husband’s favorites. As these meatballs come out of the oven, David is usually hovering somewhere in the background, waiting for an opportunity to grab a few when I’m distracted with some other cooking. lol He will eat them straight off the sheet pan, without sauce or anything. They are incredibly flavorful and stand on their own as a delicious meal. (Or in some cases, a snack.) lol
So, be forewarned. When these come out of the oven, you’ll need a chair and a whip to keep back the milling throng gathering in your kitchen. These meatballs are addictively delicious and once your family-members pop one, hot, delectable little sphere into their mouth, they’re gonna want them all!
- 93% lean ground beef
- Worcestershire sauce
- red onion, minced
- garlic, minced
- Italian bread crumbs (My preference is Panko, because I like the texture, but I still have good results using regular Italian bread crumbs.)
- red pepper flakes
- Spike Seasoning (aha! The secret ingredient.)
- dried parsley
- dried basil
- grated parmesan cheese
- black pepper
What is Spike Seasoning?
I discovered Spike Seasoning more than a decade ago. It’s a blend of so many seasonings, herbs and dehydrated vegetables (I think I counted 44), I’ve never made an attempt to re-create it from scratch. It is also crazy delicious. In savory dishes, it can be the difference between good and “Oh, my goodness!”
Spike is great on meat, in scrambled eggs, in sauces and casseroles. I can’t imagine a savory preparation that wouldn’t be enhanced by it. It’s one of my few every-day ingredients that I can’t buy at my local Walmart, though. I buy it in bulk on Amazon and have it shipped right to my front porch. I buy this 14 oz box of Spike when I order.
I’m guessing you could substitute your own favorite herb blend in the meatballs, but I can’t guarantee the flavor will be as mouth-wateringly delicious.
How to Make Scrumptious Savory Meatballs
In a very large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatballs. I toss everything in together.
Mixing this is so much easier if you just dig in and mix it with your hands, just like you were making meatloaf or sausage. If you’re squeamish about touching meat, you can try doing it with a wooden spoon, but the most even distribution and thorough mixing will come from using your hands. Maybe you could try some of those plastic food handler’s gloves if that would help.
Once mixed, you’ll be able to see all the flavor-popping herbs, crumbs, cheese and onions. Seeing them is good. Just be sure they are evenly distributed throughout the meatball mixture.
The next step is to shape the meatballs. For me, the easiest way to keep them fairly uniform, (so they cook evenly), is to use a cookie dough scoop. If you don’t have one, it’s totally fine. It just makes my job easier.
The scoop is considered the small size, which holds about 2 teaspoons and measures 1.5 inches in diameter. It takes a little more than an ounce of meatball mixture to fill it. Four meatballs usually end up weighing about 4.5 ounces.
Scoop the mixture into your hand, roll into a ball and then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake and serve. Or freeze. Or add to a favorite dish. You are set, my friend! I usually get 126 meatballs out of this recipe. Even counting for petty larceny when my back is turned, that’s about 5 meals worth of meatballs for a family of 6!
How to Freeze Savory Meatballs
Once the meatballs come out of the oven, I usually use a few of them to create a yummy meal like this Meatball Gravy over Mashed Potatoes or Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Cauliflower Rice, while letting the extras completely cool. We enjoy a tasty dinner while the cooling happens, then I’m ready to freeze the bounty for quick and easy future meals.
Once the meatballs are completely cool, I remove the parchment paper from the sheet tray and spread the meatballs out on the tray, again, making sure none are touching. I pop the tray into the freezer for about an hour (just long enough for them meatballs to be completely frozen).
Once frozen, I pop them off the tray and into a zip-top freezer bag. Since they have been individually flash frozen, I can pull out 1 or 4 or 24, as needed. They don’t stick together and they’re stored safely for whenever I need them. (Incidentally, we call 4 meatballs a serving, since that’s about a quarter of a pound. Some, unnamed favorite people enjoy something more like TWO servings, though. lol So, I just plan accordingly.)
- 4¼ lbs 93% lean ground beef
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 1 medium red onion, minced
- 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 cups Italian bread crumbs (I like Panko, but regular work great, too)
- 1 Tbl red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbl Spike Seasoning
- ⅓ cup dried parsley
- ⅓ cup dried basil
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbl salt
- 1 Tbl black pepper
- Add all ingredients to an extra large mixing bowl.
- For best results, use your hands to mix and combine all the ingredients, distributing everything evenly throughout the meat mixture.
- Scoop the mixture into balls, using a small cookie dough scoop.
- Arrange the meatballs on two parchment-lined sheet pans, leaving a little space between each one.
- Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
- Remove the trays and cool on cooling racks.
The meatballs are ready to use in your favorite recipes, as soon as they come out of the oven.
To freeze the leftovers:
- Let the meatballs cool completely.
- Remove the parchment paper from the baking sheets and arrange meatballs, again, making sure they don’t touch.
- Put trays in freezer for about an hour or until meatballs are frozen solid.
- Put flash-frozen meatballs into zip-top bags and store in freezer until ready to use.
- Add to any recipe like you would any frozen meatball.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Beef, Main Dish
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Okay, guys, now that you have this recipe, the possibilities for deliciousness are ENDLESS! I’ve got more “what to do with meatballs” recipes coming in the next day or two.
And, having these in your freezer means dinner on weeknights will be a breezy, fast-and-easy experience. Are you starting to see how cooking once to eat many times can reap you big rewards? I hope so!
Big hugs, my friend! Have a blessing-filled weekend and share a family dinner with the people you love most!
More Serving Ideas for Meatballs
If you’re looking for all Pork Meatballs, try this yummy recipe for self-saucing meatballs over on Whole Food Bellies.
Also, check out these delish dishes made with my Spicy Meatballs!