Baked Meatballs

My daughter actually squeals when she learns that we're having meatball subs or spaghetti and meatballs for supper. With a response like that, it's easy to think they'd be happening at my house all the time, but I've been reluctant in the past because browning them in batches and then cleaning the stove (and the walls and the range hood and … you get the idea) was just too much work, especially on a busy weeknight. But since recognizing that I can get pan-fried texture in the oven with the use of a muffin tin has changed my meatball game forever!

Popping raw meatball mix into the cups of a muffin tin and baking them until they are ready does two things:

  1. It frees me to finish the rest of dinner using the stovetop without a risk of burning myself as I juggle hot meatballs and sizzling oil, and
  2. It allows the metal walls of the muffin cups to encourage a crisp outer texture on the meatballs while leaving the interior moist and tender.

The meat mixture described below is based on my favorite meatloaf mix, but you can easily convert your favorite version to work this way. Want a lot of ooohs and aaahs? Cut string cheese into bite-sized bits and surround them in your favorite meat mix. Presto! Stuffed meatballs! You get the idea. Make them your own and make them often.

Baked Meatballs

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 c. panko
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ c. barbecue sauce, divided

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, pepper, onion, panko, egg, seasonings and 1/4 c. barbecue sauce using your hands. Once the mixture has been well mixed, form it into meatballs using ¼ cup portions of the meat mixture.

Set each meatball into a cup of a metal muffin pan. Brush the remaining barbecue sauce over the meatballs and bake them for 25-35 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the barbecue sauce is bubbly.

  • Yields: 4 servings - each serving is about 3 meatballs
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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