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Meatball Bake

Meatball Bake Recipe

This Meatball Bake recipe proves that cooking perfectly juicy, tender meatballs in one pan is possible! It starts with an easy and flavourful tomato and garlic sauce, and then it’s as simple as submerging the meatballs and allowing them to cook. A golden cheese crust finishes this delicious dish. What’s more, you can prepare the meatballs in advance and store them in your freezer, so you can have the comfort of a home-cooked meal on those busy days when you just don’t have a lot of energy for cooking. Serve with a green salad and fresh bread to mop up the sauce, or add to a bowl of pasta.

Can you make Meatball Bake ahead of time?

Yes. Once the meatballs are formed, place them on a tray, freeze and then transfer them to a reusable sandwich bag once frozen (this process stops them from sticking). They are best thawed completely overnight in the fridge before use, but you can also add the frozen meatballs to the sauce as per the recipe. In that case, you will need to add 15 minutes to the recipe cooking time.

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Meatball Bake Recipe

Meatball Bake

  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Meatballs

  • 500 g regular beef mince/ground beef (see note 1)
  • 250 g pork mince/ground pork (see note 1 for substitutes)
  • 1 onion, grated (see note 2)
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
  • 1 tbsp parsley, freshly chopped (optional)

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 700 g passata (1 jar)
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp white sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup tasty cheese/cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F/400°F (all oven types).
  2. Place the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined. Measure out a tablespoon of mixture (using an ice cream scoop is helpful) and roll out the meatballs.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet on medium heat to make the sauce. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add the passata, chicken stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Gently submerge the meatballs into the sauce, so they are evenly distributed in the pan.
  6. Using a spoon, ladle some of the sauce on top of each meatball (they may not be completely submerged under the sauce, which is fine, but spooning over the sauce will stop them from drying out).
  7. Sprinkle the top generously with cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and the meatballs are cooked through.
  8. Serve with your favourite sides (see note 3).

Notes

Note 1 – Regular, 20% fat beef mince is required for this recipe (not lean beef, as it will produce dry and tough meatballs). You can omit the pork mince completely and substitute it with more beef mince.

 

Note 2 – Grating the onions will ensure the meatballs are extra juicy and flavour-packed. Cut your onion in half and grate it on the cut side using a box grater. This ensures you are left with a fine onion “pulp” versus chunks of onions. 

 

Note 3 – Serve with fresh sourdough bread or garlic bread and a green salad. The sauce consistency is thin and perfect for dipping.

MAKE AHEAD

Once the meatballs are formed, place them on a tray, freeze and then transfer them to a reusable sandwich bag once frozen (this process stops them from sticking). They are best thawed completely overnight in the fridge before use, but you can also add the frozen meatballs to the sauce as per the recipe. In that case, you will need to add 15 minutes to the recipe cooking time. 

LEFTOVERS

Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months (in individual portions). Thaw completely overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or oven. 

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: beef, meatballs, meatball bake
  • Method: pan, simmer
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Meatball bake, the best meatball recipe, easy meatball recipe

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Comments

  1. 10/10, have eaten it twice in the last fortnight and it will definitely be on regular rotation!
    We have it with spaghetti and garlic bread and both fussy kids (5 and 3) love it

  2. i JUST MADE THIS FOR LUNCH MY FAMILIA WHEN CRAZY! 10/10!!!!
    CANT WAIT TO TRY MORE OF YOUR RECIPES FOR SURE!!!!!!

  3. I have made this a few times now, it’s a firm favourite in our household. I love serving it with yummy sourdough, or the easy garlic bread from this website. We always have plenty of leftovers that I use to make meatball subs the following night. Love love love!

  4. Such a delicious recipe that is so quick and easy. A family favourite here – on weekly repeat! Thank you

  5. Exactly what I wanted! Have never been able to perfect a tasty, juicy meatball. Winner in this house for sure!

  6. This recipe is just so delicious! Iv made it twice in 2 weeks. Such a delicious comfort food

  7. I have tried many meatball recipes, all of which my kids have never liked, until this one! This recipe was absolutely delicious!! There was even enough for me to bring leftovers for lunch! Thank you for a beautiful recipe!!

  8. Wowzers!
    Made meatballs a trillion times over the years but this has just flogged all of them.
    Clearing out the manual recipe folder tomorrow and filing with this beauty.
    Loved the intermission whilst dish is in the oven to quickly clean up the prep / stovetop mess.
    The addition of some chilli on top took it to the next level!

    • Ahhh this is fantastic. I am so glad you loved it as much as we do. Absolutely agree, I get so much satisfaction knowing there is little to no clean up once dinner is ready. Thank you so much for taking the time to write x

  9. Thank you for sharing all of these beautiful recipes 10/10 for these meatballs soooo delicious ♥️♥️♥️

    • This is so wonderful to hear! Thank you SO much for taking the time to rate and comment on the recipe. 🥰 x

  10. Hey Nic! I’m wanting to make this one but can’t use breadcrumbs. Could I use ground flaxseed instead? Or what would you recommend? Thanks so much! Your meals are our fave right now! X

    • Hello Lovely! Thank you so much, that is just so lovely to read. ❤️ Although I haven’t tried it, I think the ground flaxseed would be perfect and would keep the meatballs deliciously tender throughout the bake! I would use half a cup instead of 2/3 cup as the recipe suggests… Just enough to bind the meatballs and stop them falling apart. I don’t know if it’s an option, but another person messaged to say they subbed with 1/4 cup almond meal and 1/4 cup of psyllium husk and they were perfect. Thank you again for messaging, so keen to hear how they go! 😍 x

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