Juicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Juicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Onion, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, garlic and ground minced beef.  A little of your time, slow and low simmer gives you these juicy meatballs in tomato sauce. This is one of the best Italian meatballs in sauce that you will taste. It has no frills and fusses in terms of adding too many ingredients. It’s a basic recipe with simple ingredients and a 123 method yet the taste is unforgettable!


You can also bake them instead of frying and add them to the sauce after baking. Today however we went with our regular fry the meatballs and add them to the sauce.

I find that cooking the meatballs on a simmer and when I say simmer I mean a very low simmer for about an hour, they tender the best results.  In turn, the meatballs thank you for that low and slow cook by giving you a juicy, tenderized meatball.

juicy meatballs in sauce



juicy meatballs in sauce



Clean hands for rolling the meat mix into bite sized or golf ball size meaty delicious balls and the patience to simmer a sauce.  If you are serving the meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta then the smaller the better because it makes for easier eating.


Always a wonderful addition to meatballs whether they are in sauce or not are your favorite fresh herbs. In this recipe the herbs are added into the minced meat ingredient mix and again 5 minutes before removing the pan from the heat. The parsley or basil overcooks if added too earlier on.


If you are someone that doesn’t want to see the onion in the meatballs then it’s best to grate rather than chop the onion as I did in this recipe where I also used sliced bread as opposed to breadcrumbs.


Normally for Italian type meatballs you can use both pork and beef mince just as I did here in this Saucy Meatball Pasta – Italian South African Recipe.  however, you can use any red meat, chicken, or simply mix a little of both pork and beef mince.



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Not only does this gentle simmering make some of the most tender and most flavorful meatballs you’ve ever had, but the sauce also becomes richer and more savory in the process.


  • serve with any type of pasta, with potatoes, rice, veggies and also great with mashed potato,
  • grated parmesan is a nice addition if necessary
  • fresh herbs or green onion
  • add into a wrap or burger (make them very small)
  • add them into a curry as well – but I would suggest that you add them in the end, frying them separately to avoid them breaking



If you try this meatballs in sauce recipe don’t forget to tag your creation and share it with me on Instagram. 
@anosmickitchen and use the hashtag #anosmickitchen so that I don’t miss your post!

From Scratch Homemade Meatballs in Sauce Recipe

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword meatballs, sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes



  • 500 grams extra lean beef mince
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves (minced or chopped)
  • handful fresh Italian parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp fennel spice
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • canola oil (for frying the meatballs)


  • 2 cans peeled tomatoes (340 grams each)
  • 1 red chopped onion (small)
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tbsps olive oil (for frying onions and garlic)
  • fresh basil
  • fresh parsley


  • In a large enough bowl add all the meatball ingredients except the oil.
  • Using your hands, mix the meatball ingredients into bite sized balls and as you finish lay them on a plate. Once all the meatballs are done, leave them in the fridge while you cook the sauce.
  • Heat a non stick pan and add the oil and cook the onions for a minute before adding the garlic to cook.
  • Pour in the tomatoes, add some water into empty tomato cans, swirl and toss into the sauce.
  • Add the salt, pepper, half the parsley and cook low heat for 30 minutes.
  • While the sauce cooks on low heat prepare to fry the meatballs.


  • Take the meatballs out of the fridge, heat the canola oil in a non stick frying pan on low heat and add the meatballs without crowding the pan.
  • Cook turning once until golden brown.
  • Place them on kitchen paper or a clean kitchen towel to drain any excess oil.
    Add the meatballs into the sauce and let them continue cooking on low heat for about 15 minutes.
  • 5 minutes before the sauce is cooked, add in the roughly chopped parsley and basil.
    Remove from the heat and serve with cooked pasta or see serving suggestions in this post.

juicy meatballs in sauce

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