Classic Italian Meatballs

4.50 from 6 votes

A super simple, classic Italian recipe!

Looking for an all-purpose Italian meatballs recipe? Look no further! This version is super simple – we combine ground turkey with parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese, and spices. The result is a tender, moist meatball that’s both healthy and delicious! Once you make the mixture, you’ll be ready to serve them up as a delightful appetizer, or you can add them to spaghetti, stews, or soups. The possibilities are endless!

A Wonderful Freezer Recipe!

Classic Italian Meatballs that Are Just as Versatile as They Are Delicious!

The other thing we love about this recipe is that you can make them in advance. After rolling the Italian meatballs into 1-inch balls, you can pop them into the freezer. We like freezing them flat on a baking sheet before transferring them to an airtight bag or container for storage. Then, they’ll be ready to cook whenever you need them. Pull the meatballs out of the freezer and defrost them in the refrigerator the night before. Then, cook them like normal!

If you’re serving these meatballs as an appetizer, try pairing them with some of our favorite sauces!

A Quick Note on Cooking Meatballs

Classic Italian Meatballs

Our preferred cooking method for Italian meatballs is on the stovetop in a large skillet, especially if you’re planning to serve them with a tomato sauce. You’ll create a beautiful layer of fond in the skillet as the meatballs cook, which is basically concentrated flavor! If you deglaze the skillet with wine, broth, or water and reheat your marinara sauce in the same pan, you will pull up all those tasty bits and infuse them into your sauce. A quick and easy way to make a restaurant-quality sauce without adding any extra ingredients!

You do need to control the heat on the stovetop if you’re cooking the meatballs using this method. If the heat is too hot, you’ll burn the outsides of the meatballs before cooking them all the way through. Keep the heat on medium and rotate the meatballs as they cook so they brown evenly on all sides. When they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, they’re finished!

Baked Meatballs?

Tasty Italian Meatballs that can be cooked on the stovetop, baked in the oven, or both!

Alternatively, you can use an oven-safe skillet (like cast iron) and brown the meatballs on the stovetop. Then, you could transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. Some people bake their meatballs 100 percent in the oven, but the stovetop is our preferred method. It adds a layer of caramelization to the meatballs, which definitely gives them more flavor!

How do you prefer to cook your meatballs? Stovetop? Oven? Slow cooker? Let us know in the comments!

Check out our step-by-step video for these classic Italian meatballs!

4.50 from 6 votes

Classic Italian Meatballs

You can enjoy these nutritious and delicious meatballs in a number of incredible ways!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 12 people
Serving Size 2 meatballs
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Author SkinnyMs.


  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey or chicken
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley freshly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 cups whole wheat panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 2 eggs


  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Shape mixture into (24) 1" meatballs.
  • When cooking meatballs, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet, turn to medium heat and cook until brown on both sides and cooked through. Note: If adding meatballs to a slow cooker recipe, brown as instructed but do not cook through as they will continue cooking while in the slow cooker.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4
Keywords Low-Carb, Quick and Easy

Have you made this recipe?
Tag @skinnyms on Instagram or hashtag it #skinnyms

For more scrumptious recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness routines, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, and subscribe to our daily eNewsletter.

We’d love your feedback! Let us know what you thought about our classic italian meatballs recipe! What’s your favorite way to eat meatballs? 

This post may include affiliate links.


The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

More by Skinny


  1. can these be baked in the oven instead of in a frying pan? I usually brown my meatballs on 425 in oven before adding them to my sauce.

  2. These are delicious!! I baked them in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I will definitely make these again.

  3. I also used ground chicken, only I added a Tablespoon of Basil and a tad extra Oregano. I also grated in a quarter cup of onion and incorporated a teaspoon and one half of Kosher Salt. They turned out divine, though one peculiarity is this recipe claims that it makes 24 1" meatballs. I made 46 1" meatballs with the exact recipe written above. That's the only oddity I uncovered; the flavor was absolutely magnificent though and I'm very appreciative for this recipe. My girlfriend served me chicken meatballs from Costco that were really yummy, and I thought, "Hmmm…I bet I can make these myself for a lot cheaper." Your recipe helped me accomplish that. Cheers!

  4. My family LOVED these meatballs. I am happy they are health and they taste amazing! Other meatballs I have made were very dry. I could never get meatballs right but now I have a go to meatball recipe thank you 🙂 The only change I made was add 1/8 of skim milk to the mixture. I went on a website to calculate the new nutrition . I can't stop smiling

    1. Wendy, Definitely! I make the meatballs, freeze them, then defrost in the fridge the night before cooking. Easy and delicious! 🙂

  5. I used 93% lean ground turkey, omitted the red pepper, added a tablespoon of basil, rolled each meat ball in olive oil, and baked at 350 for 30 minutes. I got 48 1 inch meatballs out of 2 lbs of turkey. They are cooking now, and smell so delish!

  6. Try substituting pecorino Romano cheese delicious also add a little water to your bread crumbs makes for a moister meatball

    1. This is my go to recipe! The one extra ingredient I add is a little marinara sauce to keep them from being too dry.5 stars

  7. These are amazing! Instead of panko crumbs, I used 3/4 cup cooked quinoa for more protein. I also used cottage cheese instead of parmesan and they came out super moist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating