Low-Effort, High-Reward Meatballs

published Sep 18, 2022
Easy Herby Meatballs Recipe

Cut back on meatball prep by letting your blender do all the work. Purée herbs and aromatics into a flavorful base before combining with ground beef and breadcrumbs.

Serves4 to 6

Makes20 to 24 meatballs

Prep30 minutes

Cook14 minutes to 16 minutes

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meatballs over sauce in a plate
Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

This recipe is part of Kitchn 100 — the hundred recipes you need right now. Check out all of the amazing dishes, from Kitchn and beyond, here.

These meatballs are a result of pure laziness. I love meatballs that are jam-packed with fresh herbs and aromatics, but chopping so many ingredients by hand was something I couldn’t bring myself to do. I love eating herby meatballs at restaurants, or swooning over the green-hued balls in food magazines, but my disdain for chopping stopped me from making them at home. That is, until I discovered blender meatballs — which have quickly become one of my favorite back-pocket recipes.

These blender meatballs call for throwing all of the herbs and aromatics into a blender and puréeing them into a flavorful base that gets mixed with ground beef and breadcrumbs. The recipe cuts back on prep time while maintaining the meatballs’ bold flavor and verdant hue. Instead of taking 30 minutes to chop all your ingredients, the blender does it in seconds. It’s a perfect weeknight recipe I make on repeat, using whatever herbs I have on hand. Serve them with tangy yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a flourish of fresh herbs for a quick-yet-fancy dinner made in minutes. If a low-effort, high-reward recipe is what you’re after, this is for you.

What Herbs Should I Use to Make These Meatballs?

The best thing about this recipe is how flexible it is. Just about any tender herb will work great. Cilantro not your thing? Skip it! Have an abundance of basil on hand? Throw it in! Cilantro, basil, parsley, scallions, chives, tarragon, dill, mint, and chervil would all work great in this recipe. As long as the total amount of fresh herbs is roughly three cups, you can mix and match whatever herbs your heart desires. Just avoid using any woody herbs like sage, thyme, or rosemary, as these will give the meatballs a bitter flavor that is a bit overpowering.

Credit: Photo: Chris Simpson; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Tips for Making the Best Meatballs

Before you head into the kitchen to make these herby meatballs, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Don’t overmix your meatballs. Overmixing your meatballs can cause them to become tough. As soon as the meatball mixture comes together, stop mixing. It’s OK if there are still some pockets of unincorporated breadcrumbs left.
  2. Cook off a small patty on the stovetop before rolling your meatballs. To make sure you’ve salted your meatball mixture enough, take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a patty. Cook the patty in a lightly oiled pan set over medium heat, flipping once, just until cooked through. This way you can see what the cooked meatballs will taste like and adjust the seasoning before it’s too late.
  3. Oil your hands to make rolling the meatballs easier. The meatball mixture can be a bit sticky and hard to work with, so feel free to lightly oil your hands before forming the meatballs to make it easier.

Easy Herby Meatballs Recipe

Cut back on meatball prep by letting your blender do all the work. Purée herbs and aromatics into a flavorful base before combining with ground beef and breadcrumbs.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 14 minutes to 16 minutes

Makes 20 to 24 meatballs

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or olive oil

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1/2 large bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1/2 large bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh mint

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound

    ground beef

  • 1 1/4 cups

    plain dried breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 cups

    full-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • Extra-virgin oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Thinly slice 4 medium scallions (about 2/3 cup). Pick the leaves from 1/2 large bunch fresh parsley until you have 1 cup, the leaves from 1/2 large bunch fresh cilantro until you have 1 cup, and the leaves from 1/2 medium bunch fresh mint until you have 1/2 cup. Mix all of the herbs together and reserve 1 cup for garnish. Add the remaining herbs to a blender and reserve the bowl.

  3. Cut 1/2 medium yellow onion into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup). Add the onion, 2 large eggs, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the blender. Blend on high speed until the mixture is almost smooth, 20 to 45 seconds. Pour into the reserved bowl.

  4. Add 1 pound ground beef and 1 1/4 cups plain dried breadcrumbs and mix with your hands until everything is evenly combined. Scoop the mixture into 2 tablespoon-sized portions and roll into balls with lightly oiled hands. Arrange on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 1-inch apart.

  5. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip the meatballs (slide a thin spatula under them if they stick to loosen) and rotate the baking sheet. Continue baking until lightly browned, cooked through, and no longer pink in the center, 6 to 8 minutes more.

  6. Spread 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt on a large serving bowl or plate. Transfer the meatballs on top of the yogurt and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the reserved herbs (tear any large leaves into bite-sized pieces).

Recipe Notes

Herbs: Any combination of tender herbs would work well in this recipe, just make sure the total volume is about 2 1/2 cups.

Make ahead: The meatballs can be formed and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance before baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.