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Easy Meatball Skillet with Parmesan


This Meatball Skillet is a combination of a few of my favorite flavors.  You will love that it has homemade flavorful meatballs, but using store-bought marinara sauce saves time without sacrificing taste.

Finished meatball skillet with parmesan and basil.
Table of Contents

The homemade Italian meatballs in this skillet are easier than you think! The ingredients give the perfect blend of flavors and textures. Using a cookie scoop ensures they are all evenly sized meatballs which makes cooking them a breeze.

When the meatballs are browned and then simmered in the marinara sauce, the result is absolutely delicious. The meatball skillet gets even better when it’s topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. This is a comforting and easy weeknight meal that your whole family will love. So is this Meatball Sub Casserole.

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What goes into this Recipe

The ingredients needed to make easy Meatball Skillet.
  • Ground Beef: I prefer to use ground beef that is 93% lean {or more} so that you don’t have to mess with added grease but whatever you have on hand will do. These lean beef meatballs are wonderful for so many things.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: Panko bread crumbs help bind the meatballs together. To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs.
  • Parmesan Cheese: I promise you that this is an ingredient you don’t want to miss. It helps to flavor the meat mixture and is perfect on top for serving.
  • Garlic: Don’t skip this ingredient! Garlic is just made for Italian dishes.
  • Marinara Sauce:  Using a store bought version keeps this busy weeknight dinner simple but homemade marinara sauce can also be used.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese:  Add shredded or thin cut slices to the top of the dish for an amazing creamy element.

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.


  • Lightened Up Meatball Skillet: Make turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs by changing up the kind of ground meat you use.   To do so, use lean ground turkey or chicken in place of the ground beef if you prefer a leaner option. To keep with the lean theme try serving with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
  • Keto Meatball Skillet: To make this recipe keto-friendly, just replace the panko with crushed pork rinds!
  • Gluten-Free Meatball Skillet: Replace the Panko breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs or ground oats to make the dish gluten-free.

How to make Meatball Skillet

  1. Combine the ground beef, garlic, olive oil, Panko bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese and seasoning in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the ingredients together using a spoon or your hands, being sure to not overmix. Use a cookie scoop {or about 2 tablespoons} to scoop the meat mixture into your hand and roll. Place the meatballs on a plate or tray until ready to cook.
Steps 1 and 2 of making meatball skillet. 1, combine ingredients. 2, scoop meatballs.
  1. Heat a large skillet {or cast iron skillet} over medium high heat and brown the meatballs. This can be done in two batches if needed.
  2. Once you have brown meatballs, add them all back into the skillet.  Add marinara sauce to the top of the meatballs.
Steps 3 and 4 of making meatball skillet. 3, brown meatballs. 4, add marinara sauce.
  1. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until they are cooked through {165 degrees}. I like to use this thermometer.
  2. Top with mozzarella cheese and cover again for a couple of minutes until melted. Serve with fresh basil and additional parmesan cheese.
Steps 5 and 6 of making meatball skillet. 5, cook meatballs. 6, top with cheese and serve.

Expert Tips

  • Do not over mix the meatballs. Doing so will result in a tough end result instead of tender meatballs.
  • Change up the flavor by adding additional spices.  A pinch of red pepper flakes and half teaspoon of Italian seasoning would both be a great addition.
  • My biggest tip to give you when making meatballs is to use a cookie scoop.  In order to have them cook evenly it is important that they are all the same size.
  • The olive oil in the recipe can be replaced with an egg. This is the binder of the recipe.
  • Brown the easy skillet meatballs in a single layer and in two batches. This will ensure that the pan doesn’t get overcrowded and the meatballs cook evenly.
  • The meatballs do not have to be cooked through when browning. They will finish cooking in the sauce.

Storing and Freezing

Store: You can store any leftover meatball skillet in the refrigerator in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. It should stay fresh for about 3-4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Freeze: After cooking the meatballs and assembling the skillet, allow it to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, place the meatballs and sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container. You can also use a resealable freezer bag. Be sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Your frozen meatball skillet will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, and then you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make the meatballs in advance and then cook them later?

Absolutely! You can prepare the meatballs ahead of time, even a day or two in advance, and refrigerate them until you’re ready to cook. This can save you time on busy nights.

Can I use store-bought frozen meatballs for this recipe?

While homemade meatballs are the star of this dish, you can use store-bought frozen meatballs in a pinch. Just be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package and add them to the skillet when you’re ready to simmer in the marinara sauce.

What can I serve this dish with?

Linguine is a great pasta choice {although any works}, add crusty bread, a simple green salad, burrata salad or a side of steamed vegetables for a well-rounded meal with great side dishes.  

A single meatball on a spoon, serving the dish.

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Finished meatball skillet with parmesan and basil.

Easy Meatball Skillet with Parmesan

Tender homemade meatballs with parmesan cheese are cooked in marinara and covered with mozzarella cheese. 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 642kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 pound ground beef {I used 93/7}
  • 2 cloves garlic {minced}
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese {grated}
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 24 ounces marinara sauce {I used Barilla}
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil {chopped}
  • 12 ounces linguine {cooked}



  • Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  Scoop out golf ball sized meatballs {I used an ice cream scoop} and roll in your hands to make them completely round.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meatballs in two batches.  You want them to be evenly browned but they will not be cooked all of the way through.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Repeat with the second batch.
  • Once all of the meatballs have been browned then turn the heat down to medium-low, add the meatballs back to the pan and pour in the marinara sauce.  Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked completely {165 degree internal temperature}.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese.  Cover and simmer until the cheese is melted.  Serve with chopped basil and additional parmesan cheese over cooked linguine.


  • Avoid overmixing the meatballs to prevent toughness.
  • Use a cookie scoop for even-sized meatballs, ensuring uniform cooking.
  • You can substitute olive oil with an egg as the binder.
  • Brown meatballs in two batches to prevent overcrowding.
  • Meatballs don’t need to be fully cooked when browning; they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.
  • The meatballs freeze well for up to 3 months, I like to make an extra batch and freeze one for later.  When ready to use them, just thaw and cook as the recipe directs.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 642kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1230mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 832IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 347mg | Iron: 4mg
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