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20 Awesome Meatball Recipes From Around the World

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20 Awesome Meatball Recipes From Around the World

Meatballs can be so much more than spaghetti’s unsung sidekick. Here are 20 recipes for turning humble hunks of meat into delicious morsels.

 

They’re simple to make and fun to eat so it’s no wonder meatballs are a staple of our diets worldwide.

Us Americans are most familiar with Italian meatballs in marinara sauce, or maybe the Swedish meatballs served at Ikea, but there’s so much more to enjoy. Think Korean meatballs in egg batter, Spanish albondigas, Asian meatball soup, and luscious Hawaiian coconut.

Meatballs don’t just have to be cooked in a big pot of bubbling sauce, either. Cocktail meatballs are easy to make in a slow cooker, teriyaki meatballs are an excellent protein in a bowl of rice, and salmon meatballs only take 15 minutes to bake. And if you need dinner in the table in a half hour or less, pan fry Persian meatballs stuffed with pistachios and cherries.

So, are you ready to go on your global tour of meatball heaven?

Enjoy!

Classic Meatballs

classic-beef-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of The Meatball Shop

If you want a tried and true ground beef meatball, go to the experts. You can get this recipe along with more meatballs, sauces, and sides in The Meatball Shop Cookbook. However, this is the best place to start as it’s the shop’s number one seller.

These have everything you love about ground beef meatballs in marinara – plus an unexpected addition. Ricotta cheese helps these meatballs stay moist, making sure they have the perfect texture.

the-meatball-shop-cookbook

Serves 6 / Makes 24

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried oregano)

1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed (more to taste)

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

4 cups classic tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 239

Protein: 11 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fat: 14 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Greek Lamb Meatballs

lamb-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Nutmeg Nanny

Compared to the Italian version eaten more often by Americans, these Greek meatballs couldn’t be more different.

You’d think they’d be similar because of the Mediterranean link, but every ingredient is a mismatch. Instead of beef or pork, these meatballs are made of lamb. They’re spiced with cumin, allspice, and cinnamon instead of oregano. And they’re paired with cool, creamy feta and tzatziki sauce instead of a warm marinara.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Greek Meatballs:

1 lb. ground lamb

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1/4 cup minced shallots

3 Tbsp. semolina

3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Tzatziki:

1 cup shredded cucumber

2 tsp. salt

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill

2 Tbsp. minced fresh mint

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 230

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fat: 8 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Sriracha Teriyaki Meatball Bowl

teriyaki-meaballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Baker by Nature

This dish only takes a half hour to put together, and all you need to turn these Asian meatballs into a meal is a bowl of rice.

And you don’t even need a bottle of premade teriyaki sauce, which too often includes corn syrup. Make homemade teriyaki in minutes with soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and of course Sriracha.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg

2 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp. Sriracha

1 tsp. soy sauce

3 Tbsp. ginger, grated

1 scallion, white parts minced

1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3 Tbsp. oil

2 cups brown rice

Sriracha Teriyaki:

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup raw honey

1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. water, divided

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp. Sriracha

2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

2 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 572

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: 73 grams

Fat: 20 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Sneaky Meatball Subs

Meatball-Subs-recipe Picture courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats

You don’t have to give up on enjoying meatball sandwiches just because you’re sticking to a nutritious meal plan.

Along with using ground turkey to lower fat, this recipe adds zucchini for vitamins and other nutrients. And these lightened up meatball subs can be stored away in the freezer for quick lunches and dinners on busy days.

Serves 5

Ingredients

1 small zucchini

1/4 small onion

4 garlic cloves

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

5 whole-wheat hot dog buns

1 cup marinara

5 oz. fresh mozzarella

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 490

Protein: 42 grams

Carbs: 43 grams

Fat: 19 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Winter Melon Soup with Meatballs

Meatball-Soup-recipe Picture courtesy of Omnivore’s Cookbook

This Chinese meatballs soup is studded with big pieces of winter melon, but don’t let the name fool you.

Winter melon is actually a gourd, although it has a milder flavor than pumpkin or spaghetti squash. If you can’t find winter melon in an Asian market near you, you can substitute acorn squash in this soup. Or, in the summertime use the white part of a watermelon rind, which has similar texture.

Serves 4

Ingredients

5 oz. ground pork

1 tsp. minced ginger root

1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine

2 tsp. light soy sauce

3/4 tsp. salt

1 egg white

2 tsp. cornstarch

20 oz. winter melon

4 cups pork broth (or chicken broth)

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 124

Protein: 18 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 3 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Barbecue Beer Meatballs

Beer-BBQ-Meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Sweet & Savory by Shinee

If you prefer something savory to a sweet sauce, you’ll want to make these.

Not only that, but they give you an excuse to crack open a beer. Although you’ll have to use two-thirds of a bottle for the meatballs, there will be more in the fridge so you can have one during dinner – and maybe another one beforehand while you wait for the barbecue meatballs to bake in the oven.

Serves 18 / Makes 54

Ingredients

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 lbs. ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup BBQ sauce

1 cup beer

Few squirts of Sriracha

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 155

Protein: 17 grams

Carbs: 11 grams

Fat: 4 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Mushroom Meatballs

Mushroom-Meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Young and Raw

Just because “vegan meatball” sounds like a contradiction doesn’t mean you can’t get a mean craving for them.

