Meatballs, whether you make them yourself or buy them frozen are a dinner staple in so many homes! Learn how to make Frozen Meatballs taste better. From cooking tips to sauces, you will be serving up the best frozen meatballs in no time!
❤️ The Four Things that Make Frozen Meatballs taste amazing
- Cooking techniques: We’ll talk about how to pan-sear meatballs, cook them in the oven, slow cooker, instant pot, and more. Do we need to thaw frozen meatballs before cooking them? Read on to find out!
- Sauces: All of my favorite meatball recipes are amazing because of the sauce! Whether it’s an appetizer with bbq sauce, a hearty dinner with spaghetti sauce, or the iconic Swedish meatballs, meatballs are all about the sauce! Try out different sauces to find your favorite flavor combinations.
- Make your own: Homemade always tastes best, so I recommend making your own meatballs from ground fresh meat and freezing a batch. I’ll include detailed instructions below.
- Don’t go past the “best before” date: Although the frozen meatballs may still be safe to eat, the taste will degrade over time in the freezer and they won’t be as pleasant to eat.
❄️ How to Cook Frozen Meatballs
Cooking frozen meatballs can be done well in several ways. Some can be cooked straight from frozen, others may have the best results if they’re thawed first.
For this technique, you will need to thaw the frozen meatballs first before cooking them. Thaw the frozen meatballs in the fridge overnight and when you’re ready to cook them, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs. This should sear the outside, leaving it golden and slightly crisp. When the meatballs are seared, remove them from the skillet and prepare your sauce in the same pan. When the sauce ingredients are all together, add the meatballs back in and simmer over low heat for 10-20 minutes. This will heat the meatballs up right through to the middle.
Added to Sauce
This is the way I usually heat frozen meatballs up! If you’re making a sauce, like marinara sauce or gravy, reheat the frozen meatballs by adding them to the sauce while they’re frozen and allowing it to simmer for 15 minutes or so. It cooks them through and they take on some of the flavor as well!
To cook frozen meatballs in the oven, preheat the oven and place the frozen uncooked meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook meatballs at 200ºC/400ºF/Fan 180ºC/Gas 6, for 18-20 minutes (the cooking time will vary depending on your oven). When they are piping hot all the way through, they are ready to eat! If you want to bake meatballs from scratch, follow my Baked Meatballs Recipe.
Cooking frozen meatballs in a crock pot couldn’t be easier, and they taste tender and moist. Simply add frozen meatballs into a crockpot and top it with homemade or store-bought marinara sauce. There should be enough sauce to cover the meatballs, but you should still be able to see the meatballs in the crockpot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, until they are heated through.
This is a great method to cook frozen meatballs with any sauce! Add the sauce to the instant pot followed by the frozen meatballs. If the sauce is quite thick, add some water to prevent burning. Cook the meatballs under high pressure for 5 minutes with either a quick or natural release if you have time.
Air fryer frozen meatballs are cooked perfectly! Soft on the inside and slightly crispy outside, they are absolutely delicious! I recommend cooking the frozen meatballs separately from the sauce when using the air fryer. I like to make the meatball sauce on the stove while the meatballs are cooking to make everything at the same time. Air fry the frozen meatballs at 380°F/195°C for 8-12 minutes, gently turning them over halfway.
💯 My Favorite Meatball Sauces
Also known as pasta sauce, spaghetti sauce, or tomato sauce, marinara sauce is a classic and pairs perfectly with frozen store-bought or homemade meatballs. Simply heat the meatballs up, make the sauce (either from a jar or from scratch), and mix the meatballs with the sauce. Serve it over cooked pasta or make meatball subs!
Sweet and tangy, BBQ sauce meatballs are so delicious! They are perfect as an appetizer or side dish. To make them, cook your ground beef meatballs in one of the ways listed above. Heat up your favorite bbq sauce (or make your own – my recipe is really easy) and then coat the meatballs in warm bbq sauce and serve!
My personal favorite sauce for meatballs is gravy! It’s ultra comforting, filling, and just so good. Check out my Gluten-free Meatballs Recipe with Gravy for an easy and tasty dinner the entire family will love.
Instead of adding ground beef to chili, try adding frozen meatballs instead! Chili con carne is a staple in many homes because it’s cheap, tasty, and satisfying. Check out this great meatball chili recipe that can be made on the stovetop or slow cooker!
Grape Jelly Sauce
This is a new favorite, but it is delicious! Frozen meatballs are cooked in grape jelly and chili sauce. Spicy and sweet, it’s perfect as an appetizer or to serve at a party. Click here for the grape jelly meatballs recipe!
