How Long to Cook Meatballs in the Oven

How Long to Cook Meatballs in the Oven?

Cooking meatballs in the oven can be an easy and delicious weeknight meal that everyone will love. Whether it’s a homemade version or store-bought, oven baked meatballs are sure to please! But before you start chowing down, it’s important to know how long to cook them for in order for them to come out perfectly juicy and juicy on the inside but lightly crispy on the outside. Find out all the must-know tips and tricks—including cook time—in this ultimate guide on How Long to Cook Meatballs in the Oven?

What is Meatballs? 

Meatballs are small, round or oval-shaped pieces of ground meat that are usually seasoned, mixed with other ingredients, then molded into balls. They are a popular and adaptable meal in many cuisines around the world, with ingredients and flavors varying greatly based on ethnic preferences.

How long to cook Meatballs in the Oven

The answer to this question really depends on several factors, including the size of your meatballs, the type of oven you’re using (conventional or convection), and the temperature. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes for smaller sized meatballs to cook through in a standard 350°F (177°C) oven. If your meatballs are larger (think golf ball-size), you may need to increase the cook time up to 30-40 minutes.

No matter what size or shape of your meatballs, it’s important that you always check the internal temperature with a food thermometer before serving. The innermost part of the meatball should register at 165°F (74°C) or higher.

How long do you bake turkey meatballs?

Turkey meatballs typically require a slightly longer cook time than beef or pork meatballs. Depending on the size of your turkey meatballs, it can take anywhere from 18-30 minutes for them to cook through in a 350°F (177°C) oven. Always check the internal temperature with a food thermometer before serving to make sure they’re cooked all the way through. The innermost part of the meatball should register at 165°F (74°C) or higher.

Is it better to bake or fry meatballs?

Whether you choose to bake or fry your meatballs is really up to personal preference—both methods can yield delicious results! Oven baking has benefits like ease and convenience , and it’s also healthier since you don’t need to use additional fat or oil. However, pan-frying can give meatballs a nice golden-brown color and crunch that baking just can’t quite replicate. It all depends on the look and flavor you’re going for!

How long to bake meatballs at 350

To ensure that they are cooked thoroughly without drying them out, it is recommended to bake them for 20-25 minutes. However, keep in mind that the size of your meatballs may also affect how long they need to cook for. It is best to use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature of your meatballs has reached 165°F. This will ensure they are cooked all the way through.

What temperature should I set the oven to?

For baking turkey meatballs, you should preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). This temperature allows for even cooking and browning of the meatballs. Keep in mind that oven temperatures may vary, so it’s a good practice to use an oven thermometer to ensure the accuracy of the temperature setting. Preheating the oven to the recommended temperature will help you achieve the desired results when baking your turkey meatballs.

How do I make meatballs? 


  • 1 pound (450 grams) ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or a mixture)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) or heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, milk, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, parsley (if using), salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are uniformly distributed.
  • Make meatballs out of the mixture. You may make them any size you like, but the most typical size is 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Shape the meatballs by gently rolling the mixture between your palms.
  • If baking: Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly greased. Leave some space between the meatballs to allow for even cooking. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • If cooking on the stovetop: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the meatballs in the skillet, leaving some space between them. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides and cooked through.
  • Once the meatballs are cooked, you can serve them as desired. They can be enjoyed on their own, added to pasta with sauce, served in sandwiches, or used in various recipes.

How do I know when the meatballs are done?

Internal temperature: 

Using a meat thermometer is the most precise technique to determine whether meatballs are done. Insert the thermometer into the center of a meatball, away from the pan and any contents. Internal temperature of beef, hog, veal, or lamb meatballs should be 160°F (71°C). The recommended internal temperature for turkey or chicken meatballs is 165°F (74°C).

Visual cues: 

When cooked, meatballs should be browned and have a somewhat crispy exterior. Open one meatball to inspect the color and texture on the interior. It should be completely cooked, with no raw or pink spots.


Cooked meatballs should have a firm yet tender texture. When gently pressed, they should hold their shape without feeling overly soft or mushy.


While cooking times can vary based on the size of the meatballs and the cooking method, a general guideline is to cook meatballs for approximately 15 to 20 minutes in a 400°F (200°C) oven or about 10 to 15 minutes on the stovetop. However, it’s essential to rely on the internal temperature and visual cues rather than solely relying on time.

Do different types of meatballs require different cooking times?

Yes, due to differences in meat density, fat content, and size, different types of meatballs may require somewhat varied cooking times. Here’s a general rule of thumb for several varieties of meatballs:

  • Meatballs made from beef, hog, veal, or lamb: These meatballs have a higher fat content and are denser. Cook them in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or on the stovetop for 10 to 15 minutes. To ensure safe consumption, ensure that the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  • Turkey or chicken meatballs: These meatballs have a lower fat content and are usually lighter. Cook them for approximately 15 to 20 minutes in a 400°F (200°C) oven or about 10 to 15 minutes on the stovetop. Ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
  • Vegetarian or vegan meatballs: These meatballs, typically made with plant-based ingredients like legumes, grains, or vegetables, may have different cooking times. Follow the specific recipe instructions provided, as cooking times can vary based on the ingredients used.

