Make-Ahead Italian Meatballs

Keep these easy-to-make meatballs on hand for last-minute dinner creations. Tossed with pasta or baked into a casserole, the possibilities are endless!

Make-Ahead Italian Meatballs

Partially freezing the meatballs before putting them in a plastic bag ensures that the meatballs won't stick together and lose their shape when thawed.

These meatballs don't have to look the same the second time around. Crumble leftovers and stir into chili, pasta sauce or a sloppy joe or taco mix.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Progresso dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, milk, egg, salt and pepper. Shape mixture into thirty 1-inch balls.
  3. Place in ungreased rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches.
  4. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes or until no longer pink in center and juice is clear. (To serve immediately, continue as directed in step 5--except decrease simmer time to 15 minutes.)
  5. Place meatballs on ungreased cookie sheet. Freeze uncovered about 20 minutes or until firm.
  6. Place partially frozen meatballs in heavy plastic bag or freezer container. Seal, label and freeze no longer than 3 months.
  7. About 25 minutes before serving, mix chili sauce, water, pasta sauce and mustard in 2-quart saucepan.
  8. Add meatballs. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until meatballs are hot.

Yield: 30 appetizer meatballs | Prep: 15 min | Total: 30 min

Nutrition Information: 1 Serving: Calories 65 (Calories from Fat 25 ); Total Fat 3 g (Saturated Fat 1 g); Cholesterol 15 mg; Sodium 270 mg; Total Carbohydrate 6 g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 4 g

Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 4 %; Vitamin C 2 %; Calcium 0%; Iron 2 %

Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Medium-Fat Meat

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Recipe and photo used with permission from: Betty Crocker