Herb-flavoured baked meatballs cooked in a rich, garlic-infused tomato sauce topped with cheese and baked until melty and delicious.
Another meatball recipe because let’s face it, I have a problem. But here’s the thing, this is not just another meatball recipe. This is the most delicious, juiciest meatball recipe topped with cheese and baked in rich tomato sauce and it’s everything I want for dinner.
A good trick with meatballs is to always (and I mean always) add more seasoning than you think. They really can handle it. To check that your meatball mixture is well-seasoned, fry a little bit of the mixture in a hot pan before you start forming the meatballs. There is nothing worse than sitting down to what you expect to be a delectable meatball and then discovering that they are bland and under-seasoned.
I served the meatballs with griddled slices of ciabatta bread because I simply love dunking the bread in the tomato sauce. Cooked pasta or soft polenta are delicious alternatives.
How long to bake meatballs
Meatballs that have been browned before baking, should take no more than 15-20 minutes to bake in a 200°C/400°F oven.
Can I freeze baked meatballs?
You can freeze these meatballs but do so before adding the cheese. Brown the meatballs and make the sauce then transfer to a foil container. Wrap with plastic wrap and a layer of foil then freeze for up to 3 months. Remove the plastic wrap then recover with the foil and bake from frozen for 30-40 minutes at 180°C/350ºF. Remove the foil, top with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes before serving.
- Easy Greek meatballs
- Tuscan slow cooker meatballs
- Cheese-stuffed chicken meatballs
- Easy pork sausage meatballs in tomato sauce
Cheesy baked meatballs
for the meatballs
- 500 g (1lb) pork mince / ground pork
- 500 g (1lb) beef mince /ground beef
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 slices white bread crusts removed, soaked in ½ cup milk
- handful fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 2-3 teaspoons salt to taste
for the tomato sauce
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 800 g (28oz) chopped tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef stock
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil leaves
- griddled ciabatta
- To make the meatballs, fry the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Allow to cool.
- Place the pork, beef and onion mixture in a large bowl.
- Squeeze the soaked bread slices to get rid of any excess milk and add to the meat. Add the herbs salt and pepper then mix well. Fry a teaspoon of the mixture in a hot pan to check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Form golf-ball sized meatballs and place on a clingfilm-lined tray.
- Brown the meatballs in a large, oven-proof pan then remove and set aside.
- To make the tomato sauce, add a splash of oil to the pan you used for the meatballs then fry the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, herbs, sugar and seasoning and allow to simmer, uncovered, for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a quarter.
- In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Place the meatballs back into the sauce then place the pan into the oven.
- Allow the meatballs to bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and top with cheese.
- Place the pan back in the oven and allow the cheese to melt.
- Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil.
- Serve with griddled slices of ciabatta.
Peggie Du Preez
This dish is comfort food goals! It was absolutely delicious and a total family pleaser! Thank you very much Alida!
I made these tonight and my husband and I loved them! We tend to go for the easiest pasta dish being spag bol but introducing something different was great! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas! They inspire me all the time!
That’s so lovely to hear, thanks Kirstin!
Looks so yummy! On average how many meatballs does this recipe make?
Approximately 16-20. 🙂
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
My son Casey is going to go crazy over these Alida! I’ve been meaning to try a cheese stuffed meatball but haven’t gotten around to it. Looking forward to trying your recipe!
I’m sure he will Mary Ann! Would love to hear what you think!
The whole family loves it….
I’m so glad to hear that! 🙂
Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! I used only beef mince and halved your recipe. I used dried herbs that I had on hand. and served these on a bed of rice and stir fried baby marrows. I can only say wow! This was a definite show stopper, which I’ll be making again. Xxx
Claudia | The Brick Kitchen
Uhh that photo of the stringy cheese pulling up from the meatballs is seriously amazing, I love it! Definitely inspiring me to make meatballs again sometime soon <3
Thanks Claudia. A little stringy, pully cheese always gets me salivating! 🙂
Great recipe and love your photos!
Thanks so much Sabrina!
Made it last night! Was delicious with rich flavours!!! I was worried that leaving eggs out would cause the meatballs to break up but that certainly didn’t happen – perhaps the fried onions and soaked bread was the binder? Real showstopper when it comes out the oven too 🙂
The soaked bread definitely bind the meat. The meat itself also binds naturally so the eggs are just there for extra stability and moisture. So glad you like this recipe.
Does this recipe make extra sauce? In other words, would I be able to serve with pasta? I prefer the bread dipping method myself, but my husband will be looking for the pasta underneath.
Yep, there’s definitely enough sauce to coat spaghetti but if you’re worried about that, add another 1/2 cup beef stock to ensure it’s nice and saucy.