7 Super Tasty Spices for Meatballs

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Meatballs are a classic Italian-American dish that can be made with many different types of meat. They are usually seasoned with spices to give them a depth of flavor.

If you are looking to make the best meatballs possible, then you should use spices! We will go over seven different spices that you can use to make delicious and tasty meatballs.

I will warn you that these spices are more on the classic side, giving homage to Italy’s culinary herbs and spices.

But don’t be afraid to experiment with spices you love. You never know you might come up with something delicious.

Just make sure to jot down what you put in meatballs. That way, you can repeat the recipe when it’s a success!

Spices for Meatballs

Why Use Spices and Herbs in Your Meatballs?

It’s true you can make your meatballs plain, but why? Adding spices and herbs can really step up the flavor game of your meatballs.

Not only that, but spices and herbs can also add nutritional value to your dish. So, not only will your meatballs taste better with spices, but they will be healthier, too!

Now that we’ve discussed why you should use spices in your meatballs, let’s understand which spices you should use.

The Best Spices for Meatballs

Italian style meatballs in red sauce


Garlic is a key ingredient in many dishes, and meatballs are no different. Garlic cloves can be minced and added to the meatball mixture.

When garlic is cooked, it releases a savory flavor that enhances other foods.

But you can also use powdered or granular garlic. This is a more potent form of garlic that can be used greatly in meatballs.

Just be careful not to use too much, as it can make the dish taste overwhelmingly garlicky.


Onion is another spice that can be used in meatballs. Onion powder can be added to the mixture, or onions can be finely chopped and sauteed before being added.

This would give a depth and a level of sweetness to your meatballs. Either way, onions will enhance the flavor.


Parsley is often used as a garnish in the States, but it can also be used to season meatballs.

In many Italian recipes, you will see the use of parsley in meatballs or polpette. Parsley flakes or fresh parsley can be added to the mixture. This herb has a fresh taste that pairs well with many other herbs and spices.

Black Pepper

Another common spice, black pepper, can be added to taste. This spice has a sharp flavor that can really liven up a dish. Be careful not to add too much, as it can easily overpower the other subtle flavors.

If you do not have black pepper or would like to intensify the heat while not adding more black pepper. Then red pepper flakes would work perfectly. Just add a pinch or two to the mixture and you’re good to go!


Oregano is another herb that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. This herb has a strong flavor, so you won’t need to use it as much. A little goes a long way with oregano.

Italian Seasoning

This spice blend is composed of many spices and herbs that are common in Italian cooking, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

It can be very aromatic and pungent. This is a great option if you want to add multiple spices at once. But keep in mind if there is a spice you don’t like in your blend this flavor will be in your meatballs as well.


Basil is another common spice in Italian cooking. It has a sweet slightly licorice flavor. This herb can be used fresh or dried. But if you really want that flavor to pop, go with fresh. Basil goes well with other common Italian herbs and spices, such as oregano, parsley, and garlic.

Going Beyond Italy for Your Meatballs Spices

Listen, I love Italian meatballs, but sometimes you want to change something up. And if you are in the mood for something different, then let this chart help you explore another part of the world.

Asian style meatballs with a spicy glaze
CuisineSpice Blend
GreekOregano, mint, garlic, lemon zest, black pepper
MexicanCumin, chili powder, garlic, oregano, cilantro
IndianGaram masala, garlic, ginger, cilantro, cayenne pepper
ThaiRed curry paste, lime zest, garlic, ginger, cilantro
JapaneseGinger, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, green onions
FrenchThyme, parsley, garlic, paprika, bay leaf
MoroccanCumin, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, garlic
KoreanGochugaru flakes, sesame oil, garlic, green onion, ginger
International Spices for Meatballs Chart

Our Final Thoughts on the Best Meatball Spices and Seasoning

These are just some spices that you can use to make your meatballs extra delicious.

Be creative and experiment with different spices to find the perfect flavor combination for you. You might even find a new favorite spice!

For example, if you want to create an Asian style meatball, you might want to add garlic, ginger, and scallions as your spices.

Once Upon a Chef has a wonderful recipe for Vietnamese-Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce if you need some more inspiration. But the key is to have fun and enjoy the cooking process.

This is how you learn what spices and herbs go well together!

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