Swedish meatballs are possibly the best thing about IKEA, right? Making your own at home is really simple and tastes even better than the furniture shop, plus you don’t need to make a special trip! Here’s an easy Swedish Meatballs recipe to try.
🥣 How to make Homemade Frozen Meatballs
Making your own meatballs and freezing them is a great option! You can skip all of the artificial ingredients that big frozen meatball brands tend to add, giving you a much healthier option and a more delicious meal. Here’s my easy meatball recipe:
Ground meat: I usually use a mixture of 50/50 ground beef and pork which is sold at my local grocery store, but you can use beef, pork, chicken, or ground turkey. A higher fat content is usually preferred so that the meatballs stay nice and moist.
Breadcrumbs/Flax: I like to add ground flaxseed (aka flax meal, ground linseed) to keep it gluten-free, however, bread crumbs are commonly added and can be substituted 1:1 instead.
Condiments: Condiments add a ton of flavor, especially if they’re homemade. I add some of my homemade ketchup, mustard, and a little Worcestershire sauce. If I don’t have ketchup on hand, I use tomato paste, and they still taste amazing.
Egg: The egg binds the meatballs together, as does the flaxseed (or breadcrumbs).
Seasoning: I add a little bit of garlic powder plus salt and black pepper. If you know in advance that you’re going to be cooking e.g. marinara sauce to go with these frozen meatballs, you could sprinkle in a little Italian seasoning as well, or something like cajun seasoning is a great alternative if you’re getting creative. I leave other seasonings out though and keep these pretty neutral (but still flavourful).
How to make precooked frozen meatballs
1. Prepare a baking tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. You may want to use your hands to squeeze and mush everything together.
3. Roll the mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls and place them on the prepared tray, ensuring they don’t touch.
4. Cook meatballs at 200°C/400°F for 20-24 minutes, turning them halfway through. When turning the meatballs, flip them over gently as they can be a little delicate when they’re still hot.
5. Remove the baked meatballs from the oven and allow them to cool down.
6. Once they’re cool, place them on a clean cookie sheet and pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3 hours until set.
7. After the meatballs have frozen you can remove them from the baking tray and store them in an airtight container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months.
🪄 Other tips for freezing and cooking frozen meatballs
1. Make sure they are cooked all the way through before freezing! I use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read 165°F or a little higher. Consuming raw meatballs can be dangerous, especially if they’re pork, turkey, or chicken meatballs.
2. Don’t overcook them. Overcooked meatballs can be tough and difficult to eat.
3. I like to double the recipe and make a big batch so that I have meatballs on hand for as long as possible.
4. Storage: After cooking, leftover meatballs can typically last in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
5. Frozen meatballs can last for quite a long time in their frozen state. I recommend using them up within 3 months, but I’ve definitely left mine a little longer in the past and they still tasted great.
6. Label the bag you store the precooked frozen meatballs in with at least the date you cooked and froze them. I like to include the Best Before End date as well, for 3 months later.
😋 More easy recipes to try
- How to Freeze Homemade Hamburger Patties
- How to make Shredded Chicken in an Instant Pot
- Healthy Beef and Broccoli Recipe
- Keto Sloppy Joes
- The Best Gumbo
- Lahanodolmades (Greek Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
- Homemade Breakfast Sausage
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Homemade Frozen Meatballs Recipe
- 375 g ground beef 13oz
- 375 g ground pork 13oz
- 38 g flaxseed meal 1/4 cup
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp sugar-free ketchup or tomato paste for paleo/Whole30
- 1 tbsp dijon or yellow mustard for paleo/Whole30
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos for paleo/Whole30
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Prepare a baking tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. You may want to use your hands to squeeze and mush everything together.
- Roll the mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls and place them on the prepared tray, ensuring they don't touch.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, turning them halfway through. When turning the meatballs, flip them over gently as they can be a little delicate when they're still hot.
- Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool down.
- Once they're cool, place them on a clean cookie sheet and pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3 hours until set.
- After the meatballs have frozen you can remove them from the baking tray and store them in an airtight container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months.
- Make sure they are cooked all the way through before freezing! I use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read 165°F or a little higher. Consuming raw meatballs can be dangerous, especially if they're pork, turkey or chicken meatballs.
- Don't overcook them. Overcooked meatballs can be tough and difficult to eat.
- I like to double the recipe and make a big batch so that I have frozen meatballs on hand for as long as possible.
- Frozen meatballs can last for quite a long time in their frozen state. I recommend using them up within 3 months, but I've definitely left mine a little longer in the past and they still tasted great.
- Label the bag you store the meatballs in with at least the date you cooked and froze them. I like to include the Best Before End date as well, for 3 months later.
- After cooking, leftover meatballs can typically last in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.