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.
Table of Contents
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.