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Marlene’s Homemade Meatballs

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These homemade meatballs are tender and delicious. They are perfect for sandwiches, spaghetti and more. You can bake them ahead and freeze them for later too.

plate of pasta topped with meatballs and tomato sauce.

Meatballs are a classic meaty main dish that is relatively easy to put together and super delicious. Done right, they are tender, flavorful and perfect on pasta.

They are also great in sub sandwiches. This recipe came from my aunt and is a family favorite!

When I mentioned that I was going to collect family recipes to try, this was one of the recipes my mom suggested I ask for.  Apparently Marlene makes the best meatballs!

So, I asked for the recipe and she delivered last night.  I decided today was the day to make them, so I got out the paper and set out to make meatballs.

This should be easy I thought.  It is a family favorite recipe, so all I have to do is follow it to a T and take a few pictures.  So, imagine my surprise when I opened the paper to find the following:

Marlene’s Handwritten Meatball Recipe

  • hamb
  • onion
  • garlic
  • 1 egg
  • oatmeal
  • Italian seasoning
  • basil
  • oregano
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 350 F for 20 min
Sheet pan with rows of raw beef and oatmeal meatballs, ready to bake.

What?!  Wait, where are the measurements?  So, I sent a text to my mom.

Do you have the measurements?  She dug out her version of the meatballs, and Marlene has specifically written that there are no measurements, she just eyeballs it.

Now, I completely understand that.  I normally cook in exactly that way.  I just add a bit of this and a dash of that until it feels right.

But, I know not everyone cooks that way.  So, I guessed and measure and this is what I ended up with.

Little dude stirring together ingredients to make homemade meatballs with oatmeal.

Tips for making tender meatballs:

  • You will get the best flavor if you don’t use super lean ground beef. Somewhere in the middle of the fat to lean ratio will taste better and be more tender.
  • Chilling the ingredients before you mix and form the meatballs makes for better meatballs.
  • Don’t overwork the meat when mixing.
  • Don’t pack the meatballs too tight. You want them to hold together, but you don’t have to squeeze too hard!
  • If the mixture is sticking to your hands, try oiling them first. Or use a cookie scoop to get evenly sized meatballs. 

They come out of the oven smelling delicious!  I made up a recipe of Sunday Gravy just for these beauties.  

The smell of both together is intoxicating.  I hope I can wait until dinner to try one!

Drop them into a batch of homemade tomato sauce or simply simmer them in a jar of pasta sauce.  You can’t go wrong!

For a fun twist on meatballs, try LD’s recipe for breakfast meatballs. They are perfect alongside pancakes, waffles or eggs.

plate of pasta topped with meatballs and tomato sauce.

Marlene’s Homemade Meatballs

Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Carlee
These homemade meatballs are tender and delicious. They are perfect for sandwiches, spaghetti and more. You can bake them ahead and freeze them for later too!
5 from 5 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 lb ground hamburger
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Mix all ingredients until just combined.
    1 lb ground hamburger, ½ onion diced, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 egg, ¼ cup old fashioned oats, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped, ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Form into 1½ inch meatballs, being careful not to pack them too hard.
  • Place meatballs in a rimmed baking sheet or 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 17gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 104mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

Frugal Hausfrau

Tuesday 24th of May 2016

Oh gosh, Carlee, I've gotten family recipes like that - and then I've gotten others with ingredients and amounts but no instructions, lol! I'm an eyeballer, too, but of course I had to learn to measure out for my kids and my blog! These look delish!



Tuesday 24th of May 2016

I pretty much only measure when I'm working on something for the blog! I'm usually a little bit of this and a little bit of that kind of cook. =)


Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Thank you! They were just what I needed on a dreary day, that is for sure!