Best Frozen Meatballs – Reviews 2019: Top 5+ Recommended
Want to find the best frozen meatballs that will turn into tender, hearty lumps of meat in your favorite dish? Catherine will help you!
Have you heard about köttbullar, köfte, or polpette?
These are all names for various kinds of meatballs - delicious balls of meat that are adored by gourmets all over the world.
My family is no different - they love meatballs in all kinds and shapes, and are always enthusiastic about eating them - regardless of which way will be on the menu on a specific day!
Although I prefer food that I make from scratch, I do not always manage to do that with my hectic schedule and two jobs. There are some benefits of using frozen meatballs that I consider a reason worth enough that they become a regular part of my kitchen.
I know that it is more typical of Jack and Barbara to go in search for specific products or appliances, but I tried out many kinds of meatballs recently to find the best frozen meatballs for my recipes, and I want to share my findings with you.
(Almost) Endless Possibilities With Frozen Meatballs
Here are some reasons why I find frozen meatballs convenient to use:
- It saves up time. Frozen meatballs are so quick to make - it will only take around 5-10 minutes to prepare them! They are already seasoned and prepared. No need for the usual procedure: go to the supermarket, shop around for half an hour, come back home only to learn that you forgot to buy eggs (or you thought that you have them at home, but you actually don’t).
- Nutritious. Although everything frozen and pre-made is not as good for you as your homemade recipe, frozen meatballs are not that bad - they are nevertheless a great source of protein, and the only thing you should pay attention to are ingredients and calories - we’ll come to that later.
- Versatility. Once you have a package of your favorite frozen meatballs on hand in your kitchen, you can easily transform them into many delicious recipes!
If you want to learn what are my favorite ways of making meatballs, stay with me, or if you already know where you want to implement the best frozen meatballs, skip to my research!
Catherine’s Top 5 Ways to Eat Frozen Meatballs
Now we’ll go on a short trip around the world - when I say “short”, I mean a couple of minutes of writing for me, a couple of minutes of reading for you, a couple minutes of preparing frozen meatballs - but quite a bit of traveling if we actually covered all these countries.
- Swedish Meatballs - you have probably tried these in Ikea at least once, but homemade are even better, and frozen meatballs will help you with that! They are prepared in a creamy gravy sauce. The sauce contains milk, sour cream, butter, nutmeg, onions and black pepper.
- Italian Meatballs - A crucial ingredient for the meatballs to be called “Italian” is the tomato sauce. The sauce is made from canned tomato, water, salt, oregano and black pepper. You can always make handmade tomato sauce. If you need help thickening your tomato sauce, check out our tips! Another variation of Italian meatballs that I tried is fried meatballs with breadcrumbs - let me know if you want me to write about that, too!
- Turkish Meatballs - This kind, known as köfte, is perfect for those of you who appreciate the strong and spicy taste. It is made from beef and many spices which will add to the authentic Turkish flavor - onions, peppers and even some lemon juice.
- Irish Meatballs - The Irish eat meatballs in a stew made from mutton and many vegetables - this is the healthiest option for your frozen meatballs.
- Catherine’s Meatballs - This is the American (not the most original, but arguably the fastest one) recipe. My kids love it when I make smaller balls of meat and insert a colored toothpick through each - they pass by the plate and grab 3 to 4 balls from the stack. I don’t make them with any sauce - some frozen meatballs are good enough to be served like this!
Further Reading: Best Frozen Hamburger Patties
What to Pay Attention to When Buying Frozen Meatballs?
When deciding which frozen meatballs you should buy, some key factors will help you make up your mind. Let’s take a look at them:
The most important thing regarding frozen meatballs are the ingredients. The quality, texture and taste of your meatballs will depend on this, so choose carefully.
Typically, the following ingredients can be found in all frozen meatballs:
- Meat - frozen meatballs are made from various kinds of ground meat: you can choose among beef, pork or chicken meat, or a mix of two (in some cases, even three) kinds. Apart from making sure that meat you get is safe and of high quality (no added hormones, not GMO), you should choose the kind of meat that you love. This will affect the taste and the overall texture of your little rolled ball. My preference is ground beef, as I consider this the perfect, authentic taste of meatballs - although chicken is the healthier alternative as it provides more protein and fewer carbohydrates.
- Spices - although you can alter this later when preparing frozen meatballs, you can make it easier and choose those that are spiced according to your taste. Remember when we talked about various recipes for meatballs? Some frozen kinds will contain a lot of spices so that they are somewhat pre-conditioned for Turkish meatballs, and some will contain vegetables or even cheese to add to the taste (this, on the other hand, reminds me of Italian meatballs). Be careful with sodium and salt levels - I encountered many frozen meatballs that had an excess of this, which is not good for your kidneys!
- Add-Ons - Some frozen meatballs come with a variety of add-ons, such as a ready-made sauce, or even rice. We will explore these later for each of the frozen meatballs that I chose to review for you.
2. Nutrition facts
When you explore the nutrition label on one of the frozen meatballs, I suggest that you check the amount of protein that you get on one hand, and calorie intake on the other. The balance between the two is what we’ll be looking for.
Some vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers will be a plus, of course!
This feature is about two things we will be paying attention to: the package of the meatballs (size of the box, the amount that you get, servings, the price for the package) and the actual meatballs (size and shape of a single meatball).
Of course, depending on the way of preparation, the time and effort needed to make frozen meatballs also differ.
5 Best Frozen Meatballs You Can Add to Your Dishes: Detailed Reviews 2019
These meatballs come from Turkey. They are made from Angus Beef, which hints that the quality of meat is excellent. Angus beef is known for the tenderness and being well-marbled (meaning that the amount of fat is evenly spread). No hormones, antibiotics, or MSG - checked. It is natural and definitely one of the better options regarding quality.
