Mini Meatballs are quick and easy to make! With juicy, tender, ground beef these homemade Italian meatballs make the perfect appetizer. A one to 2 bite finger food that will disappear off the plate fast. With these tiny meatballs up your sleeve and my tips and tricks, your parties will get started right! These cocktail meatballs are freezer friendly, party food, kid approved and right up everyone's snack food alley.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about this mini meatball recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: everything that you need to make these homemade meatballs can be found at your local grocery store. They are available all year round and easy to get your hands on.
- Versatile: these meatballs are very versatile and lend themselves to a number of serving ideas. You can pop them on a pizza, stir them through pasta sauce, use them in a salad or pop them in a hoagie roll.
- Budget friendly: this is an appetizer that is not going to set you back a lot of money. You might already have some of the ingredients needed to make the recipe in the pantry also. The beef mince will be the most expensive ingredient and you can purchase it when you see it on special and freeze it until you are ready to use it.
- Fun: nothing screams 'it's party time' more than the food! These mini meatballs will be popular across all ages of guests without any intense or usual flavors involved.
- Meatball appetizer: chips and snacks are great but they are less along the lines of 'real food'. As you know people often come to parties looking forward to the food as their main focus. A meatball appetizer is filling and satisfying and more along the 'real food lines'.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make these easy mini meatballs. 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 small amount of this to cook the meatballs in.
- Salt and pepper: we use a little bit of salt and black pepper to season the meatballs.
- Egg: the egg helps to bind the meatball mixture together so the meatballs hold their shape and form when being cooked.
- Garlic powder: a fantastic pantry staple that works for so many recipes. It is versatile and pairs extremely well with the onion powder.
- Onion powder: saving time, tears and chopping this is another fantastic to always have on hand. It can dry out in the bottle if not used regularly, so keep that in mind if you have it but haven't used it for a while 😉👍.
- Dried parsley: are we really talking Italian meatballs if they don't have a little parsley in them...me thinks not. I bet you think not too! This is a convenient herb to have at home as it works in so many recipes.
- Panko breadcrumbs: these bright white bread crumbs are popular in Japanese cooking. So you are more likely to find them in the Asian food aisle at the supermarket than with the flours and oils.
- Beef mince (also known as ground beef): ground meat is a a popular choice as it is economical, versatile and freezes exceptionally well.
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 this easy recipe. We start by gathering the ingredients to make the meatballs.
- Gather meatball ingredients (Photo 1)
- Use clean hands to combine (Photo 2)
- Portion mixture using a cookie scoop (Photo 3)
- Cut portions in half (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Mini Meatballs
We start by gathering the ingredients to make the mini meatballs.
Add the beef mince, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt, pepper and egg to a large mixing bowl and use clean hands to combine.
Then take a mini cookie scoop and portion the mixture out onto a chopping board. Once done, take a knife and cut each of those portions in half.
Then using the palms of your hands to roll each portion into a small ball. Repeat this process until all of the meat mixture has been turned into round meatballs.
- Roll the portions into meatballs (Photo 5)
Once all of the meatballs are rolled, you can get ready to cook them.
Do this by placing a frying pan or large skillet on the stove and adding the olive oil.
- Cook the meatballs in batches (Photo 6)
Give it a squish around in the pan and then add ⅓ of the meatballs.
You want to cook these in batches until they are golden brown and cooked through. It will take 8 - 10 minutes for the meatballs to cook. Once the meatballs are done you can use a slotted spoon to lift them up and out of the frying pan and place them into a paper towel lined bowl.
Repeat until all of the meatballs are cooked and then you are ready to serve them!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
The best way to serve these mini meatballs is on a serving platter with a bowl of sauce. This way they can be dipped, dunked or dolloped.
The sauce that you see in the photos throughout the post is the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce. I like serving this type of sauce with all kinds ofs of beef as it is such a complementary pairing. I like to think the horseradish has a little 'get up and go about it'.
Other homemade sauce options are the Herbed Yogurt Sauce, Parsley Yogurt Sauce or Basil Yogurt Sauce. These options all work well as they have less of a sugary taste about them than store bought tomato (ketch up) or barbecue sauce (each having their own place and time).
Each of these sauces are made in the food processor and thin the yogurt during the 'making process'. However when they are then left to sit for a bit the sauce thickens up again.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover mini beef meatballs in an airtight container with a lid. They can be kept in the fridge up to 3 days and are best reheated before being consumed.
How to Reheat
The microwave is your best option to reheat the meatballs. Place them on a plate with cling wrap and heat for 2 - 3 minutes until they are heated throughout.
