Tender Italian Meatballs in Alfredo Sauce

Tuck flavorful, tender Italian meatballs into the silkiest, creamy Alfredo sauce and I promise, the whole family will make it home on time for dinner.  Ladle over a hot pasta that really holds the sauce, like fettuccine or cavatappi for the best weeknight comfort food recipe. Meatballs Alfredo…mouthwateringly amazing!

close up of skillet of meatballs Alfredo topped with parsley and parmesan.
Meatballs in alfredo is the cozy sauce recipe your fettuccine is waiting for.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, perfecting and making the best Italian meatballs and have assembled quite a collection of reader favorite meatball recipes. Who doesn’t love a meatball, right?

The only thing that might be better than meatballs with red sauce is meatballs with Alfredo sauce. It’s an Italian version of Swedish meatballs with the garlic and nutmeg meatballs adding a savoriness to a rich butter and cream sauce.

Plus, it’s so darn easy to make ahead of time. Talk about an easy family dinner!

Other easy meatball recipes you’ll ♥️: stuffed cheesy meatball bites, meatball lasagna for 4, and poached meatballs. Or make a pan of my stuffed shells with mini meatballs a try…so good!

Is Alfredo sauce the same as white sauce or bechamel?

skillet of Alfredo sauce with meatballs sprinkled with parsley and parmesan
Homemade Alfredo sauce is the perfect partner to tender, big flavor meatballs.

So…a white sauce, made with butter, flour and milk, is the same as a bechamel sauce (the French’s name for white sauce).

But a butter and cream sauce (referred to as Alfredo at most restaurants and in this post to make things easier) is different because it uses cream instead of milk.

To confuse things even more, a really traditional Alfredo sauce is made without cream using only butter, cheese and pasta water.

What makes tender meatballs?

The right combo of meat. Here, I use a combination of 80% ground beef and ground pork. The fat in each helps with the tenderness and also adds flavor.

The other key ingredient in my meatball recipe is…drumroll, please….

Water.

Adding water to the meatball mix helps create a really moist meatball.

I’m sure there’s a science behind it (maybe the water resisting the fat?) but I’m not a scientist. I have just made hundreds of pounds of meatballs over my 35 years of cooking.

And my meatball recipe makes tender moist meatballs.


Pro Tip

When you initially combine this meatball ingredients, it’s going to feel very wet. Don’t worry because there’s plenty of breadcrumbs (hello, panko) and eggs to bind the mix together.

How to make meatballs in Alfredo

As you’ve probably figured out, there are two components to this Alfredo meatballs recipe:

  • meatballs
  • Alfredo sauce.

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Make the meatballs

  • Combine both ground meats together in a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  • Add breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs and seasoning and mix as shown below.
White bowl of meatball mix being scooped on a pan
After the meatball mix is well blended, add the warm water at the end and gently mix until combined.
sheet pan of rolled meatballs before baking.
Scoop the meatballs on to a sheet pan for baking at 350˚ for about 10 minutes.
sheet pan of baked Italian meatballs on a brown background.
Set the baked meatballs aside while you make the Alfredo sauce.

2. Make the Alfredo sauce

skillet of cream with tablespoons of butter in it.
Heat light cream (also called table cream) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to the pan and stir until the butter melts.
pan of Alfredo sauce being stirred with wooden spatula next to sheet pan of cooked meatballs.
Continue cooking the meatball Alfredo sauce until the sauce coats the back of the spoon as shown above.
adding meatballs to skillet of Alfredo sauce and adding parsley.
Nestle the meatballs into the sauce and finish cooking the meatballs for about 10 minutes before sprinkling on parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley. 

Meatballs Alfredo Pro Tip

Cook the pasta first and reserve some of the pasta water to create a velvety Alfredo sauce.

-Josie + Nina

More tips for success

  • Make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. Defrost when the meatballs alfredo craving hits.
  • Don’t try and make the Alfredo sauce ahead of time. It comes together so quickly that you’re not saving that much time.
  • Use a pasta that hugs the sauce and creates a nice bed for the meatballs. I love using fettuccine, tagliatelle or bucatini. Curly pasta like cavatappi is a good choice too.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


close up of skillet of meatballs Alfredo topped with parsley and parmesan.
5 from 1 vote

Tender Italian Meatballs in Alfredo Sauce

Tuck flavorful, tender Italian meatballs into the silkiest, creamy Alfredo sauce and I promise, the whole family will make it home on time for dinner.  Ladle over a hot pasta that really holds the sauce, like fettuccine or cavatappi for the best weeknight comfort food recipe. Mouthwateringly good!
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Alfredo Sauce with meatballs in it:15 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes
Servings 6
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Ingredients
 

For the meatballs

For the Alfredo sauce

Instructions

For the meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 425˚.
  • In a large bowl and using your hands, blend the meats together until mixed well. You don’t want to see big clumps of either meat but a nice uniform mixture.
  • One at a time, crack the eggs into the side of the bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Of course, you can beat them in a separate small bowl and then add them but I’m all about saving some dishes. 😀
  • Add the salt, pepper, oregano, both breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and spices. Mix well into the meat along with the eggs.
  • Add the warm water and mix gently with both hands making sure to incorporate all the water. It will feel like it won’t mix together but it will eventually!
  • Shape into 2” balls using either your hands or a medium-sized scoop. The mix will be very wet. As you go along and your hands start to get a little sticky, rinse your hands with warm water but don’t dry them and go back to making your meatballs.
  • One at a time, line up meatballs on your baking sheet being careful not to overcrowd. Depending on the size of your sheet, you’ll likely get anywhere from 5-7 meatballs across and about 6-8 rows down.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

For the Alfredo sauce

  • Heat a large skillet over low heat and add cream and butter. Bring to a low simmer until it thickens about 3-4 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the cheese and nutmeg along with the salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
  • Taste for seasoning.

Assemble

  • Nestle the cooked meatballs in the alfredo sauce and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Add reserved pasta water as needed. Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
    Serve with fresh garlic bread or pasta if using.

Notes

Reserve 1 cup of pasta water after cooking the pasta to add to the Alfredo sauce in 1/4 cup increments (or as needed).  This will help thicken the sauce.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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