These meatballs are my secret weapon on a busy weeknight. They're flavorful from a mixture of meats, but minimally spiced in order to be used in a variety of ways.
This is one of my favorite meal prep recipes. It makes approximately 5 dozen, 2 inch meatballs, which freeze easily and are great to have on hand for quick weeknight meals. These also make a great bbq meatball appetizer to feed a crowd.
This recipe is the homemade version of those big bags of pre-cooked meatballs we buy at the store. It makes a large batch that you can freeze and have on hand for any night of the week. Add them to a pot of spaghetti sauce. Heat them up with your favorite bbq sauce. Warm them up with a little marinara sauce for easy meatball sandwiches.
When you cook meatballs in a sauce, to get the best flavor you need to brown the meatballs in a hot pan before letting them finish cooking in a sauce. But because there's no sauce in this recipe, we're skipping the browning and letting the hot oven do the work. The greased baking sheet will give the meatballs the nice crust you want before meatballs meet their sauce.
- Ground beef
- Ground chicken
- Bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
How to Make Meatballs
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic and parsley. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes until onion is translucent and garlic is cooked.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Brush two sheet pans with vegetable oil. Make sure they're well coated. Set aside.
Place ground beef and ground chicken in a large bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients, including the mixture from skillet.
Gently mix to combine everything together in the bowl. Stop mixing as soon as all ingredients are incorporated to avoid making the meatballs tough.
Take a small amount of the meat mixture and roll it into 2” balls. (You can make them a little smaller if you're planning to use the meatballs for appetizers.)
Place the meatball on to one of the greased pans.
Continue doing this - placing the meatballs so they're tight together but not touching - until all of the meat mixture is used up.
Place in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 mins.
Remove meatballs from oven. Gently loosen the meatballs with a spatula. Allow meatballs to cool.
FAQs and Tips on Large Batch Meatballs
Because we are baking the meatballs at a high temperature on a greased baking sheet with no sauce, there's no need to take the extra step of searing them. The meatballs will have a delicious golden brown crust from the baking sheet and hot oven.
The meatballs turn out best with 80/20 ground beef or ground chuck. If you use beef with a lower fat content, increase the milk by 1 tablespoon.
Ground turkey or ground pork can be used instead of the ground chicken if you prefer.
Any non-dairy milk can be substituted for the milk in this recipe for dairy-free meatballs.
How to Freeze Meatballs
Once meatballs have cooled completely, remove from pan and placed on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and place in the freezer overnight.
Remove from freezer. Place frozen meatballs into a large, zip-top bag. Store in your freezer until ready to use.
How to Cook Frozen Meatballs
Freezing the meatballs once they're fully cooked means you're only heating them up before serving. This is best done in a sauce. I love to cook frozen meatballs on the stovetop in my favorite BBQ sauce or spaghetti sauce.
Place the meatballs in a pan over medium-low heat. Add 1-2 cups of the sauce of your choice, stirring to coat the frozen meatballs. Cover and cook - stirring occasionally - until the meatballs have heated through and the sauce has warmed up, about 10-15 minutes. You'll know your meatballs are ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork.
Serve Your Meatballs With...
Quick BBQ Meatball Appetizer
Let's skip the slow cooker and have these delicious sweet and savory BBQ Meatballs ready for guests in 15 minutes with NO GRAPE JELLY! This is a perfect option for last minute entertaining.
Place 1 cup store-bought BBQ sauce and ½ cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup) in a large pot. Add the juice from 2 oranges (about a ½ cup) and whisk everything together until combined.
Add 24-36 frozen meatballs to the pot and gently stir to coat with the BBQ mixture.
Place the pot over medium-low heat, cover, and allow the meatballs to thaw as the sauce heats up. How long this will take depends on how many meatballs you're reheating. Start checking them after 10 minutes.
If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the lid after the meatballs have mostly thawed and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.