Meatballs Alfredo are a quick and easy creamy cheesy pasta recipe that make the perfect comfort food. The whole family will love the juicy beef meatballs and al dente fettuccine smothered in garlicky good sauce. Follow my tasty tips to turn out the recipe that they will ask you to make again and again. Meatballs with alfredo sauce are 'Winner Winner Alfredo Dinner' 😁👌.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Comfort food: we have garlic, cream, cheese and pasta in the recipe. That is a whole lot of the comfort food ingredients ticked all at once😉👌.
- Spaghetti bolognese alternative: everyone loves a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. But it can be nice to switch it up a little and try different ingredient combinations and flavours, albeit similar combinations of flavours. This recipe is a fantastic alternative to spag bowl or sketti.
- Simple ingredients: everything you need to make this fettuccine alfredo with meatballs can be sort from your local grocery store. They are year round available ingredients and will be easy to get your hands on.
- Budget friendly: this is a cost effective recipe that won't break the bank. You might already have some of the ingredients to make the meatballs in the fridge or cupboard and then you could simply get the other ones you need.
- All chef levels: this is a straight forward recipe that takes us back to basics in the kitchen. If you are learning the ropes in the kitchen it is a great recipe to get started on if want to get a few easy recipes under your belt.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the alfredo sauce with meatballs recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Olive oil: we use a little olive oil to cook the meatballs.
- Salt and pepper: we use a little bit of salt and black pepper to season the meatballs.
- Dried herb: this is the herb that we use in the meatball mixture.
- Garlic powder: handy to have in the pantry and easy to use. This saves peeling, chopping and mincing.
- Onion powder: as above. Using this saves time peeling, chopping and crying when dicing an onion.
- Egg: this helps to bind the meatball mixture together.
- Panko breadcrumbs: these bright white breadcrumbs are popular in Japanese cooking. If you can't find them in the cooking aisle of the supermarket look for them in the Asian foods section.
- Beef mince: also known as ground beef. This is a budget friendly cut of meat that freezes exceptionally well.
- Butter: look for a creamy French butter if you can. This is the best type of butter and it even smells amazing. We need an unsalted version as we are going to add salt to the recipe separately.
- Garlic: we cook the garlic in the melted butter as a starting point to making the sauce. Chunky minced garlic or fresh garlic cloves that you have chopped are perfect.
- Salt: we use a small amount of salt as part of the ingredients in the alfredo sauce.
- Parsley: we add this into the pasta as we toss it for flavor, texture and some pops of colour.
- Parmesan cheese: fresh and finely grated using a microplane zester if you can. It is used to add flavor to the alfredo sauce as well as sprinkled over the top of the dish as a garnish when serving.
- Cream: the main component of the homemade alfredo sauce. We use heavy cream. This is different to dollop or whipped cream.
- Fettucine: a popular choice for alfredo sauce as the wide surface of pasta helps the sauce cling and stick to it.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making my recipes. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the alfredo meatballs. We start by making the meatballs.
- Add meatball ingredients to bowl (Photo 1)
- Use clean hand to combine (Photo 2)
- Portion with cookie scoop (Photo 3)
- Roll into meatballs (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Meatballs Alfredo
We start by making the meatballs. Add the beef mince, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt, pepper and egg to a large mixing bowl and then use clean hands to combine this together.
Next take a mini cookie scoop and portion the meatball mixture out and lay the portions onto a chopping board.
Then use the palms of your hands to roll each of the portions into meatballs. Once all of the meatball mixture is used up we are going to cook the meatballs.
- Brown the meatballs (Photo 5)
- Absorb the excess oil (Photo 6)
- Start sauce by melting the butter (Photo 7)
- Then add the garlic and salt and cook for 1 minute (Photo 8)
To cook the meatballs place a large heavy base saute pan or skillet on the stove, turn the heat to high and add the olive oil. Give it a squish around in the pan and then place about ⅓ of the meatballs into the bottom.
🍷 Meatballs With Alfredo Sauce
Work in batches and cook the meatballs using a slotted spoon to rotate and flip them as you go. It will take 8 - 10 minutes for them to cook and we want their surface to be golden brown and crisp looking.
Once they are cooked, you can use a slotted spoon to lift them up and out of the pan. Then place them into a bowl lined with paper towel.
Once all of the meatballs are cooked and transferred out of the pan, fold a few sheets of paper towel into a square and use these and a pair of kitchen tongs to absorb the excess oil in the pan. You can see this in the photo above (step 6 👍) .