As for the taste, they describe it as “lightly seasoned”, but I think that “lightly” here is defined according to Turkish standards - I would describe them as “highly seasoned”, though delicious, too! The spices do add to the authentic Turkish taste. There are not listed on the package, but my taste buds detected black pepper, paprika, onions, and salt.
What distinguishes these meatballs from the others that I’ve tried is the shape - they are not in a shape of a ball, but of a rolled stick, a type of kebab eaten in Turkey and the Balkans. You may or may not like this, but I find it very interesting and convenient - because of the shape, you can implement them into many recipes, for instance, in sandwiches (you must admit it would be hard to bite a sandwich with a ball).
The texture is also somewhat different than what you would expect: the meat is more firm, and when you bite it, you cannot really taste that it once was ground - it has a texture somewhere between the regular meatballs and a burger, crispier on the edges than the regular meatballs.
Nutrition-wise, the percentage of protein that you get with these meatballs is very satisfying, and there is no need to multiple calories by adding oil when preparing them: this tender meat will cook in its own juice.
These meatballs are totally different from the previous ones. They are made from ground beef and are meant to be served as a microwaved meal.
The whole meal, apart from the meat, consists of vegetables (pieces of carrots and onions) and brown rice and quinoa, so it provides a complete set of nutrition intake - proteins (23g), starch, fibre and vitamins from vegetables.
Vegetables and grains are not the only ingredients that add to the taste of this meal - as the name suggests, its is sweet & spicy - the former thanks to sweet soy-ginger sauce, and the latter thanks to spicy sriracha sauce (a chili-based sauce). So, if you like a great variety of flavors in one dish (rice, meat, vegetables, sweet and spicy sauce), I wholeheartedly recommend this mix!
When it comes to nutritious breakdown, one serving is 340g, and it contains 380 calories - a big portion and a big amount of calories to keep you energized!
Preparation is quite forward: it is made to be heated in the microwave, and it will be ready in around 5 minutes.
These meatballs are made with three kinds of meat: beef, pork and chicken. I usually prefer to mix just two kinds of red meat (beef and pork) since they take around three to four hours to digest, whereas chicken takes around one and a half. If your digestive tract is not that sensitive as mine, this should not be a problem though.
Together with soy protein concentrate, these meatballs are rich in protein.
As for the taste, it is great and truly reminds me of authentic Italian cuisine: a hint of Romano cheese and garlic accounts for this.
However, the texture will vary with the way you chose for preparing them, so keep this in mind:
Microwaving will result in smaller and tougher balls and it will take 40 seconds. They can turn out a little bit spongy, so I would suggest another way of preparation.
Bake them in an oven and you’ll get juicy and softer balls: the time needed is around 20 minutes. Cooking on a stovetop will result in the softest balls, but it is also the longest way: 25-30 minutes.
You get 26 oz for a budget-friendly price.
These meatballs are made from pork, and contain 19g of protein in a serving.
The taste, same as the previous ones, is authentic Italian: Parmesan and Romano cheese and a hint of parsley. These meatballs contain natural flavorings, as the manufacturer describes it - bold and spicy red pepper flavor. The description of flavor is pretty accurate: meatballs are quite spicy and hot, and salty as well.
Caution: for some, the taste might be too much. More precisely: for my kids.
So be careful with these if you don’t enjoy the adrenaline that comes with eating spicy food.
I found a way to neutralize the taste, while I didn’t break the Italian-style rules: add them to plain spaghetti and it will make a perfect dish.
You can prepare them in a skillet and you will need to heat up some oil. They are a little bit tough, so I suggest that you cook them longer than the directions say (at least 20 minutes) and you will get the delicious brown crust.
You get 4 servings in a package (one serving is 3 meatballs - 113g, so 12 meatballs in total). As for the calories, they are quite high - 330 calories in a serving!
This is the healthiest option among these five. Chicken meat is lower in calories, and there are no added hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives. Organic cooked chicken is a great source of protein.
However, chicken meatballs are not something that we are used to - beef or pork meatballs are more common. I like them, though. They do not come with any add-ons (sauce or spices) and I love making them Swedish style with sour cream - a perfect combo.
As for the taste, there are some natural seasonings, although they could use some additional spices. I suggest adding at least some salt or fresh vegetables.
The texture will vary with the way of preparation.
You can either cook them in an oven, which will result in softer and juicer meatballs or microwave them, which will result in more robust and smaller balls of chicken meat. The former will take around 10 minutes (the longer they cook, the softer they become) and the latter around 2 minutes.
The serving size is 4 meatballs (88g) and there are 140kcal in it, with 17g of protein. Very well-balanced and super healthy.
Conclusion: My Honest Opinion
Having read all this information, we can focus on answering the question: which frozen meatballs should you buy?
The answer is a bit cliché: It depends.
If you like Italian style meatballs, both Rosina and Carnado meatballs are great options - the latter if you want something hot and spicy, and the former if you’re looking for something more casual.
Overall, when it comes to quality, I would suggest Stouffers meatballs meal - but it limits you in a way that it is a whole meal to be made - and Hip Chick Farms meatballs - if you want to keep it healthy.
Köfte kebab meatballs are the right choice if you want to incorporate the oriental taste into your kitchen and you can enjoy these without any add-ons.
All in all, this time and in this battle you choose the winner according to your needs - I was there to coach you a bit and assure you that these are the best frozen meatballs that you can currently buy. 🙂