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Blow Your Mind Meatballs

These delicious, meaty, herby and savory meatballs made without breadcrumbs will actually Blow your Mind! You’ve been asking “how do I make meatballs without breadcrumbs?” and I’ve got an answer for you.

The perfect bitesize forever unforgettable meatball that pleases just your whole family (and YOU too!). Delightfully easy and fun too! I’ll show you how! 

A photo from above of meatballs without breadcrumbs in a silver dish that shows 3 spoons, 3 bowls stacked up and a kitchen towel

How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

WHY THIS RECIPE FOR HOW TO MAKE MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS WORKS!

  • I show you how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs!
  • A balance of three kinds of meats.
  • You’ll get plenty of possible substitutions, so chances are, you’ll have what you need. 
  • Meaty, juicy and always perfect. 
A very close up photo Meatballs without breadcrumbs from the side in their cooking dish with the sunlight shining down on them and glistening

How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

How Do I Make Italian Meatballs?

Most Italian meatballs are made by mixing three types of meat:  

  • beef,
  • pork and
  • veal

together and then adding a filler that will fluff up the meat and some eggs to stick it together and some seasonings as well.

All of that is mixed together, rolled into the typical ball shape and either baked or fried , depending on your preference and then most American’s simmer in a tomato sauce

 

A very close up photo of the meatballs without breadcrumbs in their serving dish over spaghetti noodles

How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

 

How do I Make Meatballs From Scratch?

Meatballs don’t get much better than this. 

The recipe below includes  ground beef, sausage and ground lamb rather than the usual ingredients – but is so flavorful, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

How Long Do I Bake the Meatballs in the Oven?

Bake your meatballs for 20 minutes. If you prefer a char on your meatballs, then bake for 10 minutes and broil for 5.

 

A photo of the meatballs without breadcrumbs in the pot they are cooked in slightly from the side

How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

HOW DO I MAKE TENDER MEATBALLS? 

The secret to tender meatballs is to handle, knead and massage the meat as little as possible.

Refer to the video that is in the recipe card below and observe Wendi tearing the meat up before mixing it together, this helps mix the meat without causing it to become tough. 

WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD OF BREADCRUMBS IN MEATBALLS? 

This recipe uses Saltine Crackers instead of breadcrumbs. You could also use….

  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal
  • softened cornmeal
  • Flour
  • Rice

HOW DO I GET MY MEATBALLS TO STICK TOGETHER? 

That’s the purpose of the eggs. Eggs act like a glue in this recipe and will hold the meat together.

Scoop out a slightly smaller than a golfball piece of meat, roll it gently together between your palms and place it on the baking sheet. 

A view from above of the meatballs without breadcrumbs in the pot they are cooked in with some parsley

How to Make Meatballs without breadcrumbs

DO MEATBALLS NEED BREADCRUMBS? 

No, you can use one of several different “fillers” such as bread, crackers, rice or even flours. 

HOW LONG ARE MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS GOOD FOR? 

These meatballs will be good for up to two hours if you leave them out of the refrigerator. 

Cover them and place them in the refrigerator within 2 hours and then they will be good for another 5 days.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BLOW YOUR MIND MEATBALLS

The Meatballs

  • This is really important – DO NOT over handle the meat. Usually, I have you mixing things in as soon as you add them. Not this time. Simply start with the saltines in the milk and let that sit. While that is soaking, put ALL of the other stuff in a bowl and let it set until the saltine milk is ready to add. When you add the saltine milk, then using your hands, gently mix everything together as completely as possible. As SOON as it is mixed together, start rolling your meatballs.
  • I experimented with several sizes of meatballs. The size that holds its shape the best is a little smaller than a golf ball. Go with that size.
  • Roll the meatballs up and place them on the prepared pan.
  • DO NOT forget to spray your tin foil with non stick cooking spray – because the meatballs will stick and then you will lose that wonderful caramelization along the bottom of the meatball.
  • The meatballs are gonna sag a little when they cook – don’t worry – it is normal.
  • Remove the meatballs from the pan GENTLY – they aren’t baseballs.
  • Ever so gently drop the meatballs into the sauce.

Simmering

  • Simmer means that the sauce just barely bubbles. No vigorous stirring of the sauce once the meatballs are added. Gentle stirring only. Scrape up along the bottom of the dish with each stir.
  • Simmer for a couple of hours if you can and stir every once in awhile.

The Ingredients

  • I used Italian parsley in this dish but I’ll be honest  I live in the country and I can’t always find Italian Parsley at the grocery here. Curly parsley will do. I think it has less flavor though  (just my opinion). Chop the parsley as fine as you are able, it doesn’t wilt a lot in the meatballs.
  • As usual, if you don’t like garlic (I sometimes get complaints that I use too much garlic in my recipes) – you could leave it out – but then your meatballs won’t taste just right – so, you decide. Plus – there is always the added benefit of vampire deterrent if you add the garlic. Lol.

