Main Dish Recipes

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

Classic meatballs in a creamy tomato sauce. So yummy!

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.”

And these were no exception – they were so fantastic. Not too dense, bursting with flavor, and in a great sauce.

Classic meatballs in a creamy tomato sauce. So yummy!

Also, while typically meatballs go over pasta, 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, alongside a salad.

Even the girls liked it, which made me enjoy dinner that much more.

Classic meatballs in a creamy tomato sauce. So yummy!

Baked Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce
(adapted from Valerie’s Kitchen)

Serves 5-6 

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)

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.

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.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and set aside.

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.

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.

Garnish with the fresh basil, if you’re using it. Serve warm over pasta or with french or garlic bread.

Classic meatballs in a creamy tomato sauce. So yummy!

You Might Also Like


  • 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 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?")

  • Leave a Reply