Spanish Meatballs in Homemade Marinara

I made these one day when I was out of Panko, not one breadcrumb in sight and had ground meat that needed to be used.

So what did I use in place of the bread?

Béchamel sauce. Flour, milk and butter whisked together to create a creamy sauce usually used in mac ‘n cheese, lasagne a slew of other dishes.

It makes these meatballs so tender they practically fall apart. Not a dry hockey puck in sight!

I highly recommend using this marinara recipe for an out of this world dinner. 

Spanish Meatballs in Marinara

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Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 2 large

    eggs, lightly beaten

  • 3 tablespoons

    minced parsley

  • 1 tablespoons

    white Rioja (or other dry white wine)

  • 1 large clove

    garlic , grated

  • 1 teaspoon 

    sweet paprika

  • Kosher salt Pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Homemade Marinara Sauce (link in description) or large jar of your favorite marinara sauce (i love Rao’s — it’s the closest to homemade and seriously delicious)


  • Make the béchamel:  
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour; cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly until it thickens. Cook for about 1-3 minutes to cook out the flour taste.
  • When the flour mixture has thickened, gradually whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Scrape béchamel into a large bowl and let it cool slightly, about 1-2 minutes.
  • To the same bowl with the béchamel add the beef, pork, eggs, parsley, wine, garlic, paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Use your hands to mix well, but be careful not to over mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate meat mixture for about 2 hours. 

  • Form the meat mixture into about 1 1/2-inch balls. Place balls on a sheet pan or large tray.
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Add about 1/2 the meatballs and cook them over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, about 
8 minutes.
  • Transfer meatballs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining 
2 tablespoons of oil and meatballs; don’t wipe out the pan (this is where flavor is!)
  • OR Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until they start browning on all sides, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs.
  • When all the meatballs are cooked, add them all back to the skillet. Add the jar of marinara sauce, and bring sauce to a simmer. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until sauce is nice and hot.
  • Serve immediately, and garnish with fresh Parmesan and parsley.


To save time, make the meatballs in the morning and store the balls, uncooked, until you’re ready to cook them. OR, complete all the steps (including cooking the meatballs), and reheat in a large skillet over medium heat. To FREEZE: Cook the meatballs fully and do not add to marinara sauce. Lay on a flat baking sheet or plate and place in freezer until frozen, 3-5 hours, depending on size. Place frozen meatballs in labeled container. When you want to serve them, heat in oven or in marinara sauce on stove.
Have you made this recipe?I'd love to know! Leave a comment or recipe rating and tag me @amenuforyou on social media!

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