The Milk

  • I know you are probably going to have questions about the saltines in the milk. Here is the answer to your question. Have you ever let a bowl of cornflakes sit out for too long and when you come back they are all mushy and unappetizing? That is what the saltines should look like. They are ready to add to the hamburger when they have absorbed all of the milk. That is how you will know. You must stir them pretty frequently to encourage them to absorb all of the milk.
  • You probably are going to ask me if you can use 2% or 1% or skim milk in this recipe. The answer is no. Use Whole milk. That is part of the beauty of the recipe – you can even brag – “Try  my whole milk meatballs”  That is what Kitchen Roselli does – so be authentic. OK OK, if you try the other kinds of milk – let us know what happens. I don’t recommend it however.
  • You are also going to ask me what to do with the other ¼ lbs of meat. The answer is, “I don’t know”. Make a couple of burger patties – I bet they will be good.

HOW CAN I USE THESE MEATBALLS WITHOUT BREADCRUMBS? 

These meatballs are TERRIFIC simmered all afternoon long in my San Marzano Tomato Sauce!

Need some tasty sides? How about…

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli. That would be super quick! 

Meatballs without breadcrumbs could be introduced with some crusty Summer Party Bruschetta

And, it goes without saying that making these with kids would be perfect, Check out 9 Powerful reasons to be Cooking with Kids

Let’s see just how this is done…

First, carefully tear the meat into small pieces and place in a bowl together with the eggs.

Wendi tearing up meat and placing into a glass bowl with small dishes of other ingredients in foreground

How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

Then Add the seasonings, herbs, saltines, milk and parmesan cheese.

Wendi pouring the cracker crumbs into the meat mixture with other ingredients in bowls in foreground

how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

Use a scoop to get perfectly even amounts of meat. Roll into small balls and place on the prepared sheet pans. Then bake! It’s that easy!

a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil with meatballs lined up on the pan

how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

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THE RECIPE FOR BLOW YOUR MIND MEATBALLS

A photo from above of Blow Your Mind Meatballs that shows 3 spoons, 3 bowls stacked up and a kitchen towel

Blow Your Mind Meatballs

Clinically proven to be the most perfect meatball for your weekend!  These meatballs without breadcrumbs are juicy, meaty, tasty and succulent.  Perfect meatballs.  They will blow your mind!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatballs, meatballs without breadcrumbs
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 330kcal
Author: Loaves and Dishes

Ingredients

  • Cup Whole milk
  • ½ cup smashed saltine crackers
  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • ¾ lb breakfast sausage
  • ¾ lb ground lamb
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • Prepare two baking dishes with aluminum foil sprayed heavily with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the whole milk and the saltine cracker crumbs. Mix well and set aside.
  • Place all of the other items into a large bowl together - tearing the meats into small pieces as you go. Do not mix the meats until ready to add in the crackers/milk mix.
  • When the cracker milk mix resembles breakfast cereal that has been allowed to sit out for too long, then add to the meat mixture and using your hands mix well.
  • Once the meat mixture is well mixed, roll into balls that are about the size of golf balls and place on the baking sheets - placing no more than 12 per sheet.
  • Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and place into an awaiting rich tomato sauce and simmer for several hours until ready to serve. We prefer to serve over spaghetti

Notes

The Meatballs

  • This is really important - DO NOT over handle the meat.  Usually, I have you mixing things in as soon as you add them.  Not this time.  Simply start with the saltines in the milk and let that sit.  While that is soaking, put ALL of the other stuff in a bowl and let it set until the saltine milk is ready to add.  When you add the saltine milk, then using your hands, gently mix everything together as completely as possible.  As SOON as it is mixed together, start rolling your meatballs.
  • I experimented with several sizes of meatballs.  The size that holds its shape the best is a little smaller than a golf ball.  Go with that size.  
  • Roll the meatballs up and place them on the prepared pan.
  • DO NOT forget to spray your tin foil with non stick cooking spray - because the meatballs will stick and then you will lose that wonderful caramelization along the bottom of the meatball.
  • The meatballs are gonna sag a little when they cook - don’t worry - it is normal.
  • Remove the meatballs from the pan GENTLY - they aren’t baseballs.
  • Ever so gently drop the meatballs into the sauce.

Simmering

  • Simmer means that the sauce just barely bubbles.  No vigorous stirring of the sauce once the meatballs are added.  Gentle stirring only.  Scrape up along the bottom of the dish with each stir.
  • Simmer for a couple of hours if you can and stir every once in awhile.

The Ingredients

  • I used Italian parsley in this dish but I’ll be honest  I live in the country and I can’t always find Italian Parsley at the grocery here.  Curly parsley will do. I think it has less flavor though  (just my opinion).  Chop the parsley as fine as you are able, it doesn’t wilt a lot in the meatballs.
  • As usual, if you don’t like garlic (I sometimes get complaints that I use too much garlic in my recipes) - you could leave it out - but then your meatballs won’t taste just right - so, you decide.  Plus - there is always the added benefit of vampire deterrent if you add the garlic.  Lol.

The Milk

  • I know you are probably going to have questions about the saltines in the milk.  Here is the answer to your question.  Have you ever let a bowl of cornflakes sit out for too long and when you come back they are all mushy and unappetizing?  That is what the saltines should look like.  They are ready to add to the hamburger when they have absorbed all of the milk.  That is how you will know.  You must stir them pretty frequently to encourage them to absorb all of the milk.
  • You probably are going to ask me if you can use 2% or 1% or skim milk in this recipe.  The answer is no.  Use Whole milk.  That is part of the beauty of the recipe - you can even brag - “Try  my whole milk meatballs”  That is what Kitchen Roselli does - so be authentic.  OK OK, if you try the other kinds of milk - let us know what happens.  I don’t recommend it however.  
  • You are also going to ask me what to do with the other ¼ lbs of meat.  The answer is, “I don’t know”.  Make a couple of burger patties - I bet they will be good.  

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Blow Your Mind Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 330
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

***This post was originally shared on July 21, 2017 and has been updated with new information, video and the recipe card has been updated***

 A VERSE TO SHARE

I’m fixing to say something that might not be very popular. This being summer, it is probably the best season for throwing vegetables – so just hurl away if this makes you mad. I’m gonna say it anyway.

Most folks don’t like to hear about the devil. I believe he is alive and well. Oh, he doesn’t have more power than he used to have – but he IS a liar. Sometimes it is hard to discern his voice from even  your own! He is a mimic like that.

A few weeks ago, I asked for ya’ll to please pray for me. I had a BIG decision to make. Then I told you that I made it – it was a done deal and no backsies now. I never did tell you what the big decision was though.

The Big Decision

The BIG decision is that I decided to quit my full time job. The one that paid the bills. The one that offered 401K. That one that offered paid vacations, annual bonuses and an annual raise. The one that allowed me to work from home in my jammies and with my dog laying by my feet snoozing away. Yeah that one.

Why? Why did I do such a thing?

It may have been the DUMBEST thing I EVER did!

Don’t think I haven’t wondered if it was.

But I have faith. I prayed about it. I asked you to pray about it. Then, God just made a way. Things fell EXACTLY into place. I applied to a part time job that I thought sounded interesting and fun – like something that I would truly enjoy.

Things That Happened

I am not joking here – when I sat down in the interview chair the owner of the company said, “I’ve already decided from your resume to hire you if you want the job – so, let’s just get that out of the way right now”. She answered every single question I had and couldn’t have been any nicer. I left the interview dumbfounded. When has that ever happened?

I checked the calendar to see when an official “two weeks” notice would fall – and it would fall EXACTLY on the day I returned from vacation.

Just to be more fair to my coworkers, I gave an extra few days so that my last day fell at the end of the month.

Uh -oh, I found out AFTER I tendered my resignation that my health insurance would also end on the last day of the month of the last month I worked.

That’s ok

– have a little FAITH – my husband’s insurance picked right up where the old one left off.

I needed a TB test before I could start work – no problem – my doctor’s office fit me right in and no problem reading the test either – they got me in and out so that I was to work on time that morning.

Why I say all of that

I tell you all of this to say – Don’t sweat it – God is in this. I know it. He knows it. I think He knows plenty about this little ministry I’ve got going here that I call a food blog.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

I am officially into week number 3 of “not working full time”. Now, mind  you, I AM working part time at a regular job AND I am working diligently here. There are posts to get out twice per week and there are several behind the scenes projects I’m working on.

Plus, I have family obligations and such – just like you.

The Struggle

But anyway, this week I have STRUGGLED with myself. When it is time to sit down at this computer I am finding ALL KINDS of other things that I need to do – like fold a load of laundry, check the email, let the dog in/out, make a quiche for my daughter’s friend.

Seriously, the list of things that I can find to do rather than sit down here and give my concentration to writing, photography, blog planning, behind the scene project work can get VERY long.

Creative friends of mine call  this “The Resistance”.

Recently,  Bjork Ostrom (whom I idolize) talking about this very thing on his podcast. He said that with creative people whenever The Resistance is felt – it is leading you to the MOST important thing that you could work on.

So, beat down the Resistance and work through it.

I’ve thought about that a lot. I am suffering through The Resistance. But in my mind, The Resistance isn’t some nebulous part of myself that I am battling because of some hidden fear of doing the important work. Oh No Sir! In my mind….

(here comes the unpopular part)

The Resistance is that bad old devil.

You’ve heard, “The devil made me do it” ? Well, I’m telling you, the devil made me NOT do it – a lot!

Hang with me here. I’m coming on down the final approach with this.

If I believe this blog is a calling of sorts (and I do). I believe it is God who has helped me get this far and has seen a way to make it happen for me to QUIT my paying day job in order to pursue this dream more (and I do). Then WHO would be trying to stumble me up from producing the content that may help others?

One guy – that ol tricky devil. That’s who.

Oh, he sounds a lot like me when he hisses in my ear. “Wendi, what if those photos aren’t appetizing enough – you better sit down and look at some more spaghetti photos until you get a better handle on what you want them to look like”. “Hey, there might be an email from work that you need to respond to right now instead of working on your project”. “Wendi…..”.

The Answer

The answer to all of that noise? Listen for the still quiet voice. Be still and know that I AM! You know who said that? Yeah, not ol devil, that’s for sure!

I have read that the closer we are walking with God, the harder the devil will try to trip us up. I’ve experienced it before – I bet you have too.

In fact, when did the ol devil start messing with Jesus? Right after he had been baptized and saw/felt the spirit come down upon him. What did Jesus do?

Jesus rebuked the ol devil – told him to get the heck out. Guess what the devil did? He left.

The Lesson

That is a lesson for me. From now on – I’m not just going to muscle through The Resistance like I’ve been doing.

I’m going to bow my head and ask for strength and then I am loudly and forcefully going to tell Satan to hit the road because I’ve got work to do.

Important work of showing folks great recipes,  how to make them, why they work and great words from our Lord, ways to think about them and why they work in our lives.

Can I get an Amen?

Here is Matthew 4: 1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

 

 

 

 

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Moxie

Friday 2nd of February 2018

Made them - WOW!

Laura Lynch

Sunday 23rd of July 2017

My dear, sweet, discerning friend! I have prayed about your job transition! The Lord will will care of you! He knows your heart! This post was just what I needed tonight as I sat down to decompress, and to be reminded to ever be on guard for the one that will try to trip us, and to trust in the One that will ever be beside, before and behind us!! Love you WJ!

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 27th of July 2017

Hi Laura! Thank you so much! I'm glad I helped you decompress! :) That other guy is tricky and you have to be careful - at least that is my experience. He is a joy stealer. :)

Sammie

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

AMEN and thank you Lord Jesus for Wendi. For her courage, strength and determination to live the life you have planned for her x

Wendi, when I need sustenance for my soul, our Lord knows and leads me to your blog. The words you have written have, apart from filling me with that intangible touch of the Holy Spirit, uplifted and encouraged me. I love your recipes, but most of all I love this blog. In a changing world, especially here in the U.K. we need to here the voice of God clearly. Some days I literally have to say out loud "Satan get thee behind me." I turn my eyes to God a refocus on what I am meant to do. I want to encourage you and tell you that I am going to be praying for you. It may not be everyday, but the one blessing of the seizures I have is that I am conscious and can pray. I've pinned your meatball recipe twice, because I have a new meatball board!! Love Sam xx

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

Sammie - It is ALWAYS such a joy to hear from you! Thank you for the prayers - I can certainly use them! I'll keep you in my prayers as well! How you keep on keeping on can only be explained as the work of Our Lord. It can be so hard to hear the voice of God clearly. I was listening to some stand up comics on Netflix the other day and am constantly astounded at how "trendy" it is to NOT believe in (not just a Christian God) but ANY God. Wow. Godless society - what could go wrong? Sammie- I'm lifting you up. Thank you again for stopping by and leaving me a comment!

Ann Krieg

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

That was Kitchen Roselli! So sorry to misspell!

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

Well.... I knew what you meant! :)

Ann Krieg

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

I can't wait to try this recipe. Rosalie Kitchen is a favorite restaurant. And, there's something that brings the kid out of me whenever I get a meatball. "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese..." Good luck with your job change. You will be successful at whatever you do. I hope you love, love it. I really don't know how you have managed working full time, taking care of family & home, inventing yummy recipes, and blogging faithfully.

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 22nd of July 2017

Hi Ann! Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I feel the EXACT same way about meatballs! I LOVE them. My husband admitted to me the other day that he does not feel that way - I looked at him as if he were committing an act of TREASON! Thank you so much for the well wishes with the job - I'm enjoying it so much already. I'm enjoying seeing your photos of your beautiful new home via FB and wishing you the best as well!

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