How Long To Cook Meatballs

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Meatballs are known to be one of those classic dinner favorites that kids and adults alike love. With so many classic meatball recipes out there, you might be wondering how much time you need to cook meatballs. Luckily, we've done lots of research about this, and here's what we found.

When baked in the oven at a temperature of about 450°F, meatballs take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. You can also cook meatballs by frying them before baking them in the oven at around 350°F and cooking them for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Knowing that meatballs can be cooked at different temperatures also means that other meatball dishes are cooked at different times. Read on to learn more about other cooking times for meatballs.

Frying delicious meatballs on the skillet, How Long To Cook Meatballs

How Long To Cook Meatballs

Meatballs can be cooked in many different ways. Other than baking them in the oven, these yummy little morsels of meat can also be fried, stewed, or put in a casserole. With these many dishes, it should come as no surprise that meatballs have varying cooking times.

Homecook rolling up meatballs and placing them on a cutting board

How Long To Cook Meatballs in the Oven

Most meatball recipes are baked meatballs, requiring the dish to be cooked in the oven. There are varying temperatures and cooking times for different recipes, and it also depends if you are cooking the dishes dry or with sauce.

Some recipes also ask that the meatballs be seared in high heat before being baked in the oven.

One way to cook meatballs in the oven is by putting them under a high temperature of 450°F and cooking for about 15 minutes. The meatballs are done when they are no longer pink in the center. You will also know if they are done when the meatballs are firm to the touch.

Some meatball recipes are cooked at a lower temperature. Typically, these meatball recipes recommend cooking at around 350°F, and the dish is cooked for about 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on how big the meatballs are.

The bigger the meatballs are, the longer the cooking time is. This is because it takes a while for the heat to cook the meatballs all the way through.

How Long To Cook Meatballs on the Stove

Meatballs can also be pan-fried. It usually takes approximately 2 minutes on all sides for a meatball to be properly cooked and browned, depending on the size. For regular-sized meatballs, it takes about 15 minutes for them to be cooked all the way through.

Other methods of cooking meatballs include letting them simmer in sauce or adding them to a casserole. These recipes may require longer cooking times and they may use different methods.

How Long To Cook Meatballs in the Airfryer

Recently, air fryers have been a popular choice for cooking food because it uses less fat and cook food faster. Air fryers may vary, but in general, it is best to preheat your air fryer at 350°F before cooking.

Depending on the size of your meatballs, a 1 or 2-inch meatball will take about 8 minutes of initial cooking. After this, shake your air fryer basket to distribute and turn your meatballs and cook for an additional 2 minutes. If cooking bigger-sized meatballs, add a few more minutes or until you reach the proper internal temperature for cooked ground meats.

At What Temperature Are Meatballs Done?

Homemade Swedish meatballs in a pan garnished with parsley

Meatballs are cooked all the way through when they are browned on the outside and the internal temperature registers at around 165°F. Because meat doneness cannot be judged on color alone, it is best to use a meat thermometer to check if the meatballs are done.

See this meat thermometer on Amazon.

It is important to note that meatballs should be cooked all the way through so that all harmful bacteria is killed. This will also guarantee that any person eating your dish will not experience any foodborne illnesses.

Can You Overcook Meatballs in Sauce?

A homecook making Swedish meatballs in a pot

It is important that your meatballs should reach the ideal internal temperature to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked and safe for consumption. However, while this is the case, you can also overcook your meatballs if you leave them in the sauce too long.

Letting your meatballs simmer in the sauce for too long can overcook them. When meatballs are overcooked, they tend to be tough at first and then they turn mushy and soggy. This causes your meatballs to break apart when served with the sauce.

When cooking your meatballs in sauce, make sure that you have seared the outside well before letting it simmer with all your other ingredients.

Not only does it give your meatballs a nice brown color, but it also pre-cooks your meatballs. It helps quicken your cooking when you add the meatballs to simmer in your sauce.

Tips and Tricks to Better Tasting Meatballs

Delicious homemade meatballs garnished with fresh parsley

Not all meatballs are made the same. Meatballs taste amazing but done incorrectly, they can be bland and boring. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your meatballs juicy and tasty.

1. Use the right meat

A meatball recipe usually consists of these basic ingredients: ground meat, seasonings, and some binder.

While these three things can give you a meatball when mixed, it doesn't automatically give you that juicy, tender meatball you've been looking for. One of the things that you must consider when making meatballs is using the right kind of meat.

When cooking meatballs, the best way to ensure that it will stay juicy when cooked is by giving it the moisture it needs to stay that way.

Fatty meats like beef, pork, and lamb will definitely give you juicier and more tender meatballs. This is because fat is blended in with the meat, helping it stay moist while cooking.

Lean meats like chicken or turkey tend to be dry because they don't have a lot of fat in them. If you'd like to use this meat for your meatballs, it would be best to use a blend with fattier meat.

2. Keep it cool

One of the things you should prevent from happening when making meatballs is keeping the fat from melting and breaking down before you even get to cooking it. You can keep this from happening to your recipe by using cold bowls and keeping ingredients chilled when they are still not in use.

If you are using pre-cooked ingredients like sautéed onions or other cooked vegetables, make sure that they are completely cooled down before adding them to your meat mixture.

3. Make it moist

Aside from the fat in the meat that makes your meatballs juicy, moisture is one quick way to ensure that your dish will be tender.

Remember to use ingredients that will add moisture to your meatballs such as eggs and milk to your binder when mixing your meats. The eggs and the milk will make sure that there is moisture in your meat mixture, helping prevent tough, crumbly meatballs.

4. Remember to taste

No, this doesn't mean that you should go around tasting raw meats because this might result in foodborne illnesses for you. However, one of the things a lot of people forget when making dishes made out of ground meats such as meatballs and meatloaves is tasting it for seasoning.

Sometimes, the recipe that we are following may not suit our palate. It's important to make sure that you've added enough salt, pepper, and spices to your liking.

You can do this by creating a test patty and frying it in the frying pan for a quick taste. You can then adjust the flavor of your dish after you've tasted it and it will definitely give you a better tasting dish than going in blind.

5. Don't pack it in

Sometimes, it can be tempting to make giant meatballs or grab chunks of the meat mixture while forming them. Unfortunately, going it this way can make your meatballs tough and rubbery. This will also happen if you compact and pack your meatballs tightly.

One of the best ways to make meatballs is by oiling your hands to keep the mixture from sticking. Gently roll the meatballs in your palm to form them, and don't squeeze them when you are rounding them out.

Make sure that the size of your meatballs is not too big as they can make cooking times longer and it will dry out your meatballs.

Alternatively, you can also use a small ice cream scoop to make sure that they are of the same size. A 1/4 cup ice cream scoop is a good size to make 1 or 2-inch sized meatballs. You can also use a melon baller if you'd like to make meatballs of a smaller size.

Final Thoughts

Frying delicious meatballs on the skillet

Meatballs can be cooked in many different ways. Because of this, there are varying times of cooking for meatballs depending on how you cook them.

Generally speaking, meatballs baked in the oven can take anywhere from about 15 minutes to over an hour of cooking time, depending on the temperature and size. Pan-fried and meatballs simmered in the sauce also have different cooking times.

What's important to know is that whenever you are cooking meatballs, you should reach the ideal internal temperature of about 165°F to ensure that your dish is safe for consumption.

Are you looking to learn more about meat dishes and information on cooking them? Here are some articles that you might find interesting:

Should You Cover Meatloaf When Baking It?

Can You Bake Hamburger Patties In The Oven?

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