Put a twist on classic meatballs – by stuffing ’em with mozzarella! These Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites are a fun combination of meatballs and pizza!
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I don’t know about you, but we like to mix up our meals up around here. Sure, there are some tried-and-true favorite recipes that we’ve been making for years. (I can’t imagine going an entire summer without making my mother-in-law’s Italian Antipasto Salad. Heck, we’ve even made that pasta salad in the dead of winter!) With that said, we do enjoy mixing things up a bit. You know, like putting a fun spin on a favorite family recipe. And that’s what led to these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites.
The meatball portion of this recipe is my go-to recipe for whenever we want meatballs. Whether it’s for meatball sandwiches or perhaps spaghetti and meatballs, I make sure to keep this recipe close at hand. In fact, we always keep a bag of these meatballs in the freezer. The recipe calls for a ½-pound of ground beef and ½-pound of ground pork. My mother-in-law taught me this little trick years ago, and I’ve been using a combination of beef and pork for these meatballs ever since.
However, unless you go to the butcher counter at the grocery store, it’s pretty hard to find a ½-pound package of either ground pork or beef. I usually end up buying 1 pound of each and making a double batch of meatballs – we eat some right away and the rest go into a freezer bag for those nights when we just don’t want to cook.
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites
Recently, I decided to take those meatballs and put a fun spin on ’em – by stuffing them with mozzarella! Adding cheese is an almost surefire way to make any recipe better. And let me tell ya’ – these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites are a winner! Not only are these meatballs delicious, but there is the fun surprise element of finding melted mozzarella hiding inside.
The trick to making these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites is to make sure the mozzarella is totally inside the meatball before it gets baked. If not, the mozzarella will melt out while it’s in the oven. While you could probably use shredded mozzarella to make these stuffed meatballs, I found Ciliegine (cherry-sized mozzarella balls) to be quite easy.
To make these stuffed meatballs, just divide the meatball mixture into 12 (or 24 if you’re making a double batch) portions. Then flatten each portion in the palm of your hand and place a mozzarella ball on top. From there, just fold the meatball mixture around the mozzarella so that the cheese is completely sealed inside. That’s it.
While mozzarella stuffed meatballs are delicious in their own right, I took one extra step here. Once the meatballs cooled, I wrapped each one in a bit of pizza dough. I brushed an herbed olive oil mixture on top of the dough and sent those meatballs back into the oven. The result is one heck of a tasty meatball! It’s kinda like the meatball truck ran into the pizza truck – I’m telling ya these are a new favorite in our house. I hope you enjoy these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites as much as we do!
Did you make a batch of these Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball Bites
For the Meatballs
- ⅓ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium white onion finely diced
- 8 oz. ground beef
- 8 oz. ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley minced
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- 12 cherry-sized mozzarella balls ~4 oz.
For the Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Using a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk; let soak for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a medium frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced onions and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
- Transfer onions bowl with bread crumbs. Add all of the remaining meatball ingredients except for mozzarella balls (beef, pork, egg, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper and Parmesan cheese). Mix until just combined. (Tip: Take care not to overmix or the meatball may be tough.)
- Divide mixture into 12 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, flatten meatball mixture into the palm of your hand. Place a mozzarella ball in the middle and wrap the meatball mixture around the mozzarella. (Note: Take care to ensure the mozzarella ball is completely enclosed inside meatball.) Place meatballs 1” apart on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 23-27 minutes, or until meatballs are fully cooked.
For the Bites
- Divide pizza dough into (12) 1-oz. pieces. Roll each piece into a 3”x3” circle. Place one meatball into middle of each circle and then wrap dough around meatball, pinching edges to seal. Place dough-wrapped meatballs on a clean parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Using a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, Italian seasonings, kosher salt and garlic powder. Brush this mixture evenly on top of each meatball bite.
- Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Looking for more tasty meatball recipes? Check out these other favorites: