The Pretend Chef

How to make meatballs

Juicy, tender and light, how to make meatballs

Meat, Pasta, Recipes | February 20, 2017 | By

These meatballs are juicy, tender and light. What more can you want in a meatball? Right, they are also well seasoned and won’t fall apart. I call them Savoury Candies. It is very easy to make meatballs and you can tweak it to your heart’s content.

Meatballs can be eaten in a variety of ways, in a sauce, on a hot dog bun, on pizza, in egg muffins etc. Meatballs also add flavour to Tomato sauce or any other sauce or soup it is added to.

The best kind of meatball is loose, not tight and moist, not dry. As such, all the ingredients and handling is geared towards this goal. To make meatballs firmer, add more bread crumbs and to make it softer, add more liquid like milk, tomato sauce, meat stock, water etc.

Any kind or combination of meat can be minced and used for meatballs. I used a combination of beef and pork. Beef adds flavour, while pork which is fatty, adds moisture. If you don’t eat pork use only beef. The beef shouldn’t be lean beef if you can help it. Minced turkey or chicken can also be used.

Juicy, tender and light, how to make meatballs

Savoury Candies #meatballsoflife

Seasonings can include, Mint, cumin, tomato puree (paste), cheese, paprika, ginger, curry etc. 

Meatballs are so exciting to make, one batch can be different from the next depending on what you add to it. You can be as adventurous as you want to be, but just don’t overdo it. It also freezes up well.


How to make meatballs

1 cup fresh white bread* 
1 small onion 
300g minced beef 
200g minced pork 
1 egg, beaten 
2 cloves garlic 
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1 seasoning cube 
Dry chili pepper 

*3 regular sized slices of bread = 1 cup fresh bread crumbs


Trim off the crust of the bread and break up into tiny crumbs using a food processor or by hand.

Grate onions into a bowl, retaining the juices.

grated onions in how to make meatballs

Add bread crumbs into the grated onions and mix well. Leave to stand and soak.

grated onion mixed with bread

Meanwhile, beat egg, crush the garlic and mince parsley.

Place the minced meat into a bowl.

minced meat in how to make meatballs

Add the bread crumbs that by now has soaked up the onion juices and softened.

Add egg, garlic, parsley, black pepper, seasoning cube, chilli pepper and salt.

seasoning of meatballs, how to make meatballs

Squeeze, squish and mix till well combined.

Meat balls being made, how to make meatballs

Set a lined baking sheet or plate on the side.

Mould into the desired size of ball and place on the plate.

raw meatballs on baking tray

Put the meatballs in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to bind well. 

Use as needed.


Fry before adding to the sauce:

Place a frying pan with enough vegetable oil to come up half way up the meatballs, over medium heat. When hot, put the meatballs to fry. Do not overcrowd the pan.

Shake the frying pan gently to coat the whole ball with hot oil. Also, shake to turn them balls.

meatballs frying in pan, how to make meatballs

When browned all over, gently remove to a plate lined with some kitchen-napkin. Leave to rest and cool down.

Add to sauce. Simmer for 20-25 minutes.


Meatball sizes

  • Small meatballs for soups, stews, pizza.
  • Medium size for Spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce, hot dog buns.
  • Large size for eating on their own.
  • Small and flattened for pizza.

Storage of uncooked meatballs:

Uncooked meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Line meatballs on a tray with or without parchment paper and put in the freezer. When frozen, take out and transfer meatballs to a freezer bag or plastic container, squeeze out air and close. Put back into the freezer.

To thaw, put in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Storage of cooked meatballs:

Cool cooked meatballs completely. Throw into a freezer bag or plastic container, squeeze out air and close. Put into the freezer. It will be good for 3 months.

To thaw, put in the fridge overnight before using or from frozen, add directly into simmering sauce or warm in an oven for 10-15 minutes.


  • The size of the onions must be very tiny so that it blends well with the meat if not the meatballs will have a tendency to fall apart. I prefer to grate mine.
  • Bread can also be soaked in 1/4 cup of milk or water, and excess squeezed out before use.
  • Do not overmix your meatballs. Mix lightly to incorporate ingredients without crushing the meat into sausage meat, the meatballs will be dense.
  • Do not roll the meatballs tightly. Use a light rolling motion when rolling them.
  • Fresh bread crumbs add more moisture than dry.
  • For best results, use your hands or a fork to mix your meatballs.
  • Lightly rub water or oil on your hands when rolling meatballs to avoid it sticking to your hands. You can also use an ice-cream scoop.
  • Taste your meatball mixture before using. Take a scant teaspoon of mixture and fry till fully cooked, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Taste again until it is perfect, then use.
  • I fry my meatballs most times, but baking or broiling are spatter-free, so consider that. Bake at 200 deg. C for 25-30 minutes. Grill (broil) for 20-25 minutes.
  • When frying, brown your meatballs all over before putting in the sauce to finish cooking. If it browns in patches, it will tend to break apart.
  • Leave to cool before adding to sauce to prevent it from breaking apart.


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  1. Adelowo Motorbike Noisiest
    February 22, 2017

    I know it is going to be yummy. I will try it. Well-done for a good job. Thank you.

    • gaga
      February 22, 2017

      Thank you so much Adelowo, it is very yummy. Please do try it and let us know how it turned out.

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