Co-op Blog

15 Meaty Meatball Recipes… & Plant-Based Meatballs Too!

That’s a spicy meatball! Spicy or not, a hot, homemade meatball straight from the oven can do wonders to warm you up on a cold day!

And meatballs are such a versatile food that can be used for more than just a heaping pile of spaghetti and meatballs (although delicious). There’s sticky and sweet Asian-style meatballs, mini cocktail meatballs, zesty salsa verde meatballs, and even plant-based meatballs.

So whether you want something traditional or to add some spice to your meatball life, check out our favorite meatball recipes to round out your next meal.

Basic Meatballs & Italian Meatball Stew

meatball stew

We’ll start off with a basic meatball recipe you can adapt use in a variety of cuisines. Here, meatballs pair with a warm Italian stew for a cold weather cure.


For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef, ground pork or a mixture of any of these)
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 15 ounces diced tomato
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil a large sheet pan.  In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk and mix well, then sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Let stand for five minutes to hydrate the gelatin, then add egg, onion and salt. Mix well, then add ground beef and mix with your hands. Form small, 1-inch balls (36 meatballs) of the meat mixture and place them, not touching, on the sheet pan.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes, until cooked through. Cool on a rack and refrigerate. If using in other dishes during the week, meatballs can be kept in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days. If freezing, once meatballs are cold, transfer to freezer containers to freeze for about 3 months. Or, of course, use them right away in this soup!
  3. For soup, heat a large pot over medium high heat, and add olive oil. Add onion, celery, garlic and potato and sauté until softened. Add thyme and stir for five minutes. Add diced tomatoes, red wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 24 of the 36 meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes more, then serve. Reserve the remaining meatballs and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Swedish Meatballs

swedish meatballs

Creamy and full of rich flavor, Swedish meatballs work well as an appetizer or served over egg noddles.


  • 1 cup crumbled rye bread
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream


  1. In a small bowl, mix the crumbled bread and milk. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground meats, eggs, onion, spices and bread mixture. Roll into balls about 1-2 inches in diameter (about 1 tablespoon) and place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, add several meatballs (without crowding the pan) and cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning them every few minutes to brown evenly. Remove cooked meatballs to a pan or baking dish in a warm oven, add more oil to the pan, and cook the remaining meatballs.
  3. Once meatballs are cooked, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet, add the flour and stir well. Slowly whisk in the beef broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in sour cream. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or place the meatballs on a shallow platter and pour the sauce over them. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Sriracha Glazed Turkey Meatballs

sriracha meatballs

If you’re looking for a spicy meatball with a kick, consider these sriracha glazed meatballs! Ground turkey make these meatballs a healthier option and adding chopped green onion on top balances out spicy sriracha.


For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the Glaze

  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In large bowl, gently combine all meatball ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Form mixture into small balls, using 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of meat per ball. Place the meatballs onto a rimmed baking tray and into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and turn the meatballs. Bake for another 10 minutes until cooked through.
  3. While the meatballs bake, combine all glaze ingredients in a small pot. Whisk and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. To serve, toss or brush meatballs with warm glaze.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Sweet & Sour Vegetarian Meatballs

vegetarian meatballs

Not all meatballs are made of meat! Made out of a base of pecan meal, stuffing mix, and cottage cheese, these “meatballs” are vegetarian-friendly and full of sweet and sour flavor.


  • 2 large eggs
  • Oil to grease pan
  • 1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup crushed herbed stuffing mix
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 6 tablespoons pecan meal (grind about 1/2 cup pecan halves)

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 10 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Oil a sheet pan with sides or an oven-safe casserole dish.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all vegetarian meatball ingredients. Once thoroughly combined, roll into 1- to 2-inch balls. The mixture should yield approximately 16-18 vegetarian meatballs. Place them in the oiled pan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn them and bake another 15 minutes.
  4. While the vegetarian meatballs are baking, mix together all sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.
  5. After the vegetarian meatballs have baked for 30 minutes, coat them with the sauce and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Crispy Sheet-Pan Meatballs with Salsa Verde

salsa verde meatballs

You might not attribute the word zesty with meatballs, but this salsa verde meatball recipe might change your mind.

