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Why did my meatballs fall apart?

Too much egg? Not enough breadcrumbs?

They starting to fall apart when I was browning them in the oil. What did I do wrong?

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  1. Probably too much breadcrumbs. While they do make the meatballs more delicately textured, going overboard can ruin their ability to hold their shape. Another problem might be too much liquid, if you used any. Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: operagirl

      I use 1 egg per lb of meat; if I use more they get too soft. I like to use English muffins along with just a little Japanese breadcrumbs. Run some water over the muffins and squeeze out the excess. I do add a dash of heavy cream too, and another good dash of worcestshire sauce. They're soft but don't fall apart at all.

    2. Without knowing the amounts of ingredients it's hard to know if you have too much of one ingredient. It's unlikely that it's too much eggs as they would bind the mix as it cooked. Nonetheless, I don't pan fry my meatballs. I make big batches and cook them in the oven in foil trays. I then drop them into my spagetti sauce to finish and to flavor the sauce. I've included my recipe below. You can cut it down if needed.

      for 110 – 120 meatballs 2” diameter:

      • 10 lbs ground beef or meatball mix, ¼ veal, ¼ pork & ½ beef;
      • 2 dz large eggs;
      • 24 oz grated pecorino romano or parmegiano;
      • 24 oz fresh bread crumbs or Progresso Italian bread crumbs;
      • 3-4 large yellow onions, chopped fine;
      • 1 bulb garlic, minced;
      • basil to taste, fresh or dried;
      • parsley to taste, fresh;
      • salt and pepper to taste; and,
      • olive oil, for sautéing.

      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over low to medium heat until soft and remove from heat. Thoroughly mix the meat, eggs and other ingredients as well as the contents of the pan with the onions and garlic. Form into balls using an ice cream scoop and lay out on foil pans. Cook until well browned on top…about 45 minutes depending on how many pans are in the oven. (cook tomato sauce at the same time and drop the balls into the sauce to flavor)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Den

        My recipe is quite similar, but I'll often sub ground turkey or ground chicken. Lovely to have them pre-cooked and ready to grab from the freezer (when we had unexpected lunch guests, I even made 'em into hot meatball subs).

      2. Thanks, those sound great. Do you cook for an army? hospital? That's a lot of meatballs!

        1. Thanks, I always get that comment. It's only 2 of us at home and I make them and freeze them in the sauce. You need to freeze the balls in the sauce or they'll get freezer burn. Anyway, I freeze the meatballs in quart containers and that way I can take them out and just thaw in the MW whenever I want.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Den

            I agree about making a large batch, although I don't quite make that much. We're only two too. No point going through the bother unless I'm making extra. I like throwing extra in the freezer (in the sauce, same as you) and knowing I have several dinners at hand for those lazy nights where I just don't really have the energy to cook.

          2. Perhaps the oil wasn't hot enough to start, and/or you tried to turn them too early. I usually start on a fairly high heat, get them good and crusty on the outside until they're sturdy enough to turn.