Mom’s Sunday Meatballs

Mom’s Sunday Meatballs happens to be the BEST meatballs you will ever have! Our mom’s meatballs are always moist, soft, and delicious-tasting with every bite. Her meatballs are made with lean ground beef, day-old bread, eggs, cheese, and seasonings.  Then fried before they go into a pot of simmering tomato sauce.  Perfect for a Sunday meal with plenty of leftovers for the week.


Sunday Meatballs with Pasta as an Italian Tradition…

Ever since we can remember, pasta and mom’s best Sunday meatballs have been a tradition and were always served on a Sunday.

As kids, waking up to the smell of mom’s Sunday meatballs, going to Mass, and coming home to a table set with bread, wine, grated Parmesan cheese, and the smell of her tomato sauce simmering all through the house, we couldn’t wait to eat!

Mom would let each of us have one meatball after she fried them.

They were so crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, that it was difficult to eat just one, but we had to wait until 2 o’clock to sit down for our family dinner.

One meatball cut in half on a white plate. by

What Makes Our Moms Sunday Meatballs so Soft and Tender?

  • It’s the amount of bread she uses compared to other meatball recipes. 
  • Some meatballs turn out tough and hard as a rock, and that’s because it’s mostly meat and not enough “bread” to make them soft, moist, and tender.
  • She always soaks her bread in a bowl of water, then wrings the water out, and mixes pieces of damp bread into her meat. 
  • At first, it sounds strange, but when you think about the water, it all makes sense.

Moist bread = moist mixture of meat = super moist and tender meatballs! 

A total success!

Mom's Sunday Meatballs by

*Follow along with our easy directions, or jump down to the bottom for our full recipe card!

Ingredients Needed for Mom’s Sunday Meatballs:

For our mom’s Sunday meatballs recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, (may also mix 1/2 beef with 1/2 veal or pork)
  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread (preferably old)- soaked in water
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Romano grated cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley – chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
A large serving dish filled with Mom's Sunday Meatballs by

Directions to make Mom’s Sunday Meatballs:

1.  In a large bowl. Soak a loaf of Italian bread for about 3 minutes.  Remove the bread from the water.  Remove the crust and discard, leaving only the inside dough.  Then use your hands and squeeze all liquid from the bread.  Transfer bread to a large bowl.

2.  Combine bread with ground beef, eggs, cheese, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley.
Mix with your hands to combine well.  Or you can mix the meat mixture with a Kitchen Aid mixer for a few minutes.  A spoon will not do the job.  The mixture will be very sticky.

3.  Wash hands before shaping into meatballs.  Cleans hands will help shape them easier.
Scoop a small amount of meat mixture into your hand and roll it into 2-inch balls.  Transfer onto a sheet of wax paper.

Raw meatballs sitting on parchment paper on a baking sheet. by

4.  On the stovetop, in a deep medium-size skillet, pour oil.  Heat oil on medium heat.  When the oil is hot.  Carefully add a few meatballs and fry until the bottom is crispy brown.  Gently turn meatballs over once and continue until crispy brown on all sides.

Frying raw meatballs in a large skillet on stovetop. by

5.  Remove meatballs from the pan and drain them onto a platter lined with paper towels.

 A bunch of fried meatballs draining on  paper towels, before going into the pot of sauce. by

6.  Repeat until all meatballs are cooked.  Eat them alone, fried or place them into your Tomato Sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes to one hour.  Using a spoon, gently remove the meatballs,  transfer them onto a platter, and serve.

Yields:  about 20 meatballs

Which tomato sauce to simmer the meatballs?

There are a few favorite recipes for tomato sauce that can be used to simmer our mom’s meatballs:

A pot filled with meatballs sitting in tomato sauce. by

How To Store & Freeze Sunday Meatballs?

  • Store and Keep Fresh:  Let the sauce cool down to room temperature, then store meatballs submerged in the tomato sauce in an airtight container.  Then keep it chilled in the refrigerator, and for up to 3 – 4 days.
  • How To Freeze:  First, let the sauce and meatballs cool to room temperature, then store them in an airtight plastic container. Freeze for up to 1 month.  Allow defrosting completely before reheating on the stove-top, and with low heat, until the sauce and meatballs are completely heated through.

Mom’s Sunday Meatballs are everyone’s favorite, and always made with love! 

Your family will love this recipe!  It is such a delicious dish and one your family will love you for the extra effort to make them.

Still today, no meal unites and satisfies us more than Nonna’s pasta and her meatballs on Sundays.

It’s where the family gets together for stories and laughs, triggering memories of childhood just like the holidays.

Eat them fried or pop them into your favorite tomato sauce (the recipe for mom’s tomato sauce is included below) and serve them with your favorite pasta.  These are the best meatballs ever!  And, it’s by far the favorite meal for everyone in the family.

