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Meatballs in the Oven: foil, parchment, nothing, time& temp?

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I'm making meatball sandwiches for the Superbowl, and want to do them in the oven. I did this last time and it worked out OK, but can't recall what I did, and I see different advice on the issues referenced in the subject line.

On dealing with the pan, I'd rather not have major cleanup, but foil sometimes sticks and there'll be kids among the consumers, so I don't want to be feeding them bits of foil I might miss. Parchment paper? Nothing and just deal?

Also, any thoughts on time & temp would be welcome. I'm thinking of making the meatballs about 2-inch diameter uncooked, putting them in at 400 or so, turning after they start to look brown (5 minutes?), and then cooking for another few minutes after. Last time I recall doing lots of furious rolling of the pans to get them brown all over, but I think this time I'd like to do just a simple, single turn if I can. Thanks to any responders!

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  1. You could do foil and either oil it or spray with cooking spray to avoid the sticking. You could also cook under the broiler to help w/ the browning but in general, I haven't had much luck getting meatballs done in the oven to brown that well, at least compared to pan cooking them.

    1. I just did meatballs last weekend - I baked them at around 360 for about 30 minutes. I used my broiler pan and didn't turn them at all - has an easy to clean suface, and they actually browned perfectly well. Possibly some recipes brown better than others given the ingredient list. If you put them in some kind of sauce, I don't think it matters that much.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mamueller

        Sounds perfect- I always bake at 350 but the extra 10 would help browning. I think 400 would make them too dry. The broiler pan would be perfect too- not sitting in the grease. If I only had a broiler pan.. we have electric.

        1. re: Berheenia

          @juliejulez: I would use oil or spray if I used foil, but I've experienced some sticking that way sometimes anyway.

          @mamueller: I'm jealous of your broiler pan--mine is sadly not easy to clean.

          I was thinking a higher temp in the oven to brown them quickly (without drying them out, hopefully), since I'm going to be transitioning them to sauce for complete cooking.

          Thanks to you all and if any others have thoughts, I'd welcome them.

      2. Minimize cleanup... I suggest buying disposable aluminum pans. The pans are thin gauge so just keep a cookie sheet under than pan so you can use that to transport in and out of the oven.

        1. 2 inch diameter is going to take a lot more than 10 minutes.

          Sear them in a pan, and don't worry about brown all over.

          Put the in a low oven, 300-350 until cooked.

          1. I always cook my meatballs in the oven first, then finish in sauce/soup.
            I bake them at 425 for 15 minutes on a rack over sheet pan.

            1 Reply
            1. re: monavano

              I was going to suggest something similar to this -

              Brown them in the oven on an oiled sheet pan - (425-450 for 15-20 min) - then finish them in a big pot with whatever sauce you are going to use (I'm assuming you're using a sauce for your meatball sub) - just below a simmer, they can stay in there for a few hours actually

              That way you can do them ahead too and just reheat the pot with the sauce and meatballs for the party.