Next, we start to make the alfredo sauce. Do so by adding the butter to the pan and letting it melt. Then add the garlic and salt and cook these for 1 minute.
Then pour in the cream and add the cheese to the centre of the pan. Stir to combine, turn the heat down to low and let the cheese melt.
- Add the cream and then cheese to the pan (Photo 9)
- Stir to combine (Photo 10)
- Cook the pasta, reserve some of the water (Photo 11)
- Add drained fettuccine and ½ cup of the pasta water (Photo 12)
🍝 Alfredo Pasta With Meatballs
On a separate element on the stove top you can now cook the pasta. Fill a medium sauce pan with water and a pinch of salt and then read and follow the package instructions to cook the fettuccine. We want it to to be al dente (have a little bite to it) so test a bit not long before the cook time is up and if it is has that chewy inner texture, turn the heat off.
Then use a heatproof jug to scoop out 1 to 2 cups of the pasta water.
Next you can use a colander over the sink to drain the rest of the pasta water and discard it.
Then add the cooked, drained pasta to the alfredo sauce. Measure ½ cup of the pasta water and then add this to the pasta and sauce.
Use a pair of kitchen tongs to toss and combine the pasta, sauce and water.
- Add the parsley (Photo 13)
Next sprinkle the fresh chopped parsley into the pan and give the pasta another toss to combine.
- Add cooked meatballs (Photo 14)
Once you have added the parsley in you can then add the cooked meatballs to the pan.
We do want to toss these through the pasta and sauce also but we be a little bit more gentle when doing so, to maintain their firm shape and robust texture. (Not accidently break them apart as we are not being mindful with the tongs 😉👌).
- Garnish (Photo 15)
Once you have added the meatballs, tossed them through the pasta and sauce allow them to heat through for a couple of minutes you can then get ready to garnish the dish (woot woot, right 😁).
🍽 Serving Suggestions
It is a good idea to garnish the pasta with a generous combination of black pepper, parsely and parmesan cheese.
Sometimes when I share pasta recipes with you, I suggest meat sides. This is when you are feeding a crowd and want to have multiple serving options.
Realistically after a bowl of this you are done for the meal (and an hour or so 🤣). There is not a whole lot of room left in your belly for more.
However my friend, I don't want to be remiss. If you want meaty mains with smaller portions of the pasta on the side some good options are the BBQ Lamb Ribs, Sticky Pork Ribs or Pork Ribs (Baked then Grilled).
Wine pairings that will go down a treat are a super chilled glass of pinot gris or a smooth glass of pinot noir. Two will go down even better 🤣👌
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the meatball fettuccine alfredo in sealed, air tight containers in the fridge. They can be refrigerated for 3 days and are best reheated prior to consuming.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into air tight containers or zip lock bags, squeeze the air out then seal. Frozen portions of the dish can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
How to Reheat
Allow frozen portions to fully thaw in the fridge overnight or on the bench during the day before reheating. Reheat in the microwave (fastest) covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Or you can add the cooked alfredo pasta with meatballs back to a pan on the stove, turn to medium heat and stir till the pasta is heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use a different protein if you wish to for example lamb or pork mince.
- Or you can use the Swedish Meatballs and instead of the gravy, use the alfredo sauce.
- You can use pecorino romano in the alfredo sauce and as a garnish (equivalent amount) in place of the parmesan cheese.
- If you want to use another pasta type you can. Spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle are all good options. Your favorite pasta will work too.
- You can use fresh parsley in the meatballs in place of the dried parsley if you wish too.
- Alternatives to the dried parsley are dried basil or dried oregano.
- You can use regular breadcrumbs in place of the panko breadcrumbs if you wish to (equivalent amount).
- If you love the idea of this flavor combination but don't want to pair with pasta, you can pair it with zucchini noodles (spiralised or grated into long thin strips 😉👍).
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- If you want to make the meatballs in advance and freeze them to save time on a night when you know you will be busy, you can. Simply thaw during the day and then add to the sauce at the recipe step of adding the cooked meatballs to the sauce. They will need a couple of minutes to heat through.
- Use a slotted spoon when lifting the meatballs up and out of the pan and place them into a bowl lined with paper towel.
- There is no need to clean or rinse the pan after cooking the meatballs. We do however, want to remove the excess oil which is easily done with a couple of sheets of paper towel.
- If you want to have a carby pairing with the alfredo meatballs but not with pasta you can stuff them into subs. The Baked Meatball Subs will give you the general idea of this combination.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Can Alfredo Sauce be used with meatballs?
