How To Cook Frozen Meatballs

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This How To Cook Frozen Meatballs guide will have you making delicious meatballs from frozen in no time! Meatballs are comforting and delicious, and frozen meatballs are the perfect shortcut for your busy family. 

Post includes Weight Watchers points.

top down view of a plate of pasta topped with sauce and cooked frozen meatballs

Frozen meatballs can be homemade or store-bought. Either way, they are convenient, flavorful, and perfect for easy meal prep.

Cooking frozen meatballs is a simple process and can be done using your favorite kitchen appliance.

Whether you need cooked meatballs to serve with spaghetti, cooked pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes, plan to make sandwiches, or simply serve them with a tasty BBQ sauce as an appetizer, cooking frozen meatballs is quick and easy.

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You’ll have tender meatballs that are heated through, topped with your favorite sauce, and ready to eat in minutes. 

And, this guide will show you many different ways to heat meatballs so they are warm all the way through and still tender and juicy.

No one wants to eat still-frozen meatballs or meatballs that are overcooked and dry. 

Ps you might also like this How To Cook Frozen Broccoli to serve alongside this dish.

And as an extra side dish check out this guide on How to Cook Frozen Carrots Recipe.

a spoon pouring sauce over cooked frozen meatballs and pasta

Why Make This Recipe

  • Versatile – Learn several ways to reheat meatballs so you can easily use your favorite appliance.  
  • Easy – Each method for cooking frozen meatballs is straightforward and several allow you to heat the meatballs in minutes. Here is How To Cook Frozen Hash Browns to serve with these.
  • Delicious – Easily add sauce or seasonings for great-tasting meatball recipes and appetizers.  

Ingredient Notes

  • Frozen Meatballs – Look for a variety of flavors and styles of meatballs in the frozen food aisle of your grocery store. Frozen meatballs are usually fully cooked, but it is important to read the package. You can also use homemade frozen meatballs. 
  • Sauce – Each of these cooking methods provides directions for adding the sauce. Select your favorite brand of jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce. 
the ingredients needed for learning how to cook frozen meatballs

Ready to learn how to cook frozen meatballs? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Oven

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. 
  2. Place the frozen meatballs on the lined tray in a single layer.
  3. Bake the meatballs for about 15-22 minutes (depending on their size) or until cooked through.  
  4. Turn the meatballs a couple of times during cooking for even cooking
  5. To add sauce, remove the tray from the oven after they are almost done minutes and pour over the spaghetti sauce. 
  6. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the sauce is warmed through. 

Note: Always check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C when inserted into the meatballs. 

close up view of how to cook frozen meatballs in oven on a baking sheet

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs On Stove Top

  1. Pour pasta sauce into a saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Carefully add in the meatballs and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. 
  4. If not using a sauce, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and add the meatballs.
  5. Heat over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring several times during cooking.
  6. Check that the meatballs are heated through before serving. 
top down view of frozen meatballs in a pan with sauce as part of the how to cook meatballs on stovetop recipe

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In Air Fryer

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

Get the complete Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs recipe

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.
  2. Add about 20 meatballs into the air fryer, cooking in batches if more is desired.
  3. Air fry for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown just on top, turning, halfway through cooking.
  4. Serve as is or top with your favorite sauce. 
top down view of frozen meatballs in air fryer basket

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In Crockpot

  1. Add sauce and meatballs in the crockpot or slow cooker.
  2. To cook without sauce, add ½ cup of water or stock to the crock pot. 
  3. Cover and cook meatballs for 4-6 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Check for doneness and serve. 
completed slow cooker meatballs inside a crockpot and ready to serve

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In Microwave

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of water to a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Add the meatballs and cover the dish with plastic wrap leaving a small space on the edge for steam to escape.
  3. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  4. Stir and test for doneness. Continue cooking for 45-60 seconds intervals until cooked through.
  5. To cook with sauce, eliminate the water and add sauce and the desired number of meatballs to a dish. Microwave as directed until the sauce and the meatballs are heated through.  
frozen meatballs in a dish covered with plastic wrap to show how to cook frozen meatballs in microwave

Expert Tips 

  • Use a nonstick, parchment-lined, or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet to bake meatballs.
  • Use the top rack so you don’t get too much browning.
  • Test the meatballs before serving to be sure they are cooked through.
  • You can use these methods for ground beef or ground pork meatballs or meatballs make with chicken, or a combination of beef and pork. These recipes will also work for vegan meatballs. Adjust cooking times accordingly.  
  • When cooking on the stovetop, cover the pot so the sauce doesn’t splash out as it simmers. 
  • Slow cooker meatballs are perfect when you want dinner ready when you get home.
  • Not a fan of plastic wrap? Cover your dish with a microwave-safe plate instead. 
  • Cooking time will vary with your choice of cooking method and the size of the meatballs.
  • If you are cooking raw meatballs using any of the suggested methods, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. 
  • To cook frozen uncooked meatballs you will need to increase the cooking time. 
  • Whether cooking raw meatballs or reheating previously cooked meatballs,  it is important to check the internal temperature using a quick read thermometer to ensure they are cooked all the way through. The temperature should reach 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C. 
  • Here are some of my favorite things to use to make this delicious dish. Do you have any of them too?
top down view of cooked frozen meatballs in a pan with sauce

