Meatballs are easy make-ahead party food, so browse through these 60 delicious and easy meatball appetizer recipes for your next party. You are sure to find the perfect meatball recipe that your guest will love them so much they will want your recipe!
Browse through these simple tips for cooking meatballs, and you will have the perfect tender meatball that is full of great flavor and holds together in your sauce.
If you buy frozen meatballs, most are already cooked. However, it still is a good idea to heat frozen meatballs until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. To do this, preheat the oven to 350. Place the number of frozen meatballs you want in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Be sure not to have the meatballs too close together; there should be an inch or more space between them—Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and toss them into your sauce.
You can put frozen meatballs directly into your crockpot. It's best to have them on the bottom so they will get the most heat. Then add the rest of your recipe's ingredients into the crockpot and follow the recipe's time for cooking.
Eggs do not make meatballs softer or harder. They are a binder that helps hold the meatballs together while they cook. However, the eggs will make meatballs more spongy and dense.
Pan fry or baking meatballs is a good way to cook them. However, baking them allows any grease to cook out onto the baking sheet. This makes them a bit more healthy.
How to keep cocktail meatballs warm for a party
- Stovetop: keep them warm over very low heat for up to 1 hour
- Crockpot: After you have cooked the meatballs in sauce, transfer to a crockpot and set the temperature to a warm setting. They will keep for several hours. It is good to stir every hour to keep the sauce from sticking to the slow cooker.
- Chafing dish: An affordable option for large parties to keep food warm is a chafing dish. Another perk is they make clean up after the party a breeze.
With a few basic tips, you can cook great meatballs for your next party or dinner.
Secret to tender meatballs
- A good tip is to add day-old bread soaked in milk or water into your meatball ingredients. Mix this into your meat mixture for a light, tender meatball.
- Be sure you do not overcook your meatballs. Cooking ground beef, ground chicken, or ground pork too long makes it tough.
- It is also a good idea to start with chilled meat and then add 1/3 cup of ice-cold water a little at a time. This is a secret to keeping meatballs tender without adding calories.
- Add your meatballs into a sauce after cooking so they do not dry out.
How to make meatballs that don't fall apart
Make sure you use a binder when making your meatballs. You can add bread pieces soaked in milk or mix in dried bread crumbs and eggs. Another great option is to use crumbled Ritz crackers and egg mixture with the raw meat. Some have also found success using flour mixed into the meat mixture. It is also a good idea to use a cookie scoop when forming the meatballs. This helps pack them together without overhandling, which makes them tough.
Should meatballs be cooked before putting in sauce?
Its best way is to first brown meatballs until a golden brown in a frying pan. Then let them finish cooking in the sauce. This method gives the meatballs a light, crunchy outside and a juicy tender inside. It also infuses a flavor from the meatballs into the sauce.
How to keep meatballs soft after cooking
- Add moisture when making the meatballs. This could be from veggies, barbecue sauces, or a little bit of ice water.
- Don't overmix when preparing the meatballs or pack them into balls too tightly.
- Keep the meatballs larger than an inch in diameter. Smaller than an inch tends to dry out when cooking.
- Pan-fry the outside of your meatballs first before adding to the sauce. This seals in the juices and keeps the inside tender.
- Be sure to set a time and don't overcook the meatballs.
- Add 30% high-fat meat to 70% lean ground beef for a soft meatball.
All these party meatballs will make great easy appetizers, and they could also make a delicious main course dish for your weeknight meal. Also, meatballs are a great item to keep in your freezer for quick, entertaining snacks.
If you have the gang over for the Super Bowl or any other game day parties, meatballs are a great man-pleaser choice when it comes to party food. You can make them ahead of the game and then keep them warm in a crockpot. This way, your guest can dish out their own anytime during the game. Also, be sure and check out my Game Day Party Food Bars; it's packed with great party food ideas.
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