easy italian meatball recipe

Easy Italian Meatball Recipe for One

I may cook quite a few “exotic” or complicated dishes, but sometimes something simple and comforting and nostalgic really hits the spot.  And when it comes to nostalgia and comfort food, it’s hard to beat an old-fashioned, but easy, Italian meatball recipe.  Just thinking about spaghetti and meatballs makes me smile.

You can serve this the classic way, with spaghetti and marinara sauce, but they’re also great for making a fast Italian wedding soup.  If you don’t want the soup right away, just increase the recipe, and make a few extra meatballs and pop them in the freezer.  Then days, or weeks later you can defrost them and treat yourself to soup in a few minutes.

I’ve kept this recipe simple, and easy, but you can change it to suit your own tastes and preferences.  Check the end of the post for some inspiration.  You can make it spicier, swap the bread crumbs for oatmeal or potato starch (to make it gluten-free), or use turkey instead of beef.  A mixture of pork and beef is good too.

Easy Meatball Recipe for One

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

easy italian meatball recipe

Simple Italian meatball recipe


  • 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp chopped onions
  • 1T plus 1 tsp bread crumbs
  • 1/2 egg, beaten (don't worry, you can use the rest for eggplant parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • pinch dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive or canola oil (for cooking)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, using your hands.
  2. Form the mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet and gently place the meatballs in the pan. Let them cook for a minute or two, then turn them gently (so they don't fall apart). Cook for about 10 minutes.


If you don't mind a two step process, preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees. Place the raw meatballs on the tray that comes with the oven. Cook for a minute or two. While that's cooking, heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Transfer the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning gently, until they are done, about 5-7 minutes.

This helps keep the meatballs from falling apart.

Substitutions and Variations for Easy Italian Meatballs

  • use a mixture of ground beef and pork, instead of just beef
  • add more garlic
  • add oregano
  • if you can’t have gluten, use oatmeal or potato starch, instead of breadcrumbs (either grind up regular oats in a mini-chopper, or use quick-cooking oats).
  • use ground turkey or chicken instead of meat (if you do, I recommend getting the dark meat turkey; it tastes better)
  • add a splash of sriracha

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