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Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

Experience the joy of making your own delectable mozzarella stuffed meatballs. This recipe transforms the humble meatball into a cheese-filled wonder, pairing it with a robust tomato sauce for a meal that's comforting and satisfying. It's a sensational dish that's perfect for family dinners or special occasions.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

Photos of Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

This recipe uses common ingredients that you will likely already have in your pantry. However, for the mozzarella, try to choose a fresh variety from the cheese section of your supermarket for optimal melt and flavor. You'll also need panko bread crumbs which have a coarser texture than regular bread crumbs, helping to keep your meatballs moist and light.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Ingredients

Ground beef: This forms the main body of the meatballs. Choose a moderately lean variety for the best flavor.

Olive oil: Used in both the meatballs and sauce, it adds a rich, fruity note.

Onion: Adds depth of flavor to the meatballs and sauce.

Egg: Helps to bind the meatball ingredients together.

Panko bread crumbs: Japanese-style breadcrumbs that add lightness to the meatballs.

Parmesan cheese: Adds a salty, umami flavor to the meatballs.

Parsley: Fresh herb that adds color and freshness.

Basil: Aromatic herb that complements the tomato sauce beautifully.

Black pepper: Adds a touch of heat.

Mozzarella: Melts beautifully inside the meatballs for a cheesy surprise.

Garlic: Adds a punchy flavor to the tomato sauce.

Tomatoes with juice: Forms the base of the tomato sauce.

White sugar: Balances the acidity of the tomatoes.

Bay leaf: Infuses the sauce with a subtle, herbal flavor.

Tomato paste: Intensifies the tomato flavor in the sauce.

Lemon: The zest adds a bright, acidic note to cut through the rich sauce and meatballs.

One reader, Arron Mckeon says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

These mozzarella stuffed meatballs are a game-changer! The combination of juicy meat and gooey cheese is simply irresistible. The flavors are spot on, and the recipe is easy to follow. It's a hit with my family every time!

Arron Mckeon

Techniques Required

How to make the sauce: In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion and garlic until soft. Then, add whole tomatoes, tomatoes with juice, sugar, bay leaf, tomato paste, parsley, dried basil, black pepper, and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 1 hour.

How to make the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the mozzarella into 24 small squares. In a bowl, mix together ground beef, olive oil, onion, egg, panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and black pepper. Divide the meat mixture into 24 even pieces, wrap each piece around a square of mozzarella, and roll into a ball. Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined pan and bake for 30 minutes. Then, stir the meatballs into the sauce and let them simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

How To Make Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

These mozzarella stuffed meatballs will surely delight the kids! They are so yummy especially with the mozzarella surprise inside!

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes



For Meatballs:

  • 2lbsground beef,or turkey
  • 1tbspolive oi,if using turkey
  • ½onion,finely chopped
  • 1egg
  • ½cuppanko bread crumbs
  • ½cupParmesan cheese,fresh grated
  • ¼cupparsley,chopped fresh flat-leaf
  • 2tbspbasil,fresh or 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2tspground black pepper,fresh
  • ¾lbmozzarella,fresh cut into small cubes

For Sauce:

  • 1onion,chopped
  • 4clovesgarlic,minced
  • 2tbspolive oil
  • 28ozwhole tomatoes with juice,canned
  • 28oztomatoes with juice,canned, diced
  • ½tspwhite sugar
  • 1bay leaf
  • 6oztomato paste
  • 2tbspparsley,fresh
  • 1tspdried basil
  • ½tspblack pepper
  • 1lemon,for zest only



  1. Using a veggie peeler, peel off two very thin pieces of lemon zest making sure only to get the yellow part (not the white).

  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion & garlic and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

  3. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 1 hour.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Cut mozzarella into 24 small squares, set aside.

  3. Mix together turkey or beef, olive oil (if using turkey) onion, egg, panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, and pepper. Mix just until combined (over mixing will create tough meatballs).

  4. Divide meat into 24 even pieces. Wrap each piece around a piece of cheese.

  5. Roll into a ball ensuring all of the cheese is completely covered by the turkey mixture.

  6. Place on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes.

  7. Remove meatballs from the oven, stir into the sauce and let simmer an additional 20 minutes.


  • Calories: 191.10kcal
  • Fat: 13.12g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.49g
  • Trans Fat: 0.45g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.46g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.56g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.56g
  • Fiber: 1.69g
  • Sugar: 3.29g
  • Protein: 12.16g
  • Cholesterol: 46.81mg
  • Sodium: 260.12mg
  • Calcium: 142.55mg
  • Potassium: 358.48mg
  • Iron: 1.54mg
  • Vitamin A: 66.85µg
  • Vitamin C: 13.57mg

Technique Tip for Perfect Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

When preparing the meatballs, it's important to avoid overmixing the ground beef mixture. Overmixing can lead to tough, dense meatballs. Instead, gently combine the ingredients until they are just mixed. This will ensure your meatballs remain tender and juicy. Also, when stuffing the meatballs with mozzarella, make sure the cheese is completely covered with the meat mixture to prevent it from oozing out during baking.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Prep ahead: Prepare the meatball mixture and sauce the day before. This will allow the flavors to meld and make assembly a breeze.

