Who doesn’t love meatballs? They’re the classic comfort food, a go-to favorite of every child in America. They can be tiny or gigantic. They can bathed in a spicy ragu, smothered in gravy, or swimming in a sweet tomato sauce. They can be made of lamb, chicken, and everything in between. Nowadays, even vegetarians can enjoy them.

It was only a matter of time before this timeless standby was swept up into the world of trendy New York City eateries. Enter The Meatball Shop, your one-stop shop for an entire menu devoted to the humble meatball. It’s easy to see why everyone raves about these balls: you can have them in a seasonal salad, in a homestyle sauce ladled over your favorite pasta, on a super messy and delicious meatball sandwich, or, if you’re a purist, just “naked.”

meatball shop

Photo by Becca Miller

Unfortunately, like many trendy, hip places in New York, The Meatball Shop can be expensive, which is a problem if you find yourselves craving these delicious ‘balls on a regular basis. So, we came up with a solution: why not buy the ingredients in bulk, and make them yourself? Plus, you’ll be able to impress all your friends with your mad kitchen skills.

After a field trip down to the Lower East Side, home turf of The Meatball Shop, we’ve created a copycat recipe for the chicken meatball, simmered in homemade tomato sauce. So forget about going out tonight. This is what you’re having for dinner.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

  • Prep Time:15 minutes
  • Cook Time:5 minutes
  • Total Time:20 minutes
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 28 oz tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Step 1

    Sauté two cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat without burning the garlic. Cook until brown.

  • Step 2

    Add tomato puree, salt, red pepper and oregano cook over extra low. Keep the sauce warm until meatballs are ready.

Meatball Shop Chicken Meatballs

  • Prep Time:15 minutes
  • Cook Time:30 minutes
  • Total Time:35 minutes
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup stale bread, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (2 teaspoons dry)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (2 teaspoons dry)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking tray with parchment paper.

  • Step 2

    Soak bread in milk until the bread has fully absorbed milk, about 15 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Add soaked bread, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mix with hands until combined.

    #SpoonTip: Make sure to WASH THOSE HANDS.

  • Step 4

    Shape the meatballs with a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop and place each meatball on the tray. Leave 1/2 inch of space between each one.

  • Step 5

    Bake for 20 minutes at 375˚F, then transfer meatballs to saucepan with sauce and cook for 10 more minutes on low heat.

  • Step 6

    To serve, eat straight from the pot (they’re that good), or serve on slider roll and top with fresh parmesan cheese.