meatballs with spaghetti and basil on top

Meatballs are easy to make, versatile and a great all-round crowd-pleaser. Here, we show you how to make them.

They’re perfect in homemade tomato sauce, served with spaghetti, rice, mashed potatoes, polenta or a nice chunk of crusty bread. They’re easy to freeze, too – why not whip up a double batch and pop the leftovers in the freezer, ready to add straight to the pan for a quick weeknight dinner?

Meatballs are at their best when you use a mixture of meat, such as beef or veal and pork, to really maximise the flavour and texture. Combine with breadcrumbs, egg yolk and your preferred herbs and spices and you’ll have the makings of a nutritious, firm family favourite.

These meatballs with a sweet, chilli-spiked tomato sauce serve four people. Get your shopping list here, then follow the simple steps below. A little tip to make your life much easier; wet your hands before you start rolling your meatballs to stop the meat sticking to them.


  1. To make the tomato sauce, peel and finely chop 1 small onion. Place in a pan over a low heat with a splash of olive oil, cover and cook until really soft. Increase the heat, bash and add 1 small fresh chilli, then pour in 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes and 1 wineglass of water
  2. Season lightly and cook gently for 30 minutes, then break up the tomatoesHow_to_make_meatballs_14578_preview
  3. Whiz 2 stale slices of bread (crusts removed) in a food processor. Place in a large bowl with 250g each of quality minced beef or veal and higher-welfare minced pork. Separate and add 1 egg yolk
  4. Finely chop and add the leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and a few fresh sage leaves. Finely grate in the lemon zest and ½ teaspoon of fresh nutmeg, then scrunch and mix with wet hands
  5. Season and shape into little balls – roughly the size of gobstoppers
  6. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a hot pan. Brown the meatballs all over, but be careful not to break them up
  7. Add them to the pan with the tomato sauce, stir carefully, cover, and braise gently for 45 minutes or until cooked
  8. Serve each portion with rice or crusty bread, scattered with a few raw peas, pecorino shavings and fresh marjoram leaves, if you like.

Follow this basic principle and you’ll be whipping up meatballs in no time at all. When you get the hang of it, tweak the flavours to what you like best – try adding parsley, garlic and even grated Parmesan for an indulgent twist or swap out the meat altogether and use fish instead. 

If you want to see how Jamie does it, watch him rustle up some delicious meatballs here:


Beef, How to, Meat, Pasta