The Secret to Making Perfect Meatballs

Words: Tam Selley

Is there anything more quintessentially homely than a steaming hot bowl of spaghetti and meatballs? This staple household menu item is comforting, wholesome and even classically romantic as Lady and Tramp so perfectly portrayed in their spaghetti-slurping love scene. In order to be able to fall in love with your giant bowl of meaty goodness, you need to make the perfect meatballs and we’re going to show you how.

Perfect meatballs

The Secret to Making the Perfect Meatballs

Step 1: Mix Your Meat

Choosing the right combo of meat is crucial to your meatball’s flavour profile. You want a juicy combo of both pork and beef to ensure a delish fat balance and enhanced flavour. While you’re at it, throw in some fatty pancetta for good measure.

The fat in the pancetta will render during the cooking process which will keep your meatballs plump and juicy, plus, your tastebuds will thank you for the flavour.

Step 2: Maintain Moisture

The last thing you want to bite into is a dry, tough meatbol. The protein in the meat shrinks when it cooks, so to counteract this, you need to add some wet binders such as egg or if you’re feeling fancy, you can make a panade (starch mixed with liquid, see here for our A-Z of cooking terms).

Step 3: Ingredients List

You want your meatball to have tons of flavour but you also don’t want to overload your mixture. The ideal ingredients to incorporate in your meatball mix are quite simple; finely diced onion and garlic, fresh parsley, a generous portion of good hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano, your binders (above), salt and some dried oregano for Italian flair.

Step 4: Handle with Care

Your meatballs need to be treated with tender love and care. The key to the perfect meatball is to ensure that you are gentle with it.

A compact, tightly rolled meatball will result in a tough and rubbery texture and ain’t nobody got time for that.

For the best results, use an ice cream scoop if you have one to scoop out the mixture and mould into uniformly sized balls.

Step 5: Not on Top, Inside

Bake your balls in the oven for an even sear and splatter-free stove. Browning your meatballs in the pan often results in scorching-hot splattering oil that messes up your kitchen counter, walls and singes your arm hairs. The meatballs also often break apart when you are moving them around in the pan too, so rather bake them in the oven where they can sear evenly and sit pretty till they’re ready.

Now that you have all the tools to make the perfect meatballs, try some of our favourite spaghetti meatball recipes – we’ve thrown in a healthy version for good measure.

Spaghetti Meatballs Recipes

Spaghetti Meatballs

This our traditional spaghetti meatballs recipe which is so simple to prepare. It hits all the right notes that you want from comfort food – tasty, steamy, slurpable and satisfying.

Recipe for Spaghetti Meatballs

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Feta and Kale Meatballs

For those looking after their waistline, we’ve got this healthier version that swaps red meat for white, and spaghetti for zucchini noodles for our carb-conscious friends.

Recipe for Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Feta and Kale Meatballs

For some more meatball inspiration, check out our other meatball recipes right here.

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