Whenever I thought about meatballs as a kid, I thought about stereotypes where a family has a large bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in a family-sized bowl.  That is the only way I knew meatballs were to be eaten.

Until recipes like this appeared in my life.  

These meatballs have so much flavor from the onions, garlic, and mixture of ground beef and ground pork that they are actually the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten.  With my wife, Stephanie, eating gluten-free, we ate them plain and substituted gluten-free bread crumbs.  

No pasta.  No hoagie roll for a meatball sub sandwich.  

meatball marinara

I think it’s also fun to give our Foodness Gracious Followers a peek behind the curtain of making a recipe and taking our best photographs of the food.  We set up the photo for Meatball Marinara and just had to include some bread (for me).  

Stephanie went to the pantry to grab some bread to make buttered garlic bread with Italian seasoning.  If you look at the photos and are asking yourself, “Are those hot dog buns split in half?”

Yes.  Yes, they are.

Meatball Marinara

Meatball Marinara

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Meatballs are a perfect meal for any time of the year.  They’re wonderful left over and are so versatile!
Print Recipe



  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs (can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork

Sauce and Cheese

  • 32 oz. Marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozirella cheese
  • fresh parsley, chop for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped white onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 cloves of garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Set aside and let cool.
  • Combine 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside.
  • Crack an egg in a small bowl and whisk it. Add 1/3 cup milk and whisk to combine.
  • Combine the dry mixture with the wet mixture to form a smooth paste. Mix in the onions and garlic.
  • Add the 1 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. ground pork to a large bowl and top with the mixture.
  • Use your hands and gently mix until just barely combined.
  • Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Our 9×13 pan held golf-ballish sized meatballs.
  • Pour 3/4 of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Add the meatballs. Spoon remaining sauce over the top.
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with 2 cups of mozarella cheese.
  • Bake 15 more minutes.
  • Broil for additional 1-2 minutes at the end if desired.
  • Top with fresh chopped parsley.


Did You Know?


Is it better to sear or bake meatballs?

When it comes to preparing meatballs, there are a few different methods you can use. Two of the most popular techniques are searing and baking. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences.
Searing meatballs involves cooking them quickly over high heat in a pan. This can help to create a crisp outer layer on the meatballs, which can be very appealing. However, searing can also be a bit messy and can result in a lot of smoke in your kitchen. Additionally, searing can be difficult to do properly, and if you don’t get the temperature and timing just right, you could end up with undercooked or burnt meatballs.
meatball marinara
Baking meatballs, as we did here with Meatball Marinara, on the other hand, involves cooking them in the oven at a moderate temperature for a longer period of time. This can help to ensure that the meatballs are cooked all the way through and that they are evenly cooked. Baking can also be a bit less messy than searing, and it can be easier to do if you are cooking a large batch of meatballs. However, baked meatballs may not have the same crisp outer layer that seared meatballs do, and they may not be as visually appealing.
Ultimately, the choice between searing and baking meatballs will depend on your personal preferences and the specific recipe you are using. Both methods can be effective, and both can result in delicious meatballs. If you are new to cooking meatballs, you may want to try both methods and see which one you prefer.