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The Best Meatball You've Never Made

By Stephanie Wise
Created January 10, 2017
Move over bacon, there’s a new brunch meat—Maple-Glazed Breakfast Meatballs—in town!

Most everyone loves a good meatball, but did you know they can be a welcome part of your breakfast, too? These sweet and savory maple-Dijon glazed pork meatballs are a tasty swap for classic bacon, ham or sausage on the side of your morning menu. They’re easy to make ahead and freezer-friendly, too, so you can always have some on hand. 

To start, line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs: ground pork, chopped apple (I used Pink Lady for this recipe, but a Honeycrisp or another sweet-tart apple works just as well), chopped fresh sage, whole wheat breadcrumbs, crushed fennel seed, chopped shallot, egg, salt and pepper.


Use a wooden spoon or your hands to make sure the mixture is well combined.


Using a scoop or your hands, shape the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them about 1-inch apart on the lined baking sheet. You should end up with around 36 to 40 meatballs.


Bake the meatballs until they’re completely cooked through to a safe temperature of 160°F. Meanwhile, make the glaze. It’s just three ingredients (apple butter, maple syrup and Dijon mustard) and the sweet-savory combo is perfection on top of these meatballs! Once the meatballs are cooked through, top them with half of the glaze. Return the meatballs to the oven for another 3 minutes.


Just before serving, top the meatballs with the remaining glaze.


If you want to make these ahead of time, just shape the meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet, cover and chill up to 4 hours. For longer storage, it’s best to bake them until cooked through, then let them cool completely (unglazed) and transfer them to storage bags or airtight containers. They’ll freeze well up to three months. To bake, let them thaw in the fridge until no longer frozen, then warm them in a 350°F oven until warmed through. Top them with half of the glaze, bake them another 5 minutes, then top with remaining glaze. 

Next time you’re in the mood for meatballs – whether for breakfast, brunch or brinner – give these sweet and savory ones a try!