10 Ways to Turn Frozen Meatballs into an Easy Weeknight Dinner

updated Sep 12, 2019
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Meatballs are some of my favorite foods to make and eat. They are so versatile and can be adapted any number of ways to feature a wide range of flavor profiles. It seems that almost every culture has some sort of meatball in its recipe box.

Keeping a stash of frozen meatballs on hand can open the door to any number of easy weeknight dinners. You can make your own meatballs and freeze them for convenience, or simply pick up a bag in the freezer aisle to use at a moment’s notice.

Consider these options next time you’re stumped for what’s for dinner:

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Turn them into hearty subs.

The meatball sub, a takeout classic, comes together in minutes. Warm frozen meatballs in your favorite sauce, toast some garlic rolls, and fill your subs. You can even make a freezer kit to make the process even more simple.

2. Toss them in the slow cooker.

Sweet and sour meatballs come together effortlessly when you simmer them in a simple Asian-style sauce. Mix it up in the morning and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work. All you need to do when you get home is steam the rice.

3. Make a pizza out of them.

Enjoy two Italian-American favorites in one dish. Most grocery stores (and even some pizza places) sell pizza dough, making this easy enough for weeknights when you might not want to mix up your own. You’ve even got time to turn frozen meatballs into a fancy pizza ring.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

4. Grill them on skewers.

Throw another meatball on the barbie! They won’t get away from you when you’ve skewered them with onions, peppers, or even pineapple. Be sure to baste them generously with a tangy BBQ or teriyaki sauce.

Get the recipe: Grilled Meatball Kebabs

5. Skip IKEA and make your own Köttbullar.

While the frozen meatballs themselves might not be traditional, you can certainly come close to the famous Swedish dish by adding a luscious gravy, mashed potatoes, and some lingonberry (or cranberry) sauce on the side. And you won’t have to put together any crazy furniture when you’re done.

Get the recipe: The Best Swedish Meatballs

6. Get bowled over.

Bowl meals are some of the best ever. They’re extremely versatile, allowing you to use whatever veg, carb, and sauces you have on hand. Meatballs make a great protein addition.

Get the recipe: Upside-Down Meatball Bowl

7. Add a little touch of Catalonia.

It’s pretty amazing how so many cultures have their take on how to sauce the humble meatball. During my year abroad, my French mother, of Catalan heritage, introduced me to her special Boules de Picolat, meatballs simmered in a rich mushroom-tomato sauce dotted with green olives. Served over boiled potatoes, they are one of my favorite comfort foods and so easy to make when you use frozen meatballs.

Get the recipe: Boules de Picolat

(Image credit: Laura Volo)

8. Bake them into a casserole.

Pasta bakes please everyone and freeze beautifully. You can even make them in single-serving sizes so you won’t be eating leftovers all week long — unless you want to. Combine frozen meatballs with cooked pasta, your favorite red sauce, some greens, and a handful of cheese. So good and so easy!

9. Serve frozen meatballs with a homemade BBQ sauce.

Meatballs laden with BBQ sauce and served atop buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or even spaghetti squash absolutely hit the spot. And believe it or not, homemade sauce only takes about 15 minutes to cook up, meaning you can have an ultra-comforting, “almost homemade” dinner in a jiffy.

10. Go traditional.

There’s nothing trite about simmering meatballs in a pot of herby marinara to serve over pasta, polenta, or zoodles. It may be “old-fashioned,” but it’s still amazing.

Get the recipe: Red Sauce with Meats