Delicious smoked meatball recipe: juicy, tender, and packed with flavor

Meatballs are a classic and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether you prefer them baked, fried, or simmered in sauce, there's no denying the deliciousness of a well-made meatball. In this article, we'll share with you our best smoked meatball recipe that is easy to make and guaranteed to be juicy, tender, and packed with flavor.

Table of Contents

What Type of Meat Should I Use?

When it comes to making meatballs, ground beef is the most popular choice. However, you can also use ground turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, or even a combination of different meats. Our smoked meatball recipe is versatile and works well with any ground meat.

Three Favorite Ways to Cook Meatballs

Once you have a reliable meatball recipe, like the one we'll share below, you can choose how you'd like to cook them. Here are our three favorite methods:

Cook them in a Skillet

If you prefer meatballs with a golden brown crust and a juicy interior, cooking them in a skillet on the stovetop is the way to go. To prevent them from sticking to the pan, make sure the pan is hot before adding the meatballs and lightly grease it with oil. Cook the meatballs over medium heat until they are browned on all sides.

Bake them in the Oven

Baking meatballs is a convenient option that requires less hands-on time. Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place the meatballs on the sheet, and bake them in a preheated oven at 400°F to 425°F for about 20 minutes, or until they are browned and cooked through. The breadcrumbs, milk, and egg in the meatball mixture ensure that they remain juicy and tender even after baking.

Simmer them in Sauce

Simmering meatballs in sauce is an underrated method that results in melt-in-your-mouth tender meatballs. This method is perfect for infusing the sauce with more flavor from the meatballs. Simply bring your favorite sauce to a simmer, gently drop the formed raw meatballs into the sauce, cover the pot with a lid, and let them simmer for about 20 minutes. The meatballs will be firm enough to flip in the sauce.

How to Cook Meatballs in a Slow Cooker, Air Fryer, and Pressure Cooker

If you prefer using alternative cooking methods, here are our suggestions for cooking meatballs in a slow cooker, air fryer, and pressure cooker:

  • Slow cooker: Simmer meatballs in sauce for 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
  • Air fryer: Preheat to 375°F and cook meatballs for 12-15 minutes or until cooked.
  • Pressure cooker: Bring sauce to a simmer on SAUTE. Add meatballs and cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. Allow the cooker to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.

How to Tell if Meatballs Are Cooked

Meatballs are cooked through when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. To ensure they are cooked properly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatballs.

Serving Suggestions

Meatballs can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Serve them with pasta and marinara sauce for a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish.
  • Make them into meatball subs by placing them in a roll with melted cheese and marinara sauce.
  • Add them to soups, stews, or casseroles for an extra dose of flavor and protein.

Make Ahead and Storing Tips

Meatballs are a great make-ahead meal and can be stored for future use. Here's what you need to know:

  • To refrigerate raw meatball mixture: You can refrigerate the raw meatball mixture overnight and bake it the next day following your recipe's instructions.
  • To freeze raw meatball mixture: Form the meatballs and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Freeze the meatballs until they are firm, then transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. When ready to cook, bake them until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Cooked meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container or frozen for up to three months in an airtight, freezer-safe container.

Our Best Homemade Meatballs Recipe

Here's our go-to meatball recipe that is quick to make and calls for ingredients you likely already have on hand. This recipe yields juicy, tender, and flavorful meatballs:


  • 1/2 cup (35 grams) bread crumbs (preferably panko or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (finely grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or a combination)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil (such as avocado oil, grape seed oil, or vegetable oil)


Stir breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the egg, cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir until well blended.

Add the ground meat and gently mix everything until combined. Avoid overmixing for the most tender meatballs.

Wet your hands and form the mixture into small balls (about 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter). This recipe yields approximately 35 meatballs. You can refrigerate the raw meatballs overnight or freeze them for future use.

To bake the meatballs, preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or a silicone baking mat. Place the meatballs on the sheet, leaving a little space in between each one. Lightly spray the top of the meatballs with cooking spray or brush them with oil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through, browned on the outside, and register 165°F in the middle.

Alternatively, you can cook the meatballs in a skillet on the stovetop. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wide Dutch oven or nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the meatballs in the hot oil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through, browned on the outside, and register 165°F in the middle. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to cook the meatballs in batches.

Once cooked, you can serve the meatballs immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.

With our smoked meatball recipe, you can enjoy juicy, tender, and flavorful meatballs that can be cooked in various ways to suit your preferences. Whether you choose to bake them, fry them, or simmer them in sauce, these meatballs are sure to be a hit. Don't forget to experiment with different types of ground meat to find your favorite combination. Enjoy!

If you want to know other articles similar to Delicious smoked meatball recipe: juicy, tender, and packed with flavor you can visit the Recipes category.

Related Articles

Go up

We use our own and third-party cookies to prepare statistical information and show you personalized content and services through navigation analysis. Accept them or set your preferences. More Information