These meatballs with sausage and ground beef are easy to make and so tasty. A blend of Italian sausage and lean hamburger gives these tender meatballs incredible flavor.
Instead of frying, in this simple recipe the flavorful Italian meatballs are baked in the oven until golden brown. I like to simmer them in spaghetti sauce before serving, which makes both the sauce and the meatballs even more yummy.
My favorite technique for preparing homemade Italian meatballs also happens to be incredibly simple! You’ll love making meatball sliders, pasta dishes and appetizers with these perfect meatballs.
Ingredients and Substitions
Here’s what you’ll need to make these oven cooked meat balls. (Scroll down to the recipe card for full directions.)
1 tablespoon butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter, depending on what you have and your preference.
1/4 cup finely chopped onion – Yellow or white onions are fine.
1 large or 2 small cloves fresh garlic – Add more or less, depending on your tastebuds! (The flavor of fresh is best, but if you’re in a hurry you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.)
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage – You can use sweet or spicy Italian sausage. If you don’t have bulk sausage, you can buy link sausage and remove the casings.
1/2 pound ground beef – I like ground chuck for this recipe, but you can use regular ground beef, too. I usually get the 97% lean ground beef for less shrinkage. You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef.
1 slice of bread – The bread acts like a binder with the egg and meat. Feel free to use your favorite bread for this easy meatball recipe.
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Tips for the Best Oven Cooked Meatballs
These are my three secrets for delicious meatballs that are browned on the outside and tender on the inside:
Secret #1: Most meatball recipes call for raw onion to be added to the mixture, but I prefer to saute the onion in butter first along with a little minced garlic. This pre-cooking step allows the onion and garlic to “melt” into the mixture as the meatballs cook, resulting in a pleasing caramelized flavor.
Secret #2: I like to use a blend of half Italian sausage and half ground beef. The Italian sausage adds a little zing (and admittedly, a little extra fat) to the ground beef, taking the meatballs from sodden to spectacular.
Secret #3: For this easy recipe, instead of laboriously trying to evenly brown the meatballs on all sides and dealing with spattering fat in a frying pan, I simply shape them and bake them in a hot oven. After just 20 minutes, they’re miraculously browned and perfectly cooked inside.
Step by Step Instructions with Photos
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook 1/4 cup chopped onion just until it turns translucent. Add 1 clove minced garlic and continue cooking for about 90 seconds, until the mixture barely begins to brown. Remove from heat and reserve.
Place the slice of bread in a food processor and process into fine crumbs.
Next, combine a half pound each of ground Italian sausage and ground beef, the bread crumbs, an egg, a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
(No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to make a bowl of meatball mixture look photogenic.)
Use a tablespoon to shape the meat mixture into golfball-sized meatballs. (You can also use a cookie scoop for shaping.)
Place meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. You can see how the onion becomes caramelized after cooking. Yum.
Storing and Reheating Instructions
Leftover meatballs can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To reheat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook in the oven until heated through, about 8 minutes.
To freeze cooked meatballs, cool completely to room temperature before freezing. Arrange on a baking sheet and freeze. Remove frozen meatballs to a sealed airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.
To defrost frozen meatballs, place in the refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight before using. Follow reheating instructions above.
How to Serve Baked Italian Meatballs
You can add the baked Italian meatballs to a spaghetti sauce like I did in the photo at the top of this post. Just add a few cups of your favorite sauce to a skillet, bring to a simmer, add the meatballs and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite pasta.
Or, you can toast some buns, sprinkle with a little Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, and make meatball sandwiches.
Meatballs are also great sliced and arranged on homemade pizza.
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Shall we make some beautiful meatballs together? Here’s the printable recipe card:
Meatballs with Sausage and Ground Beef
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1/2 pound ground chuck (or ground beef)
- 1 slice bread
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease or spray with cooking spray.
- Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sausage and ground beef. Pulse the bread in a food processor or blender to make crumbs and sprinkle over the meat mixture. Add the onion mixture, egg, salt, and pepper and combine until well blended.
- Use a tablespoon to form the mixture into balls. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the meatballs are lightly browned and cooked all the way through, about 20 minutes. Cool the baking sheet on a wire rack. Makes about 18 to 20 meatballs.
Save for Later
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