Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

These juicy mozzarella-stuffed meatballs are filled with ooey-gooey melted cheese. The simple spice mix combines with fresh herbs to flavor them nicely. These crowd-pleasing meatballs are perfect for potlucks or family gatherings.

mozzarella stuffed meatballs
Photo: Jen Causey
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins


  • 1 ½ pounds 90%-lean ground beef

  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 small), divided

  • ½ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 large eggs

  • cup unsalted beef broth

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 (1/2-inch) cubes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 tablespoon torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish

  • Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Combine ground beef, 1/2 cup onion, panko, eggs, broth, parsley, 1 teaspoon garlic, fennel and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined (do not overmix).

  2. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture into the palm of your hand and flatten; top with a mozzarella cube. Wrap the mozzarella entirely in the beef mixture to seal; shape into a 2-inch ball. Place on a plate or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining beef mixture and mozzarella to make 24 meatballs; refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

  3. Heat oil in a large high-sided nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary; cook, occasionally turning gently to brown all sides, for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate (do not wipe out the pan).

  4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to the pan; cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, thyme, basil and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer the meatballs and any juices from the plate to the pan, stirring gently to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until a thermometer inserted in the center of the meatballs registers 160°F, about 15 minutes.

  5. Serve the meatballs with the sauce; garnish with Parmesan and basil, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

317 Calories
18g Fat
10g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 317
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 26g 52%
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Vitamin A 1014IU 20%
Vitamin C 14mg 16%
Vitamin D 13IU 3%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 18mcg 5%
Vitamin K 33mcg 28%
Sodium 386mg 17%
Calcium 191mg 15%
Iron 4mg 22%
Magnesium 23mg 5%
Potassium 551mg 12%
Zinc 4mg 36%
Vitamin B12 2mcg 83%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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