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How to freeze meatballs

Learning how to freeze meatballs is a great way to always have meatballs ready for a quick dinner. To freeze meatballs you want to cook them, let them cool, freeze them individually and then store them all together in a freezer bag.

Freezing meatballs is pretty simple and they freeze well if you follow a few simple steps.

raw meatballs before freezing

Steps for freezing meatballs

1. Cook the meatballs

frying meatballs

It is easiest to cook your meatballs before you freeze them. This method makes it easier to defrost or you can just throw them right into your dish and defrost them while you are cooking.

You want to make sure to cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Once they reach the 160°F mark take them out and let them cool.

Alternatively, you can freeze them raw.

2. Freeze individually

Now that your meatballs are cooled off, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is a little space between each one so that they don’t stick together.

Put the baking sheet in the freezer and allow them to freeze. This will take 1-2 hours depending on the size of your meatballs.

3. Freezer storage

Remove your meatballs from the freezer and place them into a Ziploc freezer bag. Try to lay them in a single layer in the bag. This will make it a lot easier to take them out later on.

I like to separate my meatballs into bags that will serve a whole meal so that I can just grab one bag and defrost only what I need.

Meatballs can be stored in the freezer for 3-4 months. This is a great way to have some meal prep done and ready to go when you need them.

Tips for freezing meatballs

  • Cooking your meatballs before you freeze them makes it a lot easier to defrost and incorporate into your dish.
  • A few great ways to use your frozen meatballs: Spaghetti with meatballs, Meatball subs, and appetizer meatballs. So many ways to serve these!
  • Thaw your frozen meatballs in the crockpot with sauce in just 2 hours on high.

How to thaw meatballs

There are a few different ways to thaw out your frozen meatballs. They are easy to defrost and can be quick to thaw if you are in a pinch.

  • Refrigerator: This is probably the easiest but longest method, all you have to do is take them out of the freezer and place them in the fridge. You will want to do this ahead of time as it takes about 24hrs to thaw them.
  • Under running water: Place the bag of frozen meatballs in a bowl under cold running water. This method will take 30 minutes to an hour. It’s a great way for last-minute thawing.
  • Crockpot or stove: Place your meatballs in sauce and thaw them as you are cooking them. This method usually takes 2-6 hours depending on the cooking temperature.

You can freeze meatballs in the freezer for 3-4 months before they start to lose their quality and freshness. This is a great way to have a meal prepped and ready to simply grab and cook. Cooking them helps with the potential for bacteria contamination.

Meatballs can be frozen before or after they are cooked, however freezing them after you have cooked them has always worked better for me.

Freezing meatballs raw is totally safe to do but I find when I am thawing them out they tend to get mushy and lose their shape and they are not as easy to grab and add to your meal because you still have to cook them.

I always cook them and then freeze them. Why? Because then all I have to do is thaw them and they are ready to go!

When I am making spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs, having them already cooked makes it easier to just throw them in with the sauce and reheat them without having to thaw them in the fridge first.

meatballs for freezing

How to Freeze Meatballs

Meatballs are one the easiest freezer meals. Frozen meatballs are great to always have on hand when you are in a pinch for a quick dinner.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 1152 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef


  • Cook you meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees and then let them cool.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your meatballs in a single layer on the baking sheet with a space between each one so that they do not freeze together.
  • Place them in the freezer for an hour or two depending on the size of your meatball.
  • Once they are frozen place them into a storage bag, date the bag, and put them back into the freezer until you are ready to use them.


Serving: 1gCalories: 1152kcalProtein: 78gFat: 91gSaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 322mgSodium: 304mgPotassium: 1225mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 9mg
Keyword can you freeze meatballs, Frozen Meatballs, how to freeze meatballs
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