Main Dish Recipes

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

These oven baked meatballs are phenomenal – they are the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten. They are full of flavor, perfectly tender and simmer in a tomato cream sauce that’s to die for. This baked meatball recipe is sure to be a family favorite! 
best meatball recipe

Meatballs are something I would basically never order at a restaurant.

They never sound particularly appealing to me, whether on a sandwich or topping a plate of pasta.

But then, occasionally, I’ll make them at home and I think, “I LOVE meatballs.”

Why are these baked meatballs so good?

The meatballs are not too dense, they are bursting with flavor, and they are simmered in a crazy good tomato cream sauce. Basically this baked meatball recipe is fantastic.

Also, baked meatballs tend to cook more uniformly instead of getting overdone on the outside or undercooked on the outside.

oven baked meatballs

What do I serve with Oven Baked Meatballs?

While typically meatballs are served over pasta, in this case, I toasted some sourdough bread (PSA: the sourdough bread at Winco is pretty much the best bread on the face of the planet) and we just ate it with that.

I served a green salad on the side of the oven baked meatballs and added some cut up fruit and dinner was served!

Even the girls liked it, which made me enjoy dinner that much more. As if I needed any more convincing that this is the best meatball recipe ever!

baked meatball recipe

If you like this oven baked meatball recipe, you’ll probably love these recipes too!

5 from 3 votes

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

(adapted from Valerie's Kitchen)
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5 -6
Author Janssen Bradshaw



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 14- oz cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half


  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground meat turkey, chicken, or beef all work fine


  • 1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil optional


  1. In a large oven-safe skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook about 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the canned tomatoes and then salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook while you prep the meatballs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and set aside.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the onion until it is finely diced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well-combined. Roll the mix into meatballs about the size of golf balls (I used a cookie scoop) and place on the baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes - it's okay if they aren't cooked quite all the way through.
  5. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the cream or half and half. Add the meatballs to the pan of sauce, sprinkle the two cheeses over the top and put in the oven to bake until the cheese on top is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with the fresh basil, if you're using it. Serve warm over pasta or with french or garlic bread.


baked meatballs

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  • Reply Meghan Splawn August 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Good gravy these look delicious. We almost never eat pasta with our meatballs. I prefer bread and my husband loves them over grits (he's a southern man after all).

  • Reply Kristen @ See You In A Porridge August 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    i never make or order meatballs, mainly because we don't eat a lot of meat at home. i saw a recipe for chickpea 'meat' balls that looks easy, but this with the tomatoey goodness and served over sourdough bread? yum. i need to combine the two recipes lol

  • Reply Paige Flamm August 12, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    These look amazing! I haven't been able to stomach meatballs since I was pregnant last year, but when I saw this I figured I could definitely make an exception.

  • Reply Melissa August 13, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Isn't Winco amazing?! When I was a little kid I would feel for the warmest loaf and beg my mom to eat it on the way home from the store.
    I made these for dinner tonight, along with your best salad recipe. My whole family loved the entire dinner. Thank you!

    • Reply Colleen Wheeler April 23, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      What is the best salad recipe??!!

  • Reply Daniella Elyse August 18, 2015 at 2:20 am

    I'm eager to try this recipe out! You had me at cream!

  • Reply Grace Haynes September 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Janssen, just wanted to pop back to this post and say thank you! Made this for dinner last night and it was SO delicious. We have way too many tomatoes from our vegetable garden right now, so this was a perfect way to use them up. Thanks again!

  • Reply Madame Coin October 25, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Just made this tonight, and my "I can't stand tomato sauce" husband LOVED it. ("Tell me how you know this Janssen woman again?")

  • Reply Mim April 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    This was delicious! Thanks for another great recipe.

  • Reply Morgan May 22, 2018 at 7:24 am

    We love this recipe – thank you! Just made it again this morning to have for dinner. You have so many good ones!

  • Reply Steph October 28, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    I made this last night for a family cooking challenge and of course it won. Absolutely delicious! I also added some havarti cheese to the top.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw October 29, 2018 at 9:04 am

      YAY! This is so awesome – thanks for letting me know.

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