Make-it-yours Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs. Such a classical combination. And a meal that I like so much that I have been known to eat three plates in a sitting…not the best claim to fame but I enjoyed every bite!

Now, many people have a family spaghetti and meatballs recipe, and our family recipe is: go see Uncle Mark because his meatballs are amazing! But that doesn’t work when I live so far away so I had to figure out my own “family” recipe for meatballs.

Make the ultimate meatball

Now the recipe I list here has a lot of possible adaptations according to some of the experiments I have done. So don’t be afraid to change it up to suit your tastes! I think everyone should experiment (within reason) in the kitchen because only you know exactly what you like. So tinker away and share what you come up with!

Making your own meatballs

Recipe: (~12 meatballs)

½ cup oats (or bread crumbs)

½ cup milk


1lb ground beef (or other ground meat)

1 onion (peeled, grated, see note 1)

2 garlic cloves (peeled, grated or finely chopped)

1 egg (can use just yolk or use no egg, see note 2)

1-2 tbsp BBQ sauce or Worchestshire Sauce (or some combination thereof)

Spices to taste (I add oregano and pepper)

2 cups or 1 can of tomato sauce (if making spaghetti sauce with meat balls)

Making meatballs with oats and milk

Note 1: If you cry while cutting onions BEWARE! Grating onions makes it even worse but the quality of the meatballs is SO much better when they are grated.

Note 2: This recipe can be made egg-less. In my rush to take pictures I forgot to add the egg to the pictured batch. If you do omit the egg, be careful when turning the meatballs when searing. Without the egg, the meatballs are more likely to fall apart but as you can see in my photos, mine did not so it is possible to make well-formed meatballs without eggs.

Homemade meatballs

  1. Mix oats and milk in a small bowl. Set aside to soak up.
  2. Mix meat, onion, garlic, egg, sauces, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oats/milk mixture and mix well.
  4. Form the meat mixture into balls about 2 inches or 4 cm in diameter. Think golf ball size.
  5. Pre-heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add oil to completely cover the bottom. Put in the meatballs and sear on ALL sides. Drain oil.

Forming meatballs

Searing homemade meatballs

From here there are two methods you can choose: 6a) is the sauce option for it you want to simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce; 6b) if the oven option for if you want to have plain meatballs.

Homemade meatballs in spaghetti sauce

6a. Sauce option: Add sauce to the pan with the meatballs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Then serve on a plate of spaghetti noodles.

6b. Dry option (NOT PICTURED): Place the meatballs on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put in pre-heated oven at 375F for approximately 15-20 minutes. Rotate the meatballs after 5-10 minutes of cooking. Serve as desired (my husband suggests over rice with some maple BBQ sauce).

Make the ultimate meatball

So give this recipe a try and let me know what options you chose and if you made any additional changes. Share your perfected meatball recipe in the comments so everyone can try (and have a taste of your amazing-ness).



8 thoughts on “Make-it-yours Meatballs

  1. Coming from an Italian family, I love meatballs. Your recipe looks really good! I totally agree with you about experimenting in the kitchen too. When I first started cooking I didn’t know how to experiment, but the more you cook the more you learn what works and what doesn’t :).


    • YAY, approval from an Italian! Thanks, haha.

      And yes, I am still new to experimenting but it definitely helps my ability to cook. The way I know I am improving is the increasing number of dishes that I consider “guest worthy,” meaning I would cook them for people who visit without worrying about my cooking prowess.


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