Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

15 minutes
30 minutes
45 minutes
5 to 6
The only thing better than meatballs is cheesy stuffed meatballs that ooze out ooey gooey mozzarella with every bite! Paired with the creamy “vodka” sauce, this recipe is packed with all sorts of flavors and textures yet it all comes together in a little over 30 minutes. It is the definition of an indulgent dinner that can be enjoyed with pasta or some garlic bread!
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Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

The only thing better than meatballs is cheesy stuffed meatballs that ooze out ooey gooey mozzarella with every bite! Paired with the creamy “vodka” sauce, this recipe is packed with all sorts of flavors and textures yet it all comes together in a little over 30 minutes. It is the definition of an indulgent dinner that can be enjoyed with pasta or some garlic bread!

Prepping the Meatballs

Let’s start with the heart of the recipe which is the meatballs! I have been making meatballs this way for years now so when I promise you it is perfection, I mean it. It is packed with so much flavor and they always turn out so juicy. First things first, let’s gather our ingredients. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk, letting them mingle for about 5 minutes until perfectly soaked. This mixture acts like a glue to hold the meatballs together. If you want these to be gluten-free, you can always skip this part.

Next, in a medium bowl, combine together ground beef, garlic, egg, parsley, Parmesan, and a flavorful array of spices that includes Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes. And now, for the shaping & cheese stuffing!

After combining the ingredients in the medium bowl, it’s time to get your hands dirty. You can use gloves if you prefer but I just do it with my hands as is. Take about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture and gently roll it between your palms to form a round ball. Once you’ve got a nice round shape, press your thumb into the center to create a little indentation. Now, grab a cube of mozzarella and nestle it snugly into the indentation before sealing the meatball tightly around it. Repeat this process until all the meat mixture is used up. Feel free to experiment with the cheese you use! Since these are Italian-style meatballs, mozzarella does make the most sense but you can also use Monterey Jack. For a spicy version, use pepper jack!

If you want to ground turkey or chicken in place of the ground beef, that also works as well! Sometimes, I also love adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil to my meatballs for even more flavor, a little secret tip.

Crafting the Vodka Sauce

Now, let’s turn our attention to the star of the show – the luscious vodka sauce, or should I say no vodka-vodka sauce since this is an alcohol-free version. Heat up some olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then sauté garlic and tomato paste until they reach a rich, caramelized hue. For even more flavor, you can add in some oil from a sun-dried tomato jar which is what I did if you saw the recipe video on Instagram or TikTok. Pour in heavy cream and simmer until the sauce thickens to create a creamy consistency. Don’t forget to sprinkle in some parmesan, red pepper flakes, and dried basil for an extra kick.

Feel free to use a different sauce if you don’t prefer vodka sauce or want an easier alternative. For example, you can use marinara sauce from a jar. You could even pair it with Alfredo for a more unique twist! Also want to note that I like to make the sauce after shaping the meatballs but before cooking. That way I can just leave it over the lowest heat setting on the stove to keep it warm while the meatballs cook.

Cooking the Meatballs and Assembling

Moving on to the final part, it’s time to cook those meatballs we put so much love AND cheese into! Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle with olive oil, and carefully sear each meatball until golden brown on all sides. Once beautifully seared, drop the heat to low and let them cook through. Then transfer the meatballs into the vodka sauce, allowing them to soak up all those delicious flavors. Serve warm and garnish with fresh basil or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an extra touch.

You can enjoy this over a bed of pasta, with some salad, or even with garlic bread!

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Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

The only thing better than meatballs is cheesy stuffed meatballs that ooze out ooey gooey mozzarella with every bite! Paired with the creamy “vodka” sauce, this recipe is packed with all sorts of flavors and textures yet it all comes together in a little over 30 minutes. It is the definition of an indulgent dinner that can be enjoyed with pasta or some garlic bread!

The only thing better than meatballs is cheesy stuffed meatballs that ooze out ooey gooey mozzarella with every bite! Paired with the creamy “vodka” sauce, this recipe is packed with all sorts of flavors and textures yet it all comes together in a little over 30 minutes. It is the definition of an indulgent dinner that can be enjoyed with pasta or some garlic bread!

15 minutes
30 minutes
45 minutes
5 to 6

Ingredients

MEATBALLS
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for coating the pan
  • 8-ounce block mozzarella, cut into small cubes
VODKA SAUCE
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic finely minced
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

PREP THE MEATBALLS
  1. To a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs and milk. Allow it to soak for 5 minutes.
  2. To a medium bowl, add the soaked breadcrumbs, ground beef, garlic, egg, parsley, parmesan, salt, Italian seasoning, paprika, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and onion powder. Mix together to combine well.
  3. Shape the meatballs into round small balls, about 3 tablespoons of meat each.
  4. Push a small cube of mozzarella into the center of each meatball and roll the meatball to seal it up tightly. Repeat with the rest to stuff them.
MAKE THE VODKA SAUCE
  1. In a saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. The tomato paste will darken in color from a bright red to reddish brown. This process removes acidity from the tomato paste.
  2. Add heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, salt, and black pepper to taste. Mix again.
  4. Add the grated parmesan, and butter. Mix until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Take off the heat and set aside.
COOK THE MEATBALLS
  1. Heat a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.
  2. Place the meatballs on the pan, spacing them apart. Allow one side to sear, about 2 to 3 minutes, then rotate. Once the other side is browned too, drop the heat to low and allow it to cook through until done, 165 degrees in the center.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to the vodka sauce and serve warm to enjoy!
5 based on 2 reviews

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE?

Rate + Review

literally the most perfect recipe. there’s no words. i have never written a review on a food blog but this one deserves all credit. just insane. i’m going to be thinking about this vodka sauce for some time now. thank you 🙏🏼

So glad I found this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and they came out sooooo good. No more boring meatballs! 12/10.

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