Meatballs and Gravy

Welcome to the most delicious meal for savory meatballs and gravy! This dish is a classic and hearty comfort food that will bring your family together around the table.

Smothered Meatballs in Gravy

If you’re a fan of meatballs smothered in gravy and served over the top of mashed potatoes, you must try my recipe for Italian homemade meatballs and spaghetti.

Meatballs and Gravy Recipe

For this recipe, I took my classic meatloaf recipe and turned it into flavorful smothered meatballs in brown gravy.

The homemade gravy and tender meatballs make this a meal you want to make repeatedly. You can make this meal with just a few simple ingredients in no time.

Serve this recipe, meatballs in gravy, over creamy mashed potatoes, white rice, or egg noodles with green beans for a complete and satisfying meal.

I always love sharing tasty ground beef recipes that my whole family loves, and this is always a huge hit! Moreover, I can make the meatballs in advance and store them in the freezer, making it a super convenient meal for busy days.

Kitchen Essentials you May Need

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You can find my favorite essentials can be located on my Amazon storefront. While I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, my pieces are usually vintage and thrifted. However, I try to find and connect replicas as much as possible, made in the USA or by other small shops, as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

  • Mixing Bowl – Incredibly durable and long-lasting, stoneware mixing bowls are versatile and can be used for various tasks, including mixing, stirring, and even used as a serving bowl.
A plate full of mashed potatoes topped with meatballs and gravy

Ingredients

You only need a few pantry staples to make this easy meatballs and gravy recipe. While you can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery, I order mine from Azure Standard.

Meatballs

  • Ground Beef – I highly suggest using 90% lean ground beef, which has the optimal fat content for this particular recipe.
  • Ground Sausage – for the best meatball gravy recipe, combine ground beef and ground pork. It has the most delicious flavor.
  • Butter – to brown the meatballs, you will need some fat in the bottom of the skillet. Butter is an option, though my preference is bacon grease – it adds a delicious flavor!
  • Herbs and Spices – I use a combination of organic herbs and spices, including minced garlic, minced onion, basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Then I add salt and black pepper. Minced garlic and minced onion can be substituted for garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Eggs – serve as the binding agent to help hold the meatballs together.
  • Half-n-Half – using dairy, such as half-n-half or milk, can help keep the meatloaf moist and tender.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – I used fine-grated parmesan cheese instead of bread crumbs in the brown gravy recipe for the flavorful meatballs.
Meatball and gravy on top of mashed potatoes

Gravy

  • Butter or Grease – to make the brown gravy, you may need to add either grease or butter to the skillet. However, the remaining fat from browning the meatballs should be enough to start making the gravy.
  • Onion – sliced onions, preferably white or yellow, give the best texture and flavor to the brown gravy.
  • All Purpose Flour – this will help thicken the meatballs gravy.
  • Beef Broth – for the best flavor, choose to use organic beef broth or beef stock.
  • Salt and Pepper – Add salt and pepper once the gravy is made.

How to Make Meatballs and Gravy

Making the perfect meatballs and gravy meal is easier than you think. With this simple step-by-step guide, you can make a meal your family loves in about 40 minutes.

For the exact amount of ingredients and the complete instructions, refer to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Here is how to make meatballs and gravy.

Steps to Make the Meatballs

Step 1Mix Ingredients. Add ground meat, herbs, spice, egg, and dairy ingredients for your meatballs to a large bowl, omitting the fat that is used to brown them.

Thoroughly combine the meatball ingredients using your hands. Then shape the meat mixture into firm meatballs, about two teaspoons of mixture per meatball.

Brown the Meatballs

Step 2 – Brown the Meatballs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Place the meatballs in the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and cooked.

Browning meatballs on the stovetop

You may need to do this in several batches to ensure browning and even cooking for each meatball. Once cooked, transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.

Make the Brown Gravy

Once the meatballs are made, it is time to make the creamy gravy. You will make the gravy in the same skillet using the drippings from making the meatballs. To make the rich gravy, you will need about eight tablespoons of drippings or added fat.

