In this video recipe for Italian Style Meatballs and Sauce, the host shares her favorite method for making meatballs. She’s also shared a side dish/potato side dish recipe to go with them in the recipe below (click the link for the full recipe and instructions and video). These meatballs and sauce taste like they were made in a restaurant in Italy.. Read more about traditional italian meatballs in tomato sauce and let us know what you think.

The method was unmistakably “mom style.”

There’s no recipe, as far as I’m aware. Just a shake and a pour here and there. A quick smell to make sure the right quantity of spices were used.

Military instructions forced our family to relocate to Hawaii in 1975.

Isn’t it difficult?

Our mother was born and reared on the island of Oahu, so spending three years with her family, all of whom are incredible chefs…

Her meatballs were served at one of many family reunions. Everyone liked them and begged for the recipe, so I sat down with her and watched her make the meatballs one day. We did our best to capture it exactly the way she did it!

As we shrugged our shoulders and estimated how much of each ingredient she really put to the hamburger, we had a lot of chuckles!

In the years afterwards, I’ve improved the accuracy of my measurements!

My mother taught me how to host a party when we were in Hawaii.

She’s a saint for being so understanding of my learning curve!

In Hawaii, the legal drinking age was 18 at the time. Bret’s 18th birthday was approaching, and Mom and Dad agreed to let me throw him a surprise party, replete with a keg of alcohol!

No one under the age of 18 had any of that alcohol, Mom! cough, cough, cough

That party’s menu included these Italian-style meatballs, which we made smaller so they could be spooned into hollowed-out dinner rolls.

The end product was a little meatball sandwich that could easily be carried around. Food that is ideal for a gathering.

Italian style meatballs - super easy and versatile. Make smaller to serve as appetizers or larger to go into sauce or on a chewy Italian roll with lots of melted mozzarella! |

Meatballs in the Italian Style

Italian Style Meatballs

Italian Tenderness Meatballs are delicious and adaptable. It’s very simple to create. You may change the size to fit your requirements. Make them smaller for appetizers or bigger for a sauce or a chewy Italian bread with plenty of melted mozzarella cheese!



  • Hamburger (1 pound) (I like to use ground sirloin)
  • 1 tsp. salt (kosher)
  • 2 tblsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tblsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano (oregano)
  • 1 egg
  • bread crumbs, 3/4 cup (Progresso Italian Style adds even more flavor)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (probably less!) (Take a 15-ounce can and open it.) The sauce will be made up of whatever you don’t use for the meatballs.)


  • 2 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces) (I prefer San Marzano brand)
  • 1- 15-ounce can tomato sauce (after preparing the meatballs, I simply use what’s left in the can)
  • 1 basil teaspoon
  • 1 tsp oregano (oregano)
  • to taste kosher salt (The amount will depend on how much salt is in the cans of tomatoes)
  • to taste black pepper


My mother gave me the recipe for these Italian Style Meatballs. She was always the greatest! But she never measured anything; it was just a matter of a shake here and a pour there. At the request of my family, I sat down with my mother one day in the 1970s and documented her recipe.


Step 1
In a medium mixing basin, crumble the meat. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano, to taste. Making use of your hands (Yes! You’ve got to put your own stamp on these meatballs! ), beat in the egg Combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. To make the hamburger mixture mushy yet firm, add as much tomato sauce as you need (it’ll probably be less than 1/4 cup).
Step 2
Form the meat into meatballs about the size of a ping pong ball. (You may make them smaller or bigger, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted.)

Place in an ovenproof dish and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°F.

For this, I like to use my cast iron skillet.

To make clean-up simpler, spray the dish with non-stick spray beforehand, depending on what you’re using.

Step 3
Make the sauce while the meatballs are cooking!

Add a little oil to the pan and sauté the garlic for a few minutes (making sure not to burn)

Combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, and basil in a large mixing bowl.

Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a low heat. Taste. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to cook until the meatballs are done, or longer if you have time.

Italian style meatballs - super easy and versatile. Make smaller to serve as appetizers or larger to go into sauce or on a chewy Italian roll with lots of melted mozzarella! |

Italian style meatballs are a traditional dish in Italy, often served in watery tomato sauce along with mashed potatoes, spaghetti, or another pasta. They are traditionally made with pork, beef, veal, or venison.. Read more about old fashioned italian meatballs and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to good meatballs?

The secret to good meatballs is that they are cooked in a sauce.

What are traditional Italian meatballs made of?

Traditional Italian meatballs are made of a mixture of beef, pork, veal, and bread crumbs.

Should meatballs be cooked before putting in sauce?

Meatballs can be cooked before putting them in sauce.