Have a Ball: Meatball Recipes for Every Mood

Photo: Mike Krautter

Despite their comfort food status, meatballs are surprisingly chic. What starts as a humble hulk of ground meat is seasoned and rolled, then fried, baked, or braised into a flavorful one- to three-bite morsel.

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Cocktail Meatballs


Nothing goes faster at a cocktail party than a tray of succulent spherical meatballs. Arrange on a platter, pass out the toothpicks, and watch as they disappear.

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Mini Meatballs


If you worship at the altar of bacon, you’ll love the slivers of smoky pork threaded throughout these beef balls. Freeze them raw, then keep the formed extras ready to use in soups and sauces.

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Swedish Meatballs


This Scandinavian mainstay has a life outside Ikea. Just add noodles (and a spot of lingonberry jam) to make a hearty, comforting main dish.

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Parmesan-Dusted Meatballs


A flurry of Parm is all you'll need to accent the subtly sweet underpinnings of these beef-and-pork balls. Restraint: It’s what’s for dinner.

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Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs

The cult-favorite "rooster sauce" lingers in the background of this marinara -- and in the back of your throat after swallowing. Cutting ground pork with turkey and spinach makes for a healthier meal.

Get the Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs Recipe

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Skewered Greek Meatballs


A pot of bubbling sauce may be the classic meatball vehicle, but these feta-fied skewers are a wiser choice for entertaining. Don’t skip the mint-lemon yogurt dip.

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Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs


Say good-bye to bland turkey balls forever. You'll be packing away these sweet-and-spicy bites as if they're buffalo wings -- fitting, given their equally addictive heat.

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Chicken Parm Meatballs

Romulo Yanes

Make that meatball, singular. One breaded beauty perched atop a tangle of pasta spells cheesy Chicken Parm perfection.

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Northern Indian Lamb Meatballs

Antonis Achilleos

These Indian-spiced meatballs are stuffed with prunes and stewed in a silky tomato sauce. Serve with flatbread for mopping up the sauce.

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Shrimp Scampi Meatballs in Garlicky Broth

Romulo Yanes

Because "crustaceanballs" just doesn't roll off the tongue. These seafood patties use chicken as a binder, keeping things light for the summer months.

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Light and Fluffy Meatballs


Try a little tenderness. A generous dose of ricotta makes these three-meat balls a far cry from the leaden cafeteria grub of your youth.

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Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous and Roasted Carrots


You won't have to go to Morocco to enjoy exotic Northern African fare. We love it when comfort food takes us out of our comfort zone.

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Pork Meatballs

John Kernick

The base of these balls may be pork, but you won't believe what's hiding inside -- fiber-rich (and cost-effective) zucchini and bulgur. Call it economy of taste.

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Beef Stroganoff Meatballs

Romulo Yanes

While we're talking veggies, this mushroom-packed dish puts a new spin on stroganoff. The standard type is often an all-day slow-cooker affair, but this version can be on your table in 40 minutes.

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Meatballs with Ouzo and Mint


Did you know the Greeks call their meatballs keftedes? Did you know they're utterly delicious? Flavored with lemon, mint, capers, and ouzo, these plump pillows won't disappoint.

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Lamb Meatballs with Harissa


Lovers of Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine will adore these lamb meatballs, which feature dates, pine nuts, cilantro, couscous, and ground lamb. Harissa, a spicy red pepper paste, is the perfect finish.

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Turkey and Pancetta Meatballs


These lean meatballs are an ideal topper for any light pasta dish. We've paired ours with Pasta with Mint Pesto and Fava. We don't regret it.

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Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice


For a dish with so much going on (carrot rice!), this recipe is surprisingly simple -- proving that even a weeknight dinner can be an international affair.

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Slow-Cooker Spanish Meatballs

Con Poulos

Slow and low means throw in and go. Translation: All of the flavor with next-to-no effort.

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Chicken-and-Ricotta Meatballs in Broth


Meatballs made from ground white-meat chicken and ricotta cheese melt in your mouth, not in your broth. Think of this as a meaty matzo ball soup.

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Escarole and Meatball Soup

Beatriz Da Costa

Escarole, kidney beans, and currant-studded meatballs are key players in this take on Italian wedding soup. Talk about getting the ball 'role-ing.

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Deep-Dish Meatball Pizza

Johnny Miller

Got balls to spare? Make a meatball pizza! Even if you don't, this recipe shows you how to whip up a speedy batch just for the occasion.

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Meatball Hero Sandwich


Another outlet for leftovers that's worth making in its own right. Mini meatballs, roasted bell peppers, zucchini and onion add up to one mighty hero sandwich.

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Mini BBQ Meatball Sliders


If tiny sammies are more your speed, serve individual meatballs on party-size potato rolls. These turkey balls are dredged in store-bought barbecue sauce for fast flavor.

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Spinach and Meatball Calzones


An Italian-American favorite, these pocket-shaped pies bring things full circle. Definitely a recipe worth bringing into the fold.

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Eggplant Meatball Casserole

Mike Krautter

Even vegetarians can get in on the meatball fun. These eggplant-based meatballs are delicate in texture, but vibrant in flavor.

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