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In over 40 years of marriage, raising four daughters and now with 13 grandchildren, it is important for me to have a great go-to recipe. I have tried many meatball recipes and liked lots of them. But, this is our favorite meatballs recipe.
What I love best about these meatballs is that they are soft and tender. Instead of breadcrumbs to help bind the meatballs together, bread is softened with a little water and egg.
How to make these favorite meatballs
Do you ever wonder if you should wash fresh parsley before using?
Yes! To avoid getting sick from your herbs, wash them properly. Fresh herbs, like parsley can contain dirt and other contaminants that can potentially expose you to harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Even if you are cooking the parsley, it is a good idea to wash them thoroughly before proceeding.
How to wash parsley
Place the parsley in a colander and remove any damaged stems or leaves. Use a kitchen sink sprayer to wash all of it thoroughly in a clean sink under clean, running water. You can swish the parsley in a large bowl of water, dumping and repeating several times. When the parsley is thoroughly clean, dry it on a kitchen towel or spin in a salad spinner.
Chop the fresh parsley until it measures 2 tablespoons.
Cut or tear 4 slices of bread into small pieces and add to a large bowl. You can use fresh or day old bread. I do not remove the ends but you can if you prefer. Pour a 1/2 cup water over the bread and allow to soak for a few minutes.
Add 2 eggs to the bread mixture and stir until combined and mushy 😉
Add the ground beef , 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, the 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano, crushed and a dash of pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon).
Using your clean hands or a large fork, lightly but thoroughly toss until everything is evenly combined.
Shaping the meatballs
Shape the meat mixture into balls. I like to use a small scoop – it is quick, easy and less messy and the meatballs are uniform in size. You can form the meatballs with your hands too. To make it less messy, wet your hands with a little cold water.
Cooking the meatballs
You can cook the meatballs either by browning in a skillet or baking in the oven. They pretty much come out the same. The fried meatballs might be browned a bit more on the outside if that is important to you. Baking is less messy but it is completely up to you.
In this post I am baking the meatballs. Just place the shaped meatballs onto a silicone or foil covered baking pan allowing a little space between each meatball.
Place the pan of meatballs in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs.
I like using silicone mats because nothing sticks to them!
The meatballs are fully cooked and can be used with a variety of sauces. I like to simmer them gently in tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti. I always plan for leftovers because we love meatball sandwiches on soft hoagie rolls. Yum! Two meals cooking just once.
The meatballs also freeze really well. Just place the desired amount of completely cooled meatballs into freezer-safe plastic bags, label and freeze for another day. I don’t have a problem with them sticking together, but you can place the meatballs onto a baking sheet and freeze for a couple of hours and then add them to freezer-safe bags.
Use your favorite jarred sauce or follow the link below for a very easy and delicious tomato sauce with a bright, fresh flavor.
- I especially like to use potato bread because it makes them delicious.
- Roll each meatball lightly so they are soft and tender and break easily with a fork.
- I use a rounded coffee measure or a small ice-cream scoop to form the the mixture into balls without any rolling. I sometimes get a flat side to the meatball but they stay nice and soft. You can go ahead and shape them gently with your hands if you prefer.
Cooking the meatballs
Makes 24 small-ish meatballs. 5 meatballs is a nice serving so this recipe makes about 4 servings. The recipe is easily doubled.
- 4 slices of bread
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 lb (85%) ground beef
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp oregano
Soak the 4 bread slices in 1/2 cup water 2 to 3 minutes; add 2 eggs and mix well.
Mix with 1 pound ground beef (I use 85%), 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons snipped parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed, and a dash of pepper.
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