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Best Meatball Stew Recipe | Hearty, Delicious Comfort Food

My Meatball Stew Recipe will fill your home with warm, spicy aromas and make enough to feed a crowd. It’s easy to make and loved by both kids and adults.

Meatball Stew in an ivory stonware bowl.  There's a spoon in the bowl and it's all sitting on a barn board table.
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A beautifully seasoned, rich tomato and aromatics broth forms the base of this filling meatball soup meal. The star of the dish is definitely the spicy ground beef meatballs, though. And, pasta is perfect in the supporting role.

Meatball Stew will warm you from head to toe on chilly fall and winter days and become a family favorite comfort food supper from the very first time that you serve it.

This recipe uses the scrumptiously beefy and spicy ground beef meatballs I taught you how to make back in 2019. You can use frozen meatballs from the store, but …

scrumptious savory meatballs

In my opinion, you want the best, most flavorful meatballs in this meatball stew. That would be my easy, oven baked meatballs made from ground beef. No question!

Pull some of those tasty little orbs from the freezer to get the maximum flavor from this delicious, comfort-food stew.

Using pre-made meatballs also means this recipe comes together quickly. (You can sub in commercial frozen meatballs, but the flavor will definitely not be the same.)

If you’re looking for hearty, DELISH comfort food that comes together in under an hour, your search is over, my friend. My Meatball Stew will be a welcome addition to your recipe collection.


The Ingredients

frozen homemade meatballs
  • Frozen Meatballs: I won’t even mince words, here. My Homemade Meatballs are the most delicious you will ever enjoy. They will be the difference between this Meatball Stew being good or being extraordinary.

    I encourage you to make a batch of these extraordinary ground beef meatballs and always have them on hand in the freezer for this and other quick-fix meatball recipes.

    (If you have a favorite commercial brand of frozen meatballs, those will work, too. I can’t guarantee the finished product will be nearly as flavorful, however.)
  • Pasta: Any small pasta. I used ditalini, but small shells could work, in this meatball soup /stew, too.
  • Beef Stock
  • Beef Base or my homemade Beef Bouillon powder
  • The Aromatics: Onions, celery, carrots and garlic are almost always the base layer of building savory flavor into soups and stews in my kitchen.
  • Canned Tomatoes: I use whole, peeled tomatoes and crush them in my hand as I add them to the Meatball Stew pot.

Prepping the Vegetables

ground vegetables (carrots, onions, peppers), a bay leaf and other seasonings in a stew pot

How you prep your veggies for Meatball Stew is going to depend on how your family likes them in soup. If I’m making vegetable soup, then I slice and chop the vegetables in larger chunks and pieces to make them the star of the bowl. But, for my family, I typically hide all the exquisite flavor and nutrition of veggies in the broth of my soups and stews.

In this recipe the meatballs get top billing, but the pasta is a close second. Most of my family would turn up their noses at having large pieces of vegetables floating around with them. No worries, though. My solution to not losing one gram of the nutrition and flavor that veggies bring to the table is to grind/mince them in my *food processor [affiliate link].

By adding them to the pot in such a tiny form, they literally melt into the simmering broth and no one even knows they’re there. Win for vitamins and minerals; and win for pleasing every palate.

So you decide what works best for your family. This recipe was prepped with all the veggies minced up fine. And there are more than TWO pounds of them! It’s delicious stew, friends!

How to Make Meatball Stew

  1. Start by prepping the vegetables. I had to do two batches in my food processor. I put the veggies in raw, with no added anything (not even a drop of water). The food processor literally ground them for me. P.S. You can add other veggies, too. Do you have a bell pepper or some zucchini that need used? Add them. It only adds more flavor and health-building nutrition. Go for it!
  2. When the carrots, celery and onions (the standard veggie base of every soup I make) are minced, put them in a soup pot with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and a bay leaf.
  3. Then add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. I prefer whole peeled tomatoes that I crush into very small pieces, by hand, as I add them to the Meatball Stew pot. I feel that they have superior flavor to other pre-chopped varieties. That being said, petite diced tomatoes work in this recipe, too.
  1. Finally, stir the beef broth and bouillon into the meatball stew. As you can see in the photo, above, my 5 quart dutch oven wasn’t big enough to handle this recipe. There aren’t even meatballs or pasta in there, yet. At that point, I transferred to my favorite *stock pot [affiliate link] and everything worked a lot easier.

The Cooking

  1. Begin cooking the broth on high heat until it comes to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow the broth and veggies to simmer for about 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes you could put your broth through a blender (I use a *stick blender [affiliate link] for those kinds of jobs.) for 100% smoothness, but I find that the majority of veggies have already “disappeared” and for our tastes, simply isn’t necessary.
  2. Add the meatballs, (it’s okay if they’re frozen), and let them start warming through for about 15 minutes.
  3. Then add your pasta. I use Ditalini Pasta in Meatball Stew. Any shape of small pasta should be good, however. The small shells would probably be good, too.
  4. Continue to simmer the Meatball Stew on medium heat, until the pasta is cooked al dente (soft, but with a little bite to them – not mushy).
  5. Serve your stew with some crusty bread and a big green salad. This is the dinner that all of us want to come home to on cold fall and winter nights. Having meatballs pre-made and waiting in the freezer, makes it simple.

Enjoy, my friend!

Meatball Stew

The Leftovers

This meatball soup will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days. Like most soups and stews, the flavor gets even better the longer it sits.

The pasta has a tendency to soak up more and more broth as it rests, though, so it becomes really thick. It WILL heat up in the microwave, that way. My personal preference, though, is to thin it with a little beef stock or water before I reheat mine, so I can enjoy it in a little more “soupy” form.

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Meatball Stew

Best Meatball Stew

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 1215 servings 1x


Meatball Stew is an easy, hearty meal that has blow-your-mind flavor your family will love! My meatballs are the secret.   Your family will love this excellent meatball soup and you’re going to love how easy it is to prepare!


Units Scale
  • 1 lb carrots, minced
  • 6 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 lg (or 3 medium) onions, minced
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 (14.5 to 18.3 oz) can/jar tomatoes; whole peeled crushed by hand as you add them or petite diced
  • 3 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade Beef Bouillon Powder or 1 Tablespoon beef base
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 22 1/2 lbs frozen meatballs (at least 30) from my recipe (Buy a bag of frozen if you forgot to make these.)
  • 1 lb small pasta (I use ditalini, but small shells would also work)
  • optional: 1 or 2 cups of chopped kale to stir into the individual bowls of those who like it


  1. Mince/grind the carrots, celery and onion in the *food processor (or by hand, if preferred).
  2. Put minced veggies in the bottom of a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  4. Add beef broth.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat.  After the mixture begins boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes add the meatballs. Stir to separate and then allow to continue heating through for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in the pasta and allow to continue cooking until pasta is cooked to al dente.  Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan and scorching.
  8. Serve warm with crusty bread and a big green salad. 


I LOVE chopped kale stirred into a bowl of this stew.  But, some of my family members are not really fans.  So, I chop it and set it alongside the soup pot.  Those that want it can stir it into their bowl as they ladle it in.  The kale will warm and soften quickly right in the bowl.

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Category: Soup, Stew
  • Cuisine: Italian

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glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

16 thoughts on “Best Meatball Stew Recipe | Hearty, Delicious Comfort Food”

  1. This is really easy to follow, loved this meatball stew recipe! It’s really tasty and very flavorful! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!

  2. The tip to use the food processor was such a time saver and created a lovely texture for the stew! So delicious and comforting, too. I’ll definitely make this again.


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