Satisfy your craving for comfort food with these delicious stovetop beef meatballs. The meatballs are browned first in olive oil and then simmered in a delicious tomato sauce. Juicy and flavorful every time.
Stovetop beef meatballs
There are a lot of ways to prepare the meatballs: bake, air-fry, or boil. The stovetop method is one of the easiest ways to make the best Italian beef meatballs.
I like to make them with grass-fed beef, but you can use a mixture of ground pork and meat for extra flavor.
First, sear them until browned to lock the juices. Then, add a jar of your favorite tomato sauce and simmer for about 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
The meatballs come out tender and juicy. Serve over spaghetti with some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
Please see the recipe card below for the ingredients' quantities.
- Ground beef: 7% or 15% lean ground beef. You can also use a combination of ground beef and ground pork.
- Bread crumbs: I used plain panko breadcrumbs. You can use any other store-bought or homemade breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs hold the meatballs together while keeping them moist and tender.
- Grated Parmesan cheese: add to the meatball mixture for extra flavor and some for serving.
- Egg: the egg is used to bind all the ingredients.
- Salt and spices: I used salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
- Olive oil: add a tablespoon to the meat mix for a tender texture. You will also need some for searing.
- Tomato sauce: you can use a homemade or store-bought tomato marinara sauce. For this recipe, I used Rao's marinara sauce.
How to cook meatballs on the stove
Below are the step-by-step directions on how to cook the meatballs in the skillet. You can make the with or without the sauce.
Step 1. In a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, olive oil, salt, and spices. Mix the ingredient gently until all until combined.
Step 2. Form the meatballs using a cookie scoop or with your hands.
Step 3. If you cook them right away, proceed to step 4. If you decide to freeze them, arrange the meatballs on a cutting board lined with some parchment paper. Place the cutting board in the freezer for about 1-2 hours. Once the meatballs harden, transfer them to a freezer-safe storage bag or a container and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Step 4. In a large nonreactive skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Carefully place the meatballs. Sear them on each side for about 1-2 minutes to lock the moisture.
Step 5. Add the marinara sauce, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked. The meatballs are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Note: you can also cook the without sauce. Once seared, cover the skillet with a lid and cook on the lowest heat until no longer pink inside.
Serve meatballs and sauce over a bed of cooked spaghetti noodles. For a low-carb option, use baked spaghetti squash.
The leftovers are perfect for making meatball subs or meatball pizza the next day.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the meatball mixture for a tender texture.
- Use a cookie scooper for even size meatballs.
- Use an instant thermometer to ensure the meatballs are fully cooked.
- A nonreactive skillet (stainless steel or ceramic) is recommended for cooking acidic foods.
How to store
When the meatballs cool down, transfer them to an air-tight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Meatballs with the sauce reheat better on the stove using a skillet with a little bit of water.
You can freeze raw meatballs for up to 3 months.
Frequently asked questions
If you cook the meatballs in a sauce, I recommend using a stovetop method. First, sear them to lock the juices, and finish the meatballs by simmering them in a sauce.
Sear frozen meatballs quickly and simmer them in a tomato sauce until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Depending on the size of the meatballs, but usually 3-4 medium meatballs per person.
Stovetop Beef Meatballs
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- measuring spoons
- Measuring Cup
- cookie scooper optional
- nonreactive skillet
- 1 pound ground beef 7% or 15%
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 24 oz jar Marinara sauce or other sauce
- In a large mixing bow, add ground beef, ¼ cup bread crumbs, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and spices. Mix gently to combine.
- Form 15 meatballs using your hands or a cookie scooper.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and sear them on each side for about 1-2 minutes until browned.
- Pour the sauce, cover the skillet with a lid. Simmer meatballs over low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Serve over the bed of spaghetti noodles.
- You can use a mix of beef and pork.
- Add Italian herbs to the meat mix for extra flavor.
- Use a cookie scooper for even sized meatballs.
- You can freeze raw meatballs for up to 3 months.