How to Make Soft, Moist Meatballs

Soft meatballs have eluded me for a long time. I have tried breadcrumbs, eggs, fat, yet still couldn’t get perfectly soft ones. I have figured out with practice that breadcrumbs were far from solving the problem (though some people swear by them) and that egg yolks do help but not so much the whites. I have experimented with quantities and finally been able to get those wonderfully moist and tender meatballs I had long wanted. It took a while but I got there. Now I can enjoy meatballs more often without so much breaking my jaw (exaggerating to make my point but, really, hard ones are quite an arduous workout for the jaws). Maya keeps asking for more. She’s starting to really like her spaghetti with meatballs (changing her mind about pasta and coming to her senses at last!).




Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 25 min

These meatballs are simple but tasty. You can customize them to your taste by adding more herbs and spices. My focus was more on getting soft, moist meatballs.


½ cup milk
2 slices soft bread (white or potato bread), crusts removed
2 egg yolks
1 pound lean ground beef
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil


Place the milk in a medium bowl. Soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes, turning it halfway through.

Add the egg yolks to the soaked bread. Stir with a fork, breaking up and mashing the bread. The mixture should be rather soupy. Add the rest of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well with your hands. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 –inch balls.

Bring your sauce of choice (Perfect Tomato Sauce is a very good choice!) to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add the meatballs. Cover the pan with a lid. Cook the meatballs over medium heat for 20 minutes, turning once.

Serve the meatballs warm over a starch or with a salad


10 Responses to “How to Make Soft, Moist Meatballs”

  1. 1

    Boudriss — 06/05/2012 @ 11:09 pm

    I get soft meatball by adding (1/2 ) half cup of all purpose flour and the chermila
    Of course -

  2. 2

    Monique — 06/06/2012 @ 5:57 am

    I like putting wet bread in my meatballs also:) Marcella Hazan introduced me to that for her Polpetone..Your meatballs look delicious.

  3. 3

    DH — 06/06/2012 @ 9:55 am

    Sorry if this is an annoying question- but roughly how much does 2 slices of your bread weigh? I *never* buy bread from the supermarket, and my loaves always vary in size, shape and how thick I can be bothered to cut on any particular day… Thanks!

  4. 4

    Oriane — 06/06/2012 @ 9:57 am


    Can’ wait to try this recipe. I’ve tried everything, from pan frying to baking to adding cooked potatoes instead of breadcrumbs, you name it. My metaballs are never moist. Adding your Perfect Tomato Sauce will make a this a perfect meal.


  5. 5

    Nisrine — 06/06/2012 @ 1:43 pm

    DH – I’m not sure how thickly you should cut your bread. It all depends on the kind you bake. I would say you’ll probably need 2 ounces or about 60 grams of bread. It’s OK if you use a little more, the meatballs will turn out softer.

  6. 6

    Eha — 06/06/2012 @ 8:30 pm

    These DO look appetizing :) ! My second husband was a very cluey cook and always swore by the Jewish matzoh meal + a splash of soda water to get ultrasoft metballs. Well, his sure were and I have followed the trend.

  7. 7

    szarsz — 06/10/2012 @ 1:14 am

    This is traditional way to prepare ground meat in polish kitchen. We always add soaked roll and an egg (not only yolks but whole egg for saving) to the mixture. My mother in law puts additionally 1tsp potato flour.

    We also use pork which is more fat. Traditionally we mix equal quantities of beef and pork

  8. 8

    Oriane — 06/21/2012 @ 12:24 pm

    Bonjour Nisrine,

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve just made your meatballs and Perfect Tomato Sauce. It is soooooo delicieux!!! The meatballs are very moist and the sauce is divine (I doubled the honey for the sauce because my tomatoes weren’t as ripe as they could have been).
    On s’est bien régalé.
    Comme toujours, merci.

  9. 9

    Nisrine — 06/22/2012 @ 6:40 am


  10. 10

    J Chan — 05/23/2014 @ 6:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this simple and delicious recipe! I made this for my 14 month old tonight and she loved it, as do the rest of the family.

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