Soft pillowy meatballs nestled in tomato sauce and smothered in gooey cheese are the ultimate in comfort food!

Cheesy Skillet Meatball appetizer

Everyone has their own definition of comfort food, it’s such a personal thing.  For me it’s food that helps erase the stresses of the day, temporarily stops all conversation, and envelopes me in a cozy embrace.  It’s often cheesy, usually warm, and always satisfying.  True comfort food shouldn’t stir up  guilt or regret.  It’s food that inspires what my husband calls my ‘dinner dance’, an embarrassing little jig I do when an especially tempting meal is coming together :)

Meatballs topped with cheese

Meatballs of all kinds are on my top ten list of favorite foods.  I’m super happy with these because they came out so soft and pillowy — just perfect for scooping up with a crisp piece of garlic toast.

Meatballs in tomato sauce topped with cheese

I don’t usually follow a recipe with meatballs, I improvise off a basic formula of 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 egg to every pound of ground meat.  Finely chopped onions are almost always included.  I vary the flavorings widely, including some herbs and spices and some kind of sauce.  Sometimes I’ll use ketchup, steak sauce or barbecue sauce.  Depending on the flavor profile I might use soy sauce, jam, or even milk.  These meatballs came out especially soft, which works well for scooping and eating dip-style.

Skillet meatballs nestled in a rich tomato sauce

Skillet Meatballs with Mozzarella cheese

Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast

Yield: makes about 22 meatballs to serve 4-6

Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • a small red onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 heaping Tbsp ketchup (I used my favorite Jalapeno Ketchup)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp A1 sauce
  • 16 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (a little more if you like things really cheesy)
    garlic toasts
  • 1 baguette
  • olive oil for brushing
  • several garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise (don't peel)


  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and beat well with a fork. Add the meat, breaking it apart as you add it to the bowl Add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the tomato sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Mix to combine everything well, using your fingertips. Don't compact the meat, and don't over mix it, you want these meatballs to be fluffy and light.
  3. Scoop out the meat into approximately 22 balls and roll the balls round with your hands. I used my 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop.
  4. Set the meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. After you put the meatballs in the oven, pour the sauce into a 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven along with the meatballs for the last 10 minutes of cooking, to heat up the sauce.
  6. Remove both pans from the oven and transfer the meatballs to the skillet, nestling them into the sauce. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, If you made your meatballs smaller or larger, the cooking time may vary.
  7. Remove the skillet again and top with the cheese. Return to the oven to melt the cheese. Set under the broiler if you want it to brown, but watch carefully.
  8. Serve immediately with garlic toasts.
  9. To make the toasts, thinly slice a baguette and brush one side with olive oil. Set the toasts oil side down on a very hot grill pan for a few minutes until toasted. Rub the cut side of garlic along the toasted surface of the hot bread.

Tender meatballs baked up in tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella



more meatball inspiration:

Moroccan Lemon and Cardamom Meatballs 3Moroccan Lemon and Cardamom Meatballs

Bourbon Cocktail MeatballsBourbon Cocktail Meatballs

spaghetti with giant meatballSpaghetti with Giant Meatballs

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32 Responses to Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast

  1. James says:

    I made these tonight and they are delicious. Thank you for your delicious recipe ideas

  2. Judy Noorda says:

    i noticed Amanda was using pre made meatballs, Have you ever tried that? If so, would you change the recipe in any way?

  3. Nicole says:

    How far in advance can I make this? I’m thinking of baking the meatballs and then finishing the next day with the baking in sauce step……looks amazing!! I can’t wait to make it for guests!

    • Sue says:

      You can make the meatballs in advance, for sure. I’d say up to a couple of days ahead, as long as you keep them well wrapped in the refrigerator so they don’t dry out.

  4. amanda says:

    I’m trying this tonight. unfortunately i couldn’t muster myself to make the meatballs. i bought the publix pre-made ones. and I’m gonna add in some ricotta cheese but I’m SO looking forward to the end result! they are in the oven now

  5. Armymum says:

    OMG!!!!! this….

    This will be made this weekend….
    This just might be as close as I ever get my husband to eating fondue

  6. Thomas says:

    1st. for the people that are getting pounded by the ads. I use the Opera browser with the GHOSTERY addon. It stops most of that foolishness and just lets the YUM through…

    2nd. Made this tonite and it is as Awesome as it appears. Made mine with 1 1/2lbs. and baked for 20 the 1st time and 15 the 2nd time. Turned out Great. Thanks for posting this addition the regular rotation..

  7. Oh my goodness, these look DELICIOUS!!! Meatballs drowning in cheese – count me in!

  8. Tara says:

    Wow, that looks amazing, my tummy is grumbling looking at your scrumptious pictures!!

  9. Katie says:

    Hi, I love you blog so much but maaaaan the ads are getting really annoying! It doesn’t actually work on my iPad now, let alone my phone… I just hope that a book is on the cards! You’d deserve it!

  10. These are calling my name! So delicious and cheesy!

  11. Ummm whoa. Literally stopped in my tracks when I saw this!! Hello football season!

  12. Sippitysup says:

    This is my definition too! GREG
    PS I never regret food so maybe it’s all comfort food to me.

  13. Dianne says:

    i think I would really enjoy your website but the banner ads are so annoying that I’m going to vote with my feet–really my keyboard and find a less annoying site

    • Sue says:

      I’m so sorry Dianne, I hear the frustration in your voice. It is like walking a tightrope trying to maintain enough ads to keep my blog afloat, without offending readers.

  14. This looks amazing – comfort food at its finest!

  15. I’m doing a little happy dance just looking at these Sue. I think they would cure just about anything that ails…

  16. This is perfect comfort food and I’m seriously drooling at the moment, with that cheese and bread shot!

  17. Cheesy meaty deliciousness! Love everything about this. Who needs pasta when you can have this skillet of crazy good meatballs?

  18. What a great appetizer idea for a crowd, love the side of garlic toast!

  19. Teresa says:

    Looks fantastic and comforting! Do you have a good jar tomato sauce recommendation?

  20. What a crowd pleaser! My kids would have loved this, but then again I would, too! Fall is certainly in the air with this great skillet dish!

  21. Monique says:

    Oh my fam would love.!

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