Along with the standard meatball and breadcrumb mixture, capers and a bunch of mixed herbs are added for exceptional flavor.

Serve these meatballs over a bed of rice with roasted veggies on top.

Find the full recipe at Bon Appetit

Simple Vegan Meatballs

vegan meatballs

These meatballs are so flavorful that they don’t even need meat!

Made up of a combination of onion, garlic, flax egg, tempeh, and vegan cheese, these vegan-friendly meatballs are full of all the texture and flavor you’d expect.

Serve these on top of a bed of spaghetti squash and your favorite marinara.

Find the full recipe at Minimalist Baker

Pistachio & Pomegranate Meatballs

persian meatballs

Here’s a meatball recipe to keep in your back pocket when pomegranates are in season!

Pistachios are mixed into the meatballs to add a nice textural crunch while a pomegranate glaze adds a surprisingly sweet flavor.

Serve your meatballs with fresh greens on top. Can you say “perfect holiday appetizer”?

Find the full recipe at Epicurious

30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs

butter chicken meatballs

Indian food meets Italian food in these butter chicken meatballs.

Think of these as a more fun version of butter chicken, but with all that yummy flavor you’d expect from a warming Indian dish.

Serve your meatballs as you would butter chicken — with some homemade naan and jasmine rice. And don’t forget the fresh cilantro on top!

Find the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Eggplant Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

eggplant meatballs

Here’s another vegetarian-friendly meatball recipe that’s made up of eggplant and white beans.

Eggplant is roasted to take on a rich, almost meaty flavor that pairs well with marinara sauce.

Serve your eggplant meatballs over pasta or spaghetti squash to make the dish even healthier.

Find the full recipe at Food Network

Vegan Lentil Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce

vegan lentil meatballs

Along with tempeh and eggplant, another vegan-friendly food that’s perfect for meatballs are lentils!

Not only are lentils packed full of all sorts of nutrients, but their texture is perfect for mimicking meat.

Serve these Indian-style meatballs over basmati rice with pickled carrots on the side.

Find the full recipe at Feasting at Home

Meatballs with Tahini Sauce

meatballs with tahini

These beef-based meatballs may be made out of some familiar meatball ingredients, but their flavor is incredibly unique.

Rather than being baked, these meatballs are deep-fried and take on a crunchy exterior texture thanks to the millet.

Serve these as an appetizer for your favorite Mediterranean meals.

Find the full recipe at Bon Appetit

Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs

sticky asian meatballs

Here’s another Asian-style meatball recipe that’s sticky, sweet, and easy enough to toss together on a weeknight.

A homemade pomegranate soy sauce mixture provides the sweetness to these meatballs while the ginger gives a tangy bite.

Serve these meatballs in a simple rice bowl with roasted broccoli.

Find the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Cocktail Meatballs

cocktail meatballs

For your next holiday get together or football game day, consider tossing together these cocktail meatballs as an appetizer!

The meatball itself is pretty standard, but the sauce sweet, zesty, and sure to be a fan favorite.

Make them a bit smaller if you want them to be bite-size and easy to eat.

Find the full recipe at Once Upon a Chef

Tex Mex Meatballs

tex mex meatballs

Maybe you’re craving some Tex Mex but are also in the mood to toss together these meatballs.

Consider this meatball recipe that incorporates a variety of Mexican flavors including cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and pepper jack cheese.

Serve these as an appetizer next Taco Tuesday!

Find the full recipe at Food Network

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs

turkey spinach meatballs

Here’s a healthier take on meatballs that’s a mix of ground turkey and spinach.

Rather than being baked or fried, these meatballs are cooked under the broiler to give them a crispy exterior and moist and juicy interior.

Find the full recipe at Bon Appetit

By: Leigha

LeighaLeigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.