Giant Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce

These giant meatballs are baked to perfection in the oven and topped with fresh tomato sauce & basil.

Giant Meatballs | Gilmore Girls Food | @simplywhisked

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Yesterday was our first day home from Canada, and we had so much fun while we were gone. It was a great first Canadian Christmas for Ellie and me. Did you see the latest news in the internet? There’s bit hints of a new season on Twitter. Talk about a Christmas present – that’s something to get seriously excited about because we need some resolution after all that new conflict was introduced. I mean, please, give us some answers.

Giant Meatballs | Gilmore Girls Food | @simplywhisked

Anyway, when Rory goes on her three month anniversary date with Dean, she orders her mother a giant meatball to go. She inevitably leaves it behind in the junk yard after being dumped and then feels absolutely terrible about it. So I thought I would make some giant meatballs to make up for the fact that she never got that meatball.

Giant Meatballs | Gilmore Girls Food | @simplywhisked

The giant meatballs are seriously huge, weighing in at a quarter pound each. I actually weighed each of them before committing to rolling it into a ball, and there was surprisingly just enough to make 20 meatballs. Of course, I made a double batch just in case, so don’t worry you’ll only get 10 with this recipe. Needless to say, we ate meatballs for days, but they’re absolutely delicious, dairy-free and totally worthy of their own tinfoil swan.

Giant Meatballs | Gilmore Girls Food | @simplywhisked

Giant Meatballs | Gilmore Girls Food | @simplywhisked

Giant Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 20 meatballs 1x


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 tablespoons Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 6 tablespoons seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 6-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


For the sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes over medium heat until sizzling.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and keep warm.

For the meatballs:

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix meatball ingredients until evenly combined.
  3. Portion meatball mixture into 1/4 pound pieces, rolling into balls.
  4. Place meatballs in a large baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5.  Remove dish from oven and top meatballs with about half of the sauce mixture. Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, or until meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 165˚F.
  6. To serve, top with remaining sauce.


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Last Updated on

  • Reply
    Inger @ Art of Natural Liivng
    January 8, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I did a “cheater” version with frozen (chicken) meatballs and canned sauce just before Christmas. But now that things are slower, I really do need to try a homemade version! YOurs looks great!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 8, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks! Holidays are always so crazy so you definitely need some cheater version of things.

  • Reply
    2 Minute Marinara Sauce - Simply Whisked
    September 13, 2017 at 8:00 am

    […] If you’re feeling fancy or trying to impress someone, try adding fresh basil when you serve your pasta. It’s a game changer, I promise. Or try it with some giant baked meatballs. […]

  • Reply
    January 9, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    I cant find any Lactose free Breadcrumbs. Do you have an advice? Thanks

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Try using Italian seasoned Panko breadcrumbs. They don’t tend to have milk in them. And, you can just use all Italian seasoned Panko instead of measuring two different kinds if you want.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Why go all the way to 165°? Ground beef need only be cooked to 155°. Pull those @ 150° and they’ll finish up just right. More tender and juicier. I added minced and sauteéd onion and garlic to the meat mixture as well.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      October 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      You can definitely go to only 155˚F if you want. I believe the USDA recommends a minimum of 160˚F, but we eat rare/raw beef regularly so I am not one to judge. I hope you liked the meatballs!

      • Reply
        January 8, 2019 at 7:53 pm

        What temperature do you cook pork to?

        • Reply
          Melissa Belanger
          January 9, 2019 at 11:43 am

          I normally cook pork to 145˚F, but ground pork I aim for 160˚F.

  • Reply
    Camilla M
    February 2, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Why not use fresh garlic? Fresh parsley? Fresh basil? I find dried garlic has an ever-so-slight metallic taste.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 3, 2019 at 11:47 am

      I use those ingredients because that’s what I like, and that’s how I make my meatballs. If you know you don’t like them, you can easily swap fresh ingredients!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    This recipe is one of my favorites and a go-to if I need to make a meal for someone. My family loves it and is the perfect blend of spices. It presents beautifully and tastes as good as it looks!!

  • Reply
    August 16, 2019 at 9:15 am

    These came out good and moist, but I did add evap. milk to mine and added fresh garlic. Also had to turn the heat up to 400F after they first 20 minutes…added another 10 just to get them browned, before adding marinara. I let it go for another 30 minutes, but still wasn’t to temp. Another 20 minutes and they were perfect. 10 minutes before removing topped with mozzarella. Served over spaghetti and topped with marinara and extra mozzarella. Next time I will go with 400F for the entire process! That is the temp I bake regular 1″ balls.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      August 16, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      I normally bake mine at 400˚F too, but I reduced the heat and added extra time since these are so much larger. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out for you as directed. Sometimes it’s just a matter of different ovens working differently, but I’m happy to hear you liked them!. Thanks for sharing your results!

  • Reply
    Melissa Belanger
    August 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    I normally bake mine at 400˚F too, but I reduced the heat and added extra time since these are so much larger. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out for you as directed. Sometimes it’s just a matter of different ovens working differently, but I’m happy to hear you liked them!. Thanks for sharing your results!

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