No need to make any sides with this meal!  Well… maybe just a salad.

In case you’re looking for recipes for “Sunday sauces” try one of our 6 recipes: The Sunday Sauce!


 …Thanks for Pinning!

Mom's Sunday Meatballs by

Additional Tomato Sauces for you to try…

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Yield: 20 to 24 meatballs

Mom's Best Sunday Meatballs

Mom's Sunday Meatballs by

Mom's Sunday Meatballs happens to be the BEST meatballs you will ever taste! Her meatballs are made with lean ground beef, a loaf of old bread, eggs, cheese, and seasonings. Then fried before they go into a tomato sauce. Every meatball is super moist, soft and delicious with every bite.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef, (may also mix 1/2 beef with 1/2 veal)
  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread (preferably old)- soaked in water
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Romano grated cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley - chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying


  • 1 plus ½ Vidalia onions - finely minced
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • 4 to 5 cans (28-ounces) Italian peeled tomatoes, blended in a blender
  • ½ Tbsp. salt
  • Additional salt and black pepper, to taste



    1. In a large bowl. Soak a loaf of Italian bread for about 3 minutes.
    2. Remove bread from the water. Remove the crust and discard, leaving only the inside dough.
    3. Use your hands and squeeze all liquid from the bread. Transfer bread to a large bowl.
    4. Combine bread with ground beef, eggs, cheese, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley.
    5. Mix with your hands to combine well, or use your food processor. Using a spoon to mix will not work. The mixture will be very sticky. Best to wash your hands before shaping them into meatballs.
    6. Scoop a small amount of meat mixture into your hand and roll into 2-inch balls. Transfer each meatball onto a sheet of wax paper. Set them aside.
    7. On the stovetop, using a deep medium-size skillet, pour oil.
    8. Heat oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add a few meatballs and fry until the bottom is crispy brown. Gently turn meatballs over once and continue until crispy brown.
    9. Remove meatballs from the pan and drain onto a platter lined with paper towels.
    10. Repeat until all meatballs are fully cooked.
    11. Eat them alone, fried or place them into your Tomato Sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes to one hour. Using a spoon, gently remove the meatballs, transfer them onto a platter and serve.
    12. Yields: about 20 meatballs


    1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add the olive oil, onions, red pepper flakes, and basil, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
    2. Then add only one can of tomatoes (blended) to the onions to prevent the onions from burning while cooking. (This is a trick my husband learned from his mom). Occasionally stirring. Continue to simmer the onions on low heat for another 15 minutes.
    3. Then add in the rest of the tomatoes and salt. Cover and raise the heat to bring to the sauce a boil. Lower the heat again, and continue to simmer the sauce on low heat.
    4. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer for an additional hour, occasionally stirring the sauce. The total cooking time should be about 1 and ½ hours. Taste the sauce. Turn off the heat. Allow the sauce to cool down slightly.
    5. Yields: 3 quarts

    Nutrition Information:


    12 servings

    Serving Size:

    2 meatballs

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Protein: 12.5g

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Thanks for stopping by! 

    Happy Cooking! … and have a delicious weekend! 🙂

     xo anna and liz

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    Welcome! From Anna and Liz

    We believe the kitchen is the center and the heart of the home. It is where we cook, eat, and unwind with family and friends, creating memorable traditions! Read more…

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    1. I love having a bag full of meatballs in my freezer so we can have spaghetti and meatballs any time in a jiffy. I’m also so glad I froze my late summer crop of tomatoes whole just so I could make red sauce, chili, tomato soups and stews without going out the the store for canned tomatoes. I’ve used pretty many of them in the past few weeks 🙂

      1. You are so lucky to have a wonderful garden and grow your own fresh vegetables every year! Our parents did that their entire lives, and they even had their own fig and lemon trees as well. Enjoy our mom’s recipe Susan! 🙂

    2. What fantastic meatballs! I haven’t made meatballs in such a long time, they’re quite overdue. Yours are much like mine! I love that you put cheese in them, and parsley. I also love what finishing meatballs in the sauce does to the sauce! You’re making me hungry!

    3. I'm SO drooling over your mother's meatballs! Something my mother never made for whatever reason. I MUST try this recipe, since gosh we love good meatballs and need a GREAT recipe that I know you are both sharing with lots of 'amore'!!!!!


    4. These look amazing and there really is nothing better than spaghetti and meatballs. It's the ultimate comfort food. We love taking leftover meatballs and making meatball subs. So good! I'm sure your both keeping up the Sunday meatball routine in your house and then your kids will do the same. Traditions are the best! xoxo, Jackie

      1. Hey Jackie, you are so right! We keep the Sunday tradition during the Fall and Winter months. And we only can hope that our kids will do the same some day.
        xxoo Anna