Product Reviews | Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs

If you grew up on Sunday spaghetti and meatballs, you know what a good meatball means to you. Could Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs possibly hold to up your Nonna’s meatballs? Let’s read on and see…

A bag of Trader Joe's Italian Meatballs on a white marble counter.

What are Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs?

Packed away in the huge frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s is the exceptionally huge selection of Italian food. From pizza to gnocchi and lasagna to eggplant stacks. (RIP, breaded eggplant slices) If you crave it, you’ll find it there. Including these meatballs.

So, what about them anyway? Why did I find it necessary to review them?

Well, they’re a really great and quick hack to pull from the freezer to bulk up a meal. They’re basic Italian-seasoned beef meatballs and they’re generic enough to pair up with all kinds of meals.

The ingredient list is surprisingly short and includes the basic ones you’d expect to see in a meatball: beef, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, as well as some extras like dehydrated red and green bell peppers.

Coming in at around 2 inches in diameter, they’re some of the biggest frozen meatballs I’ve ever seen. No pun intended, but these are some beefy meatballs!

Per serving, you’re looking at 2 meatballs and there’s about a dozen meatballs in the bag.

Where In the Store?

You can find these Italian meatballs in the Frozen aisle of Trader Joe’s nestled among the frozen Italian food.

How to Cook and Serve These Trader Joe’s Meatballs

If you’ve used frozen meatballs before, cooking these meatballs are no different than other ones. But there are instructions on the bag if you need help.

My preferred way to cook the Trader Joe’s meatballs are to drop them into a pan of marinara sauce and allow them to thaw and warm up in the sauce. And then we serve ’em up with our favorite pasta!

However, as you know, there are toooons of different ways to serve the humble meatball! Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve meatballs:

  • Meatball pizza. After you thaw the meatballs, you can slice them up and make a pizza with them.
  • Meatball subs. Thaw and heat up the meatballs and then pop them into a sliced sub roll with some marinara sauce, top with mozzarella or provolone cheese, and slip them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
  • Garlic bread meatball subs. Take your regular meatball sub to an entirely new level by making garlic bread with your sub roll before you stuff it. My recipe for these garlic bread meatball subs is so easy to make!
  • Meatball parmesan. After you heat the meatballs in some sauce, sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese and cover the meatballs with shredded mozzarella cheese. I’ve got a recipe for meatball parm up on my other blog, Smells Like Home, where you can check out the baking temp and times you’ll need for this.
  • Toasted meatball parm sandwiches. These sandwiches are just like meatball subs, except you’ll use sourdough bread and toast them up like a grilled cheese sandwich. Bonus points if you have a panini maker to use!

The Review

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been one to buy frozen meatballs unless they were for a batch of crock pot ketchup and grape jelly meatballs. I’m a food blogger and I grew up watching my 100% Italian dad roll meatballs on the reg.

I don’t do pre-made, frozen meatballs.

But, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, right? So I picked up a bag of these meatballs a few weeks back to keep in the freezer for a quick meal.

And I have to say, they’re pretty good! No. They’re not as good as homemade meatballs but in a pinch, they’re pretty close.

Most meatball recipes you see, including my favorite recipe, call for a mix of ground pork, beef, and veal – otherwise known as a “meatloaf mix” – but these meatballs are 100% beef. And because of that, they lack the depth of flavor you get from a mix of meats.

What I look for in a great meatball is a tenderness that lets you to easily cut through the meatball with a fork. A great meatball should almost fall apart when you cut it.

The Trader Joe’s meatballs are pretty firm and you can tell that the intention is for them to be tender but they just miss the mark here. You need a knife and a fork to cut them and to me, that’s too much work when I’m diving into a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

So, I took a full cart off of my Cart Rating for both of these things. Not a huge deal though, since they’re still a great option for pre-made frozen meatballs.

Buy It Again?

Yeah, sure, I’ll probably buy these meatballs again. They’re good enough for a fast meal and don’t require the effort or mess it takes to make homemade meatballs. Once in a while, that’s perfectly fine for my needs.

If you’re curious about them, or don’t ever made homemade meatballs, give these Trader Joe’s Italian Meatballs a shot!

Rating Time!


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