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Under 30 Minutes

Mini Meatballs

Shape these tiny meatballs, then freeze for up to three months. There's no need to thaw before using; they will cook quickly right out of the freezer.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 40
Mini Meatballs

Source: Everyday Food, March 2005


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 slices bacon (2 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, bacon, parsley, garlic, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Shape mixture into 40 meatballs. (For equal-size meatballs, scoop out meat mixture with a teaspoon, using two scoops for each meatball. Then roll between your palms to shape into balls.)

  2. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet or on two large plates. Freeze 1 hour. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag; label and date.

  3. To use the meatballs straight from the freezer, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Cook's Note

Frozen mini-meatballs can also be used in soup or sauce: Simmer meatballs, covered, in liquid until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Reviews (18)

  • aventinesrf 21 Sep, 2012

    This has become one of my "go to" recipes when making dinner for friends in need of a hot meal (sick, new mother, etc.). It is easily delivered with a box of pasta and jarred spaghetti sauce (if you don't have time for homeade) in a bag or basket. I usually make it without the bacon and add extra cheese and parsley. I've also made it with the bacon, but I find it cooks up a bit too greasy, despite the delicious flavor the bacon adds. Definitely recommend!

  • olylance 22 Dec, 2011

    1 tablespoon I meant.

  • olylance 22 Dec, 2011

    1 teaspoon of breadcrumbs? Don't you mean 1 cup?

  • mareesha 21 Mar, 2011

    Very tasty and quick enough to throw under the broiler for weeknight spaghetti

  • Beth1181 27 Dec, 2010

    This recipe was absolutely delicious and I am grateful for it; my picky husband, AND my picky son both loved these!!! Very easy to make and freeze. Served with linguini and a plain spaghetti sauce and it was a hit!

  • whatwouldruthdo 5 Nov, 2010

    The prep method worked out perfectly, but the flavor of the meatballs was disappointing. We had them in spaghetti with a tomato sauce, and they were bland at best. I will try the freezing approach again, but make the meatballs differently (without the bacon and with the addition of the spices I would ordinary put in meatballs). Overall this recipe is a dud, unfortunately. I'm going to come off sounding like a snot, but I can't imagine how these are the best meatballs anyone has eaten.

  • bucki824 14 Dec, 2009

    Yes, raw bacon.

    I made them ahead and a double batch. They are great for a quick meal!

  • pt507 19 May, 2009

    Any recipes for meatless meatballs?

  • JamieKC 28 Feb, 2009

    Delicious in spaghetti and soups. I make a double batch and keep them in the freezer, a dozen per bag.

  • kpmeq 1 Feb, 2009

    so you add raw bacon to the meat mixture?

  • fsamperi 29 Jan, 2009

    can I make this without the bacon?

  • JLA 8 Oct, 2008

    My favorite meatball recipe. I love to serve them with spaghetti and tomato sauce. They are even better when I use fresh basil to replace about half of the parsley called for in the recipe.

  • TashaLuv2 7 Oct, 2008

    I would think you could use one of those small ice cream like scoopers

  • johnnycocktails 2 Oct, 2008

    DCantwell must have missed an ingredient. I served these with a basic ragu and pasta. They were fun and tasty. My friends asked for the recipe.- JC

  • jefflbrauer 2 Oct, 2008

    Bacon makes everything taste better!

  • tigerlille 27 Aug, 2008

    These are the best meatballs I've ever eaten. I've been hunting for the recipe ever since I lost the issue of "Everyday Food" in appeared in. Thank you, Marthat Stewart webstie!. I usually make a double batch, since the yield of the single recipe iis not large. I wear those medical latex gloves to mix and roll, because I hate handling raw meant.

  • DCantwell 20 Aug, 2008

    Fine as an appetizer, perhaps, but absolutely dreadful in spaghetti, even in homemade organic tomato sauce. The addition of bacon makes for a ghastly flavor combination. This is the first Martha recipe that's steered me wrong, terribly wrong! Try something different...

  • sweettreet 19 Feb, 2008

    These are the best meatballs.

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