Comforting weeknight dinners don’t get better than homemade meatballs and gravy! Juicy ground beef meatballs are pan-fried, then simmered in an easy beef gravy. Every bite will make your mouth water!
When my family is craving something comforting, I usually turn to something beefy and loaded with mouthwatering savory flavors. Usually, that’s all it takes to end up with clean plates and full bellies!
Just like my oxtail stew and beef shanks, this meatballs and gravy recipe is a fantastic solution when comfort food cravings hit. The gravy is outstanding (and super simple!), and the ground beef meatballs are to die for. Everyone will love the flavors, but you’ll love the ease of putting it together!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
Gravy is the best sauce for meatballs and if you don’t believe me, you haven’t tasted this recipe yet. The pairing is a true family favorite in our household!
- Mouthwatering comfort food. The meatballs are tender, meaty, and rich, and the gravy is perfectly seasoned and ultra-savory. It’s also my go-to recipe for carnivores.
- Simple ingredients. A handful of spices and classic meatball ingredients are all you’ll need.
- Super versatile. If you have picky eaters to please, check out the many variation ideas in the Tips and Variations section!
- Easy to make ahead. This is one of my favorite dinners to make because I can prepare it days in advance. All I have to do before serving is reheat the meatballs and gravy, then everyone can dig in!
I’d say this dish is on par with a classic beef stroganoff and Swedish meatballs – creamy, comforting, and always a hit during the cooler months, especially when served on a bed of egg noodles or mashed potatoes and sour cream.
As mentioned earlier, this ingredients for this recipe are super simple. They are pretty much the same as any standard meatball dish.
- Ground beef. Do yourself a favor and make the meatballs with ground beef that has some fat in it, like 90/10 or 85/15. Extra lean ground beef is a no-go; it leaves the meatballs dry and bland, and that’s not what we want for comforting Sunday dinners!
- Egg. To bind the meatballs together.
- Breadcrumbs. My secret to extra tasty meatballs is panko breadcrumbs. For some reason, they’re pros at holding in flavor.
- Olive oil. The beef is juicy as-is, but I like to make the meatballs with a little bit of oil for extra moisture.
- Herbs and seasonings. For this base, I’m using a mix of fresh parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, and an Italian seasoning blend.
- Butter. For pan-frying.
- Onions. Sauteed onions are the savory secret in the homemade gravy. Feel free to use shallots as a substitute.
- Flour. To thicken the gravy. You can use any kind of flour you like, such as all purpose, whole wheat, or gluten-free flour.
- Beef broth. My favorite broth to use in homemade gravy recipes. Choose a brand that has the least number of ingredients and no added sugar. I like the McCormick’s or the Whole Foods brand.
- Cream. The gravy wouldn’t be nearly as smooth and luscious without a splash of cream!
- Dijon mustard. You can use yellow mustard if that’s all you have at home but it won’t add as much depth as Dijon.
- Worcestershire sauce. A beef recipe’s best friend! It takes the beefy and savory flavors to new heights.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
How to make meatballs and gravy
Whether you’re a meatball connoisseur or a total beginner, putting this recipe together should be painless. As long as you keep an eye on the meatballs as they fry, even the little ones can be involved.
Step 1- Make the meatballs
Gently stir the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl until just combined. Shape scoops of the meatball mixture into round meatballs.
Step 2- Fry the meatballs
Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add the meatballs. Brown on all sides, then set aside on a plate.
Step 3- Make the gravy
Saute the onion in the now-empty pan. Stir in the butter and flour and cook for 2 minutes. Afterward, whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
Step 4- Simmer in gravy
Reduce the heat and add the meatballs back into the pan. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through. Garnish with fresh parsley, then enjoy!
More cooking methods
Can you bake the meatballs instead?
Absolutely. After rolling, place the meatballs in a parchment-lined baking pan. Bake in a 400ºF oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Finish them under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until they’re browned and crisp.
Can you air fry the meatballs?
That’s a great way to save time! Follow the instructions in my air fryer meatballs recipe to learn how it’s done.
Recipe tips and variations
- Don’t overmix the meatballs. It’s my #1 rule for homemade meatballs! If you overwork the meat mixture, your meatballs will be tough, gummy, or dry.
- Wet your hands. Rinse your hands with water before rolling the meatballs to keep the beef from sticking.
- Use other ground meat (or pre-made meatballs!). Ground pork and ground turkey are both fantastic options. Pre-made meatballs work too, so try this recipe with my ground chicken meatballs, turkey meatballs, or vegetarian-friendly eggplant meatballs!
- Make them cheesy. When I want to jazz up homemade meatballs, I’ll stir shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese into the mix.
- Make this vegan-friendly. This recipe would be just as tasty without the meat! Try it with my vegan meatballs and a vegan-friendly gravy instead.
What to serve with this dish
The best way to serve meatballs and gravy is over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, cooked rice, or egg noodles. From there, pair them with a vegetable side dish, like roasted brussels sprouts or air fryer broccoli. Even a small bowl of potato soup or broccoli cheese soup will complement this super comforting meal.
To store: Once cool, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: They also freeze well for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat: You can reheat the meatballs and gravy in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. To help loosen the gravy, add a splash of beef broth or water to the skillet.
More mouthwatering meatball recipes to try:
Frequently asked questions
Yes! You can roll the raw meatballs and leave them in the fridge up to 1 day ahead of cooking or freeze them for up to 3 months.
The gravy is also easy to make ahead. Prepare it without the meatballs, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
The best way to tell when the meatballs are done cooking is with a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into a meatball and when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, they’re ready.
You don’t have to, but I do recommend it! The golden, crispy crust that forms around the outside of the seared meatballs prevents them from falling apart and seals in their amazing flavors.
Meatballs And Gravy
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 small onions sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, olive oil, parsley, salt, black pepper, paprika and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Mix everything with your hands until combined.
- Roll out 15 meatballs, around 2 ounces each.
- Add 3 tablespoons of butter into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, brown the meatballs on all sides. Once browned, remove from the skillet.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the remaining butter, then the flour. Saute until the flour heats through, then add in the beef broth, heavy cream, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Mix everything together and cook until the mixture starts boiling. Reduce the heat, return the meatballs to the pan, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
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