The best Italian Meatball recipe is tender and flavorful. Made with beef, pork, soaked bread, chopped parsley, and Parmesan cheese.


Italian Meatball Recipe

I have been searching for the perfect recipe for homemade meatballs for a long time. I’ve tried breadcrumbs, soaked bread in milk, all beef, a combo of meats, cheese, you name it. The amount of meatballs I’ve made is obscene. This is the one.  


  • GROUND BEEF – A pound of meat of both beef and pork make for the best meatballs.
  • EGGS – This holds the meatballs together.
  • SOAKED BREAD – Sure you can use breadcrumbs but in my testing soaked bread was definitely the most tender and moist meatballs. Leftover bread works great here.
  • ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY – You could also use dried Italian seasoning but fresh herbs are so much better.
  • PARMIGIANO REGGIANO – Very similar to regular Parmesan and if you substituted regular I won’t be mad at you. However, the flavors are slightly different. Their aging processes are different and the cheese has to come from a particular region of Italy to be called Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • MARINARA – The meatballs are cooked in the sauce. Homemade marinara sauce is best but Rao’s brand is pretty dang close.meatballs in sauce


meatball mixtureHere’s the line up for our ground meat mixture: ground beef, ground pork, finely diced onion, eggs, chopped parsley, garlic.

soaked bread

Bread soaked in milk. I know. It sounds weird but makes for juicy meatballs. 

raw meatballs

Yes, this makes a lot of meatballs. You can half this recipe if you want to.

meatballs in sauceThe meatballs are simmered in the tomato sauce.



meatballs in sauce


4.15 from 7 votes
The best Italian Meatball recipe is tender and flavorful. Made with beef, pork, soaked bread, chopped parsley, and Parmesan cheese. This easy meatball recipe has amazing flavor and served over your favorite pasta.
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Servings: 36 meatballs


  • 4 slices white bread, stale, (2 cups fresh breadcrumbs can be replaced)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 lb ground beef , (85% lean beef)
  • 1 lb ground pork, (not sausage)
  • 1/2 cup very finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, (optional)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 32 ounces marinara sauce, (I like Rao's)


  • In a medium bowl, add the bread and pour the milk over it. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add the rest of the meatball ingredients. Squeeze the bread with your hands, discarding the extra liquid and add it to the meatball mixture. Mix meatball mixture well until combined.
  • In a very large skillet, add the marinara sauce. Roll the meatball mixture into balls about 2 tablespoons each and place in the marinara sauce.
  • Bring sauce and meatballs to a about a medium to medium low heat and cook for 30-40 minutes or until meatballs are not pink in the center. Garnish with basil if desired.


Parmigiano Reggiano adds so much flavor but grated Parmesan is a substitute that can be used.
Cuisine: Italian
Course: All Recipes, Main Course

meatball recipe

meatball recipe