Serve these tender garlic butter cocktail meatballs at your next party for an easy-to-prepare appetizer that is sure to be a hit!
You can't have a proper party spread without cocktail meatballs, right? They are great for any get-together because can be served with a toothpick or a fork for nibbling. Alternatively, use this recipe to craft an easy dinner the whole family will love by serving these saucy garlic butter meatballs over a bed of egg noodles.
What are they?
This garlic butter meatballs recipe makes a great party appetizer not only because they are easy to prepare with the ingredients you have on hand, but more importantly, they taste great. The meatballs are seasoned with dry, Italian-style herbs, making garlic butter an ideal sauce for meatballs!
This delicious recipe makes one pound of meatballs, but you can easily double or triple this recipe depending on your needs. Everything can even be kept warm and served in a slow cooker as well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground beef - You can substitute other meats like ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork. You can even mix different types of ground meat together to make the flavor more complex.
- Breadcrumbs - Italian breadcrumbs can be substituted. However, since they already contain Italian seasoning, you can cut back on the dried herbs called for in this recipe slightly.
- Parmesan cheese - Grated or shredded Parmesan is fine, however, I strongly recommend buying good quality Parmesan from the refrigerated section.
- Large egg
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Kosher salt
- Garlic cloves - I strongly recommend using fresh cloves of garlic rather than garlic powder in this recipe.
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken broth - Chicken stock works equally well. You could even substitute vegetable broth. For added flavor, a little white wine can also be incorporated.
Optional - If you want to add a little heat, crushed red pepper flakes can be mixed in with the meatball mixture.
How to Make Cocktail Meatballs
Begin making this cocktail meatballs recipe by assembling your ingredients. Crumble the beef into smaller bits with your fingertips and in a large bowl mix with the bread crumbs, cheese, egg, oregano, thyme, basil, and salt (feel free to add black pepper too). When forming homemade meatballs, wet your hands to prevent the meat mixture from sticking to your skin.
For best results, I think the ideal size of a cocktail meatball is slightly smaller than a golf ball. However, you can form these meatballs smaller or larger to fit your preferences. For cocktail meatballs, smaller is typically better.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place the formed meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large baking dish. Place the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they are cooked to 160 degrees internally.
Tip: Check out how to make great meatballs for even more tips and tricks for making the world's best meatballs every time!
As the delicious meatballs cook, we will prepare the sauce. The garlic butter sauce served over these meatballs is essentially a homemade gravy. Butter and garlic are sauteed together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the garlic is fragrant, then flour is added to make a roux. The raw flour taste needs to be cooked out, so once the flour is added let it cook for a couple of minutes while continuing to whisk.
Next, chicken broth is slowly stirred in to create a sauce. Bring the garlic butter sauce to a simmer and cook until it thickens. The sauce will initially be thin, but it will thicken while it simmers. If it is is too thin, let it simmer longer. If the sauce gets too thick add a couple of dribbles of water into it to thin it back out.
Tip: It is important that the broth is added a few splashes at a time so lumps do not form. If you get a lumpy gravy they can be strained out with a fine mesh strainer.
To serve your garlic butter meatballs, add the meatballs to the sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or place everything in a crockpot to keep warm until people are ready to eat.
Storing & Reheating Leftovers
Leftover garlic butter meatballs should be placed in an airtight container and stored in your refrigerator. Leftovers should be eaten within five days.
The easiest way to reheat leftover cocktail meatballs is to reheat everything in the microwave until heated through. Alternatively, you can gently reheat the meatballs and sauce in a saucepan instead. If the sauce thickens too much, just add a small amount of water to thin it back out.
More Easy Meatball Recipes
- BBQ meatballs - Classic meatballs with a sweet and smoky barbeque twist!
- Easy meatball subs - Who doesn't enjoy this classic sandwich?
- Buffalo chicken meatballs - Chicken meatballs spiced up with everyone's favorite hot sauce.
- Meatballs with Grape Jelly and Chili Sauce - A classic appetizer for generations.
- Venison meatballs - If you are lucky enough to have a deer, you will love these!
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Cocktail Meatballs in Garlic Butter Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef (80/20 beef ideally)
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Gently crumble the ground beef into small piece and add to large bowl.
- Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, and seasonings, then gently combine everything together.
- Grab 2 tablespoons (smaller than a golf ball) of the meatball mixture and use your hands to roll them into a ball and place on a baking sheet
- Place the meatballs in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. The time will vary depending on the size of the meatball.
Garlic Butter Sauce
- While the meatballs are baking melt butter in a saucepan set over medium low heat and saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Stir in flour and cook for an additional two minutes to cook out the flour taste, stirring continually.
- Add chicken broth and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Simmer until the sauce thickens to the consistency of gravy.
- Add meatballs to the garlic butter sauce and keep warm in a slow cooker as needed.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com November 20, 2015.