Homemade meatballs are a great way to have a delicious and healthy meal, especially when you have a busy lifestyle. However, one problem with making homemade meatballs is that they can take a while to prepare.
If you’re short on time, you can make a big batch of meatballs and freeze them for future use.
There are many reasons why you might want to freeze homemade meatballs. Perhaps you made a big batch and want to save some for later, or maybe you want to make dinner easier on yourself by prepping ahead of time. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to do and only requires a few simple steps.
In this guide, I’ll tell you what kinds of meatballs to freeze, how to freeze homemade meatballs, and share how long they last in the freezer. I even share a quick and easy freezer meatball recipe you can make today. Let’s go!
What Kind of Meatballs Can You Freeze?
First, if you’re wondering what types of meatballs you can freeze, you’ll be happy to know that all types of meatballs are easily frozen.
You can freeze virtually any meatball, including beef, pork, turkey, lamb, chicken, and veggie balls. You can even freeze raw meatballs if you like. They’ll freeze just fine whether you like them plain or with a bit of seasoning.
How To Freeze Raw Meatballs
The recommended way to freeze raw meatballs is to put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the meatballs so they aren’t touching each other, then put the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Once the meatballs are solidly frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or other airtight container.
Before you seal up the freezer bag, make sure to push out the excess air so that your meatballs don’t become freezer burned.
How To Freeze Cooked Meatballs
There’s not too much difference between freezing raw meatballs and cooked ones. The biggest difference is that if you have cooked meatballs, you’ll need to make sure that they have completely cooled before you place them in the freezer.
Otherwise, you can freeze cooked meatballs just like raw meatballs. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Move the now frozen meatballs to a freezer bag or other airtight container.
Note: You can even freeze cooked meatballs in sauce. Find out how here.
Can You Freeze Meatball Mixture?
If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can freeze the meatball mixture before shaping it into balls. Press the meat, more or less flat (1-inch thick or less), onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and pop it into the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.
Once the meatball meat mixture is frozen, place it in a freezer bag and place it in the back of your freezer. By freezing the meat mixture flat, it takes up less room in the freezer, making it easier to store.
Also, be sure to label the freezer bag or container with the date and type of mixture, so you know what you’re thawing and how long it’s been in the freezer. These freezer meals will greatly help in your meal planning.
How Long Do Meatballs Last in the Freezer?
Properly stored, frozen cooked meatballs will maintain their best quality for about 2-3 months in the freezer. Frozen raw meatballs will last for up to six months.
When properly stored in the freezer, meatballs retain their flavor, texture, and nutrients.
How To Thaw Frozen Meatballs
There are two easy ways to thaw frozen meatballs. You can either put them in the fridge overnight or place them in a microwave-safe dish and heat them on the defrost setting for a few minutes.
When thawed overnight in the fridge, cooked meatballs can last in the fridge for up to 2 days. Once they’ve been heated in the microwave, they should be eaten right away. Raw or uncooked meatballs should be cooked within 24 hours of thawing.
How To Reheat Thawed Cooked Meatballs
There are a few different ways you can reheat thawed meatballs. You can cook them in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave.
- Oven – Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the thawed meatballs on a cooking sheet. Bake them for 10-15 minutes, or until heated thoroughly.
- Stove Top – Place the thawed meat in a saucepan or skillet and reheat them over medium heat, making sure to stir them regularly.
- Microwave – Put the thawed cooked meatballs into the microwave and heat for 1-2 minutes.
Once reheated, you can use them just like any other cooked meatball.
How To Cook Thawed Raw Meatballs
In the case of thawed raw meatballs, you’ll, of course, need to cook them before you can enjoy them.
Here are two ways to cook thawed raw meatballs:
- Oven – Place the raw meatballs on a baking sheet and into an oven that has been preheated to 400°F for approximately 20-25 minutes.
- Stovetop – If you love crispy, golden brown meatballs, I’d recommend cooking them in a skillet on the stovetop. Place a little of your favorite cooking oil in the skillet and cook them over medium heat until all sides are nice and brown.
Of course, if you’ve frozen your raw meatball mixture before rolling them into balls, you’ll need to do that first.
Can You Cook Frozen Raw Meatballs Without Thawing?
Yes, you can cook frozen meatballs. In fact, it’s often easier to cook frozen raw meatballs without thawing, as they tend to hold their shape better. Simply add the frozen meatballs to your favorite soups or dish and cook according to the recipe instructions.
For example, if you’re cooking spaghetti and meatballs, you can cook the sauce together with the frozen meatballs. This will save you time and ensure that the flavors meld together nicely. Simply add the frozen meatballs to the pot of simmering sauce, and cook according to recipe instructions.
Some Tips For Cooking Frozen Meatballs
Here are some tips for cooking frozen meatballs straight from the freezer:
- If cooking in a pasta sauce, cook the sauce first, then add the frozen meatballs. Doing it this way will help keep them from falling apart once added to the sauce.
- If baking, cook the meatballs for a few minutes longer than the recipe recommends.
- If frying, cook them over low heat so that they have time to thaw and cook through without burning on the outside.
Easy Freezer Meatballs Recipe
Making meatballs is a great way to have a quick and easy meal. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them, so all you have to do is pull them out of the freezer and cook them up when you’re ready.
Here’s an easy and delicious homemade meatball recipe that is perfect for the freezer:
Freezer Meatball Ingredients:
- 1 pound ground pork or beef
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or garlic powder
Freezer Meatball Cooking and Freezing Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper, milk, parsley, onion, and garlic in a large mixing bowl. You can also use a food processor to shorten the prep time.
- Shape mixture into a 1 1/2-inch meatball. Or, with the help of a cookie scoop, make small, even-sized meatballs.
- Place meatballs on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake the meatballs in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until they are no longer pink in the center. You can also check the internal temperature of the meatballs with a meat thermometer; they should be at 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, transfer to a freezer bag.
- Label and date the container or bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can use any ground meat mixture, like ground turkey, beef, or pork, and you can tailor the recipe to suit your preferences.
Here are some more meatball recipes that you’re sure to love!
Freezing Homemade Meatballs – Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are a few different ways you can freeze homemade meatballs. Freezing your raw or cooked homemade meatballs is a great way to meal prep or save time on a busy weeknight.
This guide has given you everything you need to know to stock your freezer with homemade meatballs, so you’re always prepared for a tasty meal.