Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Boun Appetito

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce is a plate of flavoursome, spicy beef meatballs, swathed in a tomato and basil sauce. Pure comfort food! Meatballs are very easy to make, and as we skip the messy step of pan frying these before they hit the sauce, it becomes a one pan wonder. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce Ingredients in white bowls on a marble table

Bread and milk

Soaking white bread with milk keeps the meatballs moist.

bread cubes in glass bowl with milk being added to make Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
add milk to bread and soak for a couple of minutes

Rolling meatballs

To get the most flavour into your meatballs, don’t roll them too tightly. This allows the sauce to soak into the meatballs during the simmering stage.

golf ball sized meatballs in a silver frying pan ready to cook Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauceready to start cooking

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

What’s not to love about an entire meal prepared in one pan. If you don’t have an oven proof frying pan try cooking in a smallish baking dish.

Watch how to make Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

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What’s your favourite meatball recipe?

We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make these Italian baked meatballs with tomato sauce.

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Yield: 18-20 meatballs

Italian Baked Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Homemade meatballs are very easy to make, and as we bake the meatballs in the same pan that the sauce is cooked in, it becomes a one pan wonder. Perfect for a quick midweek meal where the oven does most of the work.


  • 1/3 cup full cream milk 
  • 1 thick slice of white bread, crusts removed and sliced into small cubes
  • 500 g (1 pound) beef mince (ground)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced - 2 for meatballs, and 2 for the sauce
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (or less)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 x 400g (140z) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons white sugar - see notes

see notes

  • 3-4 stems of basil leaves, crushed by hand - see notes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 500 g (1 pound) fettucine, linguine or spaghetti
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve


  • preheat oven to 220 c (425F)
  • place bread and milk in a small bowl and allow bread to soak up all of the milk
  • combine mince, onion, parsley, thyme, egg, Parmesan, 2 cloves of minced garlic, chilli and bread mixture along with salt and pepper into a large bowl
  • gently mix mixture with your hands, then shape into even sized balls ( just smaller than a golf ball)
  • heat oil in a large frying pan till hot and add meatballs allowing space between each meatball
  • cook meatballs in the oven for 8-9 minutes and remove pan from oven, drain off excess oil
  • return pan to oven and bake for a further 8-9 minutes
  • remove pan from oven and add in tomatoes, garlic, sugar and basil leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper
  • stir tomato mixture and spoon mixture over the meatballs
  • finish sauce on the stove top over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sauce is thickish and coating the meatballs
  • remove basil stems and discard, and add fresh sliced basil leaves to the finished dish
  • serve with pasta of your choice and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • enjoy!


  • add 1-2 teaspoons of white sugar to tomatoes to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes
  • infusing the stems of crushed basil leaves into the sauce releases the basil flavour

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

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Italian baked meatballs with tomato sauce

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  1. Thanks Girls, very easy and tasty dish. I don’t normally make meatballs as I find them very tough and unpleasant to eat, but yum yummo. They have been requested for dinner again tonight.

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Sarah, guess we know what you’re having for dinner tonight!Thanks for commenting. Regards, Jo and Jen

  2. Stephanie says:

    This recipe was such fun to make! Partner loved it quick and easy for a midweek meal and so so flavourful ! I did substitute the cheese and bread as I didn’t have them but still turned out yummy !

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Stephanie, so pleased you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for commenting, Jo and Jen

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