These cheesy stuffed Oven Baked Meatballs are one of our favorite family-friendly dishes for fall. They’re absolutely delightful to cut into — hello, cheese pull! — and pack a ton of great flavor. You’ll love these over a bowl of creamy polenta or over your favorite pasta (our kids are a sucker for spaghetti and meatballs!). But really sometimes you can find us simply eating these straight out of the pan because they are that good..
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- Ground beef: We use 80/20 for meatballs, but you can certainly use 90/10 if you prefer.
- Eggs: These act as a binder to hold everything together.
- Traditional Italian breadcrumbs: Unseasoned — we add our own mix of seasoning! If all you’ve got is breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning, all good!
- Dried spices: oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, Kosher salt, and black pepper.
You’ll need both fresh cubed mozzarella cheese, as well as shredded mozzarella, and a container of your favorite marinara sauce. We love Rao’s! Yes, you can substitute with canned tomatoes or tomato sauce, but you’ll want to add a teaspoon or two of dried or fresh herbs (oregano, Italian seasoning, etc.), garlic, red pepper flakes, and/or extra virgin olive oil to get some flavor into the sauce.
Serve with grated Parmesan and fresh basil (or parsley!) for the perfect finishing touch!
As far as equipment, you’ll need a whisk, a large mixing bowl, a cookie scoop, and instead of a baking sheet, cook the oven baked meatballs in a large skillet. This is to hold the sauce in.
Prepare The Meatballs
To make things simple and keep the meatball prep to one large bowl, we recommend whisking the eggs together first, then placing the ground beef and seasonings on top. Use your hands to gently mix, being careful not to overwork the meat, but continuing on until all meatball ingredients are well mixed.
Grab a large cookie scoop, then divide into equal size portions, roughly 2oz each.
To form the meatballs, press the meat mixture down slightly, creating an indentation for a couple cubes of the fresh mozzarella. Use your hands to carefully mold the ground beef around the mozzarella, rolling them into uniform shaped meatballs. That’s it! You’re ready to pan fry them!
Start On A Stovetop, Finish In An Oven
We often call for broiling or baking meatballs — including our Thai turkey meatballs, Greek Turkey Meatballs and these Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs with Goat Cheese — but sometimes, you really just want a golden brown, crispy exterior. That’s what we’re aiming for here.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add a little neutral oil (grapeseed, avocado, canola, vegetable oil, etc.). When very hot, add the meatballs. Brown for 4-5 minutes, then flip. Go ahead and pour the marinara sauce right on top. Sprinkle on some shredded mozz and grated Parmesan cheese, then pop the whole skillet into an oven preheated to 400F.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked through and tender, and the cheese (both inside and on top!) has melted.
Finish with an extra sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano, and of course lots of fresh basil leaves. What a meal!
How To Serve
You’ll find that these oven baked meatballs are a meal in and of themself, but if you want to round out the meal, we love serving these over polenta or pasta.
You could also throw them into a sliced Italian baguette to make a seriously delicious meatball sub. So good!
For vegetable side dishes, we recommend our simple Arugula Salad or Roasted Broccolini. Keep dinner simple!
You can use any ground meat you like: ground pork, ground chicken, ground turkey, or even a mix of meats and/or Italian sausage (go spicy for a kick!). Sometimes we’ll use a mix of ground beef and ground veal — this is typically how we make meatloaf; the veal adds an incredible flavor.
es! Meatballs are very freezer-friendly. Allow the cooked meatballs to cool completely, then store in a freezer-safe airtight container. You can freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, you can either pop them in a microwave and reheat in 30 second increments until warm throughout, or defrost overnight and place the cooked meatballs in a pot of red sauce on a stove top. Warm over medium heat until they come back to temperature.
To make ahead: Form the meatballs, then freeze or cook and refrigerate overnight. If uncooked and frozen, defrost overnight in a fridge, then continue with pan searing, then transfer to an oven to finish.
You can keep these for about 5 days in a fridge.
Cover the meatballs in a skillet or baking dish with foil, then place in an oven preheated to 350F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until warm throughout.
If you’re a lover of mozzarella cheese and classic Italian meatballs, you are going to be head over heels in love with this recipe! We can’t wait for you to make them and report back.
If you make this Cheesy Oven Baked Meatballs recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More Meatball Recipes To Try!Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Curry Ricotta Meatballs Lemon Oregano Chicken Meatballs (Not Quite Kofta) Lamb Meatballs Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs with Goat Cheese
Some Of Our Favorite Italian Recipes!How To Make Italian Rice Balls (Sicilian Arancini) Weeknight Chicken Milanese with Fennel Salad Salmon Piccata Rigatoni Bolognese Italian Rainbow Cookies
Cheese Stuffed Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef we use 80/20
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup traditional breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella cut into ½" cubes
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed, avocaco oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- Fresh basil leaves for serving
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- Make the meatball mixture. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs. To this, add 2 lbs ground beef, ½ cup breadcrumbs, 2 tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp of black pepper. Use your hands to gently mix, trying hard not to overwork the meat, but continuing on until everything is very well mixed.
- Form the meatballs. Use a large cookie scoop to divide the meatball mixture into 10-12 equal sized meatballs, about 2 oz each. Press each portion down into a flat disc, then place 2-3 cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese in the center. Carefully mold the ground beef around the cheese to seal if completely. Roll into uniform meatballs, then set aside.
- Preheat an oven to 350F. When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp of neutral oil then pan sear the meatballs for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Use tongs to flip each meatball over, then carefully pour the marinara sauce on top (beware, it will splatter!).
- Bake the meatballs. Sprinkle on 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and ¼ cup grated Parmesan, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until warm throughout and the cheese inside and outside has melted. Serve with fresh basil leaves and additional grated Parmesan, if desired.
- To reheat: Cover the meatballs in a skillet or baking dish with foil, then place in an oven preheated to 350F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until warm throughout.
- To make ahead: Form the meatballs, then freeze or cook and refrigerate overnight. If uncooked and frozen, defrost overnight in a fridge, then continue with pan searing, then transfer to an oven to finish.
Let us know your thoughts!