Meatballs Without the Frying

Homemade meatballs in a bowl on a wooden table

Cooking meatballs can be a breeze without the constant monitoring of the pan, the mess of cooking, and the chore of cleaning up greasy splatters. Your oven comes to the rescue on all those counts. Oven-baked meatballs give you the tasty browning that makes a meatball taste great, but without the time and trouble of frying, helping you get dinner on the table easily, even on a weeknight.

Total Time: 35 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Flavor the meatballs with additional ingredients for change of pace. Add a small can of diced green chilies or a tablespoon of diced jalapenos for meatballs with a kick, some finely chopped mushrooms for moisture and flavor, or Parmesan cheese and cut back on the salt.


  1. Heat the oven to 400F. Place an un-oiled baking pan in the oven to heat. Placing the meatballs directly onto a hot pan will mimic the browning process that happens  when you add meatballs to a hot frying pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients except the oil, and mix the ingredients with your hands until they are incorporated together. Over-mixing can cause the meatballs to become tough, so work gently.
  3. Using your hands, form meatballs between 1 to 2-inches wide, depending on how you plan to use them, and set them on a piece of parchment or wax paper.  Meatballs for submarine sandwiches will be larger than those for soup, with meatballs for spaghetti somewhere in the middle. Spray your hands with cooking spray if the mixture seems too sticky to handle. 
  4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and spread out the oil on its surface. Place the meatballs on the pan and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes until they register 165F on an instant-read meat thermometer or are no longer pink when cut open.


Experiment with new ways of using meatballs to add variety to your regular supper menus. Instead of Italian submarine sandwiches with tomato sauce, make an Asian variety with pork meatballs, Asian spices and a rice vinegar dressing. Or for a Greek-inspired dinner, make mini meatballs, and stuff them in pita bread along with a yogurt-cucumber dressing, feta cheese and halved cherry tomatoes.