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20 Leftover Meatball Recipes That Are Creative, Easy and Enticing

Your big Sunday dinner had family, laughs and way too much spaghetti and meatballs. What’s a home cook to do with all those spare spheres of deliciousness, you ask? We have a bunch of creative ideas, many of which *don’t* involve typical tomato sauce. Read on for 20 leftover meatball recipes that make the most of the dinnertime staple. Our faves include pasta dishes, sandwiches and a slew of unexpected sauces.

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1. One-pan Spaghetti And Meatballs

Let’s get the usual suspects out of the way, shall we? Whether your leftover meatballs are ready to reheat or waiting to be cooked, you can’t go wrong with al dente pasta, marinara sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese.

2. Meatball Sub

Same goes for this hearty classic, which stars bread slathered in garlic butter (!!!). If your leftover meatballs are already baked, simply simmer them in the pasta sauce. If not, bake them until they’re cooked, then simmer them.

3. Mozzarella Meatball Frittata

This breakfast beauty will most definitely keep you full ’til lunchtime, but a slice served with a green salad would also be a delightful dinner.

4. Spiced Lamb Meatball And Escarole Soup

The recipe calls for lamb spiced with coriander, cumin, oregano and turmeric, but small sausage or beef meatballs would be fine substitutes.

5. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Aka the most foolproof party appetizer of all time. Transform leftover ground chicken meatballs with a simple two-ingredient sauce that your guests will go gaga for.

6. Swedish Meatballs

Either spruce up surplus ground beef with allspice and nutmeg or drench leftover meatballs in fresh gravy—that’s what really counts anyway. (And the mashed potatoes.)

7. Ravioli Lasagna

Instead of layering the casserole with ground beef, nestle chopped meatballs between the ravioli and let your oven do the rest.

8. Chicken Meatballs With Coconut-herb Sauce

Complete with a mound of cauliflower rice. We’re betting the creamy, oniony sauce would taste divine on salmon, too.

9. Pork Meatballs With Tomato Farrisotto

Not to be confused with risotto, this creamy, tender side is made with pearled farro.

10. Ginger-scallion Chicken Meatballs With Sesame-soy Glaze

If your chicken meatballs are already made, add the spare scallions and grated ginger to the sauce for maximum flavor.

11. Spicy Glazed Meatballs

Is anyone else dying to try the sticky sriracha glaze on meatloaf or is it just us?

12. Meal-prep Turkey Meatballs With Zucchini Noodles

Low-carb, satisfying and ready in the flash. Feel free to use ground chicken or beef instead of turkey if that’s what you have on hand.

13. Easy One-pan Baked Ziti

Sliced meatballs suit this ooey-gooey dish just as well as ground Italian sausage. (Just don’t skip the pancetta—it offers so much savory flavor to the tomato sauce.)

14. Chimichurri Chicken Meatballs With Herbed Greek Yogurt, Red Quinoa & Green Beans

We have it on good authority that the yogurt sauce infused with cilantro, scallions, parsley and basil will taste heavenly on just about any meatball imaginable.

15. Vegan Sriracha ‘meatballs’ With Noodles And Grilled Vegetables

Sure, the odds of you having tofu-chia meatballs hanging out in your fridge are slim. But the three-ingredient sauce that they’re slathered in is nothing short of delicious (and it would taste particularly great on pork).

17. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs

Ideally, you should start with ground chicken so the meat can be seasoned with cumin, coriander and fresh cilantro. But if you have precooked chicken meatballs, you can easily make the decadent sauce on its own and douse them in it once it’s ready.

18. Meatballs In Sour Cherry Sauce

This Syrian-inspired dish starring ground lamb is destined for your next cocktail party.

19. Baked Coconut Curry Meatballs

The beef meatballs are cooked in the oven instead of pan-fried for speedier preparation (but you can save even more time if you use precooked ones).

20. Perfect Meatballs With Cherry Tomato Sauce

At the end of the day, all it takes to resurrect leftover meatballs is a killer tomato sauce, fresh basil and lots of melted mozz.


For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.