Tender Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – MyChefsApron

Authentic Italian Meatballs & Sauce (Low Carb).The Perfect Healthy Italian Meatballs Low Carb.Low carb Italian meatballs & sauce.
This old family recipe makes flavorful, attendant Italian meatballs (no breadcrumbs needed) !
They ‘re cooked in an authentic easy-to-make homemade Italian tomato sauce and simmer retentive adequate for all the flavors and seasoning to come together .
Here is everything you need to know about authentic Italian meatballs in a homemade red sauce!

A large pot containing an Italian red sauce with beef meatballs.
My father ‘s side of the kin is primitively from Italy. So I grew up learning how to make some beautiful homemade South italian dishes ( rooted in Calabria ) .
And I think it is long delinquent to share my favored manner of making our traditional Italian meatballs in tomato sauce .
No matter what new recipes I create, this classic handed-down recipe will always remain a favored in my family .

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s straightforward to make, as it should be. 
  • Although we’re cooking the meatballs in the sauce over the stove, it’s a relatively hands-off process.
  • Most importantly, you won’t get enough of the amazing flavors of this tomato sauce—It’s finger-licking good.
  • And the home-style meatballs are tender, moist, and so flavorful—you can’t beat the homemade stuff.
  • Plus, having Italian meatballs in tomato sauce in the fridge means the base for a great recipe is already prepped, and you’ll have endless easy dinner ideas!

Let me contribution some notes that might come in handy when making this italian authoritative !
A wooden fork pierced into a juicy meatball.
When it comes to making the meatballs, I deviated a little bit from how my late grandmother used to make them with just a few adaptations:

  • I use a whole egg instead of egg yolks.
  • I omit the fresh breadcrumbs because you don’t need them—I prefer no breadcrumbs. Yep, they’re gluten-free meatballs and taste even better, in my opinion).
  • Instead, I add more Parmesan cheese to get moist low-carb meatballs in a tomato sauce that won’t fall apart.

Note : I only saw my grandma add breadcrumbs to rework old baked boodle .

Ingredients to make the meatballs

Ground beef, egg, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Fresh parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper in a stainless steel bowl.
PICK THE RIGHT GROUND MEAT : My personal favored is grind gripe. Although my grandma often besides used pork barrel or a assortment of both .
Fattier kernel yields more tender gripe meatballs. so, do n’t go for extra tend. 80% lean beef meat is best to render soft meatballs and a healthier tomato sauce .
EGG : adds moisture and acts as a binder .
GARLIC : minced garlic is a must for flavorful italian meatballs .
GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE : the fatten subject of this amazing flavorful tall mallow keeps the meatballs bid and damp during cook .
PARSLEY : this fragrant herb adds incredible spirit. I often opt for one cup of chop fresh parsley rather of half a cup for two pounds of beef. But, a carnival warn, I am a parsley lover !
SEASONING : salt and impertinently ground pepper. I frequently find that half a teaspoon is enough to add to the propose sum of ground meat because the Parmesan cheese already adds salt, and you ‘ll besides salt the tomato sauce .

The best way to form meatballs

A large cutting board holding a lot of raw and seasoned meat balls.

  • Roll with your hands. It’s the quickest way to work in all the ingredients and handle the ground meat swiftly.
  • Gently and loosely form equally-sized meatballs from the meat mixture.
  • Wet your hands a little or coat them with a tad of olive oil for easy rolling.
  • Don’t pack them too tightly cause that affects their texture and can make them too chewy.
  • Place them back into the fridge if you still have to start the tomato sauce so the meatballs stay cold, or make them while the tomato sauce is already simmering on the stove.

Note : The ingredients will yield about 10 to 14 large meatballs. But you decidedly can get more if you make them smaller .

How to cook meatballs in sauce until tender

Yes, I cook meatballs in the sauce without browning them first—it must be a Southern Italian thing.
I ‘ve been watching the make of meatballs in italian tomato sauce since I was …. well … very small .
And my family always dropped them right into the simmering sauce to get that mouthwatering, tender texture. It makes the tomato sauce smack better excessively .
But there are some basic steps to keep the meatballs from falling apart and get that non-grainy yet moist texture.
so, let ‘s go over them then you can enjoy them for dinner tonight .
A wooden fork pierced into a juicy bitten meatball.

How to keep meatballs from falling apart in the sauce

You can do a few things while preparing the meatballs to ensure they do n’t fall apart once they go into the tomato sauce .

Don’t add too much moisture

  • Since these meatballs have no breadcrumbs or flour, the egg and the grated parmesan cheese are used here as a binder.
  • Their extra moisture and fat content will keep the meatballs tender and moist during cooking.
  • But too much moisture will make them soggy. So for 2 to 3 pounds of meat, stick with one large egg ( two small ones) and one cup of grated parmesan cheese.
  • Apply this tip even when you decide to add some breadcrumbs.