These are made with a base of meaty mushrooms, pecans, and walnuts and then are filled out with carrots, celery, oats, and fresh herbs. Then to get the feel of spaghetti with fewer calories, these veggie meatballs are served on top of spaghetti squash.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup spaghetti squash

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 celery stalk, chopped

2/3 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 fresh sage leaves

1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/4 cup oats, ground

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup marinara

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 286

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Fat: 22 grams

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Persian Turkey Meatballs with Dried Cherries & Pistachios

turkey-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Kevin is Cooking

These meatballs might not look like anything special, but some unusual ingredients go into this dish.

Start by toasting the spice blend of celery seed, cumin, coriander, and fennel seed. Then, the Persian meatballs don’t just combine ground turkey with seasoning and bread crumbs; there are also pistachios and tart dried cherries.

Serves 16

Ingredients

1 lb. ground turkey

2 Tbsp. pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. fennel seed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, diced

2 Tbsp. flour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 103

Protein: 9 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fat: 6 grams

GET THE RECIPE

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Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

swedish-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of The Country Cook

Get the taste of creamy Swedish meatballs without taking a trip to the blue-and-yellow retailer. In fact, if you choose to use frozen meatballs, all you have to do is combine the ingredients below into a slow cooker, and leave it on low for the whole day. Dinner doesn’t get easier than that.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 can (10.5 oz.) low-sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 can (14.5 oz.) low-sodium beef broth

1 packet (4 Tbsp.) French onion soup mix

2 Tbsp. A1 steak sauce

2 lb. frozen meatballs

1 container (8 oz.) low-sour cream

1 lb. egg noodles

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 530

Protein: 21 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Fat: 37 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Spanish Meatballs with Pinto Beans, Zucchini & Tomato

Spanish-Meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Pinch and Swirl

Albondigas is often used for a kind of soup, but the Spanish term refers to any kind of meatball.

This hearty version is prepared in a skillet with a couple healthy additions. It includes almost as much fresh zucchini as meat, plus two types of beans. Aside from that, it’s similar to an Italian dish and can also be served over pasta. Or up your grains with rice or quinoa.

Serves 12 / Makes 60

Ingredients

Meatballs:

2 large eggs, beaten

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 lb. uncooked chorizo sausage

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

4 small zucchini, diced

1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 435

Protein: 31 grams

Carbs: 41 grams

Fat: 16 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Meatballs

chicken-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Low Carb So Simple

These meatballs are low-carb, but they can’t promise the same for fat. But who cares when that means you get to eat bacon?

Simple ground chicken meatballs spiced with paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. The flavor goes through the roof, though, when you wrap them in bacon – but if you are concerned about cutting the macros, feel free to use turkey bacon.

Serves 4 / Makes 8

Ingredients

14 oz. ground chicken

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt to taste

16 slices bacon

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 338

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: <1 gram

Fat: 25 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Polynesian Coconut Meatballs

Polynesian-Meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Plated with Style

Although Hawaiian meatballs can be made with just soy sauce and pineapple, this recipe takes it to another level.

These Paleo meatballs start with a mix of ground beef and pork, and then they get coated with toasted coconut. But be careful not to use more than the recipe asks for because the coconut can soak up the juices and make the meat dry.

Serves 6 / Makes 24

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

2 large eggs

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

1 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup Polynesian sauce (about 1/4 recipe)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Polynesian Sauce:

4 ripe apricots

1 can (15 oz.) pineapple chunks

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 clove garlic

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

3 Tbsp. pure honey

1 Tbsp. arrowroot (optional)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 413

Protein: 47 grams

Carbs: 17 grams

Fat: 17 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Meatball Casserole

meatball-casserole-recipe Picture courtesy of Peanut Butter Fingers

You don’t need to put a pot on the stove to make meatballs in marinara sauce. Instead, you can bake everything in the oven.

This filling recipe also includes slices of whole-wheat baguette to make this like a meatball sub casserole. Of course, it’s fine to leave them out the bread if you don’t want the carbs. The meatballs and sauce will be just as delicious either way.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 (8 oz.) whole-wheat baguette

15 turkey meatballs

2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella

2 Tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. creamy goat cheese

1/2 tsp. parsley

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. basil

18 oz. marinara sauce

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 584

Protein: 56 grams

Carbs: 36 grams

Fat: 26 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Lasagna Meatball Stew

lasagna-meatball-stew-recipe Picture courtesy of Smell Good Kitchen

Lazy lasagna lovers might feel out of luck, but you can avoid the time it takes to carefully layer the noodles, sauce, and cheese by turning it all into a hearty stew. This recipe calls for equal amounts of ground pork and beef, but you can use any meat that you choose.

You could also try making this with homemade veggie meatballs instead.

