So it didn’t surprise me when my daughter asked to make BIG meatballs.
There was a restaurant we loved to eat at in California where you could order three giant meatballs as an appetizer. They were big, juicy and definitely filled your belly. She wanted THAT kind of meatball.
So here’s what we did for a big, giant Italian easy meatball recipe!
These giant meatballs are perfect for those who…
- Love meatballs. If you don’t love meatballs, you won’t like this giant easy meatball recipe. Sorry.
- Like Italian food. Nothing beats a giant meatball that sits on a mound of spaghetti, covered with marinara. Who’s with me?
- Need easy dinners. Use your stand mixer to mix up the meatball mixture in no time. Weigh the meatballs if you want, or eyeball it – your call. 20 minutes in the oven and dinner is DONE.
- Like freezer meals. I have four giant meatballs sitting in my freezer, AS I TYPE, and I can’t wait to NOT have to cook dinner one night next week.
- Batch cook like a pro. If you regularly make 6x batches of blender cinnamon waffles, have multiple rotations of sheet pan pancakes going at one time and find it impossible to make no less than a triple batch of blender banana bread muffins, then you’re going to love these giant meatballs.
Still, let’s talk about what makes these giant Italian meatballs so special.
Giant Italian Easy Meatball Recipe
Ground Beef… Or….
I used two pounds of grass-fed ground beef (that I got FOR FREE from Butcher Box. See my note below.) You can easily mix/match with whatever ground meat you have and/or love… veal, pork, venison, turkey, and chicken would all be good options.
It is important that you use meat that has some fat on it for flavor, so I recommend subbing just one pound of ground beef for a super lean meat. Otherwise your giant Italian meatballs might come out dry, and that’s no fun.
I added quite a bit of finely chopped spinach to these meatballs because, why not? You could probably add other vegetables, like grated carrot, onion, celery, mushrooms…
You can also add non-vegetable items like oats or lentils or beans, if you’re looking to stretch your ground beef as far as you possibly can. (More tips on stretching your meat HERE.)
I’d recommend pre-cooking your vegetables so that they don’t seep water in the cooking process (and thereby possibly making your meatballs NOT stick together).
Fresh spices are really great in dishes like rosemary olive oil flatbread, but we’re going the dried route in this giant Italian easy meatball recipe for three reasons:
- It’s easy.
- It’s cheap.
- They’re dry.
Obviously we’re going to go the easy route whenever we can. And we’re also going to go the cheap route too.
We’re going the dry route to help maintain that proper moisture balance that is OH SO IMPORTANT when you’re making meatballs. Too much moisture up front means soggy meatballs. Too little moisture means dry meatballs. Neither of these two options are desireable.
Baked in the Oven
A lot of meatball recipes call for pan-frying, but we’re SO not going that route. Baking them in the oven is not only easier, but it means not making a mess all over the stove too.
Besides, with the meatballs in the oven, you have plenty of space to get your pasta ready!
We served our giant meatballs a few different ways… over spaghetti with hearty spaghetti sauce (very traditional), over rice noodles (Paleo version) and over spaghetti squash noodles (a la Whole30).
If you make homemade hamburger buns (which are SO good), you could make meatball sandwiches.
- Or you can chop up leftover meatballs and put them in a salad (topped with ranch dressing of course).
- Or you can put them on pizza (here’s our favorite pizza crust, and a SUPER easy pizza sauce).
- Or you can put them in soup. I suggest classic minestrone – YUM!
- Or use them in a casserole… slow cooker lasagna would be a great choice!
- Or use them in chili. I already have slow cooker pumpkin chili on our meal plan!
- Or as I mentioned before, freeze them whole and pull them out when you need a FAST weeknight dinner.
No matter how you eat them, you CANNOT go wrong with this giant Italian easy meatball recipe!
- 2 lbs ground beef (or your choice of ground meat)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- ½ Tbsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1½ Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cups fresh spinach or kale, chopped finely
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup flour (I used all-purpose)
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded (using the rind, if possible)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix until all everything is evenly distributed and mixed well. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix using your hands or a wooden spoon.
- Either using a scale to weigh 4 oz of mixture OR eyeballing it, make 10 even-sized meatballs and place them inside a 9"x9" baking dish OR a 9"x13" baking dish.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven on broil and set the timer for 2 minutes.
- When the timer beeps, use a pair of tongs to turn the meatballs over and broil again for 2 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce!