21 Easy Meatball Recipes That Are Anything but Basic
Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Zucchini
Nope, we’re not serving these chicken meatballs over zucchini noodles. Instead, we’ve incorporated shredded squash into the meatballs themselves for remarkably moist results—even with lean chicken and turkey as the base. Bake a big batch and freeze for up to 3 months for a quick fix meal-starter to lower your stress levels on busy nights.
Air-Fryer Italian-Style Meatballs
Incorporate one of the biggest food trends of the decade, air frying, into your meatball recipe repertoire. The convection oven-like appliance crisps up these poppable air-fryer meatballs in a flash. Try them with a mix of beef and turkey sausage for delightful flavor and juicy texture, then serve with toothpicks and sauce or over noodles or zoodles.
Veggie Farfalle with Mediterranean Meatballs
There’s a reason why meatballs and bowtie pasta go together like cake and ice cream. The folded and tucked pasta holds onto pockets of whatever sauce you serve with your meatballs. Once you taste a drop of this roasted vegetable, Parmesan, and olive oil blend alongside the sun-dried tomato chicken meatballs, you won't want to waste a drop.
Vietnamese Pork Meatballs
Italian-Vietnamese fusion, here we come. Although it may not sound like the most traditional of combinations, this dish sure is tasty. Ginger and lemongrass push this meatballs recipe to the next flavor level. The meatballs are great with shredded cabbage and carrots or in a banh mi-inspired meatball sandwich.
Meatball Subs on a Stick
Meatball subs are almost as popular as spaghetti and meatball recipes, but we’re willing to bet you’ve never had one on a stick before. (A breadstick that is.) Weave breadstick dough between homemade meatballs, then top it off with melty Italian cheese. Of course, we wouldn’t leave out the marinara sauce—serve it on the side of the baked meatball recipe for dipping.
If you want to dress up plain meatballs without getting too wild, a Swedish meatball recipe is a tasty variation. They’re not just for stocking up on at IKEA! Rather than tomato sauce, whip up a creamy sauce with milk and beef bouillon, then serve it all with bowtie noodles.
Meatballs and Stuffed Zucchini
Beefy baked meatballs hide inside zucchini in this Italian-inspired entrée. How? The trick is to core the summer squash then stuff it with meatball filling. If you have extra beef bites, serve them on the side with a zesty tomato sauce. Think of it like a lower-carb meatball sub recipe!
Mash up two Italian favorites in one family-friendly dish with this easy casserole recipe. Like any classic lasagna, it has layers of noodles, mozzarella, ricotta, and sauce, but instead of plain ground beef, we used herb-spiked Mediterranean-inspired meatballs. Meat-lovers will be happy with the super-size layer of beef.
Sweet and Spicy Meatballs with Mango Salsa
Dig into a baked meatball recipe with a dose of tropical flair. Crushed red pepper lends just enough kick, which is balanced out beautifully by some sweet mango salsa spooned on top. Pro tip: Mix a double batch of the fresh mango and red pepper salsa to scoop up with tortilla chips alongside your meatball recipe. Side dish, done!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs
Want another way to make your spaghetti and meatball recipe more interesting? Swap out the noodles for spaghetti squash. Subbing in spaghetti squash makes this meatball-friendly recipe a little lower in calories and carbs. For an even leaner twist, try these as turkey meatballs (with ground turkey breast) instead of beef.
With this egg entrée, it’s totally acceptable to eat meatballs for breakfast. Baked into a cheesy egg frittata, the meatballs are surrounded by fresh red bell peppers and basil. (Psst...use frozen store-bought or leftovers from your other favorite homemade meatball recipe in this collection.) You don't have to make this meatball frittata every morning, but since it only takes 20 minutes, you certainly could!
Turkey Meatball Shepherd’s Pie
To give dishes that call for ground beef or turkey more pizzazz, sub in homemade meatballs for basic browned ground meat. That switch makes this turkey meatball shepherd’s pie recipe stand out from its casserole competition. Start with an easy meatball recipe, then top it off with Alfredo sauce, sweet peas, and sweet potato slices.
Pork Meatball and Escarole Soup
For a twist, customize any homemade meatball recipe with pork in place of beef. Here we call for doing just that, then take it one step further by skipping the pasta in favor of this cozy leafy green-packed vegetable soup. The layered flavors taste so complex, you’ll swear this was simmering all day … but it takes only 45 minutes.
Meatball and Vegetable Kabobs
Give your meatballs the grill treatment. To make this supremely easy, start with purchased meatballs, then skewer them along with cubed zucchini and juicy cherry tomatoes. Grill this BBQ meatball recipe alongside your other cookout favorites at a summer barbecue or broil them for a tasty weeknight entrée.
This sausage and beef meatball recipe is hiding a few secret ingredients. For one thing, the sauce is made with an irresistible combination of molasses, soy sauce, and lime juice. For another, rolled oats are mixed into the sweet and sour meatballs—they make a great binding agent.
Spicy Italian Meatballs
Don’t worry, we'll never suggest giving up classic Italian meatballs. But if you want to tiptoe the classic outside the box, add a dash of crushed red pepper to give them a hint of heat. As a bonus, these are actually slow cooker meatballs—so you can set and forget for a hands-off appetizer or main dish.
Ricotta Meatball Hoagies
For even more decadent, tender meatballs, add a dollop of ricotta cheese to the mix. While these baked meatballs are good enough to gobble up all on their own, they’re at their best when drenched in homemade marinara sauce. To make it a meal, serve them over your favorite pasta or on hoagie rolls for a meatball sub recipe.
Related: Our Complete Guide to Cheese
Meatball and Vegetable Soup with Pasta
Meatballs are a brilliant way to make any soup recipe heartier, as this dressed-up minestrone proves. Loaded with meatballs, pasta, mixed veggies, and cannellini beans, you won’t go to bed hungry after a bowl of this soup. Remember a side of crusty bread to sop up every last drop of the savory broth.
Spicy Apple-Glazed Meatballs
If you ask us, meatballs are best when they’re a little sweet and a little spicy. This quick and easy meatball recipe starts out with a kick thanks to cayenne pepper, then gets a touch of sweetness from an apple glaze. Ready in less than an hour, these meatballs are a stellar party appetizer even if you're short on time.
Mini Meatballs Pizza
Why use sausage or pepperoni when you can perk up your next pizza with one of our best meatball recipes? It's so good, we might start making meatball pizza even more often than classic spaghetti and meatballs. Start with a homemade pizza dough and sauce, then top it off with mini meatballs, red onion, yellow bell peppers, and lots and lots of cheese.
Still learning how to make homemade meatballs? Start with this simple, customizable recipe, then choose one of our seven variations once you’ve mastered the basics. No matter what meat you use as the base of your meatballs, we have a recipe for it. Lamb, bratwurst, ham, shrimp, you name it!