Keep the meat as cold as possible

  • Another trick to having meatballs hold their shape is to keep your meat as cold as possible.
  • It helps to form them, and they won’t lose as much fat before cooking them in the sauce.
  • Once the meat is shaped, pop the meatballs back into the fridge while you attend to the sauce, or make them while the sauce is already simmering on the stove.

A bowl holding season ground beef.

Don’t overwork the meat

  • Or so I’ve always been told—I can still hear the kitchen voices ring through. I only learned later that this advice affects the meatball’s texture.
  • The best meatballs are rolled with your hands—another one of those past voices. It’s the quickest way to work in all the ingredients and handle the ground meat swiftly.

Add meatballs to a simmering sauce & don’t overstir

  • When ready to add them to the tomato sauce, stir them in when the sauce has already come to a simmer.
  • At this point, the meat is still raw and fragile. So add the meatballs one by one until nicely divided into the pot and almost entirely covered by the red sauce!
  • Just give them one or two gentle stirs. That’s it. Now let them gently simmer, pot-half-covered. And keep an eye on the sauce.

How long to cook raw meatballs in sauce

BEEF MEATBALLS take a spot longer to become tender, so let them simmer for at least one to one and a half, preferably two hours .
PORK MEATBALLS only need about 45 minutes of simmering in the sauce .
Always check one of the meatballs before serving to ensure they are thoroughly cooked through .
Note: It ‘s one of those weekend recipes that you can easily let simmer unattended on the stove while you curl up on the sofa and read a reserve or do other things around the house. Just keep an center on it .

Ingredients to make an easy authentic tomato sauce

  • This homemade tomato sauce recipe is comforting and extremely satisfying.
  • It doesn’t take much to make a tasty sauce other than a few essential ingredients and allow the flavors to come together gently.
  • It is all in the tomatoes, the quality of the olive oil, and the beautiful fragrances of Basil and Oregano using garlic and shallots as the base of your sauce.

Note: There are indeed many unlike ways of making a tasty italian tomato sauce. While traveling through Italy, I enjoyed some antic homemade pasta sauces profoundly rooted in syndicate traditions and their origins. But this simple tomato sauce recipe is the matchless I grew up with and silent make today .
Whole peeled, diced, strained tomatoes, salt and pepper, olive oil, Basil, shallot, dried oregano, and garlic cloves as ingredients to make Italian tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce recipe steps (Sugo di Pomodoro)

The simplicity of making a basic tomato sauce requires a bit of your attention, especially in the beginning to build up the flavors.
In summation, what you add and what type of ( canned ) tomatoes you use can create unlike variations of the lapp sauce .
STEP 1 : fudge and touch the garlic and shallot for 10 seconds in the heat olive oil to merely release their aromas, giving the sauce that fantastic fragrant base .
Don’t let the garlic brown because it can give the sauce a sour sample .
A pot with olive oil, chopped garlic and shallots.
STEP 2 : Add the tomatoes and season with tear Basil leaves, oregano, salt, and pepper .
Basil is the primary herb in this sauce, but when the tomatoes taste excessively sweet, the veracious come of oregano beautifully balances their flavors. I highly recommend adding it !
A large pot containing authentic seasoned Italian red sauce.
STEP 3 : Let the sauce come to a gentle but steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes. then change to a broken heat setting while preparing or adding the meatballs .

How to thicken tomato sauce

  • Nothing beats a steady simmer over the stove to build a rich tomato flavor and thicken a good tomato sauce. 
  • Keep your pot half-covered, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.
  • An extended cooking period also concentrates the sauce flavors, especially when adding meatballs.

Note : If you prefer a very legato texture, let the tomato sauce first simmer to build the flavors. then remove the batch from the stove, transfer the meatballs to a bowl, and cautiously hand mix the sauce until you get the desire consistency .

Serving suggestions

In my house, there is actually no specific rule for what to serve with these homestyle meatballs in tomato sauce .
A plate with spaghetti noodles, and topped with a red Italian sauce and juicy meatballs.
Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:
A large wooden bowl filled with raw zucchini noodles topped with an Italian red spaghetti sauce and beef meatballs.

Storage suggestions

In the fridge :

  • Allow for the meatballs and the sauce to cool completely.
  • Then divide the sauce and meatballs into portion-controlled airtight containers.
  • They can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days—the sauce can go even longer, up to 7 days.

In the freezer:

  • Let the sauce cool completely.
  • Store in freezer-safe containers.
  • Best to label the containers with a date.
  • Freeze and use within 6 months.


