Easy Baked Meatballs

These easy, baked, no-chop homemade meatballs are perfect for making ahead and freezing. They are very easy to adapt. Skip the overpriced frozen ones at the store! 

Easy Baked Meatballs from TheFoodCharlatan.com

One time when I was a kid we were having a family gathering and my mom bought root beer. We never had soda in my house growing up, so it was a special treat. I filled my glass to the brim and carried it carefully to the table where everyone was sitting. I settled into my chair…and then knocked the glass over, soaking myself and half the table. I started laughing, which soon morphed into maniacal laugh-sobs, and then I burst into tears.

For years I remembered that as one of the strangest moments of my life, where my brain could not decide between laughing and crying. Now this happens to me all the time.

Easy Baked Meatballs from TheFoodCharlatan.com

The other day Charlotte was sitting on one of our barstools and I looked up just in time to see her shocked face as both she and the stool sailed to the floor, practically in slow motion. She burst into tears, of course, and I held her, both of us shaking, her with sobs, me with laughter. I had to keep covering my face so she wouldn’t see. It was funny, okay? In moments like that, as a mom, your emotions dictate laughter or tears anyway, so I take the easy way out.

Lest you think me heartless, let me just say I’m not the only one. I was too late to the hospital to get any drugs when Truman was born, and Eric said later that my primal screaming was so TV-like that he had to keep looking away so that I wouldn’t see him laughing. True story. It’s a good thing I didn’t see him, otherwise he might be missing a limb. I wouldn’t even feel bad. Women can’t be held responsible for any maiming they inflict during labor.

Easy Baked Meatballs from TheFoodCharlatan.com

The other day I was at Costco looking for the frozen meatballs. I was going to throw them in the crockpot for dinner that night. Then I saw the 20 dollar price tag and decided to make my own.

Meatballs don’t have to be hard. There are lots of delicious recipes out there that call for more elaborate ingredients (like these Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs, for example) but I wanted something simple that could be used for most any recipe, and that didn’t involve any chopping. No fresh onion or garlic here: embrace the powder. Sometimes you just gotta git er done.

Easy Baked Meatballs from TheFoodCharlatan.com

Even though this recipe is just meat and bunch of stuff you already have in your pantry, it’s still really, really good. It calls for a full cup of milk, which makes them really moist.

You could adapt this recipe in so many ways. Just change up the spices, or add real onions instead of onion powder if you’re feeling ambitious. It’s really forgiving. The recipe is adapted from Eric’s grandmother’s famous Swedish Meatballs, which I get compliments on every time (it’s a go-to for bringing meals to new moms) but it is SO easy to make.

This recipe is perfect for freezing (instructions below). Make a double batch, that way you always have some on hand for last-minute dinners.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Easy Baked Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or quick oats
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together. I know, I know, it's gross. Just do it. It works better than a spoon. Don't over mix; this will result in tough meatballs.
  3. Shape the mixture into walnut-sized meatballs. (Or any size really, as long as they are uniform. Adjust baking times as necessary.)
  4. Place the meatballs close together (but not touching) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Serve hot.
  5. To freeze: Let the meatballs cool. Use a fork or spoon to scrape the fat away from the sides. Place the meatballs on the same pan that you just baked them on, without the tin foil. (Just fold it up as you go.) I didn't grease the pan and they came off fine. Place the pan in the freezer and set a timer for 45 minutes to an hour. Transfer the meatballs to a large ziplock bag, seal, and return to the freezer.

Source: The Food Charlatan

Easy Baked Meatballs from TheFoodCharlatan.com

Flash freeze the meatballs for an hour or so, so that they don’t stick together in one lump when you throw them in a ziplock.

More meatballs!

Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs:

Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs | TheFoodCharlatan.com

Easy Swedish Meatballs:

Swedish Meatballs from The Food Charlatan

1770 House Meatloaf with Garlic Sauce:

1770 House Meatloaf with Garlic Sauce

Meatballs from friends:

Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Turkey Meatballs from Snixy Kitchen
Mini Meatball Sliders with Pesto from Annie’s Eats
Asian Turkey Quinoa Meatballs from Creme de la Crumb





  1. says

    Our household was the same way! We never had soda, and if we did on occasion it was root beer. I have the same problem- durring the most inappropriate times, I usually get the giggles when I should probably be crying or something. I love your stories, they always make me laugh! And these meatballs sound delish.
    Julia @ Sprinkled With Jules recently posted…Muddy Buddy BarsMy Profile

