Once considered spaghetti's trusty sidekick, meatballs have been enjoying their time in the culinary spotlight. NYC's Food and Wine Festival has a whole competition dedicated to meatballs and meatball shops are popping up all over the country, from coast to coast. So with all of these classic and contemporary meatballs popping up around the country, it's inspired us to bring the best meatball recipes back into our own kitchens.
Why do people love meatballs so much? For one, they are delicious. Also, meatballs are one of those comfort foods that every culture can claim. There are Italian, saucy ones. There are Swedish bite-sized ones served with gravy, spicy Asian meatballs, and even meatballs not made with meat at all.
Before we get into the variations of meatballs, though, let's talk about the foundation of amazing meatballs. If you can manage it, a blend of meat is what makes the best meatballs. You're looking for a ratio of ground pork, ground veal, and ground beef in for the most succulent, traditional meatballs. You'll also need breadcrumbs, large eggs to bind, and delicious sauce to serve it all in. The spices and seasonings will vary by cuisine.
If you're ready to start rolling up some delicious meatballs, we found 15 of the best meatball recipes around the web, from home cooks to publications.
1. Italian Meatballs
Donatella Arpaia has been winning meatball competitions for years so rest assured she knows a good meatball. Her recipe is a homestyle version that would make any Italian grandmother proud. And when it comes to that ragu, you better believe it's not store-bought marinara sauce.
This entire recipe is absolutely scrumptious, and coming from the best, would you expect anything else? Get the recipe here.
2. Swedish Meatballs
IKEA fans can get their fix at home with this Swedish meatball recipe that executes the classic flavors perfectly. Heavy on the garlic cloves, this is one of those easy recipes that sounds much more difficult than it really is. Just grab a large bowl and get to hand rolling those babies out for the baking sheet!
3. Spicy Seafood Meatballs
Who says you need beef or chicken to make a meatball? This recipe calls for hearty fish to get the job done. The Thai curry paste works to pull this recipe together so well, and these would make the perfect cocktail meatballs for your next gathering.
Get the recipe here, just don't skimp on that curry paste! It provides all the extra flavor in a relatively sparse ingredient list.
4. Vegan Meatballs
Despite being meat-free, this vegan version, made with cooked chickpeas and nuts, is as hearty as the original. If you're on a low calorie diet, this is also an excellent option for a good dose of protein into your meal plan without the lean fat from meat.
Get the meatballs recipe here.
5. Vegetarian Meatballs
Quinoa, cauliflower and brown rice are the base for these vegetarian meatballs. While here they're paired with Pinch of Yum's killer masala sauce, these can easily pair with traditional tomato sauce.
The meatballs are the perfect blank canvas for whatever pasta sauce you could think of. Get the recipe here.
6. Saucy Asian Meatballs
A homemade hoisin sauce liberally poured onto these bite size balls makes for the perfect appetizer. While you can use regular breadcrumbs, the Panko truly makes a difference here. Get the recipe here.
7. Spicy Apple Glazed Meatballs
These meatballs are skillet-cooked and finished in this sweet and sticky apple glaze for a tart and tangy finish. While these aren't truly sour meatballs, that sauce is one you'll be sipping on a spoon just to get enough.
Get the recipe here.
8. Crockpot Meatballs
Set it and forget it with this easy Crock-Pot meatball recipe that tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day. No one needs these were slow cooker meatballs, and when covered in parmesan cheese, what can go wrong?
Talk about the perfect meatball. Get the recipe here.
9. Baked Meatballs
Use a mini muffin to to perfectly baked meatballs every time and save your cookie sheet for fresh cookies in the oven after dinner. That's not the only reason though. Using a muffin tin guarantees meatballs of near-similar sizes so the cooking time will be even throughout.
Get the recipe here.
10. Mozzarella Stuffed Elk Meatballs
Take your wild game recipes to a new level with this hearty Italian spin on elk meatballs.
And how can you turn down anything mozzarella-stuffed? Enough said. Get the recipe here.
11. Russian Meatballs
A traditional Russian meatball calls for rice, which results in a soft meatball that becomes super flavorful and juicy when you add sauce. Get the recipe here.
12. Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
What's better than a meatball? One stuffed with macaroni and cheese. The best part? Spend with Pennies has a handy set of photos that show you exactly how to seal your meatballs without any delicious cheese escaping.
Get the recipe here.
13. Spicy Saucy Bison Meatballs
Bison meatballs deliver a delicious meaty taste with less calories and fat than other meatballs. Get the recipe here from the Bison Council.