When pan frying meatballs they always stick. Always. I have used cast iron, non stick and copper. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

  • Posted by: Holly
  • February 5, 2018


MMH February 12, 2018
We like a lamb meatball recipe broiled under the broiler.
Summer O. February 12, 2018
Do the meatballs have enough fat in them? I made some yesterday and I usually add some diced bacon or pancetta in with the ground pork and beef. I also roll them in flour as mentioned previously. No sticking.

Voted the Best Reply!

HalfPint February 5, 2018
You might be trying to move the meatballs too soon. Most proteins, once they form a crust, will dislodge easily from a pan. That crust formation is really important. Have a little patience and wait for the crust formation before you try to un-stick the meatballs. If they're stuck and burning, the heat is too high. So keep a moderate heat and wait a few minutes.

Smaug February 5, 2018
You need the oil to be fairly deep, so that the meatballs will be partially floating in it- this not only will prevent sticking, it will keep you "balls" from flattening into squiggets. And the oil does need to be pretty hot- you need to boil off any surface moisture before it reaches the pan.
Smaug February 5, 2018
It's also a good idea to roll them in flour, bread crumbs or the like before frying- many recipes call for this. And you could, of course, use a non stick or well seasoned cast iron pan.
BerryBaby February 7, 2018
I agree with Smaug about rolling them lightly with flour. I have found this helps tremendously to keep them from sticking and adds a light crust.
PHIL February 5, 2018
I find baking is a lot easier and consistent. They only time I would fry is if I do a quick fry and toss them in pasta sauce to finish cooking. Frying is a bit of a pain anyway. Maybe someone else here can provide a better answer to why they stick. Maybe you are turning them too soon. Once they brown they should release.
Holly February 5, 2018
Dina February 7, 2018
Yeah, I've been making meatballs for a couple of decades, and I just bake them at 350 for about 35-45 minutes before adding them to my sauce and letting them finish up in there.
Dina February 7, 2018
I should add, they are always cooked when they come out of the oven, but I add them to the sauce to let everything hang out and share flavors for awhile.
Nancy February 5, 2018
A work-around.
Bake the meat first as a meatloaf, then cut in smallish pieces and add to your sauce.
Not exactly meatballs, but this method will give you cooked insides and not-charred outside.
Holly February 5, 2018
PHIL February 5, 2018
Are you heating the pan and oil before putting the meatballs in? The pan needs to be nice and hot. Meat shouldn't be ice cold either.
Holly February 5, 2018
Hi- yes, I get the pan and oil very hot. Meat may be too cold, but by the time I get to the last round they wouldn't be too cold and they usually still stick... Thought next time of maybe baking them for a bit first? They often just end up misshapen and black on the outside to be cooked on the inside.
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