What is the Ideal Size For A Meatball?

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Assistant Cook
Mar 15, 2005
My meatballs usualy look like tennis balls. I try not to make them that big but i don't have the paitance to make little tiny ones.


Head Chef
Sep 13, 2004
I make mine different sizes, If I'm making them for the hunting shack I make lg ones for the guys, at least a couple bits. It also depends on what I'm making the meat balls for.We love meat balls and mashed potatoes so I then make them large and If I make them for over egg noodles I make sm ones and also for spaghetti.


Sous Chef
Dec 18, 2004
Body: Boston Heart: Mexico
For me it depends but I guess they come in 4 varieties

Tiny, like the size of a quarter. These get nice and toasty and firm when frying them in their own fat. Great for latter adding to something with a broth.

Tiny, rolled: I roll them between my palms so they look like tiny sasages (kinda like vienna sausages). I just think it's a more dynamic presentation.

Ping pong ball: usually for my mexican dishes. Big enough to eat in a couple of bites (if you have manners) but not huge.

1 cup. Literally a cup of meat is about as big as I'll go. These I will steam or boil and well the meatball ends up being the meal itself (for example with tomato sauce over pasta or one big meatball in a bowl of soup).


Chef Extraordinaire
Oct 17, 2004
I think there is really no ideal size per se. Of course you have to consider cooking time and if it is too big the outside might be overcooked, while inside is still undercooked. I like to meke the meatbawls about 3/4 of an inch let them grow a bit in the pot. And anyway size doesn't matter. :mrgreen:


Master Chef
Aug 24, 2004
da 'burgh
about the size of both my palms squished together.... i'd say the size of a walnut still in the green outer shell.
bite-size would be too small for me cause that would be literally a half-teaspoon for me.
i take little bites.
i like to cut a piece off, scoop up some sauce and cheese, eat that, then have a bite of bread and butter, till my meatballs are gone. usually i can eat one and sometimes 2 if Pap makes them.:)


Assistant Cook
Apr 1, 2003
I'd say about an inch and a half is my favorite size. I didn't realize they grow with cooking. (I haven't made many.)

I got some from a Pizza takeout place around here and I thought they were too big. They were about 2 1/4" in diameter.

Do they grow more if they have bread crumbs in them?


Executive Chef
Aug 25, 2004
USA, Oklahoma
If you all are interested, here's a FAST way to make them. I know it sounds chintzy, but it also insures even sizing between the meatballs.

I have a number of portion scoops (think spring-loaded ice cream scoops). These things should have a number on them somewhere, usually in the little strip of metal that moves over the inside of the scoop. This number represents how many portions you can get out of a quart of "whatever".

A #40 scoop (color-coded purple) is perfect for cookie dough, and if used for meatballs, produces a meatball a little smaller than a golfball. I also have a #80 scoop, which is great for hushpuppies, but should also work to make great "small" meatballs, although perhaps a #50 is best, if such a creature exists.

After you "portion" each meatball, you will want to roll it a bit in your hands to make it even, otherwise it will have a flat side to it.

Chief Longwind Of The North

Aug 26, 2004
I'm in the "make them the right size for the purpose" camp. If they're fgoing into a pasta sauce such as spaghetti or angel hair, I make them about the size obtained by using a melon baller. If they are going to be used with egg-noodles, and a beef gravy, and are mixed with rice, then tehy are going to be about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. To go with very large stuffing shells, I give them about a 2 inch diameter. Somtimes, for something like minestroni style soup, I'll make the small meatballs, then flatten into a flying saucer before cooking and adding to the soup.

And as was stated in a previous post, you can make them baseball size if you want, and serve them up during the world series to your buddies, or family. I'd bake them if they were that big, to insure complete cooking throughout.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


Contest Winner
Feb 12, 2005
Pageland SC
I like them to be about golfball sized that way if I can't eat them, I can play a round of golf with them :cool: :ROFLMAO: .


Senior Cook
Oct 23, 2004
The "Meatballer"

Before anybody falls off their chair laughing... check out the link below. (then laugh :)

It's called a "meatballer" (what else would you call it, pray tell?) and in spite of being a "gadget nut", I don't think even *I* would have bought this for myself.. but my next door neighbor, whose's been helping me learn how to cook, ran over with one (she had bought several to give as gifts too) and gave it to me.


She said with a straight face, "I found this NEATEST little tool thingy for making meat balls, you just HAVE to have one!" and gave one to me. I asked her where she got it and she told me.. that's how I got the above link.

I smiled, thanked her profusely, and lied telling her I'd give it a try soon.

Anyway, it wasn't long after that I was starting to make some meatloaf (was on a comfort food kick) and got the idea of turning my meatloaf mix into meatballs.. and then make spaghetti & meatballs... So I grabbed the "meatballer" and surprisingly, it works GREAT.... if you like 2" meatballs that is. I do, but sounds like some of you like them smaller. This also works ok for making smaller "porcupine" meatballs... And it takes all the pressure off trying to make things the same size.. not that that is a "major challenge".

You just stick it in your mix, squeeze it, and the excess squirts out a little hole at the top. Toss your meatball on a sprayed/lubricated baking sheet.. I baked mine at 375 I think,, about 20-25 minutes. They come out nicely browned, better than if I tried to do them in a pan and hold their shape better.

Need? No.. fun to have.. Yes. Anyway, in spite of being too much money for what it does, I'm glad I have it.


Apr 4, 2005
Southern California
When I go to a restaurant, I like them big, like tennis ball size. When I make them at home, I like them small so I can freeze them and put them in the freezer and still have room for ice cream.
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