Yes. Alfredo sauce makes an excellent pairing with meatballs and is a great alternative to using a marinara or bolognese sauce.
What causes meatballs to fall apart in sauce?
Meatballs will fall apart in sauce if they are tossed in the sauce with too heavy a hand. If you take a gentle approach the meatballs are much less likely to fall apart.
What should I put in my alfredo?
Alfredo sauce has a basic combination of melted butter, garlic, salt, cream and cheese. Then you can add other ingredients such as pasta, chicken or meatballs.
😍 More Easy Meatball Recipes
Meatballs are so much more than ground meat! Fun, versatile and tasty they can be served in a huge variety of ways as well as have different tastes and textures. Here are some more meatball recipes that I hope you try.:
- Kottbullar Swedish Meatballs
- Wagyu Meatballs
- Pork Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
- Mini Meatballs (Cocktail Meatballs)
- Easy Pork Meatballs
- Honey Sriracha Meatballs
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs
- Meatball Tray Bake
- Baked Meatballs In Sauce
It's time to get a roll on on my friend. You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
- 500 grams/16 oz beef mince (ground beef)
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs Note 1
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder Note 2
- 1 teaspoon onion powder Note 3
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg free range
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 40 grams/3 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1 tablespoon garlic chunky, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup/250 ml heavy cream
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup/125 ml reserved pasta water Note 4
- ⅓ cup parsley leaves only, stems trimmed, finely chopped
- black pepper
- parmesan cheese
- Meatballs: add the beef mince, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt, pepper and egg to a medium bowl. Use clean hands to combine. Then take a mini cookie scoop and portion out a small amount of the mixture onto a chopping board. Next, repeat to portion the rest of the mixture. Once done roll the portions into meatballs using the palms of your hands then place onto a chopping board. Repeat this process till all of the mixture is used up.
- Cook meatballs: place a large frying pan on the stove top. Turn the heat to high and add in the olive oil. Give it a swish and then place ⅓ of the meatballs into the bottom of the pan. Cook them using a pair of tongs and or wooden spoon to move and rotate as you go. The meatballs will take 8 - 12 minutes to cook. Once cooked, lift the meatballs up and out of the pan using a slotted spoon. Place them into a paper towel lined bowl.
- Alfredo sauce: use a couple of pieces of paper towel folded into squares to absorb the excess oil in the pan, then turn the heat back to high and add the butter. Allow this to melt and then add the garlic and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring as the garlic softens and turns golden brown. Next pour in the heavy cream and stir. Then turn the heat to low and add the cheese to the centre of the pan. Stir occasionally as the cheese melts.
- Fettuccine: place a medium sauce pan on the stove, fill with water and a pinch of salt and bring it to the boil. Read and follow the instructions on the package to cook the pasta. Moments before it is ready, use a heatproof jug to scoop out some of the pasta water. The use a colander to drain the remaining pasta and discard the water.
- Combine: add the drained pasta to the combined alfredo sauce. Then measure and pour in ½ cup (125 ml) of the reserved pasta water. Use a pair of tongs to toss and combine. Then add the parsley and give it a stir through the pasta. Next add the cooked meatballs back to the pan and gently toss them with the pasta and sauce. They will need a couple of minutes to heat through.
- Garnish: use a trio of black pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese to garnish the dish for serving. Provide bowls, spoons and forks.
- Note 1 - Panko breadcrumbs: these bright white breadcrumbs are popular in Japanese cooking. If you can't find them in the cooking aisle of the supermarket look for them in the Asian foods section.
- Note 2 - Garlic powder: handy to have in the pantry and easy to use. This saves peeling chopped and mincing. It can, however dry out (even when the bottle is tightly sealed) if you haven't used it for a while. So double check this or add it to the shopping list.
- Note 3 - Onion powder: as above. Using this saves time peeling, chopping and crying when dicing an onion. Yet it too can dry out. So be on the safe side and check if you have it in the pantry that it is still in soft powder form before you do your shopping for the recipe ingredients.
- Note 4 - Pasta water: in the post I refer to scooping out 1-2 cups of pasta water, yet then I indicate that we only pour in ½ cup (125ml) when making the sauce. This contradiction is because it is a lot easier to simply scoop out a bit and then later then there is not as much splishing and splashing and you are not still trying to cook the pasta, measure the ½ cup from what you scooped out. So we only need the ½ cup my friend, not all of what we scooped out 😉👍.
- Portion size: will depend on how big the servings are. You can stretch this to 6 meals if the portions are smaller.