1 lb (450g) ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or a mix)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional for Italian-style)
1 small onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (optional for Italian-style)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional for Swedish-style)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional for Asian-style)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional for Asian-style)


Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) if you’re baking the meatballs. For frying, you can skip this step.

Soak Breadcrumbs: In a large bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in milk for about 5 minutes, or until the milk is absorbed. This process, known as panade, helps to keep the meatballs tender.

Mix Ingredients: To the same bowl, add the ground meat, egg, Parmesan (if using), onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you’re incorporating. Mix everything together gently with your hands or a fork. Be careful not to overmix, as this can make the meatballs tough.

Form Meatballs: Shape the mixture into balls, about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. To prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, you can moisten them with water or a bit of oil.

Cook: For baked meatballs, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. For fried meatballs, heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the meatballs, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and cooked through.

Serve: Serve the meatballs with your choice of sauce and pasta, mashed potatoes, or as an appetizer with dipping sauces.


Ground Meat: Using a mix of meats (like beef and pork) can add depth to the flavor. Pork adds fat, which makes the meatballs juicier.
Breadcrumbs: For a gluten-free version, you can substitute breadcrumbs with rolled oats or almond flour.
Serving Suggestion: Adapt the herbs and spices to match the cuisine of the accompanying dish or sauce. For example, add Italian herbs for a classic marinara sauce, or incorporate soy sauce and ginger for an Asian-inspired dish.

This basic meatball recipe is just the starting point for countless variations. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and mix-ins to create a dish that suits your taste perfectly. Enjoy your cooking adventure!