Spicy Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Last modified on January 16th, 2019 at 10:34 am

Served in a homemade tomato sauce of basil, garlic and chili peppers, these spicy meatballs are simply seasoned, gluten-free and recommended as a stand alone dish, served traditionally over pasta or as a meatball sub. 

Whenever we get cravings for meatballs there’s two ways we imagine it going down. Of course, we’d be lying if we didn’t say Lady and the Tramp style; Philip rolling a meatball over with his nose and us ending the night with a kiss as we share a single spaghetti noodle. And the other, a little less messy but equally as dramatic, is a giant pan filled with Spicy Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella.

Close up image of spicy meatballs in a skillet with melted cheese, serving utensils, fresh basil, and two slices of grilled bread

Served in a simple and fresh tomato sauce with basil, chili peppers and garlic, these spicy meatballs are the perfect size to serve as a shared appetizer or the main course with a few pieces of grilled crostini. Smear a spoonful of tomato sauce on you bread, place one spicy meatball on your crostini and cut it open to enjoy.

Flat lay photo of ingredients for spicy meatballs and photo of finished spicy meatballs with crostini and basil

Because the meatballs are the star of this dish, we opted for grass-fed beef, forming it into balls and then delicately rolling them in salt and pepper (no egg or bread crumbs) allowing the flavour to really shine from our homemade tomato sauce.

Philip putting fresh basil in tomato sauce, Philip rolling meatballs, Philip cooking the meatballs in the skillet.

Chef’s Tip: When rolling your meatballs, be careful not to compact the meat mixture too much; always remember to shape it, never squeeze it.

Sear the meatballs, then place them into your spicy tomato sauce and bake with the mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Philip's hand holding a crostini with spicy meatball on topIf finger foods and sharing plates aren’t ideal for serving larger groups then serve these spicy meatballs over fresh spaghetti or in mini slider buns perfect for game day or appetizers. It all depends how much you want to work for your meatballs.

Bon appetit,

Chef Sous Chef

Philip serving a meatball covered in cheese and tomato sauce from the skillet


Spicy Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Spicy meatballs with golden baked mozzarella and parmesan cheese

The perfect meatball requires only quality ground beef, salt and pepper. Served in spicy tomato sauce and crusted in baked mozzarella and you the making of an amazing meal that can be served on spaghetti, a sandwich or dipped with a crusty loaf of bread.

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 2 lbs good quality ground beef
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (796ml/28oz)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 150g fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 10 basil leaves, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided


No. 1 | Preheat the oven to 450°.

No. 2 | Heat a saucepan to medium-high with 1 tbsp olive oil. While the oil is heating, open the tomatoes. Once oil just begins to smoke, add garlic and chilis, and sauté for 20 seconds. As soon as the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, then stir in 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper and half the basil leafs roughly torn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

No. 3 | Meanwhile, heat heavy bottom, oven safe skillet on medium high heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Divide the meat into 16 even pieces and roll into balls. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper and roll them around until they are well coated. When oil begins to smoke, gently place each meatball in the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Sear the meatballs for 2 minutes, then gently shake the pan to roll the meatballs a quarter turn. Repeat until the meatballs are seared all around, about 8 minutes total. Drain any excessive fat from the pan once the meatballs are cooked.

No. 4 | Cover the meatballs with the tomato sauce. Tear the mozzarella into chunks scatter throughout the meatballs. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese then broil for 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly. 

No. 5 | Before serving, top with remaining basil. Enjoy with a loaf of bread, a sandwich, pasta or just by themselves.

Keywords: Real Food, Meatballs, Easy Recipes


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Kyle L.
    November 24, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Such a great story! I love this recipe!

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    January 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

    This dish looks stunning! all those wondrful flavors into one pan, this is right up my alley, I gotta try this!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.