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The Ultimate Meatball

This is an ACF Original Recipe. I have challenged myself to work through tasting many balls to arrive at this Ultimate Meatball Recipe. It is everything a meatball should be. Bold. Flavourful. Unforgettable and most of all: second to none. See for yourself!
Course Main
Cuisine Canadian Italian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 100 meatballs
Author Valerie Lugonja


  • 800 g ground beef
  • 800 g ground pork
  • 800 g ground veal
  • 1 1/2 cups finely minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 package Saltines or salted soda crackers , crushed finely
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano , finely grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leafed parsley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (start with 1) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Vegeta
  • 3 tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons basil leaves
  • 6 large eggs , whisked well
  • 1 cup soda water or Club Soda
  • 1 cup whole milk


  1. Mix all ingredients, except eggs, club soda and milk, until well combined
  2. Add eggs, club soda and milk; gently mix all ingredients to combine
  3. Let mixture rest for 30 minutes (at this time, the crumbs will absorb the liquids)
  4. Roll into larger main course sized balls (about an inch and half in diameter) and place on parchment covered baking sheet
  5. Freeze individually, and then remove and repackage in labelled and dated freezer container until ready to use, or...
  6. Bake on cookie sheet at 400ºF for 18-22 minutes, or until brown, or...
  7. Gently brown all sides in frying pan with a little oil; simmer in choice of sauce until done

Recipe Notes

If you are looking for "The Ultimate Generic Meatball" leave out the herbs and cheese. The combination of fatty meats with onions, garlic, salt, pepper and cracker crumbs is sheer perfection - but on a totally different playing field.

The meatballs can also be poached in the sauce instead of cooked in the oven first. The flavour is the same, but the texture is completely different as there is no outer skin on the poached meatballs. Both ways are delicious.