Tasty Baked Meatballs in Marinara Sauce Recipe

This recipe gives tasty meatballs soaked in a rich rustic tomato sauce that is best for an easy dinner served with pasta of choice. These meatballs are tender, baked, and browned in a hot oven to seal in all the juices. 

Tasty Baked Meatballs in Marinara Sauce Recipe

Meatballs are hard to master for some people. However, great meatballs start with a great meat mix but some people find it easier to buy cooked meatballs and throw them in the sauce.

The two most important factors that make up an excellent meatball recipe are texture and flavor. Your meatballs can be fried or baked. Meatballs that have been baked are flavorful and well-seasoned. To acquire those authentic Italian flavors in every bite, herbs and aromatics are equally crucial. You can make whatever changes you like to the ingredients listed in this recipe to make your meatballs your own.

How to roll the soft meatballs

The key to creating juicy, moist meatballs is to use milk. The meat, breadcrumbs, and parmesan are combined with an egg to create a light and spongy texture.

The next step is to use your hands to quickly combine the ingredients into the meat mixture. To avoid the meat from sticking to your hands while also giving each meatball a little bit more moisture, roll the meatballs with lightly oiled palms.

How to make the perfect marinara sauce

The marinara sauce recipe is simple, begin with adding onion and garlic to build up the aromatics. Simmer tomatoes along with tomato paste, herbs, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. To help balance the acid, use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda free of aluminum or a touch of sugar to help offset the bitterness. Add baked meatballs into the sauce along with any pan juices for added flavor, simmering for only a couple of minutes to avoid overcooking them.


For the meatballs;

500 g minced beef

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup milk or water

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

Marinara sauce

800 g crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon fresh basil or parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Other ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced


In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 2 minutes, or until tender.

Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

Put parchment paper on the bottom of a sizable baking pan and preheat the oven to 210°C. Place aside.

Combine the minced beef, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, and coriander in a sizable bowl along with half of the sautéed onion and garlic mixture.

Add the first half of the milk and mix a little with your hands before adding the remaining milk and mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Don't overmix or the meatballs will be tough.

Scoop out one tablespoon of meat per meatball, form it into a ball, and then put the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.

Spray generously with cooking oil spray and bake for 12 minutes, or until just cooked through.

Broil on high heat in the last 2 minutes of cooking time to get them crispy and browned.

Make the marinara sauce while the meatballs are baking.

Place the leftover onion/garlic combination in the pan back on the burner over medium heat.

Add the crushed red pepper flakes, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, herbs, salt, and sugar after stirring in the other ingredients.

Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.

Add baked meatballs to the sauce then stir to evenly coat and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes to let the sauce infuse into the meat and completely cook the meatballs.

Serve over rice or pasta of your choice.

Garnish with additional fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.