Tips for fluffy meatballs

My new favorite pizza restaurant (Pizzeria Stella in Philadelphia, if anyone is nearby!) makes incredible meatballs. They are baseball sized, doused in a very simple tomato sauce, and are somehow light and fluffy as well as richly flavored (so you don't necessarily feel like you've eaten a baseball, and can move on to pizza). My go-to recipe is Rao's meatballs, which have a similar flavor, and as much as I love them they are a bit denser - I'd love to achieve the fluffiness of Stella's. Any thoughts?

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • March 9, 2015


Nancy March 10, 2015
Agree with Aliwaks on the matzo-ball techniques...not too much handling. Also, Mario Batali recommends using bread(crumbs) & meat in 1:1 ratio. He says meatballs in Italy were a way to stretch the meat, and, incidentally, the bread makes them lighter, no matter the size.
Pegeen March 9, 2015
Extra Tender Meatballs by Merrill
CanadaDan March 9, 2015
in place of breadcrumbs soak some torn up white bread in milk and shred that in I find they come out way more tender and moist than meatballs made with breadcrumbs. I also don't use beef,just pork and veal.
LeBec F. March 10, 2015
yes, the soft breadcrumbs(not dried) with milk or cream is an invaluable lesson. Also, i use my kitchen aid with paddle and that also helps add creaminess.

Voted the Best Reply!

Aliwaks March 9, 2015
First use freshly ground meat- classic meatball mix beef, pork, veal is lighter than just beef or just pork, if you can have them freshly ground together, you won't have to there will be more air and you will have less need to handle the meat. You can't over work your meat.

Which brings me to the most important lesson to be learned which is:

You have to be very gentle when handling balls...

Mix together all of the ingredients but the meat then gently gently using the tips of your fingers combine them with the ground meat, gently gentily

When it is time to shape them wet your hands lightly with cold water and gently roll the meat between your palms, don't compact them or squish them, don't put pressure on them just roll gently.

This same advice works for other balls as well.

Um like Matzoh Balls, don't be dirty . ;)
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