Use a scoop: Use a cookie scoop to portion out the meat mixture for even-sized meatballs, saving time and ensuring uniform cooking.

Bake, don't fry: Baking the meatballs instead of frying saves time and effort, while still yielding delicious results.

Double the batch: Make a double batch of meatballs and sauce and freeze half for a quick and easy meal another day.

Organize ingredients: Before starting, gather all the ingredients and tools needed for the recipe to streamline the cooking process.

Pre-cut cheese: Pre-cut the mozzarella into small squares ahead of time to expedite the meatball assembly process.

Multitask: While the meatballs are baking, use that time to prepare any side dishes or set the table for a complete meal.

Substitute Ingredients For Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef and can be used as a healthier option in the meatballs recipe.

  • panko bread crumbs - Substitute with regular bread crumbs: Regular bread crumbs can be used as a substitute for panko bread crumbs, providing a similar texture and binding properties to the meatballs.

  • mozzarella - Substitute with provolone: Provolone cheese can be used as a substitute for mozzarella, providing a similar mild and creamy flavor with good melting properties.

  • whole tomatoes with juice - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for whole tomatoes with juice, providing a similar tomato flavor and texture to the sauce.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with ketchup: Ketchup can be used as a substitute for tomato paste, adding a slightly sweet and tangy flavor to the sauce.

  • lemon - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can be used as a substitute for lemon, providing a similar acidic and tangy flavor to the sauce.

Presenting Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

  1. Elevate the meatballs: Arrange the mozzarella-stuffed meatballs in a circular pattern on a large platter, ensuring they are evenly spaced and visually appealing.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley and basil over the meatballs to add a pop of color and a touch of freshness to the dish.

  3. Drizzle with a rich tomato sauce: Carefully spoon the flavorful tomato sauce over the meatballs, ensuring each one is generously coated for a beautiful presentation.

  4. Serve on a bed of spaghetti: Create a stunning base for the meatballs by arranging a bed of al dente spaghetti on individual serving plates, then placing the meatballs on top.

  5. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan: Finish the dish by grating a small amount of high-quality Parmesan cheese over the meatballs, adding a final touch of savory flavor and elegance.

Essential Tools for Making Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

  • Cutting board: Used for chopping and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: Essential for cutting and mincing ingredients with precision.
  • Mixing bowl: Used for combining ingredients and mixing the meatball mixture.
  • Baking sheet: Used for baking the meatballs in the oven.
  • Saucepan: Used for cooking the tomato sauce.
  • Vegetable peeler: Used for peeling the lemon zest.
  • Spatula: Used for stirring and flipping the meatballs.
  • Parchment paper: Used for lining the baking sheet to prevent sticking.
  • Can opener: Used for opening the cans of tomatoes and tomato paste.

Storing and Freezing Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

  • Let the meatballs cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent them from becoming soggy or losing their shape.

  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled meatballs in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.

  • For longer storage, freeze the meatballs:

    • Arrange the cooled meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they aren't touching each other.
    • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the meatballs are frozen solid.
    • Transfer the frozen meatballs to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Frozen meatballs will keep for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat frozen meatballs:

    • Option 1: Place the frozen meatballs in a covered saucepan with your favorite sauce. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are heated through (about 20-30 minutes).
    • Option 2: Place the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Then, add them to your favorite sauce and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • When reheating, ensure that the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165°F (74°C) to guarantee food safety.

How To Reheat Leftovers

  • To reheat leftover mozzarella stuffed meatballs, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the meatballs loosely with another piece of foil to prevent them from drying out. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture and texture of the meatballs while ensuring the cheese inside is melted and gooey.

  • Another option is to reheat the meatballs in a sauce. Place the meatballs in a saucepan with your favorite tomato sauce or marinara. Heat the sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is simmering. This method infuses the meatballs with additional flavor and keeps them moist.

  • For a quicker reheating method, you can use the microwave. Place the meatballs in a microwave-safe dish and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat the meatballs, as this can cause the cheese to explode or the meatballs to become tough.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat the meatballs and give them a crispy exterior. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook for 5-7 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through, until the meatballs are heated through and slightly crispy on the outside.

  • For a stovetop method, heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until they are heated through and slightly browned on the outside. This method works well if you prefer a slightly crispy exterior on your reheated meatballs.

