Cheese Stuffed Mini Meatballs are a very tasty (and easy) appetizer. Serve them in  a bath of your favorite marinara sauce, a pile of  toothpicks and you’re set to feed a crowd. Make with turkey or beef, these are oven baked meatballs with a melted cheesy center.

A mini meatball stuffed with melted cheese in tomato sauce sprinkled with chopped basil

Football season has a officially started and my game day fanatic friends are always asking me for new food ideas. Anyone who is a meat eater loves meatballs, so I turned my signature recipe into something a little special.

A round platter of mini meatballs in tomato sauce

When I don’t feel like eating beef, I make my easy chicken meatballs and they start with all the flavor enhancers because chicken does need a little help in that department. Chopped pancetta is cooked with onions, garlic and tomato paste.

The pancetta and onions are then cooled and mixed with the meat of choice, in this case ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, fresh basil salt and pepper.

Uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet ready for the oven

If you look at the meatballs above as they are ready for the oven, you’ll notice that you can see the green flecks of fresh basil showing.

A platter of meatballs viewed from above

The twist to this recipe is, before I roll the meatballs, I insert a small cube of cheese into the center so when you bite into the meatball you get oozy melted cheese goodness. I love a good sharp cheddar, but you use any you like.

These meatballs are baked. I prefer this method over frying. They not only make a great appetizer, last night I mixed them into penne with pasta sauce and made dinner out of them. They also freeze really well.

More Meatball Recipes:

If you’ve tried these Cheese Stuffed Mini Meatballs  or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 40

Cheese Stuffed Mini Meatballs

A closeup of a mini meatballs showing the melted cheese inside

Mini beef meatballs stuffed with cheese served with your favorite sauce.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup/3ounces (85 grams) pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (54 grams) breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (42 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (112 grams) cheese cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. To a skillet add the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the pancetta and onion and cooking, stirring often until softened and pancetta starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. To a mixing bowl add the beef, pancetta/onion mix, egg, breadcrumbs, basil, Parmesan, salt & pepper and mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C with the shelf rack in the center of the oven.
  5. Take 1 tablespoon of meat and flatten in the palm of your hand. Place a cube of cheese in the center. Wrap the meat around the cheese and roll into balls. Continue with the rest of the meat.
  6. Brush each meatball with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until browned.
  7. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

4 meatballs

Amount Per Serving Calories 287Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 78mgSodium 304mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 18g