How To Make Meatballs

How To Make MeatballsBasically, I give you meatballs because I’m too impatient to make meatloaf. They’re pretty much the same thing, except one is ball-shaped and one is loaf-shaped. Plus, if you’ve watched this show AT ALL, you know I love balls. They are so fun to eat!

So here’s how to make meatballs, with an impromptu sauce and everything! Learn to cook how I cook, where everything is magical and nothing is planned but somehow everyone still gets a glittery unicorn and a big plate of balls and a million dollars for dessert.


How To Make Meatballs

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4.9 from 8 reviews

  • Yield: 4 1x


  • For meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground beef, or a combination of beef and pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dryish, starchy particles (breadcrumbs, oatmeal, cornflakes, you get the picture)
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful parsley (1/4-1/2 cup), chopped
  • 1 t each salt and pepper
  • For sauce:
  • 14 ounce can whole or chopped tomatoes
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix all meatball ingredients together with your hands and form into 1.5 inch balls. You’ll probably get around 12 balls.
  2. Brown over med-high heat in a small amount of oil.
  3. Then add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper, salt. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook you up a pound of noodles or what-have-you.
  5. Check on your balls. If the sauce is thin, cook with the lid off for another 10 minutes or so. Too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water or wine. (Make sure you leave the back door open to let the unicorns inside.)
  6. Eat your spaghetti and meatballs dinner.
  7. Then Richie Rich will stop by with dessert.
  8. Bone appeteet!

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Serve meatballs with pasta or crusty bread and a salad with homemade vinaigrette!


  1. Niki Pham on March 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    This is, hands down on my balls, my favorite episode!! love all the balls and shit lingo.

    • Hilah Cooking on March 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      Swear on your balls?

    • Sharon Gornati on September 30, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Hilah, dang girl you rocked those balls! The only thing different we do is put parmesan cheese and a tablespoon or two of milk in the mix, also fresh basil is nice. My hubby is italian and loved these meatballs! oh btw you didnt offend my italian hubby, he thinks your a riot! But italians dont call it sauce, its GRAVY baby! love ya, Hi-lah-rious!

      • Hilah on September 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        Thank you, Sharon! Parmesan sounds awesome in these. I’ve been thinking about meatball subs lately – I think I need to try your recommendations. Tell your husband thanks, too! 🙂

  2. Gordon Ramsay on March 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm


    • Hilah Cooking on March 2, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      This is not the real Gordon Ramsay, is it?

      • Anthony Bourdain on March 3, 2010 at 6:14 am

        Yes, it's him.

  3. Allan Mott on March 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    You refuse to identify the meat defining these balls….

    You've found your own solution for Austin's homeless population haven't you?

    • Hilah Cooking on March 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      That's the beauty of this recipe, Allan. You can use ANY meat your heart desires: cows, turkeys, pigs, long pigs, you get the picture!

  4. Dan Huffman on March 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Can I use Captain Crunch instead of bread crumbs?

    • Hilah Cooking on March 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Probably you can, if you mash them up and you enjoy sweet meat. Personally, I LOVE me some sweet meat.

  5. jeroxie on March 2, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    i like meatballs. i make them all the time. yummy!

  6. Anna on March 3, 2010 at 2:53 am

    Lovely video, I'm glad I found your site. Was that Gordon Ramsay? LOL.

    • Hilah Cooking on March 3, 2010 at 3:20 am

      I love your blog, Anna!
      I'll tell Gordon you say hi. 😉

  7. Robert-Gilles Martineau on March 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Dear Hilah!
    Meat balls must rate as one of the universal gastronomic delicacies enjoyed by all as even vegans do come with their meatless balls!
    One technique I use to avoid any bad surprise is to oil my palms and roll the meat balls in them, and then fry them a little time on a very high fire. I then flambee them with a little whisky (comes out sweet) and cover them with a lid and let them cook on a small fire/or I bake them in the oven,then.
    Actually, an elf told me he rolls them in flour, flambe them on hot oil and bake them for a finish until they are dark and crispy outside!
    Old Dragon

    • Hilah Cooking on March 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      Oh, my old dragon friend! That sounds delightful! Lighting food aflame is such fun while dark, crispy outside makes everything better.

  8. Beau on March 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Um, was there a “Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead” shout out in this episode? If so, my wife Stefanie totally caught it. In fact, she's telling me that I shouldn't ask if there was a shout out, cause she totally knows there was. So don't try to lie about it.

    She also wants me to ask if the dishes are done?

  9. doggybloggy on March 3, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    where is emerill

  10. lauren on May 13, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Hi Hilah,

    I made your meatballs and they were delicious. Thanks

    • Hilah Cooking on May 13, 2010 at 12:49 am

      Wonderful! Thank you!

  11. Bob McCready on February 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    I think you are awesome!! don’t change a thing… make it fun to learn how to cook!! Love it!!

    • Hilah Cooking on March 1, 2011 at 2:45 am

      Hooray! Thanks, Bob! This makes me happy.

  12. Janice on October 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I made this yesterday but I changed it up a bit.
    Removed the parsley (I don’t like parsley)
    ADDED BACON (quite good!)
    Heaps of Parmesan.

    Delicious! I never made meatballs before and now I feel confident enough to make them again 🙂

    • Hilah on October 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Awesome, Janice! Sounds like you made great modifications. Love it! Keep it up! 🙂

  13. susan on February 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Hey you’re pretty funny. I’m originally from Massachusetts. Your video of cooking a lobster made me homesick for a lobster. Love your comments while you cook. You are very down to earth!

