5 Ingredients or Fewer

Shortcut Sausage Meatballs

April 15, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten
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

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 9 meatballs
  • 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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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.