Shortcut Sausage Meatballs

April 15, 2019

Author Notes: When I want meatballs, but don’t have the time to deal with a dozen-plus ingredients and steps, I make these. They are nothing more than loose sausage, which is already seasoned with salt and spices, and comes in a slew of flavors (sweet Italian, hot Italian, chorizo, breakfast, you name it). Roll into balls, pan-fry in a slick of hot oil, and get a totally delicious doppelgänger to put toward tomato-sauce spaghetti, cheesy sub sandwiches, grain bowls, brothy soups, and on, and on. I like mid-sized meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each), but feel free to decrease or increase the size however you want; just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Emma Laperruque

Makes: 9 meatballs
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min


  • 1 pound fresh, loose sausage
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
In This Recipe


  1. Roll the sausage into balls, estimating about two tablespoons each.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium heat. The pan should be big enough to fit all the meatballs comfortably—a 10-inch is just big enough. Add the oil. If there’s not enough oil to form a thin layer, add a little more. When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the meatballs. They should sizzle loudly.
  3. Pan-fry the meatballs for about 8 minutes—turning each one every couple minutes—until browned and crusty on the outside and cooked through on the inside (at least 150°F on an instant-read thermometer for pork, 160°F for poultry).

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