Beef Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

4.56 from 25 votes

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Pan-fried beef meatballs are caramelized on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside. They’re golden brown, easy to make, and smothered in a hearty mushroom gravy.

Brown gravy pouring over the meatballs and mashed potatoes on a white plate.


 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Homemade meatballs in mushroom gravy are quick and simple to make, but far better than store-bought. Say goodbye to bland, dry, and flavorless meatballs, this recipe is hearty & satisfying with no additives or weird ingredients.

  • Pan-fried instead of baked
  • Makes amazing leftovers
  • Easy to customize
  • Served in a savory mushroom gravy

I love to serve meatballs in mushroom sauce with creamy mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, or oven roasted vegetables. This recipe is comfort food at its best, unfussy, cozy, & downright delicious.

Key Ingredient Notes:

Smothered meatballs require simple ingredients that deliver BIG flavors like garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and simple seasonings.

For the beef meatballs:

  • Breadcrumbs – I prefer panko Japanese style breadcrumbs for their light and flaky texture. If you don’t have panko, plain or Italian-style breadcrumbs work great too!
  • Milk – The breadcrumbs soak in milk so they have a chance to absorb it. This mixture, referred to as panade, is then mixed into the beef to create a binder and moisture retainer for the meatballs.
  • Ground beef – Any type of ground beef works, but the more fat content, the more tender the meatballs.
  • Garlic – A garlic press makes thing easy! For a mild garlic flavor, use one or two cloves instead of three.
  • Egg – The egg binds the beef, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together so the meatballs don’t fall apart.
  • Seasoning – Seasoning is vital for a flavorful meatball. Unsalted meat tastes bland and boring. Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning do the trick!

For the mushroom gravy:

  • Mushrooms – White button mushrooms have an earthy, mild flavor but feel free to use any variety you like. Cremini, shitake, or swiss browns are great options.
  • Garlic – Garlic sweetens and mellows as it cooks. It adds a depth of flavor to soups and sauces.
  • Flour & butter – Flour and butter create a roux, which thickens the sauce for a rich and smooth gravy.
  • Beef stock – Beef stock is the backbone of the mushroom gravy. It creates a rich, dark brown gravy. For best results, purchase a high-quality brand of beef stock or make homemade beef bone broth!
  • Worcestershire sauce – Worcestershire is an easy way to pack in more flavor. It’s a little bit sweet and sour with a distinct umami quality.
  • Seasoning – Taste and season as you go!

How to make meatballs in mushroom gravy:

To make the meatballs:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Let the mixture soak for a minute.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the soaked breadcrumbs, ground beef, garlic, egg, Worcestershire sauce, & seasoning with your hands until well combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a medium cookie scoop to loosely shape the meatballs and place them onto the baking sheet.

Tip

Avoid overworking the ground beef mixture. This can cause the meatballs to get tough and chewy.

4 step by step photos of making meatballs in mushroom gravy.

For the mushroom gravy:

  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place the meatballs into the hot skillet in an even layer. Let one side caramelize before turning them over with your tongs. Brown all sides and transfer them to a clean plate. The meatballs don’t need to be cooked through at this point.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil then the mushrooms and garlic. Cook the mushrooms until they’re golden brown and fragrant – about 3 minutes. Transfer them to a clean plate.
  4. Add the butter to the same skillet, then stir in the flour. Cook the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t skip this step. Cooking the roux prevents the sauce from tasting floury.
  5. Carefully pour in the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, then bring it to a boil. Whisk frequently to prevent the sauce from burning.
  6. Transfer the meatballs and mushrooms back into the skillet and cook until the meatballs are completely cooked and the sauce is thick – about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Season to taste. Top with chopped parsley and serve!

Tip

The gravy thickens as it cools. It’s okay if the gravy seems a bit too thin at first.

Tips for Success:

  • It’s important to cook the raw flour taste out of the roux. A couple minutes of whisking does the trick.
  • The gravy thickens quickly as it cools. If the gravy gets too thick, add a little bit more beef stock. If the gravy feels too thin, reduce it for longer over medium heat.
  • Don’t walk away from the stove while the gravy cooks. Keep an eye on it, stirring as necessary, so the gravy doesn’t burn.
  • It’s best to use a higher percentage of fat for meatballs. I recommend ground chuck, which is 80 percent lean.
Beef meatballs in mushroom gravy topped with green herbs.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Meatballs with mushroom gravy taste just as good (if not better) on day two! Feel free to make it a day or two ahead of time and reheat.
  • Reheat it on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium heat until warmed throughout. If the gravy looks separated, just give it a good stir.

Storing Tips:

  • Smothered meatballs in brown gravy will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container in the back of the fridge.
  • Meatball gravy freezes well too! Transfer any leftover meatballs and gravy into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium heat until hot and bubbly.

FAQs:

Should meatballs be frozen raw or cooked?

Meatballs can be frozen raw or cooked! I like to freeze them cooked so all I have to do is reheat and serve. However, if you want to change up the sauce or cooking style, raw meatballs are perfect for that.

Should you brown meatballs first?

Browning meatballs in a hot skillet caramelizes the outside for more flavor, color, and texture. It’s an easy way to add depth of flavor to a dish.

Can I use a different kind of ground meat?

Yes, meatballs are delicious with all kinds of meat. Ground pork, chicken, turkey, or Italian sausage are commonly used. Keep in mind that the amount of fat varies in different cuts and types of meat. The more fat a meatball contains, the more tender it will be.

