5 Ingredients or Fewer

Shortcut Sausage Meatballs

April 15, 2019
8 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 9 meatballs
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

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound fresh, loose sausage
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
  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).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Rochelle Winston Davies
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

3 Reviews

Rochelle W. December 9, 2020
What a great time saving idea!! While I have always thought my recipe for meatballs couldn’t be topped, I am always looking for shortcut methods when I am pressed for time. I will definitely have to try this.
Vincent L. April 21, 2019
Genius! My kids will love it! ( I could never be bothered frying a sausage1)
Eileen S. April 17, 2019
So if I understand this "one ingredient" recipe for meatballs, it's ground meat. And happily, it's even Test Kitchen approved. Come on.....