Step 3 – Make the Gravy. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until they are softened, about 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir. Then, add in the beef broth and simmer while constantly stirring with a whisk for 3-5 minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Once the gravy has reached the desired consistency, test the flavor and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the Meatballs to the Gravy

Step 4 – Combine Meatballs and Gravy. Return the meatballs to the cast iron skillet with the gravy and gently toss them until they are well coated.

Serve

Step 5 – Serve. Finally, complete your meal of meatballs and brown gravy served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes, or with egg noodles. A side salad is a perfect accompaniment to this hearty dish.

Tips for Making Homemade Meatballs and Gravy

  • For the best flavor, use a combination of ground beef and pork. However, you can use all beef if you don’t have pork.
  • To ensure even cooking, make sure your meatballs are kept small and uniform in size.
  • When you brown meatballs, be sure not to overcrowd the pan. This makes it much easier to move them around.
  • If the gravy for meatballs gets too thick, add a little more broth. On the other hand, if it is too thin, let it simmer a little longer to thicken.
  • If you are having trouble shaping your meatball mixture, it may be too wet or too dry. If the meatballs are too wet, add more grated parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs to bind the meat. If they are too dry, add a bit more half n half or another large egg.
  • Use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or enameled skillet to keep the meatballs from sticking to the pan.
Meatballs and Gravy in Skillet

Make Ahead Options

  • Day in Advance – You can make the meatballs a day in advance; just mix the ingredients together, shape them into balls, and keep them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer – I like to make a double batch of meatballs and freeze them for a later meal. This way, when I am ready to cook them, I thaw the frozen meatballs in the refrigerator overnight and then prepare them the next day.

Storing Leftovers

Store cooked leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator if they are going to be eaten within three to four days. To freeze the cooked meatballs, place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I hope you have enjoyed learning how to make the best meatballs with rich brown gravy. This ultimate comfort food is a delicious and easy-to-make main dish that will become a favorite recipe for busy weeknights.

printable Recipe Card

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Yield: 30 Meatballs

Meatballs and Gravy

Meatballs and Gravy in Skillet

Welcome to the most delicious recipe for savory meatballs and gravy! This dish is a classic and hearty comfort food that will bring your family together around the table.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-n-half
  • 1 1/2 cup fine grated parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp oil for browning the meatballs

Brown Gravy

  • 8 tablespoons fat drippings or butter
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups beef broth depending on how thin or thick you want your gravy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Step 1 – Add all the necessary ingredients for your meatballs to a large mixing bowl, omitting the fat that is used to brown them. Thoroughly combine the ingredients using your hands. Then shape them into firm meatballs, about two teaspoons of mixture per meatball.

Step 2 – Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Place the meatballs in the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are browned and cooked.

You may need to do this in several batches to ensure browning for each meatball. Once cooked, transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.

Make the Brown Gravy

Once the meatballs are made, it is time to make the brown gravy. You will make the gravy in the same skillet using the drippings from making the meatballs. To make the gravy, you will need about eight tablespoons of drippings or added fat.

Step 3 – Add the onions to the skillet and cook until they are softened, about 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir. Then, add the beef broth and simmer while constantly stirring with a whisk for 3-5 minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Once the gravy has reached the desired consistency, test the flavor and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the Meatballs to the Gravy

Step 4 – Return meatballs to the cast iron skillet with the gravy and gently toss them until they are well coated.

Serve

Step 5 – Finally, complete your meal of meatballs and gravy served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes or with egg noodles. A side salad is a perfect accompaniment to this hearty dish.

Notes

Tips For Making Homemade Meatballs And Gravy

  • To ensure even cooking, make sure your meatballs are kept small and uniform in size.
  • When browning the meatballs, be sure not to overcrowd the pan. This makes it much easier to move them around.
  • If the gravy gets too thick, add a little more broth. On the other hand if it is too thin, let it simmer a little longer to thicken.
  • If you are having trouble shaping your meatballs, they mixture may be to wet or too dry. If the meatballs are too wet, add more grated parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs to bind the meat. If they are too dry, add a bit more half n half or another egg.
  • Use a well seasoned cast iron skillet or enameled skillet to keep the meatballs from sticking to the pan.

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