Meatballs in Marinara Sauce – juicy meatballs with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs simmered in a rich, tomato marinara sauce. Serve this easy, irresistible crowd-pleaser alone or with your favorite pasta.

black skillet with meatballs in marinara garnished with parsley

This is a basic Italian meatball recipe with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Use ground beef or ground turkey depending on whether you prefer beef or turkey meatballs.

Both are simmered in this easy, delicious homemade marinara sauce for tender meatballs served up with your favorite pasta or loaded in toasted buns for meatballs subs.

white bowl with pile of meatballs in marinara

This is an easy, make-ahead recipe that also freezes well too. 

Cooking the meatballs in the sauce lets them absorb all that delicious flavor. It’s quick enough for weeknights but gourmet enough to serve to company.

Tips for the BEST meatballs:

Sear the meat. It adds another layer of flavor and color to the meatballs and brown bits left in the pan add extra flavor to the sauce.

Cook the meatballs (turkey or beef) in the sauce. Simmering the meatballs in the sauce keeps them juicy and absorbs the taste of the marinara sauce.

Don’t overmix the meat. Blend just until combined so the meatballs are tender.

What’s in the Meatballs?

  • ground beef, turkey OR chicken – your choice!
  • finely chopped parsley
  • small onion minced
  • grated garlic
  • egg
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper
  • olive oil

how to MAKE meatballs IN MARINARA:

To a medium bowl add the ground meat (beef, chicken OR turkey), parsley, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Use your hands to blend the meat mixture (don’t overmix) then scoop into golf ball size meatballs. If you have one, use a scooper so the meatballs are a uniform size and cook evenly.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet (deep enough to hold the sauce as well) pot or dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Sear to brown them then remove from the pot to a bowl and reserve. Working in batches, continue searing the meatballs adding the remaining tablespoon of oil as needed. The meatballs will not be cooked through at this point! 

You’ll be using the same pot to make the sauce so don’t wash it.

what DO I NEED FOR HOMEMADE sauce?

  • crushed tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • grated garlic
  • diced onion
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed red pepper (optional)
  • tomato paste
  • dry Italian seasoning
  • red wine (chianti, cabernet, merlot)
  • fresh parsley chopped

how to make marinara sauce:

Once the meatballs are seared and reserved, to the same pot add another tablespoon of olive oil then drop in the grated garlic, a very small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and the diced onion.

Season with salt and pepper to taste then cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until the onions are tender. Stir often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Pour in the wine, stir to combine then simmer 3-4 minutes or until the wine reduces by about half.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes, dry Italian seasoning and chopped parsley. Lightly season with salt and pepper then transfer the seared meatballs to the sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve the meatballs and tomato sauce with your favorite pasta, salad and these Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks brushed with garlic-parmesan butter and finished with gooey melted mozzarella cheese.

bowl of pasta with meatballs in marinara garnished with parmesan cheese

 

Looking for more Italian favorites?

Lasagna Soup – slow cooker and 30 minute stove to table options. The taste of classic lasagna in easy soup form.

20 Minute Italian Sausage Tortellini – cooks completely in ONE POT in just 20 minutes. Italian sausage, tortellini and spinach in a delicious creamy sauce.

3 Cheese Baked Mostaccioli – easy, homemade meat sauce blanketed in three kinds of cheese baked to hot and bubbly perfection.

Enjoy!

pinterest pin showing closeup of piles of meatballs in marinara

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black skillet with meatballs in marinara garnished with parsley

Meatballs in Marinara

Juicy ground BEEF or TURKEY meatballs with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs simmered in a rich tomato marinara sauce.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories

Ingredients
  

MEATBALLS

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat beef OR turkey
  • 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

MARINARA SAUCE

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper optional
  • 1 small onion diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine chianti, cabernet or merlot
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

Instructions
 

Turkey Meatballs:

  • To a medium bowl add the ground meat (beef OR turkey), parsley, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Blend using your hands (don’t overmix) then scoop into golf ball size meatballs. Scooper recommended.
  • Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet (deep enough to hold the sauce as well) or pot over medium to medium-high heat,
  • When the oil is hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Sear then then remove to a bowl and reserve. Working in batches, continue searing the meatballs adding the remaining tablespoon of oil as needed. The meatballs will not be cooked through at this point! 
  • You’ll be using the same pot to make the sauce so don’t wash it.

The Sauce:

  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet then drop in the grated garlic, a very small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and the diced onion.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste then cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until the onions are tender. Stir often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute then pour in the wine, stir to combine then simmer 3-4 minutes or until the wine reduces by about half.
  • Add the can of crushed tomatoes, dry Italian seasoning and chopped parsley. Lightly season with salt and pepper then transfer the seared meatballs to the sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Nutrition

Serving: 0gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgPotassium: 0mgFiber: 0gSugar: 0gVitamin A: 0IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 0mgIron: 0mg
Keyword meatballs in marinara, meatballs, italian recipes, ground turkey, ground beef, turkey meatballs, easy italian recipes
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