Do you need to put sugar in tomato sauce? not if you use good canned tomatoes. A adept tomato sauce requires naturally dessert tomatoes, so go for the best-canned unharmed and strained tomatoes you can find. Brands like Pomi, Jovial, and Bionaturae never have let me down. Their tomatoes are sugared and sourced from sustainable grow in Italy ! All are promptly available at most grocery stores or on-line. Whatever your preference, choose canned tomatoes that are salt-free, sugar-free, and not diluted with water. Do Italians use canned tomatoes? absolutely. My grandma much used her own grow sweetly tomatoes, and she went through fudge and bottling them every year. But she always had extra canned tomatoes from her darling store brands in her pantry. Now you know all the secrets to making good meatballs and a finger-licking good red tomato sauce. It is time for you to make them ! ! ! Mangia, Mangia !

Have questions? Simply comment below or message me. If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and a starred review below. Thank you!
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📖 Recipe

A large pot containing an Italian red sauce with beef meatballs.

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Mariska Ramondino

Delicious authentic Italian meatballs made in a homemade tomato sauce!




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To Make the Meatballs

  • 2 pounds land gripe ( 80 to 85 % lean footing beef ) 908 grams

  • 1 egg

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 90 grams

  • ½ cup finely chopped Parsley anywhere from 25 to 30 grams

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • newly ground black pepper I use about ½ teaspoon

To Make the Tomato Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 shallot or leek finely chopped

  • 1 cling garlic minced

  • 2 bottles unharmed peeled tomatoes 18.3 ounces or 520 grams each

  • 1 bottle strained tomatoes 24 ounces or 680 grams

  • 4 solid leaves fresh Basil

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper


Make the Meatballs

  • identify the meat in a large bowl. then, with your fist, make a little dent in the center of the grate gripe .
  • Add the testis, garlic, parsley, and tall mallow — season with salt and pepper .
  • Mix the ingredients by kneading with your hands just until they’re combined. Don’t overwork the meat. Instead, swiftly combine the ingredients for tender meatballs.

  • Divide the mixture into 10 or 14 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball ; shop it in the electric refrigerator, and proceed to make the tomato sauce .

Make the Tomato Sauce

  • In a big pot, heat the oil over average heat. Add the shallot and garlic—Cook and stimulate for 10 seconds to release their aroma. Do not let the garlic and shallot brown .
  • Add the whole peeled tomatoes and crush them into humble chunks with a wooden spoon. Bring to a regular simmer .
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, with the pot partially covered. Stir frequently .
  • Stir in the try tomatoes, basil, oregano—season to taste with salt and pepper .
  • Cover the pot and bring the sauce again to a steady simmer for a couple of minutes to far break down the tomatoes and allow the flavors to come together .
  • Taste and see if the sauce needs a little bit more salt. Lower the heat if necessary to bring to a gentle simmer.

  • Then carefully place the reserved meatballs one by one into the simmering tomato sauce.

  • Give it one or two gentle stirs enough to divide them into the pot. The meat is still raw and fragile, so don’t over stir.

  • Keep the sauce at a docile, low simmer with pot half-covered for about 30 to 40 minutes ( for pork meatballs ) or at least 1 ½ to 2 hours for gripe meatballs or a mix containing beef .
  • 15 to 20 minutes in, you can gently stir occasionally or as needed until the meatballs are cooked through and tender.


  • Tomato sauce: Don’t brown the shallot and garlic, as this might give a sour taste to the sauce.
  • Whole peeled tomatoes have the thinnest consistency, and they are the best choice for a tomato sauce that simmers beyond 45 minutes. They will slowly break down and thicken the sauce without becoming too thick or too sweet. But diced tomatoes can also work if you choose to make pork meatballs in tomato sauce or just the sauce with a simmer time of 30 to 45 minutes max.
  • Meatballs: If you make them first, then store them in the fridge to keep them cold while making the base of the tomato sauce. Or make them while the tomato sauce is already simmering on the stove, and then immediately add them to the sauce.
  • Please see all the helpful tips in the post on keeping meatballs from falling apart in the sauce.
  • Storing in the fridge :

    • Allow for the meatballs and the sauce to cool completely.
    • Then divide the sauce and meatballs into portion-sized airtight containers.
    • They can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days—the sauce can go even longer, up to 7 days.

    Storing in the freezer:

    • Let the sauce cool completely.
    • Store in freezer-safe containers.
    • Best to label the containers with a date.
    • Freeze and use within 6 months.

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disclaimer : This nutritional data is calculated using one-third party tools and is merely intended as a character .

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cooking meatballs in tomato sauce, italian meatballs, tomato sauce

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