Meatballs are more complicated than they look. And as you hone your meatball-making skills, you might occasionally end up with batches that come out a bit dry or crumbly—or even the dreaded burnt-on-the-outside-yet-undercooked-on-the-inside.
To avoid these pitfalls and bring out all the flavor packed into this beloved comfort food, we sat down with Chef Elana, the head of Culinary here at Plated. She told us her pro-tips and tricks for making the perfect meatball. Follow her expert advice below, and see for yourself—your next homemade meatball might be the best one you’ve made yet!
1. Test just one meatball at first, to make sure you got the mixture right.
To be sure you seasoned the meatballs properly, make a very small sample meatball and cook it in a pan. Once it’s cooked, give it a taste and, if needed, add more salt and pepper to the main batch.
2. A great secret ingredient? Ricotta.
Add ricotta cheese to the mix for super-moist and juicy meatballs that also pack a cheesy flavor.
3. Don’t over-mix the meat.
Mix the raw meat and other ingredients just enough that they’re evenly combined—about 10 seconds. The less handled, the more tender the meat will be.
4. When rolling, keep your palms flat.
Keep your palms flat and fingers straight when rolling the mixture into balls. This will create even, round meatballs that, again, aren’t over-handled.
5. Keep them all the same size.
Make sure all of your meatballs are the same size so that they cook evenly. You’ll avoid burnt and/or undercooked meatballs and end up with a perfectly consistent batch.
6. Finish cooking them in the sauce.
Always finish cooking meatballs in the sauce. This will keep them moist and help the sauce coat them.