Who hasn’t had the craving for some plump and juicy pork meatballs from time to time? We certainly have, which is why we’re excited to share our favorite spicy ground pork meatball recipe. It’s a quick weeknight dinner full of bold flavor and perfect with spaghetti!
Why You’ll Love Pork Meatballs
First of all, who doesn’t love a good meatball? Not only are they easy to make, but they’re also incredibly versatile. Served alone, they make a great appetizer or side dish, and as part of a main dish such as spaghetti. Flavorful meatballs can tie a delicious meal together. It’s one of our favorite weeknight dinners, and we keep it low-carb without giving up an ounce of flavor! You can even dress them down by tossing them in a meatball sandwich for an easy lunch. This easy meatball recipe uses simple ingredients, but you’ll feel like a chef with a five-star rating when you serve it.
Of course, meatball recipes come in many forms and can be made from anything from beef to turkey, but for this recipe, we’ll be using ground pork and sausage. Don’t get me wrong, those other meats have their place in the meatball pantheon, but I find it hard to beat the results you get from ground pork. These baked meatballs are plump and delectably tender but hold together until you slide your spoon into one.
When you put that spoon to your mouth, the real magic happens. A hint of red pepper provides a subtle kick, while the natural savor of the meat blends with fresh garlic on the palate. Coated in marinara and garnished with parmesan and parsley, there’s so much flavor you’ll want to bask in the glow of every bite.
- Ground pork
- Ground Italian sausage – hot or sweet
- Pork panko
- Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt – we always use kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Favorite marinara sauce – we love this Rao’s marinara sauce
- Al dente spaghetti or zoodles
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Spicy Ground Pork Meatballs:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, Italian sausage, pork panko, parmesan cheese, a large egg, minced garlic (garlic powder will do in a pinch), red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Gently mix to combine. If the meatball mixture isn’t holding together properly, add one more egg and mix thoroughly once more.
Divide the meat mixture and form into 1” meatballs using gloved hands or a cookie scoop. This recipe will produce 24 1″ meatballs, or fewer if you prefer larger meatballs.
Place the formed meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes. This helps them firm back up before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Arrange the meatballs on a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165° F with a digital thermometer and are browned on top.
How to Serve Pork Meatballs
When ready to serve, toss the meatballs into a saucepan filled with your favorite marinara to coat.
Spoon the meatballs with a slotted spoon over al dente pasta, zoodles or a bed of spinach and arugula (our personal favorite) that has been tossed in marinara sauce to coat. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and minced parsley. Serve hot.
For an alternative but equally classic take, try a meatball sandwich! Line sliced hoagies with provolone cheese, add your meatballs along with a drizzle of marinara, garnish with your parmesan and parsley, and enjoy.
Meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen, making them a great way to help with meal prep. For best results, par freeze your meatballs on a baking sheet. Once they’re frozen, toss them into resealable Ziplocs, freezer bags, or other airtight container or freezer containers and pop them in the freezer. They’ll store for up to three months.
Didn’t finish your meatballs off last night at dinner? Don’t worry! They keep easily for next time. To reheat, microwave them in bursts 30 seconds at a time.
To reheat leftover meatballs from frozen, simply preheat your oven to 350° F. Place the frozen ground pork meatballs on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
The best way to tell if pork meatballs are cooked is with a meat thermometer. For food safety reasons and for the best flavor, pork meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
For simplicity’s sake, this recipe uses ground pork and ground sausage. However, if you have the ability to grind your own meat, you can use cuts like pork shoulder, pork belly, or pork tenderloin. You want a good fat ratio. This helps not only the shape hold together, but prevents it from dry meatballs out while cooking. Remember, Fat = flavor.
The key to keeping your meatballs from falling apart is a binding agent. In this recipe, we’re using eggs, which help bind the ground meat and spices together, so they stay in shape when you form them without becoming tough. We’re also using pork panko breadcrumbs, which absorb excess moisture released by the raw meat during the cooking process. Regular panko or traditional breadcrumbs will work here as well.
If you enjoyed this spicy ground pork meatball recipe, or any other recipe on Girl Carnivore as much as we do, let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share it with friends and family! Your feedback is what keeps us motivated to keep sharing the best meat recipes on the web!
Easy Ground Pork Meatballs Recipe
For the pork meatballs:
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage hot or sweet
- 1/2 cup pork panko you can use regular panko if desired
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs Start w/ one and see if an additional is needed
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Favorite marinara sauce
- Al dente spaghetti
- Parsley mined
- Grated parmesan cheese
Make the meatballs:
- In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, Italian sausage, pork panko, parmesan cheese, egg, miced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Gently mix to combine.
- Divide the meat mixture and form into 24 1” meatballs.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Bake the meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Arrange the meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and are browned on top.
- When ready to serve, toss the meatballs into a saucepan filled with your favorite marinara to coat.
- Spoon the meatballs over al dente pasta that has been tossed in marinara sauce to coat. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, minced parsley and serve hot.
We bake them in batches for easy meal prep.
Meatballs can be made ahead and frozen. Par freeze on a baking sheet after you have cooked the meatballs. Once they have frozen, toss them into a resealable ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, simply pop the frozen meatballs back in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes.