Classic Meatloaf Meatballs

May 6, 2023thetipsyhousewife
Classic Meatloaf Meatballs

Classic Meatloaf Meatballs

These classic meatloaf meatballs are a great make ahead meal. Easy enough for weeknights, special enough for weekend. The ingredients in this recipe are simple and most home cooks will have them on hand in their pantry. You can make these ahead of time and freeze cooked or uncooked. They are a delicious recipe that kids will also love. I recommend serving them with my classic mashed potatoes.

My Mashed Potato recipe makes the creamiest and most decadent mashed potatoes with out the addition of things like sour cream or cream cheese.

Mincing Is Key

Make sure to finely mince your green peppers and onions for this recipe. Linked is an article that explains mincing and how to do it. This is important so that you have smooth, well cooked, juicy meatballs. There is nothing worse than a meatball with all kinds of stuff sticking out of it. The other important step is to make sure you don’t over mix your meatball mixture. You want it well combined, but not over mixed. Be sure to mix this mixture by hand, using a mixer will make these tough and not tender. Also, be sure to crush your crackers well.

Ketchup Is King

I like to use a little ketchup on top of these while baking. In my mind, this seals in the juices and flavor while baking. You will also make a sauce for these for the final step of cooking. This also uses ketchup and make a great sauce for the meatballs and mashed potatoes. If you want these more baked you can use just the ketchup and Worcestershire and seasonings. If you want it more saucy, add 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes from a can to the ketchup mix that you add at the end.

Also note, that the fat content of the ground beef you use will make a difference in this recipe. I prefer the 80/20 mix for extra juicy balls. As noted in the written recipe, oven temps vary so make sure you aren’t overcooking these. The size of your meatballs also affects cook time. Adjust accordingly. Bigger balls, more cook time. Smaller balls, less cook time. Also do not use a super large baking dish. The meatballs should be more snug in the pan. The more surface area, the more liquid evaporates when cooking and your meat will dry out.

Yield: 18 to 24 meatballs

Classic Meatloaf Meatballs

Classic Meatloaf  Meatballs

These meatballs are a classic take on your traditional meatballs. This recipe uses few ingredients, makes a perfectly tender meatball and it is easy to freeze cooked or uncooked.


  • 2 lbs of Ground Beef (other Ground Meat can be subbed) I use a 80/20 mix on the beef
  • 1 Sleeve of Saltine Crackers, crushed up fine
  • 2 Eggs, room temp
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion Minced
  • 1 Medium Green Pepper Minced
  • A couple of hearty shakes of Garlic Powder
  • 3 tablespoon of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
  • shake of black pepper
  • couple of shakes of worcestershire sauce
  • *1/2 cup crushed tomatoes in a can for extra saucy meatballs


  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, saltines, eggs, onions, peppers, and the garlic powder. It is important to finely mince the onions and peppers and crush the saltines. Mix the ingredients so it is well combined, but do not over mix. Over mixing is what makes meatballs dense.
  2. Roll your meatballs into 3 to 4 inch size meatballs. I get about 18 meatballs from this recipe.
  3. You can freeze them flat at this point and then store them in a ziploc bag for quick meals.
  4. If you cook them right away, place them in a standard 9 x 13 casserole dish and let them rest on the counter 30 minutes.
  5. Heat your oven to 375 degrees, Add a small squirt of ketchup to the top of each meatball and spread across the top carefully. Cover with foil and bake for about 35 minutes covered.
  6. In a bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, onion powder, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. *if you want this more "saucy" you can add 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes, do not drain the juice.
  7. Carefully uncover the meatballs, pour the sauce over, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered.
  8. *note that every oven is different and cooks differently . If you are making these for the first time, check to make sure they aren’t overcooking. Adjust cook times for you oven. Electric ovens tend to run hotter so you may want to reduce the baking temp.
  9. The meatballs baked in the sauce when done will be slightly firm and the sauce will be bubbling. Take out of the oven and let rest ten minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and the sauce from the pan. Top with dried parsley.

* you can also freeze these meatballs fully cooked.

*using a higher fat beef makes this better and more juicy.

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