How To Make Meatballs The Ideal Size For Your Dish

Meatballs have such a wonderful diversity of styles and uses, that their ideal size is going to change quite a bit depending on the dish. As simple as rolling some ground meat into a ball is, the simple things are often the ones that lend themselves to the most customization and personal touches. After all, who could possibly say that Italian and Swedish meatballs are meant to be eaten the same way? And you would never make a kofta meatballĀ that's meant to be skewered and grilled the same way you would make a big one meant to be simmered in tomato sauce. So how do you know the right size for your meatballs?

The most straightforward answer is just to think practically. How are you actually going to be handling and eating them when you're done? If they are going in soup or some other style of dish where they won't be cut up, make them small enough to eat in one bite. If they are going to be simmered for a while and then be eaten on their own, go bigger so they'll get nice and tender to be sliced up by your fork after the slow cook. Of course, eating a meatball is only half the story. A lot of how you shape meatballs is going to come down to personal preference, and how the meatballs are going to cook too.

The right sized meatball is the one you like

There are always some practical matters to attend to when making meatballs, but there aren't many hard rules when it comes to their size. The main one to pay attention to is keeping them the same size, regardless of how large or small you make them. Irregularly shaped meatballs will cook unevenly, either leaving the large ones undercooked or the smaller ones overdone and dry. The other general thing to look out for is cooking time. Even when cooking in a liquid like a sauce, meatballs can end up overcooked and tough. So if your recipe relies on a longer cooking time for the meatball to help flavor the dish, a bit bigger is going to be better.

After that, it's all about what is going to be easy and enjoyable for you. You don't want a meatball on your sub that's too big to bite into, or so small they are falling out of the sandwich, but anywhere in between is fair game and up to the cook. Don't be afraid to experiment either. If you're eating your meatballs as a main course it's pretty standard to go for a medium one to two-inch size, but bite-sized meatballs like the Dutch bitterballen can be a lot of fun, and give you a higher surface area for sauce. Meatballs may have a few guidelines, but they really are made to be messed with, so don't let tradition hold you back.