Easy Recipe: Italian Meatballs With Ground Sausage

sausage meatball recipe

Every time I make a sausage meatball recipe, I always think to myself, “why don’t I make these more often?”

Look, if you’re Italian like me, I’m sure you’re cursing under your breath reading this recipe right now.

Italian meatballs are made with ground pork, not sausage!”

Traditionally, yes they are.

But since ground sausage and ground pork are essentially the same thing, with a few key differences, they really can be used interchangeably when it comes to making your favorite recipes.

What’s The Difference Between Ground Pork And Ground Sausage?

Many people will tell you that there aren’t really many differences between ground pork and ground sausage, and they’d be mostly correct.

Ground pork is natural fresh pork that’s crumbled, stored, and packaged to make for an easier cooking process when it comes to making things such as patties or meatballs.

While ground sausage is essentially ground pork, it’s prepackaged with added seasonings to slightly augment the flavor, as well as a bit of extra fat.

The end result isn’t quite as lean, but oftentimes more flavorful than most traditional options.

Both meats are great for different options, and a lot of the time, I prefer sticking to the traditional route when it comes to making my meatballs.

But every so often, I make the switch… and am instantly reminded of why I did.

Ground sausage meatballs are delicious, juicy, and filled with the best flavor you could ever hope for.

And when combined with lean ground beef, it’ll be hard to imagine ever making your homemade meatballs any other way, ever again.

Here’s how you make this Italian sausage meatballs recipe!

What You’ll Need:

sausage meatball recipe-beef

Lean Ground Beef: Since the ground sausage will inevitably be a bit fattier, you’ll want to make sure your ground beef is lean. Something like 95/5 would be perfect here.

sausage meatball recipe-Lean Ground beff

Ground Sausage: You can use sweet or spicy Italian sausage, whichever you’d prefer.

Large Egg: A good rule of thumb is to use one egg per pound of meat with this easy meatball recipe.


Garlic: Mince up some fresh garlic cloves yourself, and you’ll have some incredibly tasting meatballs.


Grated Cheese: There’s no real set amount of grated cheese to add, so I tend to go pretty overboard. But around a half cup to a cup of cheese should do the trick. Be sure to grate it yourself, and to use parmesan cheese or Romano cheese.

Breadcrumbs: You can use leftover stale bread if you’d like, too. Personally, I prefer panko bread crumbs, as I find them to make the best meatballs.


Seasonings: All you need is salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and dried or fresh parsley. That’s it; nothing more, nothing less.

Olive Oil (optional): This doesn’t go directly into the meatball mixture, but if you’re frying your meatballs at the end, olive oil will be your best friend.

How You Make These:


In a large bowl, combine all of the basic ingredients together.

Using your hands or a stand mixer, mix everything in the ground meat mixture together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this tends to produce dry meatballs.

Once your meatball mixture has come together, use your hands, a cookie scoop, or a large spoon to scoop out some of the mixture. Roll the mixture into a golf ball shape using your hands, and set everything off to the side.

Once your raw meatballs are made, heat up some oil in a large frying pan or large skillet over medium to medium high heat.

When your oil is heated, begin to fry each meatball on each side until browned or fully cooked through to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Place meatballs on a paper towel lined dish to rest for about five minutes.

Serve this big batch of meatballs with your favorite marinara sauce, or inside of a large sub roll.

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Q: How do I make these delicious meatballs spicy?

A: There are a few options when it comes to making spicy sausage meatballs. One option you have is to use spicy Italian sausage rather than sweet. This will make it so the spice is uniform throughout the entire meatball.

All you have is sweet Italian sausage? No problem! Add a bit of extra crushed red pepper and maybe a dash of cayenne to get that nice spicy flavor mixed throughout your dish.

Q: Should I get my sausage inside or outside of the casing?

A: This is entirely up to personal preference, but when it comes to convenience, it’s hard to beat fully ground Italian sausage. However, I’d say to use your favorite brand of sausage for best results, no matter how it’s packaged.

Q: How should I measure the amount of eggs that I need?

A: A good rule of thumb is to assume one egg per pound of meat. For example, if you’re using one pound of sausage and one pound of lean ground beef, you’re going to want to use two eggs with this recipe.

Perfect meatballs

Different Ways To Serve These Perfect Meatballs:

When it comes to making delicious sausage meatballs, there are endless ways to serve them. Many Italian recipes go perfectly with these easy Italian sausage meatballs, and also make for extremely quick meals to make in a pinch.

These are my favorite ways!

Meatball Subs: One of the best ways to serve sausage meatballs is between a massive piece of bread, smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. We’re big fans of the meatball sub here at Mortadella Head, so this option has our approval!

Pasta and Meatballs: There’s nothing like a few huge meatballs with your favorite tomato sauce and your favorite pasta. It’s a classic dish for a reason, and one we can’t get enough of.

Meat Lovers Lasagna: Feeding a crowd? Break up these tender meatballs and add them directly to your lasagna along with your favorite sauce. It’ll taste a bit different than your classic bolognese lasagna, but everything will still taste absolutely delicious.

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sausage meatball recipe

Easy Recipe: Italian Meatballs With Ground Sausage

  • Author: Gianna Ferrini


  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • ½ lb ground sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Gather all of your ingredients besides the olive oil in a large bowl.
  2. Mix everything together using your hands or a stand mixer until just combined.
  3. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out a golf ball sized mound of meatball mixture and roll it into a circular shape. Repeat this step until you have used up all of your meatball mixture and have a bunch of raw meatballs.
  4. Heat up your oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Once the olive oil is hot, place all of your meatballs into the frying pan and cook until brown on all sides. Make sure your meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 140°F before removing them from the pan.
  6. Let rest for five minutes.
  7. Serve in a sandwich or with your favorite pasta and sauce.

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