Beginner, Italian, Main Courses, Southern, Venison

Baked Venison Meatballs

Easy baked venison meatballs are juicy and full of flavor. Make a batch today to serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

plate of pasta and tomato sauce topped with venison meatballs

Before I married my husband, I adamantly swore that I did not like venison.  It was gamey, it was chewy, it was so not like beef or pork meat.  Then my husband decided to take up deer hunting two years into our marriage.  Before long, I was faced with a freezer full of deer meat and no clue what to do with it.

Ground venison is similar to ground turkey in that it is very lean. I started incorporating it into soup and chili, even tacos. We’ve also had success with deer burgers. It does not have the gamey flavor I was expecting.

As I became more experienced cooking with cooking venison, I started branching out with my recipes. I enjoy using the tenderloin in venison bourguignon and spicy venison stew, both popular dishes on the blog. But my favorite way to use ground venison is homemade meatballs.

How to Make Venison Meatballs

venison meatball ingredients including ground venison, Parmesan cheese, herbs, breadcrumbs and egg

Bagging a deer is the hard part. But making this venison meatball recipe is easy. Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

Combining the ingredients

While making meatballs is easy, it does require a little care. Overmixing the meat can result in a tough meatball. Start with 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs. Bread serves as a binder and helps the meatballs to keep their shape and stick together once baked. I prefer to make my own homemade breadcrumbs out of leftover stale bread. You could also pulse one whole slice of bread in a food processor. Place the breadcrumbs in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.

mixing bowl with parmesan cheese, herbs, raw egg and breadcrumbs

Next, add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley (or two tablespoons of fresh),  1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves (or two teaspoons of fresh), one lightly beaten egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some fresh ground pepper to taste.

Mix these ingredients together until everything is evenly combined. Then add the ground venison meat. I like to get in there and use my hands for this next step (make sure they are clean). In my opinion, two hands do a faster and more thorough job of getting everything combined than a spoon.

pair of hands mixing the meatballs together

Forming the meatballs

Once the meatballs ingredients are mixed, we need to start forming them into meatballs. I use a cookie scoop to ensure every meatball is a consistent shape and size. Once I scoop out the meatball, I give it a quick roll between the palms of my hands to smooth out any rough edges.

forming the meatballs by hand

These meatballs will not spread, so you only need to leave enough room between each so that they are not touching. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes until they are cooked through and no longer pink.

vension meatballs on a foil lined baking sheet

How to use Baked Venison Meatballs

Toss a few venison meatballs in your favorite spaghetti sauce just before serving and heat through. Use them in this delicious Apricot Bourbon Sauce for a delicious appetizer or tailgating dish. Or braise them in a little beer and serve them over egg noodles.

Freezing Instructions

Leftover venison meatballs freeze beautifully. I recommend placing cooked meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and allow them to freeze solid. Then transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. Freezing the meatballs individually prevents them from sticking together and will allow you to thaw only what you need.  Frozen meatballs do not need to be thawed beforehand. Simply heat them through with a little sauce.

forkful of pasta and a meatball on the end of a fork

More Deer Meat Recipes:

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plate of pasta and tomato sauce topped with venison meatballs
Print Pin
4.7 from 13 votes

Baked Venison Meatballs

Easy baked venison meatballs are juicy and full of flavor. Make a batch today to serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
Course Entree
Cuisine American, Southern
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 20 meatballs
Calories 55kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs 1 whole slice of bread pulsed into crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground venison meat

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, egg and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the ingredients are well-mixed, add ground venison. Using your hands, combine ingredients.
  • Form meatballs into 2 1/2-inch balls (a cookie dough scoop works well).
  • Place meatballs on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until meatballs and brown and no longer pink in the center.
  • Makes about 20-24 meatballs

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 55kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.3g | Protein: 9.4g | Fat: 1.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 4.7mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 0.4IU | Calcium: 0.4mg | Iron: 0.8mg

25 Comments

  1. I don’t eat meat (turkey, venison or otherwise) but my husband has been wanting to try some venison. I’ll pass this recipe on to him and see what he thinks!

  2. Venison is such a delight but you’re right, it’s hard to get in NYC. These balls look fantastic 🙂

  3. Thanks for the recipe family loved them! =D Will definatly make these again and use up so fo that deer meat in the freezer!

  4. Good recipe, I added milk in with my bred crumbs. However this was too much thyme for my family. Will make again just with less thyme or sub Italian seasoining. Good base for the deer.

  5. 5 stars
    First of all I enjoyed your story, made me laugh and it reminded me of myself! This is the best venison meatball recipe I ever had. It is too much thyme for me so I would probably cut it in half. I put the carrots in my Vitamix so it only took about 10 or 20 seconds to get them finely grated. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 5 stars
    Your title caught my eye. This was a great recipe. Attracted even venison haters. The only thing I did different is I course ground it twice. The second grind was after mixing the ingredients. Nice texture and great flavor profile.

  7. You should try pressure canni.g venison it is really good and not at all gamey.

  8. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh. I cannot believe how good these turned out. Only “real” difference I made other than probably a lot of people was backwoods butchered deer.
    There is a big difference between deer or turkey & FRESH turkey or deer.

  9. Valerie Markham

    5 stars
    Thank you, these were a big hit.

  10. 5 stars
    Although its not my thing , my husband is an avid hunter. I have been wanting to find recipes to incorporate his venison that the whole family can enjoy. Me, I am an avid pasta eater so this recipe is absolutely perfect for our family!! My husband and daughter were such huge fans of the meatballs they requested them again. They are so easy and cheap to make I would make them every day if they asked! Thank you so so much for sharing this!

  11. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! I made it with ground venison and tripled it for a potluck meal. Way more moist than I than I thought it would be and very delicious! I added Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of the bread.

  12. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe tonight and it was really good…we eat a lot af deer meat and I’m always looking for new dishes to fix…I have never broiled deer meat before this, and it turned out great! (I did summer the meatballs in spaghetti sauce for a bit after they were done in the broiler for some additional tomato flavor:-)

  13. Christine M Pinkoski

    5 stars
    This is definately a go to recipe! Love it!

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