meatballs for appetizers in a skillet

Tailgate Meatballs

Tailgate Meatballs are made for traveling, so if you need a recipe that can go to the big game, this is it! They’re easy, tasty, and perfect for tailgate parties!

Are You Ready?

Football season is so much fun! Down south, it’s like our new year begins with football. We might as well make our calendar run from August to February, because everything in-between pales in comparison.

It’s time for some Tailgate Meatballs!

Why This Recipe is Special

I really get excited when the weather starts to change and football games appear on television. It reminds me of my father, who coached our high school football team for many years. Go Big Blue!

Dad used to take me to practice with him when I was just a kid. He’d open the concession stand and put me in charge of organizing the water station for the football team during breaks.

I have fond memories of lining up the cups and handing out water to the guys. Now that I think about it, I guess that’s where my love of serving people began.

Speaking of serving people…who doesn’t love meatballs at a tailgate party? They always seem to be the first item that disappears from the spread.

I think I’ve made about a million meatballs in my life…for everything from weddings to tailgates and in-between. They’re so much better than the frozen kind…and only take a few minutes from start to finish!

How to Make Tailgate Meatballs

The recipe I use now is different from those I’ve used in the past. Over the years, I’ve discovered that adding eggs and milk to meatballs made them disintegrate in the sauce. So, I tried leaving the eggs and milk out, and guess what? They’re perfect!

Making these meatballs couldn’t be easier. All you do is mix lean ground beef with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, dried onions and seasonings.

The fun begins when you get your hands in there and start making the meatballs. Roll them with a melon scooper, then place them on a sheet pan, (ad) and bake at 350 degrees for just 15 minutes.

That’s it! No turning, no browning, no mess. So easy!

To Sauce or Not to Sauce?

The only hard part is trying to decide what sauce to add. I’ve tried marinara, sweet and sour, barbecue, thai, and grape jelly (remember those?)

Once you make up your mind, simply add a bottle of your favorite sauce and simmer the meatballs in a cast iron skillet (ad) or crockpot (ad) until ready to serve. Can’t decide? Do what I do and mix a bunch of sauces together to create your own.

Happy Football Season! Bring out the toothpicks….and watch these babies disappear.

More Tailgate Recipes to Love

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meatballs for appetizers in a skillet

Tailgate Meatballs

  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x


Tailgate Meatballs are ready to party when you are!  Serve with your favorite sauce and they’ll be the hit of the tailgate party.




  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (can use gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. steak seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning




  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Scoop mixture with a melon-scooper (ad) and roll with hands into ball shape.
  4. Grease sheet pan (ad) with cooking spray.
  5. Place meatballs on sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until cooked throughout.
  6. Allow to cool and transfer to crockpot (ad) or cast iron skillet and smother with your favorite sauce.
  7. Simmer meatballs on low heat until ready to serve with toothpicks.


  1. Combine ingredients of all 3 sauces together in large bowl and pour over meatballs.


Any sauce works well with these meatballs.  You can make your own, or use pre-made sauces from the store.

Meatballs freeze well until ready for use.  Simply place frozen meatballs in sauce and bring to medium heat in a skillet or crockpot.

Plan on serving 2 to 3 meatballs per person when other dishes are included.

These meatballs are great for dinner when served over rice or pasta!

  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Sheet Pan, Skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: meatballs, party meatballs, tailgate, cocktail meatballs, sheet pan, appetizers, skillet meals

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Wow! Tailgate Meatballs were featured on Meal Plan Monday!

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  1. Carol Tyndall

    These meatballs look really easy-and they sure warm you those stadiums are chilly. Can’t wait to try them!

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