Gordon Ramsay's Top Tip For Perfecting Meatballs

Is there anything more comfy or cozy than settling in for a cold winter's night with a big plate of spaghetti and homemade Italian meatballs? Well, if you've ever made meatballs from scratch and had them come out tough, gritty, or so mushy they just dissolve in the sauce, then you might say yes, almost anything is more comforting than that. But when made correctly, there's something deeply satiating about a plate filled with savory meatballs, seasoned to perfection and with the perfect bite — not too firm, not too soft, just right.

"The secret of a really good meatball is the texture," Gordon Ramsay explained in a YouTube video. To him, achieving the perfect texture is all about "getting that balance right, between the minced beef, the breadcrumbs, the milk, and the seasoning." From the way the ingredients are treated before they're mixed together, to the way the meatballs are formed and cooked, Ramsay is keeping an eye on texture. So how does he do it? It's not as hard as one might think. Ramsay has a few tips that will make it easier, but the most important thing according to the chef is keeping the meatballs' texture at the forefront of your mind at every step.

Details matter

Gordon Ramsay says that for the best texture when preparing meatballs "in the classic way," cooks should finely mince the onions and "slice the garlic really nice and thinly," so they'll meld perfectly with the other ingredients (via YouTube). Then, to ensure the meatballs have a "really light and fluffy" texture, Ramsay mixes breadcrumbs with milk until it's "doughy" in texture, before folding it into the minced beef with the sautéed aromatics. "If you've got the right amount of milk and breadcrumbs you don't need a binder" like an egg, he says. This also helps keep the meatball texture on point. According to ChefWorks, you can end up with spongy meatballs that become soggy if you go too heavy on the egg.

Ramsay mixes up his meatball base with his fingertips, lightly tossing and stirring the ingredients together before forming his meatballs. It's important not to overmix the ground meat blend. An overmixed meatball becomes an overly tough meatball, cautions Cook Smarts. Finally, to get the perfect balance of texture, Ramsay pan-sears his meatballs until they're browned on one side, then simmers them in liquid at a low temperature until they're cooked through. Keep texture at the forefront of your mind, soak your breadcrumbs, and skip the egg, and you should wind up with a Ramsay-approved meatball recipe every time.