These Ground Beef and Sausage Meatballs, Almondegas as we call them in Portuguese, are a light and pillowy treat. A comforting batch recipe that makes 35-50 meatballs, depending on the size they’re rolled. A great freezer-friendly make-ahead recipe that’s also perfect for a party or family gathering.
Why I love these beef and sausage meatballs
Raise your hand if you, like me, love a good meatball, or almondega as we’d say in Portuguese, but don’t usually bother making them because it’s a bit more work than you’re willing to go through to get dinner on the table.
Well, I hope this post helps ya!!
This homemade Ground Beef and Sausage Meatballs recipe is simply wonderful and very versatile. You can serve them for a mid-week dinner or dinner party – as a cute appetizer or main!
But the best thing about this recipe is the fact that it makes a big batch, so you can enjoy some now and freeze the rest for later – making it totally worth the work. I personally love finding a stash in the freezer, because at that point, all I’ve gotta do is drizzle them with a good jarred tomato sauce and serve with pasta for the ultimate comfort food dinner.
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These pork sausage meatballs are pillowy soft because they’re full of delicious moisture and fat from the meat, the sausage, the olive oil, the parmesan and the milk. While the breadcrumbs and an egg help hold the meatballs together without adding density to them.
The only trick is, these pork sausage meatballs must be baked! If they’re pan fried, they’ll fall apart. Why? Because the parmesan will stick to the bottom of the pan, and the meatballs will turn into a crumbly mess.
How do I know this? Because I tried it for you, meus amigos. And trust me, washing that pan was a traumatic event I’d like to spare you from.
Beyond that, you can’t mess up this easy meatball recipe!
Enjoy! Bom Apetite!!
What you need to make this recipe:
- Large bowl
- Food processor
- 1 tablespoon cookie scoop
- Baking sheet(s)
- Instant meat thermometer
In addition to these tools, you’re going to need the following ingredients:
- Ground beef—I like to use 85% ground beef in this recipe because the higher fat content leads to better flavor and moisture in the meatballs. If you use lean ground beef, the meatballs will not be as tender.
- Pork sausage—I like using a sweeter pork sausage like this one, because it reminds me of a Brazilian pork sausage – a little sweet, not too spicy. Sweet Italian sausage or even an American breakfast sausage could work too.
- Brazilian Sofrito—if you don’t keep this in your refrigerator, what is wrong with you? Kidding. You can use a few cloves of garlic in place of it. 😉
- Parsley—you’ll need a whole bunch, and it needs to be fresh!
- Breadcrumbs—you can use homemade bread crumbs or the store-bought kind. They need to be unseasoned since we’re adding our own seasonings to this meatball recipe.
- Onion—yellow or white onion is what you want to use in this recipe.
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Whole milk—full-fat dairy is a must in this recipe. Please don’t replace it with a lower fat milk because the texture and flavor will not be as lovely.
- Egg—this is our binder for the meatballs. There is no substitute.
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese—you can use grated or shredded, but I really suggest using freshly grated/shredded cheese. Please don’t use the shelf-stable parmesan. It doesn’t offer the same flavor.
How to make homemade meatballs
These homemade meatballs are one of my favorite hearty recipes to make because you can make them in advance. Also, this recipe makes a ton of ground beef and pork sausage meatballs, so you can enjoy some now and freeze some for later and use them in a myriad of ways.
More on that in a bit. First, let’s discuss the proper way to make a meatball.
Mince the veggies. Add the onion, the parsley leaves, the olive oil and the Brazilian sofrito to a food processor and pulse to mince.
Prepare the binding. In a measuring cup, measure out the milk. Whisk the egg into the milk, then add the breadcrumbs. We do this so the breadcrumbs will soak up the milk mixture to add moisture and texture to our meatballs.
Add it all to a bowl. Add the meat, the sausage, the salt and pepper, the cheese, the minced veggies and the binding mixture to the bowl.
Mix the meatballs. The secret to the perfect meatball is using your hand in the shape of a claw and gently mixing the ingredients together until just combined. Don’t give in to the urge to squeeze the ingredients together! Overworking and squeezing them packs everything in too tight, and toughens up your meatballs.
Roll and bake the sausage meatballs
Before you get to rolling the meatballs, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Again—this meatball recipe is not a candidate for pan-frying because they will fall apart!!
Roll the meatballs. Scoop about a tablespoon and a half’s worth of the meatball mixture into the palm of your hand. Gently shape it into a ball, and place on a baking sheet.
Do not overly squeeze them because this will make them more dense. We want them to be light and fluffy.
Give the meatballs about an inch of space between each one so they have space to bake.
Repeat this process until the meat mixture has all been rolled into meatballs. You’ll get between 35-50 meatballs, depending on how large your scoop is.
Bake the meatballs. Bake them for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160ºF. Depending on the size of your meatballs, they may take more or less time.
Serve warm in your favorite jarred tomato sauce with pasta, and enjoy! You can also serve them in tomato sauce as an appetizer.
How to freeze this meatball recipe:
This recipe makes a ton of sausage meatballs, so you can turn it into a multi-meal thing, depending on how many people you’re feeding.
To freeze these meatballs, simply place (completely cooled) meatballs in a freezer-safe bag, and transfer them to the freezer. They will keep for up to 3 months.
To defrost, transfer the meatballs to the fridge, and let them come to temperature. Reheat in a pan with pasta sauce or in the microwave.
How to serve these sausage meatballs
I’m partial to serving the cooked meatballs with my favorite jarred sauce (Rao’s Arrabbiata is my ultimate fave!) over pasta, but you can use whatever you like. You can also use homemade marinara if that’s more your jam.
You can also toss these beef and sausage meatballs with the jarred sauce and keep them warm in a slow cooker for the easiest kind of party appetizer.
Oh wait! Did I hear anyone say meatball sub?? Yes, you can do that, too!
Other pork sausage recipes to try:
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Ground Beef and Sausage Meatballs
- 1 lb 85% ground beef
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 1 Tablespoon of Brazilian Sofrito or 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch of parsley leaves some stems ok
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 large onion or half of a small one
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
Prepare the Meatball Mixture:
- Add the onion, the parsley leaves, the olive oil and the Brazilian sofrito to a food processor and pulse to mince. Set aside.
- Next, add the meat and the sausage to a large bowl. To that, add the minced ingredients from the food processor, the salt and pepper, and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Using a measuring cup, measure the milk, then whisk in the egg, then and add in the breadcrumbs. Stir to hydrate.
- Add the breadcrumbs mixture to the meat bowl and use your hands in the form of a claw to mix everything together until combined. Avoid the temptation to squeeze the mixture in your hands—this can overwork your ingredients and leave the meatballs tough.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Roll the Meatballs:
- Scoop about a tablespoon's worth of the meatball mixture in the palm of your hand.
- Gently shape them into balls and place them on a baking sheet about an inch apart.
- You should get somewhere between 35-50 meatballs, depending on how large you scoop them.
Bake the Meatballs:
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 160F.
- Serve warm with pasta or as an appetizer!
To Store or Freeze:
- Let the meatballs cool completely before transferring to a plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To defrost, remove the freezer bag from the freezer and let the meatballs defrost in the fridge. Reheat in a pasta sauce or in the microwave.