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I'm sure the two techniques impart slightly different flavor profiles, but what are they? What are the circumstances where you would choose one method over the other? Would the recipe need to be altered at all between methods?

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Never thought about boiling them? Just a few minutes in boiling water and they are done. –  Mien Mar 6 '11 at 22:28

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No recipe alteration needed.

Fried meatballs will develop more of a crust, and thus more flavour through the Maillard reaction. In any case, unless you're making tiny meatballs (or finishing their cooking in a sauce of some sort), they're going to need to be finished via baking anyway.

I would only do the baking method if I had to make an enormous quantity at once. For home cooking I always fry then bake.

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Conversely I only ever bake my meatballs for one simple reason: it makes a heck of a lot less mess.

Also with the effort that goes into making meatballs and the fact that making 6 or 30 is about the same amount of effort, I actually like to make a large amount and then freeze the extras.

But like @daniel said: there's no adjustments needed to the recipe or technique or anything.

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Baked meatballs will not brown as well (if at all) and will not take on any of the flavor of the oil in which they are fried. To get that fried flavor you could add a little bit of oil into the meatball mixture and also lightly spray/toss the meatballs with oil before baking.

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