  2. Misty mi says

    You are not alone in the laughter. Our family tends to take it one step crueler by saying, That’s what you get. But only if they were doing something we’ve repeatedly told them not to, then it’s ok right!?! haha
    Anyway Mercedes and Paul keep asking for my “special” meatballs (Costco meatballs with a secret store bought BBQ sauce). Costco didn’t have any! These look super easy and since I’m not about to put actual onions into anything I love the powdered version! Although we will be doing an all beef version here, non of that nasty pig here. :) Mercedes and Paul will be thanking you! :)

    • says

      Oh my gosh, stubbing toes are NO JOKE around here. For some reason both Eric and I act like it’s THE END OF THE WORLD when toes get stubbed (our own, I mean. I know I for one am biting my fist when it happens to him, but I would never let him see! Don’t tell!)

    • says

      In Costco’s defense, it was 20 bucks for 6 pounds of meatballs, which is pretty good steal for something premade, right? I honestly was considering my freezer space too. (My freezer. It’s like it wants to grow up to be a shoebox or something.) And aren’t sisters just the best? The ones you can laugh maniacally with I mean :)

  3. says

    We didn’t get soda much as kids either, but one Christmas we got a two liter of Cherry 7-Up… which we promptly mixed with egg nog (DISGUSTING) and called a “tradition”. We never had it again, but if you ask any of the cousins present that Christmas, we’ll tell you it was a very, VERY important part of our childhood. :)

    Also… I LOVE easy things I can freeze! Nothing makes me happy like eating something I worked for a long time ago!
    Carla (@charliesue) recently posted…Spicy Black Bean and Corn SoupMy Profile

  4. Janice says

    Growing up we had meatballs all the time – I think my dad loved them – and we always fried them in the electric frying pan. We used the crusty bits to make ‘country’ gravy – so good! It was a long time before I knew you could bake meatballs, these look great :)

  5. says

    Karen, I have to tell you that you are the BEST writer! Truth time? Most other food blogs I follow I just kind of skim thru real quick. But when your blog pops up in my reader? I pause the music I’m listening to in my headphones and read every. single. world. and love all of it! You’re truly talented. Hope you’re not blushing too much : )

    I love the idea of freezing meatballs! I could have dinner ready in a snap with these babies waiting for me in the freezer.
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely recently posted…Five Things for FridayMy Profile

  6. Lorna Mason-Henderson says

    Just made these meatballs. I usually test setting out before I make a big batch, but your recipes have not failed me yet! So I tripled the recipe. I held back on the cayenne, using the smaller amount suggested, and O-M-G they are so good. I might add some fresh corriander to them next time instead of the cayenne, but I’ll definitely make a single batch since I’m potentially bastardizimg your recipe.
    Thanks. ….Now to go sneak a few more before I flash freeze them.

    • says

      I’m so glad you love them Lorna! And I’m happy to hear that my recipes have yet to fail you! please, feel free to triple the batch with the coriander, if you like coriander, then it will taste great :) If you are unsure, then try frying a little piece of the meat first to taste test it. Thanks so much for the review Lorna!

  7. Melissa says

    What’s the serving size for a single recipe? I’m going to a Pampered Chef make and take dinner workshop and need essentially 64 oz of meatballs! The shopping list says 2 (32 oz) bags of meatballs, but I’d much rather make these than go buy them! That’s just me!

  8. Joan says

    Always made my meatballs in the frying pan. As I turn them, they tend to become misshapen. I really like the idea of doing in the oven. Your recipe sounds delicious and I will definely try.
    On another note, one evening my husband and I were out at a club. Happened to notice my sister and her iiance were there at another table. She did not live close and in my excitement, I rushed over to see them and the other couple they were with. My arms spread out ready to give her a hug and I managed to hit and knock over every glass on the table. Needless to say all with full drinks. This was the first time I had ever met the other couple they were with and to this day, they have never let me live down how we first met. Guess we all have our times we want to cry or laugh.

  9. Mikayla says

    These sound so delicious! I’ve been looking for a recipe that doesn’t use cheese, since I’m lactose intolerant, and you’d be surprised at how hard that is to find.

    Just wondering: If cooking from frozen, what temperature should the oven be & how long should they cook?

    • says

      Hey Mikayla! So glad you found some cheese free meatballs! I just made these the other day with almondmilk for a friend with a dairy allergy. They turned out great.

      As for baking after frozen, I don’t actually know. I always bake mine first, THEN freeze, so that they are completely cooked when I go to use them later. If you freeze them raw, then maybe defrost them first.

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