Olive Garden Meatballs Recipe

Prepare to be taken aback by this recipe of perfectly cooked pan-fried meatballs that are both juicy and tender inside.

Olive Garden is the best at bringing Italian flavors to your table with their crazy good lasagna, salads, soups, and sauces. But one of their specials is the savory meatballs presented in a homemade style.

So, if you’re looking for recipe ideas to impress your date or to improve your home cooking skills, this Olive Garden Meatballs recipe is a perfect addition to your list of comfort food dishes.

How to Make Olive Garden Meatballs

If you’ve made meatballs before, you can make them taste more like Olive Gardens with a little tweak. The result is entirely different from what you’re used to since these seared meatballs get flavorful, delicate, and succulent inside.

Some, on the other hand, find making meatballs quite intimidating. However, they are relatively easy and quick to make, with not too many fancy ingredients.

You can even fry the meatballs with sausage to get seasoned, compact, tender, and juicy meatballs.

Here’s what you’ll be working with.

Ingredients:

(4-6 servings)

For meatballs:

  • 1 ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs (optional)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste

For serving:

  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Now get ready to boost your home cooking abilities since Olive Garden Meatballs are an ideal addition. You can serve these delicious meatballs with savory marinara sauce on top of your spaghetti. But we know how to make them even better.

Adding cheese on top will make these rich meatballs super glossy, tasty, saucy, and cheesy all in one. The browned crispy layer and the soft juicy inside make them the perfect dish.

But the main secret is to add breadcrumbs to the meatballs to ensure the meat stays together.

So, let’s get this meat feast started.

Step 1:

Mix all the meatballs ingredients in a large mixing bowl until they are well combined. You might need to add more breadcrumbs for extra “stickiness.” We also recommend frying one meatball as a sample at this stage to taste and adjust the saltiness.

Then, cover your meat mixture and transfer it to a chilled area to marinate for an hour.

Step 2:

Preheat your oven to 360 𐩑F and grease a roasting tray.

Step 3:

When ready to fry, take your meat and shape it into meatballs with your preferred method. Then, arrange them neatly onto the roasting pan.

Sear in the pan on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, turning them over as they sear to get a nice color on each side.

Note: turn the meatballs evenly but not too frequently.

Step 4:

Once fried, transfer your meatballs to the oven and roast until they are cooked for about 35 minutes. Afterward, drain any excess oil if necessary.

Step 5:

Warm your marinara sauce and scoop it on top of the meatballs once they are ready. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and grated or powdered parmesan cheese.

Note: if you like to make your marinara sauce, you can sear some minced garlic and add tomato paste. Then, deglaze the pan with red wine, and add crushed tomatoes and your tomato mixture.

Serve and enjoy!

Ingredient Substitution

If you like the original Olive Garden Meatballs, stick to the recipe. However, you can tweak a few things here and there to make them healthier and less fatty.

We’ve got just the proper substitutes for you.

Ground turkey

Ground turkey is an excellent substitute for ground pork, but not only because it packs less fat which means fewer calories in every bite. This type of protein is also leaner and healthier, especially for someone with dietary restrictions or cholesterol problems.

It has a non-crumby texture and non-pink color, that’s true. But when cooked with all the spices and mixed with beef ground beef, it will have to provide a smoky flavor similar to pork.

Pomegranate juice

Well, it might come as a surprise, but pomegranate juice is probably the best non-alcoholic red wine substitute you’ll find. Its aroma, flavor, and acidity are comparable to the of red wine.

However, it is slightly less acidic than red wine, so you can mix it with a tablespoon of vinegar to mimic the intense flavors of the red wine. But keep in mind to avoid using the sweetened pomegranate juice, since it has lots of sugars we don’t need here.

What to Serve with Olive Garden Meatballs

Olive Garden Meatballs is a perfect side dish you can enjoy. So, apart from being a rich and utterly delicious appetizer, it works even better when paired with roasted veggies, potatoes, or simple pasta.

Try these to kick off your Italian night and impress anyone at the table.