Random Fact about Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

The mozzarella stuffed meatballs recipe is a delicious and versatile dish that can be served as an appetizer, main course, or even as a party snack.

Is Making Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs at Home Economical?

This mozzarella stuffed meatballs recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, including ground beef, mozzarella, and panko bread crumbs, are relatively affordable and can be found in most grocery stores. The dish is hearty and satisfying, making it a great option for a family meal. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $20-$25, making it a budget-friendly choice. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Are Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Healthy or Unhealthy?

The mozzarella stuffed meatballs recipe is a delicious and indulgent dish, but it may not be the healthiest option. Here's why:

  • The recipe uses 2 lbs of ground beef, which is high in saturated fat and calories. Consuming too much red meat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  • The meatballs are stuffed with mozzarella cheese, adding more saturated fat and calories to the dish.
  • The sauce contains two 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes, which is a good source of vitamins and minerals, but it also includes 6 oz of tomato paste, which can be high in sodium.
  • The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, which is high in saturated fat and sodium.

While this recipe is undoubtedly tasty, it's best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef to reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories
  • Reduce the amount of mozzarella cheese used for stuffing the meatballs, or opt for a lower-fat cheese alternative
  • Increase the number of vegetables in the sauce, such as diced carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini, to boost the nutrient content
  • Use low-sodium whole tomatoes and tomato paste to reduce the overall sodium content of the dish
  • Serve the meatballs with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables and a small portion of whole-grain pasta or rice to create a more balanced meal

Editor's Thoughts on This Delicious Recipe

This mozzarella stuffed meatballs recipe is a delightful twist on a classic dish. The combination of juicy meatballs, gooey mozzarella, and flavorful sauce creates a mouthwatering experience. The addition of lemon zest in the sauce adds a refreshing citrus note, elevating the overall flavor profile. The cooking instructions are clear and easy to follow, making this recipe accessible for home cooks of all skill levels. Whether served as a main course or as a party appetizer, these mozzarella stuffed meatballs are sure to impress and satisfy.

Enhance Your Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic, perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce from the mozzarella stuffed meatballs.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Crispy and caramelized brussel sprouts, a healthy and flavorful side to balance out the richness of the meatballs.
Caprese Salad: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze, a light and refreshing side to complement the cheesy meatballs.

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Grilled Vegetable Skewers: These grilled vegetable skewers are a delicious and healthy side dish that's perfect for summer cookouts. The combination of colorful veggies and a flavorful marinade make these skewers a crowd-pleaser.
Berry Cobbler: This berry cobbler recipe is a delightful dessert that showcases the natural sweetness of fresh berries. The buttery, crumbly topping pairs perfectly with the juicy, tart berries for a mouthwatering treat.

Appetizers and Desserts to Serve with Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Wrap each date in a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Bake until crispy and serve with a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a sweet and savory appetizer.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Remove the stems from the mushrooms and fill the caps with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and sprinkle with parmesan cheese for a delicious and creamy appetizer.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with warm, gooey chocolate when you cut into it. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Create a luscious and creamy strawberry cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of strawberry sauce for a burst of fruity flavor in every bite.

Why trust this Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a mouthwatering experience with mozzarella-stuffed meatballs that are bursting with flavor. The combination of ground beef, parmesan cheese, and aromatic herbs ensures a rich and savory taste. The homemade tomato sauce is simmered to perfection, infusing every bite with a delightful tanginess. With meticulous attention to detail, these meatballs are carefully crafted and baked to golden perfection, promising a delightful surprise of gooey mozzarella in every bite. Trust in the quality of ingredients and the expertise behind this recipe for a truly satisfying dining experience.

If you're craving a delicious twist on classic meatballs, share your thoughts on this Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out!
How can I prevent the mozzarella from oozing out of the meatballs while baking?
To prevent the mozzarella from oozing out of the meatballs, make sure to completely encase the cheese with the meat mixture. Ensure that the meatballs are tightly sealed to keep the cheese inside while baking.
Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef for the meatballs?
Yes, you can definitely use ground turkey instead of ground beef for the meatballs. Just be mindful that ground turkey tends to be leaner, so you may want to add a little extra olive oil to keep the meatballs moist.
Can I make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them?
Absolutely! You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for later use. Once the meatballs are assembled, place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. When ready to use, simply bake the frozen meatballs as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.
Can I substitute fresh herbs with dried herbs in the meatballs?
Yes, you can substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs in the meatballs. Just remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so you'll need less. As a general rule, use one-third the amount of dried herbs for the equivalent of fresh herbs.
How can I adjust the level of spiciness in the sauce?
If you prefer a spicier sauce, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the sauce while it simmers. Taste the sauce as it cooks and adjust the spiciness to your liking.

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