Baked Meatballs

Baked Meatballs

For carnivores, meatballs are the ultimate culinary multitaskers. They can be small or big. They can be built upon beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb or any combination thereof including fish. They can be stuffed or coated, lavishly seasoned or simply salted, and when it comes time to meet the heat, meatballs can be roasted, baked simmered, sauteed, braised, fried or grilled.

Baked Meatballs

  • 8 ounces ground pork (butt)
  • 8 ounces ground lamb (shoulder)
  • 8 ounces ground beef (round)
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine the pork, lamb, beef, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Cover a scale with plastic wrap. Weigh meatballs into 1 1/2-ounce portions and place on a half sheet pan. Using clean hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the breadcrumbs and place the meatballs in miniature muffin tin cups. Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

We often make up big batches of these guys, bake ’em, then cool and freeze ’em in the muffin pans then transfer to heavy-duty zip-top bags for storage. They’ll keep for up to six months and can be revived simply by simmering a few minutes in a pot of sauce or soup.


Add yours
  1. 1

    I’ve been making these for a couple of years. Never make them exactly the same, I use different meats, ground beef, pork, turkey, ground chicken, sausage. Sometimes I forget the spinach sometimes I use something else. Sometimes I roll them in bread crumbs sometimes I don’t. I always make them in double or triple batches. I can’t eat eggs so I just leave those out. And if the meat is to lean. I just drizzle in some evoo. They are always tasty almost never have leftovers. Alton is genius

  2. 2

    The flavor is great but all the fat starts going over my tin and pouring over does anybody else have that problem my oven was totally smoky.

    • 3

      I have the same problem when I cook meatballs in the oven in the muffin tin – I always place the muffin tin on a foil lined cookie sheet – I take the foil and make an extra high lip all the way around the cookie sheet just to keep the liquid for spilling into my oven. If there is too much fat in the muffin tins your meat is stewing rather than baking and they might be mushy – you might want to try placing your meatballs on a rack on a lined cookie sheet so the temp is even when they bake. Or rolling them in bread crumbs then browning on top of stove for a nice crust which also takes out a lot of the fat. You can brown then finish in the oven. Just my thoughts. Have fun.

  3. 5

    I slightly alter the recipe to my family’s preferences but overall the same. This is a wonderful recipe that both adults & kids eat. I even get the kids to help make them.

  4. 6

    I loved theses meatballs! Made the recipe as written except I used gluten free (Italian seasoned) bread crumbs. I accidentally put the full amount in the recipe, and it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t roll in extra bread crumbs, and I baked on a baking sheet on parchment. I’ll be making a double batch this week to have some for the freezer. I look forward to trying other meat combinations!

  5. 7

    Used fresh, cut KALE instead of spinach. More parsley and used FRESH PARSLEY. Replaced the 8 oz of beef and the 8 oz of lamb by increasing the pork to 16 oz and used 8 oz of HOT Italian SAUSAGE (squeezed out of casing). I then cut back on the kosher salt a bit (but I love salty food- might need to cut back more). Eliminated the garlic powder and red pepper flakes (figuring the sausage had a lot of seasoning). Used ROMANO CHEESE instead of Parmesan. Finally, I baked them at 400 on parchment paper covered jelly roll pan. All my substitutions were out of necessity. The meatballs were extremely flavorful. They had a real punch and very savory. I know I really made a lot of changes but I want to demonstrate that substitutions can work if your taste is flexible.

  6. 10

    Delicious recipe. I would cut the salt to about half and I added a pinch of cayenne instead of the red pepper flakes. Love the crust from rolling them in bread crumbs. Baked them on a rimmed sheet. Made them half the size, baked up in 15 minutes.

  7. 12
    R. M. James

    I’m definitely going to try this. I have always loved your show Good eats and especially love it when you show the science behind cooking. Whenever I try a new dish, I always look if there’s an Alton Brown recipe for it. I’ve never failed yet in any of your recipes if I follow the recipe to a T and watch the video. Thank you Mr. Brown for sharing your cooking expertise with us.

  8. 13
    Kenny D

    These meatballs are incredible, I usually make them bigger so they float on top of the mini muffin pan (like I believe is shown in the episode). My wife’s family raved about these for at least 3 years after I made them for a holiday party in 2011. AB does it again…

  9. 15
    Amber H

    I’ve been making these for years now. I leave out the spinach and use 1 lb. Of 80/20 beef and 1 lb. Of ground pork. I have used bread crumbs, ritz crackers (a bit too salty), and today I used a 1/2 c. rolled oats. All have worked well. I use a medium sized scoop which makes them about ping pong ball sized. I also put all the bread crumbs into the meat and don’t bother rolling them in anything. So much faster. I bake in the small muffin tins. The tin helps keep the shape, but mostly let’s them cook in the grease. Get good meat and the fat is good for you fat. Sat fat is good for your brain and joints. Sugar is the enemy folks 🙂

  10. 16
    Barnaby Thistle

    I used homemade venison sausage, ground beef, and swiss chard from our garden. I’m baking them on a rimmed baking sheet right now.

  11. 17

    Another helpful hint is to add a sheet of aluminum foil over the the whole muffin pan and using a toothpick to poke tiny holes above each cup.
    The meatballs cook beautifully and the grease drips down into the holes instead of overflowing on your oven bottom.

  12. 18

    Cooking meatballs in a muffin tin works EXCELLENT,
    I just made some on Friday (5-13-2016)
    I’ve been doing this for year’s. And I place them into the pan, not above it. They fry like a hamburger would in a frying pan and I’ve never had any problem with grease overflowing, if you have had this problem you must be adding oil or grease, or bought meat that has way too much fat in it. I make mine with hamburger 80% lean and crushed saltine crackers instead of bread crumbs. And I’ve never had a complaint, just compliments.

  13. 19

    I made this tonight – the meatballs were beautifully juicy and tasty, thank you AB for a great recipe! I used a mini muffin tin/tray, but instead of grease falling into the tin below, the grease ended up overflowing and ended up flooding and dripping onto my oven! I will probably cook these on a wire rack next time.

  14. 21

    They are supposed to be in mini muffin pan, so the meatball is suspended above without losing shape. I find baking on a rack is just as good (I just turn them once during roast). The picture here is misleading, as they are not supposed to be in the muffin pan, but suspended above.

  15. 27

    My wife will not eat lamb. Should I just increase the pork and beef? Or is there a possible substitution for the lamb? And no, I am not going to just use lamb then tell her afterwards. I value my life.

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