    • Hilah on February 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Hello Susan! It’s great to hear from you. I lived in Marblehead Mass for a year once. It’s a beautiful part of the country.
      I’m so glad you like the show. Thanks for writing!

  14. Priscilla on September 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Hilah, these are some pretty awesome meatballs! I made them and instead of pasta I used them on a meatball sub, it was sooooooooooooooo yummy! Me and my fiance have made a couple of the other stuff on your website, you do a great job. Thanks for posting 🙂

    • Hilah on September 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Oh that sounds so divine, Priscilla! Yum! Thanks for writing! 🙂

  15. Joe M on March 24, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Hi Hilah:

    These meatballs are the bomb! Instead of using ground beef, I used ground turkey and it was just as good. If I wanted to sweeten things up a bit, could I add a bit of sugar to the recipe and if so, at what point? Thanks again,


    PS: So I don’t dirty up your nice book, I copy down the recipes on a sheet of paper and keep that beside me. Nothing worse than an open book when cooking and stuff splattering all over it.

    • Hilah on March 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Joe!
      Very glad to hear it worked well with turkey! I’d add no more than a tablespoon of sugar when you add the tomatoes next time if you like. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  16. Joe M on April 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Hilah:

    I wrote to you before re: your meatballs and your suggestion to add a tablespoon of sugar really added to the flavor of the sauce! Thanks. Another question please: in your recipes and many others that I see, butter is used to either fry or saute something. Im not a fan of butter and I don’t use it at all (except if Im baking and even then in a very small amount so I don’t taste it) so can I use olive oil as a replacement instead or another type of oil? Thanks again, Joe M.

    • Hilah on April 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Great! Thanks for the follow-up, Joe!
      Yes, in most recipes oil will work fine as a replacement for butter. If the recipe calls for a lot of butter (like more than a couple tablespoons) you’d probably be best off replacing it with a mild-flavored oil as opposed to an extra-virgin olive, which has a strong flavor that might overwhelm the dish in amount like that.

  17. Audrey on May 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Hey hilllaaaahhh ! You rock ! I’m french and I can’t stop looking at your recipes !!
    I’m gonna try your meat balls … come onnnnn, I wished you could be here by my side in the kitchen !! yaaa that could be fun !

    • Hilah on May 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you, Audrey!
      I would love to come to France some day and we can climb the Eiffel tower and have a fruit picnic on top and spit orange seeds down onto the street and drink Champagne!

  18. Polly on July 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I made this for the first time two nights ago. I don’t know why I never thought to come to you for a sauce recipe…definitely a ‘duh’ on my part. Halfway through dinner, my husband told me we have found ‘the sauce’ recipe and this is the best spaghetti dish I’ve made. Last night, when I mentioned dinner, he was really disappointed that we didn’t have any left. I’ve promised to make it again this week (and a lot more often). You are amazing. 🙂

    • Hilah on July 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

      That makes me so so happy, Polly! 😀 And also reminds me I need to make meatballs soon, too. Thanks for writing. You made my day!

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  20. elspeth on January 1, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Just made me some meatballs and am they are AWESOME! Absolutely love the sauce!

    Thanks, Hilah!

    • Hilah on January 2, 2015 at 8:07 am


  21. Darryl M on January 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Hi there Hilah, First things first… congrats on the beautiful baby. Amen to you all.

    I’ve followed your channel for while and enjoy all the recipes. I did the meatballs and damnnnn turned out great. I did modify it with crushed Cheez-It Italian Four Cheese instead of bread crumbs….
    Thanks again for all the entertainment and kool recipes.
    I wish you and the family all the best.

    Darryl M

    • Hilah on January 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Well, damn, Darryl! Cheez-its instead of breadcrumbs sounds like you really couldn’t go wrong with that! Thanks for the well wishes. Can’t wait for Flint to help me make meatballs.

  22. Houman on October 26, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I’m a guy who was invited to an Italian potluck party. I used your recipe and everyone loved it. I added smoked/hot sausages to the sauce and left it cooking for 15 minutes. It changed the flavor and made it very spicy. Thanks again for your perfect recipe. Loved it 🙂

    • Hilah on October 27, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Fantastic, Houman! Thanks for sharing your changes and feedback on the recipe 🙂

  23. Shannon on January 27, 2018 at 1:45 am

    My boyfriend found this video when I was struggling to come up with simple dinner ideas, and it was sooo fast and tasty. We’ll definitely be watching more of your videos, thanks!! (Also you’re hilarious)

    • Hilah on January 27, 2018 at 8:38 am

      Awesome! Meatballs are def one of my go-to easy meals, too. Great to hear that they are a favorite of yours now!

  24. Melinda M Crowe on February 5, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    I made this tonight for my boss and her family and they loved it. It smelled Amazing. I took a picture but not sure how to get it on here. I look forward to making it for my family and husband soon.

    • Hilah on February 7, 2019 at 8:52 am

      Great to hear that, Melinda! These meatballs freeze great, too, if you want to make a big batch for rainy day

  25. LEONORA on November 18, 2021 at 2:18 am

    Hello there, i am from south africa. i love all the way you prepare food. i made your churros, what a success it came out so good. i am going to try your meatball recipe soon.

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