Dirty rice

If you’re used to serving them with pasta, you will be surprised to learn how well a bowl of dirty rice pairs with the juicy meatballs, especially when served with the rich marinara sauce.

With just a few ingredients, you can create a classic comfort food combo that will make your guests ask for seconds. The rice and meatballs complement each other in a strikingly delicious way.

So, don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavors. Add some garlic and honey for some sweet and sour.

Mashed potatoes

One of the classiest pairings to meatballs is, no doubt, mashed potatoes. You get a pack of creaminess and cheesiness in one excellent combination. To make things even more exciting, you can add some roasted garlic for a more distinct flavor.

Mashed potatoes work with any side dish. But there is no match for the Olive Garden Meatballs.

How to Reheat Olive Garden Meatballs

It is easy to get too excited with these Olive Garden Meatballs. That’s why you have to know how to reheat them properly, so they are as marvelous as they were the day before.

Luckily, meatballs are super easy to reheat.

Reheat Olive Garden Meatballs on a Stove

The best way to reheat Olive Garden Meatballs that are swimming in a sauce is using the stove. You must combine all the meatballs and sauce in a pan and cook them over low heat.

Don’t forget to stir to warm them throughout evenly. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Reheat Olive Garden Meatballs in an Oven

The oven is also one of the best ways to reheat the meatballs without the sauce. Preheat your oven to 300 °F, place the meatballs on a roasting tray, and cover them with a baking sheet. It will prevent your meatballs from drying.

Reheat for about 15 minutes, and top it off with the warm marinara.

Reheat Olive Garden Meatballs in a Microwave

Resort to the microwave only if you are in a hurry. But be careful to use only medium heat to avoid overheating. Place your Olive Garden meatballs in a microwave-safe dish, cover the container with some moist cloth, and reheat for 1 minute.

How to Store Olive Garden Meatballs

Other than knowing how to reheat the meatballs, you need to know how to store them, so they don’t go bad before you decide to enjoy them again.

Store Olive Garden Meatballs in the Fridge

Cooked meatballs last for about 4 days in the fridge when stored properly. But they need to be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking.

So, to store meatballs in the fridge, place them in a shallow airtight container and wrap them with heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap.

Store Olive Garden Meatballs in the Freezer

Even if you leave your cooked meatballs at room temperature for more than two hours, you can still store them safely in the freezer. Use heavy-duty freezer bags or an airtight container. This way, your Olive Garden Meatballs will last for about four months.

olive garden meatball recipe

Olive Garden Meatballs Recipe

Kick off your Italian night with these tender and juicy Olive Garden Meatballs. This recipe is nothing like you’ve tried before since these meatballs are roasted with red wine and Italian seasoning. It comes together really quick and requires simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Marinate 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5
Calories 362 kcal
Equipment
  • saucepan
  • bowl
  • whisk
Ingredients
  
For the meatballs
  • lb ground beef
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs optional
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • cooking spray
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
For serving
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Instructions
 
  • Mix all the meatballs ingredients one by one in a large mixing bowl until they are well combined. You might need to add more breadcrumbs for extra “stickiness”.
    We also recommend frying one meatball as a sample at this stage to taste and adjust the saltiness. Then, cover your meat mixture and transfer it to a chilled area to marinate for an hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 360 °F and grease a roasting tray.
  • When ready to fry, take your meat and shape it into meatballs with your preferred method.
    Then, arrange them neatly onto the roasting pan. Sear in the pan on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, turning them over as they sear to get a nice color on each side.
    Note: turn the meatballs evenly but not too frequently.
  • Once fried, transfer your meatballs to the oven and roast until they are cooked through, for about 35 minutes. Afterwards, drain any excess oil if necessary.
  • Warm your marinara sauce and ladle it on top of the meatballs once they are ready. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and grated or powdered parmesan cheese.
    Note: if you like to make your own marinara sauce you can sear some minced garlic, and add tomato paste. Then, deglaze the pan with some red wine, add crushed tomatoes, and your tomato mixture. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories: 362kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 23gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 369mgPotassium: 459mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 220IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 3mg
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