Can I use a baking dish instead of a baking sheet?

The short answer is yes, you can! However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to go this route. Baking dishes tend to be a bit deeper than baking sheets, so you may need to adjust your cooking times accordingly. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your baking dish can withstand the high temperatures required for certain recipes. But if you’re willing to take these factors into consideration, using a baking dish as a substitute for a baking sheet can be a convenient and easy option.

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Can I cook frozen meatballs in the oven?

Yes, frozen meatballs can be baked in the oven. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Preheat your oven to the temperature suggested on the frozen meatballs’ container or in your recipe. It’s usually approximately 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C).
  • To prevent sticking, line a baking sheet or use a baking dish that has been lightly greased.
  • Place the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, leaving space between them for even cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the baking sheet or dish with the meatballs in it.
  • Follow the cooking time and temperature directions on the frozen meatballs’ box, or use a general guideline of 15 to 25 minutes for smaller meatballs and 25 to 30 minutes for larger meatballs.
  • About halfway through the cooking time, you can turn the meatballs over to ensure even browning, although it’s not necessary.
  • To check if the meatballs are fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to measure their internal temperature. For beef, pork, veal, or lamb meatballs, the recommended internal temperature is 160°F (71°C), while for turkey or chicken meatballs, it is 165°F (74°C).
  • Once the meatballs have reached the desired internal temperature and are cooked through, you can remove them from the oven.

Meatball Meal Ideas

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs: Toss your meatballs with your preferred marinara or tomato sauce over a bed of spaghetti. For a classic and comfortable supper, top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
  • Meatball Subs: Layer meatballs, marinara sauce, and melted cheese on a hoagie bun or sub roll. For a wonderful sandwich, toast it in the oven until the cheese is gooey and golden.
  • Mini Meatball Sliders: Place meatballs on slider buns with a dab of marinara sauce and a piece of mozzarella to make mini meatball sliders. Serve as a party snack or as an appetizer.
  • Meatball Stir-Fry: Combine cooked meatballs with your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots, in a stir-fry. Serve over rice or noodles with a delicious sauce.
  • Meatball Soup: Simmer meatballs in a savory broth with vegetables like carrots, celery, and spinach to create a comforting meatball soup. Serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal.
  • Meatball Skewers: Thread cooked meatballs onto skewers with colorful vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Grill or broil them for tasty meatball kebabs.
  • Swedish Meatballs: Serve meatballs with a creamy Swedish-style sauce made with beef or chicken broth, sour cream, and spices. Pair them with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam for a classic Swedish meal.
  • Meatball Pizza: Use meatballs as a pizza topping along with tomato sauce, cheese, and your favorite vegetables. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly for a delicious twist on pizza.
  • Meatball Curry: Add meatballs to a flavorful curry sauce made with spices, coconut milk, and vegetables. Serve over rice or with naan bread for a tasty and aromatic meal.
  • Meatball Salad: Top a fresh salad with sliced meatballs for added protein and flavor. Combine with greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and your choice of dressing for a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Conclusion: How Long to Cook Meatballs in the Oven?

We hope you have enjoyed this post on how to cook meatballs in the oven. We have given you some basic tips and have answered questions about what temperature to set your oven to, how long different kinds of meatballs take to cook, and which dishes or utensils are the best for cooking meatballs. Moreover, we’ve also provided you with meal ideas that showcase the deliciousness of a great homemade meatball dish. In conclusion, let us remind you that with all cooking methods and recipes, it is best to follow instructions carefully as cooking times can greatly vary depending on factors such as the heat setting of your oven and the size of each particular kind of meatball. So remember: pay attention when baking your delicious homemade meatballs! Bon Appétit!

FAQs: How Long to Cook Meatballs in the Oven? 


Can I make different sizes of meatballs at the same time? 

Yes, you can make different sizes of meatballs at the same time. However, keep in mind that smaller meatballs will cook faster than larger ones. Monitor their cooking progress and remove them from the oven as they reach the desired internal temperature.

Can I use a convection oven to cook meatballs? 

Yes, you can use a convection oven to cook meatballs. Reduce the cooking time and temperature slightly as convection ovens circulate hot air, resulting in faster and more even cooking.

Do I need to preheat the oven before cooking meatballs? 

It is generally recommended to preheat the oven before cooking meatballs. Preheating ensures that the oven is at the desired temperature when you place the meatballs inside, leading to more consistent and accurate cooking.

Can I make meatballs ahead of time and reheat them in the oven? 

Yes, you can make meatballs ahead of time and reheat them in the oven. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat them in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.

What should I do if my meatballs are drying out in the oven? 

If your meatballs are drying out in the oven, it may be due to overcooking or using lean meat with a lower fat content. To prevent drying, you can add a little moisture by basting the meatballs with sauce or broth during cooking or using a fattier ground meat mixture.


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