More meatball recipes:

There’s no shortage of delicious meatball recipes around here. Try one of these flavor-packed variations on the classic!

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4.56 from 25 votes

Beef Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

Pan-fried beef meatballs are caramelized on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside. They're golden brown, easy to make, and smothered in a hearty mushroom gravy. This one-pan meal is perfect for a busy weeknight!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For meatballs:

  • ½ cups (30g) Panko breadcrumbs Note 1
  • ¼ cup (60ml) milk
  • 1 lbs (500g) ground beef Note 2
  • 2-3 garlic cloves pressed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For mushroom gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 oz (170g) mushrooms sliced, Note 3
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (700ml) beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley if desired
  • Mashed potatoes for serving

Instructions 

To make the meatballs

  • In a small bowl, combine Panko and milk. Set aside to soak for a minute.
  • In a large bowl, mix together soaked Panko, beef, garlic, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. With clean hands, mix the beef mixture until well combined.
  • Using a medium cookie scoop, shape the meatballs and arrange them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.

To make the gravy:

  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Arrange the meatballs in one layer and brown on all sides, turning each meatball using a kitchen tong. (Note: Meatballs don’t need to be cooked all the way, we’re just browning for now.) Remove onto a clean plate.
  • Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the same skillet and add mushrooms along with garlic. Cook the mushrooms stirring frequently for about 3 minutes, or until they’re nice and brown. Remove onto a plate.
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook the flour mixture for at least 2 minutes, whisking constantly. (That’s how we make roux to thicken the gravy. If you don’t cook the roux long enough, you will taste raw flour in your gravy, so don’t rush this step.)
  • Slowly pour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring it to a boil, whisking frequently.
  • Add browned meatballs and mushrooms and cook for additional 8-10 minutes. If the gravy thickens too much, add a little bit of water, or stock to thin it out.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add chopped parsley before serving. Serve over mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

Tips & Notes

Note 1: Plain or Italian style breadcrumbs work too. 
Note 2: I recommend ground chuck. It’s the perfect ratio of fat-to-meat for juicy and tender meatballs.
Note 3: Feel free to use any variety you like. White button, cremini, and swiss browns are great options! 
Storing Tips:
– Smothered meatballs in brown gravy will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container in the back of the fridge.
– Meatball gravy freezes well too! Transfer any leftover meatballs and gravy into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
– Thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight.
– Reheat on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium heat until hot and bubbly.

Nutrition

Calories: 547kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 18g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 1206mg, Potassium: 940mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 533IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 106mg, Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

This recipe was originally published on March 8, 2016.

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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71 Comments

  1. 1 star
    This was horrendous on so many fronts.
    The meatballs were fall apart soggy,which you will get with milk. The roux was too thick,and the whole thing was tasteless and bland. Anyone who likes this pap probably thinks McDonald’s is a good burger.
    I’m wary of presenting this to my dogs,although it certainly could pass as dog food.
    Stop the recipes and ruining foodinstead I suggest you write about making compost from dead things.

    1. 2 stars
      This recipe is awful but not that awful 😆 It’s flavorless and boring, required a serious amount of doctoring up and the addition of extra garlic and onion to make it halfway palatable.

  2. Hi there. This has been my go-to recipe for years – saved in my favorites. So yummy!! But you updated it this month. I don’t have the recipe completely memorized. Did you change anything or do I just quadruple the recipe to make the original one?

    1. Hi, Sarah. Oh I’m so sorry, I did update it to reflect one recipe worth of meatballs. But, yes, you just need to quadruple the recipe. The big batch meatball recipe is now on my other website. I apologize for inconvenience. Hope you’ll continue making it.

  3. 5 stars
    This is so yummy! Made it last night for my picky family and they loved it! I was worried it would be too salty with the broth I was using but it was just right with the mashed potatoes and green beans I served. Thank you!!!

  4. I made the gravy this evening but used another meatballs recipe. for meatballs I used half ground beef and half ground pork but I used Thyme as a spice and cut 3 slices of bread as breadcrumbs in the mix. The moisture of the meatballs was unbelievable. This sauce, though, was perfect. The color of the sauce was amazing with the mushrooms on the meatballs and mashed potatoes. The taste of the gravy was fantastic. Really recommend this gravy.

  5. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! Thank you for sharing. I love having pre-made, precooked meatballs ready to go in my freezer!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday and it was very well received. It’s quick, easy and very lovely. Thank you very much!

  7. This evening I had meatballs in mushroom sauce in mind for dinner.  I was so excited when your site was the first one to come up.  Need less to say, I had to give it a try and was not disappointed.  I read all the reviews and saw the one that served it with wild rice.  I love wild rice by my husband is not a big fan.  Not to worry the meatballs in mushroom sauce was a big hit.  Thank you so much for a winning recipe to keep in my rotation.  Next time, I will try it with mashed potatoes.  Keep those recipes coming, they’re the best.  
    Love and Hugs to you and your family!

  8. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe.  My gravy was too thin with 3 Tbsp. Of flour.  I just added 2 more with some water.  Divine.  I used 1 can of beef consommé and 2 beef bouillon cubes.  It was all I had on hand.  

    1. Patricia, thank you so much for sharing your notes. So happy you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for leaving your feedback!

        1. Ah, wild rice sounds real good! I made of these meatballs over the weekend, and have some leftovers. I’ll cook some wild rice for it. Thanks for sharing, Alex!