This Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes meal is straight up comfort food. Easy to make meatballs on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and a rich gravy that brings it all together for one satisfying meal.
When you’re running low on time to get dinner on the table, or just looking to use up some of your pantry staples, this meal is a great solution. The meatballs and potatoes cook at the same time, so it’s ready in just 30 minutes.
The gravy is the icing on the cake. You can keep it really simple by using a packet of brown gravy mix, or you can make your own gravy from the pan drippings of the meatballs.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Potatoes – I use russet potatoes, peeled and cubed.
- Ground beef – We are using 1 pound of ground beef chuck with 15% fat content. The higher fat content gives the meat more flavor.
- Breadcrumbs – Use a plain breadcrumb mix or panko.
- Brown gravy mix – A gravy mix such as this will speed up the cooking process. You could make your own gravy as well.
Another way to save time with this recipe is to purchase pre-formed meatballs. If you can get good meatballs and you want to skip making them yourself, it’s a viable option.
To make them yourself, you just need ground beef and a binder to hold them together. This recipe uses breadcrumbs and milk.
Some recipes use egg as a binder. I don’t like to use eggs, whenever possible, because I have a sensitivity to them, but I also don’t think they need it. I’ve never had meatballs fall apart without the egg.
How to Make Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes
Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add the cubed potatoes and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
When the potatoes have finished cooking, drain the water. Mash the potatoes with a masher or hand mixer. Add butter and milk and stir well to combine. Another easy way to make mashed potatoes is in the Instant Pot.
Meanwhile, add the breadcrumbs and milk to a bowl and allow the breadcrumbs to soak up all of the milk until it turns into a paste. Combine the ground beef with the paste and mix it together thoroughly with your hands.
Form evenly sized meatballs, around 1 1/4 inch in diameter, compacting the meat into a sturdy ball.
Add the meatballs to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow them to brown on one side before turning them over.
You’ll need to cook them on all sides so they are evenly browned. I like to just roll them around in the pan until all sides are browned. This process takes about 10 minutes.
How to Make Gravy
To make this recipe as easy as possible, I’ve used a packet of brown gravy mix. It’s the easiest ingredient and you might just have a packet in your pantry to use.
However, if you don’t have a packet of gravy mix and would like to make gravy on your own, you can do so very easily.
To make your own gravy, you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup beef stock
After the meatballs are done cooking, remove them from the pan. Drain off most of the excess oil from the pan. You’ll want a bit of pan grease and the browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan to add flavor, so don’t remove it all.
Add the butter and flour and whisk together with the grease in the pan to form a paste. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Add the beef stock and whisk well until combined. Cook the gravy over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until thickened and reduced. If the gravy becomes too thick, add a little water and whisk. Salt and pepper, to taste.
You can use this same gravy recipe to make beef gravy for pork roast.
Serve meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy over top.
Tips and Notes
- Make your meatballs all the same size so that they all cook at the same rate.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking the meatballs. You want to have room to turn them over and you want them to brown nicely.
- Meatballs can be made ahead of time to save time. You can refrigerate them for up to 2 days until you are ready to cook them, or cook them and freeze them for up to 3 months for use later on.
- Don’t overwork the meatball mixture or your meatballs will be solid and tough.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does adding milk to meatballs do?
Adding a little bit of milk to the meatball mixture helps bind all of the ingredients together. The breadcrumbs will soak it up and help the meatballs stick together until they can be cooked.
Can you use milk instead of egg in meatballs?
Yes you can. In fact, we are doing that very thing in this recipe. For those of you who can’t eat eggs or if you happen to be out this recipe is for you. The milk replaces the egg and helps act as the binding agent when mixed with the bread crumbs.
Should you let meatballs sit in sauce?
Yes. There is a really good reason for it. Allowing them to heat through and cook together adds to the flavor. The gravy gets flavor from the meatballs and visa versa. I like to make my gravy and then add the meatballs to the pan to simmer and heat through before serving.
Can you freeze meatballs?
Yes! Frozen meatballs can be such a timesaver. Cook them following the recipe and then let them cool completely. Seal them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Side Dishes to Try
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Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes
- 4 medium potatoes cubed
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 packet brown gravy mix
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add the cubed potatoes and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the breadcrumbs and milk to a bowl and allow to soak until it turns into a paste.
- Combine the ground beef with the paste and mix together thoroughly with your hands.
- Form evenly sized meatballs, around 1 1/4 inch in diameter, compacting the meat into a sturdy ball.
- Add the meatballs to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow them to brown on one side before turning them over. Attempt to evenly brown the balls on each side. This process takes about 10 minutes.
- When finished, remove the meatballs from the pan. Add water to the pan and whisk in the brown gravy mix. Simmer until slightly thickened.
- When the potatoes have finished cooking, drain the water. Mash the potatoes with a masher or hand mixer. Add butter and milk and stir well to combine.
- Serve meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy over top.
Other Potato Main Dish Recipes To Try
- Pulled Pork Gnocchi
- Creamy Chicken & Potato Pasta
- Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
- Rich & Delicious Instant Pot Stew
- Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
- Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Creamy & Delicious Gnocchi Carbonara
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.