Delicious Variations

  • Try Different Flavors Of Meatballs – Frozen meatballs are available in various styles and flavors. Experiment to discover which ones you like best. 
  • Vary The Sauces – Looking for something other than marinara? Try using barbecue sauce, sweet and sour sauce, mushroom gravy and more. 
close up of cooked frozen meatballs with pasta and marinara sauce

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Cook directly from the freezer. There is no need to defrost the frozen meat. You can defrost in the fridge overnight for faster reheating.
  • Store – Leftover meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
  • Freeze – We do not recommend that you refreeze previously frozen meatball recipes. 
a fork removing one of the cooked frozen meatballs from a plate

FAQs

Do I Need To Defrost Meatballs Before I Cook With Them?

Not usually. Frozen meatballs can be cooked directly from the freezer in most cases.

If you are using a sauce that cannot handle longer cooking times, cook the meatballs first and add the sauce.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Frozen Meatballs?

Frozen meatballs can be cooked in various ways, including baked meatballs, crockpot meatballs, air fryer meatballs, crockpot meatballs and stovetop meatballs.

You can prepare frozen meatballs with or without sauces. 

What’s The Best Way to Cook Vegan Frozen Meatballs?

Vegan meatballs are available in many stores and are an excellent option for plant based eaters.

All of these methods can be used to cook vegan meatballs. You may need to adjust cooking times. 

Are Frozen Meatballs Gluten Free?

It is important to always read the package when purchasing frozen meatballs. There are gluten free meatballs available, but not all varieties are gluten free. 

top down view of a spoon removing two cooked frozen meatballs from a saucepan

More Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 8 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Thank you for reading my Frozen Meatballs recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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top down view of a plate of pasta topped with sauce and cooked frozen meatballs
Print Recipe
4.77 from 110 votes

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 224kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (340g) frozen meatballs pre-cooked and frozen
  • 23 ounces (647g) 1 jar marinara sauce or other sauce of your choice

Instructions

Oven Baked Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  • Place the frozen meatballs on the lined tray in a single layer.
  • Bake the meatballs for about 15-22 minutes (depending on their size) or until cooked through.
  • Turn the meatballs a couple of times during cooking for even cooking.
  • To add sauce, remove the tray from the oven after 20 minutes and pour over the pasta sauce.
  • Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the sauce is warmed through.

Stovetop Meatballs

  • Pour marinara sauce into a saucepan.
  • Carefully add in the meatballs and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • If not using a sauce, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and add the meatballs.
  • Heat over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir several times during cooking.
  • Check that the meatballs are heated through before serving.

Air Fryer Meatballs

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.
  • Add about 20 meatballs into the air fryer in one layer, cooking in batches if more are desired.
  • Air fry for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown just on top, turning, halfway through cooking.
  • Serve as is or top with your favorite sauce.

Crockpot Meatballs

  • Add sauce and meatballs into the slow cooker.
  • To cook without sauce, add ½ cup of water or stock to the crock pot.
  • Cover and cook meatballs for 4-6 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Check for doneness and serve.

Microwave Meatballs

  • Add 2 tablespoons of water to a microwave-safe dish.
  • Add the meatballs and cover the dish with plastic wrap leaving a small space on the edge for steam to escape.
  • Microwave on high for 1 minute.
  • Stir and test for doneness. Continue cooking for 45-60 seconds intervals until cooked through.
  • To cook with sauce, eliminate the water and add sauce and the desired number of meatballs to a dish. Microwave as directed until the sauce and the meatballs are heated through.
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Video

Notes

  • Use a nonstick, parchment-lined or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet to bake meatballs.
  • Use the top rack so you don’t get too much browning.
  • Test the meatballs before serving to be sure they are cooked through.
  • You can use these methods for ground beef or ground pork meatballs or meatballs make with chicken, or a combination of beef and pork. These recipes will also work for vegan meatballs. Adjust cooking times accordingly.  
  • When cooking on the stovetop, cover the pot so the sauce doesn’t splash out as it simmers. 
  • Slow cooker meatballs are perfect when you want dinner ready when you get home.
  • Not a fan of plastic wrap? Cover your dish with a microwave-safe plate instead. 
  • Cooking time will vary with your choice of cooking method and the size of the meatballs.
  • If you are cooking raw meatballs using any of the suggested methods, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. 
  • To cook frozen uncooked meatballs you will need to increase the cooking time. 
  • Whether cooking raw meatballs or reheating previously cooked meatballs,  it is important to check the internal temperature to ensure they are cooked all the way through. The temperature should reach 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
  • Storage – keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • There are 8 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

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