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  • Writer's pictureRita Winthrop

Homemade Meatballs

I think sometimes people assume that making a home cooked meal is going to take hours. If you've been following me for a while, I would like to think you have come to understand that I don't make recipes that way. Most of us don't want to spend hours and hours cooking, especially given that we work full time, or are parents, or are in school. I decided to write up my meatball recipe today, mostly because, I made them during my hour-long lunch break. It's been a busy week for Frank and I, and I have plans with a friend tonight, so I wanted to make sure his night was easy for when he gets home. All he'll need is to whip up some pasta, make a quick salad and heat these meatballs back up. And of course, these are gluten free and dairy free and while this batch is ground turkey, I use the same amounts if I'm using beef.

The best way I've found to make the juiciest meatballs with the most flavor is in none other my cast iron pan. Turn your oven to 400 degrees and let pre-heat while you prepare the meatballs. This time around I used ground turkey. In a medium sized bowl combine turkey, an egg, oregano, basil, minced garlic, dried minced onion, a dash of cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. While I typically just use a gluten free breadcrumb mix, today I had a leftover (stale) piece of cornbread (that is also gf/df) so I ground it up to replace my breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly and shape out into meatballs. I typically will get anywhere from 6-10 meatballs depending on how big I make them.

At this point, over medium to high heat, bring a little olive oil in your cast iron to temperature. You want it HOT. Put each meatball in the pan - it should sizzle. Cook on each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. I use a spatula to flip them around. Last, turn off your heat and pour your favorite pasta or marinara sauce over. I like to just about cover them. There is something about doing it in the cast iron with the sauce that allows them to be crispy on the outside, while locking in the moisture on the inside - and with all that sauce, they cook pretty evenly and quickly. At this point pop them into the oven for about 20-30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes I'll top with some dairy free parmesan and let it brown. Serve over your favorite pasta, zoodles, on the side of a salad, or even make a meatball sub.

Homemade Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 on stove, 20-30 in oven


  • 1lb ground turkey or beef

  • 1 egg

  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon basil

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Dash of cayenne

  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In medium sized bowl mix together all ingredients up through the sauce. Form meatballs.

  3. In cast iron pan, over medium to high heat with a little olive oil, place meatballs and brown for a few minutes each side.

  4. Turn off heat, pour in sauce. Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Top with cheese if you'd like.



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