Serves 8

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. 80% lean ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 cup grated white onion

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Stew:

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup diced white onion

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

6 cups chicken broth

1 lb. campanelle pasta

1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 632

Protein: 51 grams

Carbs: 61 grams

Fat: 20 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Venison Meatballs with Tomato Brandy Garlic Sauce

venison-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Harvesting Nature

This riff on albondigas makes the traditional Spanish dish a tad wilder. That’s because it makes use of venison, which can be hard to get ahold of if you aren’t a hunter or don’t know one.

For an easier to find ground meat with similar gamey flavor, look for lean bison.

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 slices whole-wheat bread

1 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 lb. ground venison

5 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, finely diced

3 Tbsp. finely minced fresh parsley

1 cup + 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup flour

2 carrots, diced

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. brandy

4 Tbsp. tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 461

Protein: 27 grams

Carbs: 31 grams

Fat: 24 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Drunken Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

cocktail-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of The View from Great Island

Planning a meal to impress? These meatballs will make your guests happy with the big flavor in a utensil-free package, but you’ll be blown away by the cranberry bourbon sauce. Although they’re made with beef and pork, they’d be just as good with turkey for a fancy Thanksgiving appetizer.

Serves 10 / Makes 30

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork or veal

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 large egg, well beaten

1/4 cup finely minced onion

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Olive oil for browning

Cranberry Bourbon Sauce:

1 cup cranberry sauce

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup bourbon

1 Tbsp. Sriracha

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 150

Protein: 14 grams

Carbs: 10 grams

Fat: 3 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Grape Jelly & BBQ Meatballs

bbq-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of I Heart Naptime

Although this might sound a bit odd, it’s been a popular way to make cocktail meatballs for decades. So chances are you’ve had it before!

This method of making a simple sauce is time-tested. And better yet, this slow cooker meatball recipe requires only three ingredients, so you can just set it and forget it.

Serves 16 / Makes 50

Ingredients

50 frozen fully-cooked turkey smeatballs

1 jar (18 oz.) grape jelly

1 bottle (18 oz.) BBQ sauce

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 311

Protein: 16 grams

Carbs: 42 grams

Fat: 8 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Baked Salmon Meatballs with Creamy Avocado Sauce

salmon-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Cookin’ Canuck

Worried you’ll mess up a beautiful cut of salmon by overcooking it?

Make these fish meatballs instead, which are delicious with this avocado sauce or simple sour cream. Since they’re all a uniform size, you can’t guess the timing wrong on these. And in 15 minutes, you’ll be rewarded with succulent salmon meatballs.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. skinless salmon, cut into chunks

1/2 medium onion, grated

6 Tbsp. whole-wheat panko bread crumbs

3 Tbsp. minced cilantro

1 egg white

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground oregano

Sauce:

3/4 avocado

3 Tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

5 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. minced cilantro

1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 351

Protein: 32 grams

Carbs: 27 grams

Fat: 11 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Korean Meatballs in Egg Batter (Wanjajeon)

korean-meatballs-recipe Picture courtesy of Korean Bapsang

Here’s proof that meatballs don’t have to be round.

Instead, Korean pan-fried meatballs are formed into little patties, dipped in egg, dredged in flour, and tossed into a hot skillet. That’s not the only thing that sets them apart. While they’re mostly made of ground beef, there’s also tofu, onion, and carrots.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef

6 oz. tofu, squeezed and crushed

1/2 medium onion

1/2 medium carrot

2 scallions

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup flour

Oil for frying

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 319

Protein: 29 grams

Carbs: 11 grams

Fat: 18 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

Moroccan Meatballs with Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Moroccan-Meatballs-recipe

Picture & recipe courtesy of Lin’s Food

Don’t be fooled by the way the tomato sauce looks – Moroccan meatballs have much more flavor than marinara.

The sauce is tomato-based, but spiced with sweet paprika, chili powder, and cumin. As the meatballs cook and the sauce simmers, the eggs are cracked into the pan. When cooked, it’s ready to serve. All you need to serve this dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner is a loaf of crusty bread or flatbread.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Meatballs:

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped

1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Tomato Sauce:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips

2 tsp. sweet paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 large eggs

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 331

Protein: 30 grams

Carbs: 13 grams

Fat: 18 grams

GET THE RECIPE

 

What did you think of these meatball recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Jimmy Bills

    This may just be the best recipe article you’ve posted. I love meatballs and so many of these have seriously reasonable macros with lots of protein.

  • Jimmy Bills

    This may just be the best recipe article you’ve posted. I love meatballs and so many of these have seriously reasonable macros with lots of protein.

  • Daniel

    For traditional Swedish meatballs, the brown sauce is usually made with beef broth, a bit of soy, water and cream. Often you whisk the water in the frying pan after frying the meatballs as a base for the sauce. The meatballs are fried separately from the sauce when preparing.

    Meatballs are traditionally eaten with boiled or mashed potatoes with a little bit of lingonbery jam and pickled cucumbers on the side.

    As for the meat used, there are several variants ranging from pure beef, to a beef/pork blend, to pure pork.

    Finely chopped onion, allspice, a bit of salt, and white pepper are common seasoning. An egg, breadcrumbs and a touch of cream is also quite common for binding them together.

    I guess these traditional ones will ruin your macros though. 😉

  • Just made the Sriracha Teriyaki Meatball Bowl. Omg yum!

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