Meatball Recipe:
Barbecue Meatballs

This easy meatball recipe has become one of our favorite quick meals.

meatball recipe

You don't have to brown the meatballs ahead of time - just mix up the meat, form meatballs, put them in a baking dish, mix up the sauce, pour it over top, and bake!

This dish freezes well. You might want to make a double batch: one to eat tonight, and one to put in the freezer for another time. This is a great dish to take to a sick friend, or to a family with a new baby.

We like to eat this with mashed potatoes. The sauce is delicious over warm mashed potatoes!

Check that you have these staples at home

  • in the cupboard

    • salt
    • pepper
    • cider vinegar
    • tomato paste

  • in the fridge or freezer

    • ground beef (about 1 pound/500 g)
    • bread crumbs
    • milk
    • onion
    • maple syrup
    • Worcestershire sauce

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a mixing bowl
    • a smaller bowl
    • measuring cups and spoons
    • a baking dish

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a meat baller
    • a meat thermometer

    The recipe


    1 lb/500 g ground beef

    1 cup/250 mL bread crumbs

    1/2 cup/125 mL milk

    1/4 tsp/1 mL salt

    1/4 tsp/1 mL pepper


    2 cups/500 mL water

    1/2 cup/125 mL minced onion

    1/4 cup/60 mL maple syrup

    2 Tbsp/30 mL Worcestershire sauce

    2 Tbsp/30 mL cider vinegar

    1 can (5 oz/156 mL) tomato paste

    Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.

    Combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl.
    Form into meatballs.
    Place in a single layer in a baking dish.

    In another bowl, combine the water, onion, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and tomato paste.

    Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

    Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.


    • Use soy milk or another non-dairy milk in place of the milk.
    • Use honey instead of maple syrup.
    • Use white vinegar, wine vinegar or your favourite vinegar instead of the cider vinegar.

    Ideas for making this meatball recipe your own

    • Experiment with different spices. What about adding some oregano or thyme to the meat mixture?

    • Try another flavouring instead of - or as well as - the Worcestershire sauce. How about bottled steak sauce, or barbecue sauce?

    • If you prefer crisp meatballs, brown them in a skillet before putting them in the baking dish.


    • Use either your clean hands or a meat baller to form the meatballs. The meat baller will make uniformly shaped and sized meatballs - and your hands will stay clean in the process. Using your hands might be a bit quicker, and you can make the meatballs whatever size you want.

    • Cooking time will vary, depending on the temperature of the meat and the size of the meatballs. Ensure that the meatballs are completely cooked, either by using a meat thermometer or by cutting open a meatball to check that there is no pink remaining. The internal temperature of the meatballs should be at least 160F/71C.

    • Bread crumbs will stay fresh for a long time in the freezer. There is no need to thaw them before adding them to the meat mixture.

    Menu suggestions

    • Mashed Potatoes (Pour the meatball sauce over the potatoes!)

    • steamed green beans

    • a green salad

    If you enjoy this meatball recipe, you may also like these other ground beef recipes:

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