I love this easy Italian Sausage meatballs recipe! These incredibly simple meatballs require minimal ingredients since the ground sausage packs a ton of flavor into each bite. These are the perfect meatballs to add a homemade touch to any Italian meal.
What are they?
Italian sausage meatballs are easy homemade meatballs to make because they use raw Italian sausage for the meat, rather than lean ground beef or ground pork.
Italian sausage is already boldly seasoned and perfectly flavored, so breadcrumbs, milk, and egg are all that need to be added to create a perfectly tender meatball.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Italian sausage - The bulk sausage is easiest to work with, but you can buy fresh Italian sausages and remove the meat from the casing. Sweet Italian sausage, hot Italian sausage, or any choice in between will work perfectly!
- Large Egg - This helps hold the delicious meatballs together, however, you can make meatballs without eggs in a pinch.
- Breadcrumbs - A panade can be made instead, but bread crumbs are the easiest. Alternatively, panko bread crumbs can be used. If you make meatballs without breadcrumbs, your sausage meatballs will be more dense.
- Milk - You can substitute beef broth if you wish.
- Fresh parsley - This adds an herbal freshness to the meatballs, but is optional.
- Optional - Parmesan cheese or even mozzarella cheese can be added if desired.
How to make them
Make these easy Italian sausage meatballs by crumbling your raw sausage into a large bowl, then add the breadcrumbs, milk, and beaten egg.
Tip: The foundation of the best meatballs requires four basic ingredients: ground meat, egg, liquid, and breadcrumbs. Meatballs are basically tiny, round, meatloaves. Without the egg, liquid, and breadcrumbs you would just have a dry, dense, round ball of meat. These are made in the same way as my sausage balls appetizer.
Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls of your desired size. I recommend 1-2 tablespoons of meat per meatball. Using a cookie scoop helps get consistent sizes.
Place meatballs on a greased rimmed sheet pan, and place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cook times will vary depending on the meatball size.
Ways to cook meatballs
- Baked meatballs - Baking meatballs in the oven is probably the easiest way to cook them. Simply set them on a rimmed baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until they reach 160 degrees when checked with a digital thermometer. I recommend greasing the baking sheet or using parchment paper. Alternatively, you can set them on a wire rack above a large baking sheet too.
- Broiled meatballs - Broiling meatballs can be tricky if your meatballs are too big. They may burn on the exterior before the interior comes to temperature. You should also flip and rotate your meatballs while broiling to help them cook more evenly. I rarely broil alone, and instead prefer to bake my meatballs and finish them under the broiler until the tops are golden brown.
- Stovetop - Meatballs can easily be cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. The best part about this method is the delicious brown crust the forms while it cooks. Set a skillet over medium heat and rotate the meatballs as they cook to prevent burning and ensure they are cooking evenly.
- Slow cooker - Yes, you can make meatballs in a slow cooker. It isn't my favorite way to cook them. Personally, I think a slow cooker is best for keeping cooked meatballs warm. However, you can make these flavorful meatballs in your crock pot by adding your favorite sauce in with the raw meatballs and letting it simmer on high until the meatballs are cooked through.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Any leftover sausage meatballs can be stored in an airtight container and kept in your refrigerator for up to one week. Gently reheat leftovers in the microwave, skillet, or oven until warmed through.
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Italian Sausage Meatballs
- Instant-read thermometer
- 1 pound Italian sausage casings removed if nessesary
- 1 egg beaten
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Crumble the Italian sausage in small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add in beaten egg, breadcrumbs, milk, and fresh parsley and work the mixture together.
- Form the sausage mixture into little balls 1-2 tablespoons in size by rolling the meatball mixture between the palms of your hands. It is best to wet your hands with water to preven sticking.
- Set meatballs on a rimmed and greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they reach 160 inside. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
This recipe was originally published on May 10, 2021.