Or if you are making the small meatballs as an appetizer for a party and have made them in advance, you can add them to the bowl of the slow cooker, turn the setting to warm and allow these to heat through prior to serving.
How to Freeze
You can make the meatballs and freeze them then reheat and serve them as needed.
Allow them to thaw completely before reheating.
Frozen meatballs can be kept for up to 3 months.
😉 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:
- If you want to use lean ground beef you can or for something different ground pork.
- You can use regular bread crumbs (equivalent amount) if you wish to.
- Other great Italian seasoning that will work are dried basil or dried oregano.
- For a tiny little touch of heat in the meatballs, you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Or the equivalent amount of red pepper flakes.
- If you like the idea of these, yet want to make a dinner out of them, you can use them in the Baked Meatballs in Sauce recipe.
- Or you can use them in the Baked Meatball Subs.
- If you are feeding a crowd make a big batch of these meatballs by doubling the recipe to cater to a larger number of eaters.
- Add them to your favorite pasta with marinara sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese for an easy dinner option!
💡 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 don't have a mini cookie scoop you can use a teaspoon to portion the meat mixture out before rolling the meatballs.
- A slotted spoon is best to use when cooking the meatballs. This is so that when you lift the cooked meatballs up and out of the pan, you are not taking all of the oil which is needed to cook the remaining meatballs.
- Line a bowl with paper towel so that you can transfer the cooked meatballs into the bowl. This will also allow any excess moisture on the meatballs to be absorbed before you serve them.
- Provide toothpicks or skewers either in the meatballs or on the plate alongside the meatballs. This makes it easy for people to grab them and keeps everyone's fingers off the whole plate of them.
- You can also push the multiple meatballs onto small skewers as a serving idea if you want to serve a 'meatball stick'.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
How many mini meatballs per person?
A good portion size to plan for is 2 - 4 mini meatballs per person. This will allow you to make a big enough batch that they can be served as soon as guests arrive with enough to go around and feed the crowd.
What's the best way to stop meatballs falling apart?
Ensuring you use an egg to bind the meat mixture together is the best way to stop meatballs falling apart. The egg acts as the glue that sticks the remaining ingredients together.
How to make evenly sized meatballs?
The trick to making evenly sized meatballs is to use a mini cookie scoop. This will allow you to fill it with the meat mixture and then place these portions onto a chopped board. Once done you can roll the portions into meatballs.
😍 More Easy Snack Recipes
Whether it be game day, a street gathering, dinner party, the kids birthday party or a family get together, snack food will feed the crowd and then some.
Here are some more easy appetizer style recipes that will tick a lot of boxes:
- Roast Beef Sliders
- Cocktail Sausages
- Pork Mince Meatballs
- Wagyu Meatballs
- Rolled Sandwiches
- Mini Sausage Rolls (Cocktail Sausage Rolls)
- Jalapeno Pinwheels
- Roast Beef Roll Ups
- Cheese and Bacon Pinwheels
It is time to get our party food on my friend. You can also find all of my appetizer recipes in the one fun filled spot!
Mini Meatballs (Cocktail Meatballs)
- 500 grams/16 oz beef mince (ground beef)
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg free range
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon horseradish cream (condiment) Note
- parsley finely chopped
- Meatballs: add the beef mince, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, dried parsley 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. Continue to portion until the rest of the mixture is done. Once done, use a knife to cut the portions in half. Then use the palms of your hands to roll them and place the meatballs onto a chopping board. Repeat this process till all of the mixture is used up.
- Cook mini 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 one third of the mini meatballs into the bottom of the pan. Cook them using a pair of tongs and or slotted spoon to move and rotate them 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.
- Horseradish yogurt sauce: add the garlic cloves, salt, pepper and parsley to a food processor and blitz to finely chop. Then dollop in the Greek yogurt and horseradish cream and blitz to combine. Scrape down the insides of the bowl with a spatula, give it another blitz and then use the spatula to transfer it to a small bowl.
- To serve: place the cooked meatballs onto a serving plate and provide a small bowl of the dipping sauce along with toothpicks. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley.
- Note 1 - Horseradish cream: this is a condiment that you will find at the grocery store along with the mayo and vinegars. It might also be called 'horseradish sauce'. It has a unique taste with a little 'kick' about it. A small amount of this goes a long way.
- Portion size: allow at least 2 meatballs per person. More depending on what other foods you are serving at the same time. The recipe will make around 40 -45 mini meatballs.
- Cooking time: whilst it will only take 8 -1 0 minutes to cook the meatballs, I have allowed extra time here in case you are working in batches ie not cooking all of the meatballs in the pan at once.