Meatballs, albondigas, koftka, polpetta, are just some of the names for these meaty little bite-sized goodies. Across the globe, meatballs are on the menu!
While you may have eaten meatballs on a pile of spaghetti in an Italian-American restaurant or off a toothpick at a party, these little guys are versatile and make every dish they make an appearance in even better, including pizza. Check out our homemade meatball pizza!
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And in honor of National Meatball Day on March 9th, we want to share everything about meatballs and how to make homemade meatball pizza.
In Italy, meatballs are their own dish and are never served on spaghetti or pizza. They are served in marinara sauce or soup. The Italian-American meatballs that are in a meatball sub sandwich or pasta dish are an American take on the classic meatball.
And at some point, some brilliant pizza lover decided to top a tasty pizza with meatballs, and the rest is history. Not to mention all the other unusual meats to top your pizza with.
Best Meatballs for Homemade Meatball Pizza
Meatballs can be made with any meat, from basic beef to pork to lamb to veal. All you need is a meat grinder or an experienced butcher to give you the best ground meat. There are a lot of theories about the best combination of meats to use for meatballs.
As with everything, it’s a matter of taste and preference. We like a mix of half beef and half pork, but there are many ways to put them together, including healthier versions with ground chicken or turkey. And there are even plant-based meats that you can make into meatballs.
The basic meatball has no set recipe. They almost always have eggs to hold them together, and the rest can be a mix of breadcrumbs, lentils, bread soaked in milk, and spices. Because they are so versatile and a good way to use up leftover meats, they became a popular food and an easy, inexpensive way to feed the family.
Its true necessity is the mother of invention, and historically hungry bellies always find creative ways to get fed, so the meatball has been turned into many dishes, and everyone seems to have their own recipe.
Aside from which meats to use, the other important factor when it comes to meatballs is size, and in this case, size does matter. For homemade meatball pizza, you want to keep the size of the meatballs manageable.
Some pizzaiolos even cut the meatballs, so instead of golf ball-sized meatballs on the pizza, they use half or even slices of meatball. We prefer just to make them a little smaller because they are usually one of two or three other ingredients on the pizza.
How to Make Meatballs
Of course, you can buy bags of frozen meatballs, but you may be surprised to know that they are inexpensive and easy to make. Plus, because they are so customizable, you can get creative and play with the base recipe.
You don’t need any special tools to make meatballs just wash your hands and roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands dirty. If you are a person that likes to have uniform-sized meatballs, you can invest in a meatball baller to get a perfect size every time.
And if you have a lot of meatballs to make, then a meatball maker might be worth your time and money. Although we don’t recommend stuffed meatballs of pizza, if that’s your thing, then this little meatball stuffer is a good idea.
Other than that, a baking sheet, mixing bowl, spatula, and tongs are all you need. Meatballs can be made a couple of ways, the standard is to brown the balls in oil, and then when they are firm, let them bubble away in a red sauce.
But some health conscious home chefs also bake them and we have even heard some make them in the air fryer too. Since we are making them specifically to use on pizza we bake them.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound pork
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
- ½ cup of grate Parmesano Reggiano
- ½ cup of minced onion, preferably yellow
- 3 teaspoons of minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix everything together. We like to just get in there with clean hands and start mixing. Once it is evenly mixed, form small balls. Generally, we try and make them about the size of a ping pong ball or smaller. When we make meatballs, we make a big batch and freeze them; some get thrown on pizza and others in a tasty sub.
Place them on a baking sheet. Don’t forget to add a layer of parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place them in the oven on bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF. If you have an infrared thermometer, make sure it reads 165ºF, and then you can ensure they are cooked thoroughly. Halfway through cooking, they use tongs to turn them over.
- Freeze meatballs on a baking sheet, and once they are frozen then, put them in a reusable freezer bag. If you bag them before individually freezing them, you will end up with one large meatball.
- Play with spices. Italian spices make sense because they are going on an Italian pizza, but try other spices and customize the recipe.
- Replace Parmesano Reggiano with Grana Padano or Pecorino cheese; just avoid powdered parmesan in the green bottle.
Ways to Enjoy Meatballs on Pizza
- Green peppers, red onion, and meatballs
- Carmelized onions, blue cheese, and meatballs
- Pickled jalapeños rings, cherry tomatoes, and meatballs
- Pepperoni, Italian sausage, and meatballs
- Black olives, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and meatballs
What is your favorite way to eat homemade meatball pizza?