The Best Venison Meatball Recipe You’ll Ever Try

Most people don’t realize how versatile venison is. While the typical smoked, panfried, or dried options are popular. There’s a few unique ways you can prepare venison. 

When I first read about this venison meatball recipe I knew I had to give it a try. 

In the end, we had a great time around the dinner table with this venison meatball recipe. If you are looking for some inspiration for a new dish and a slightly different take on venison, try it out.

If you prefer to watch the instructions and recipe, check out the video below!

Ingredients You’ll Need

We will divide the ingredients into two sections. 

Venison Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic: Finely mince the garlic. If you are short of time, use garlic powder. Replace one tablespoon of minced garlic with one teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves: While thyme leaves are the best option, you can use dried herbs or Italian seasoning as a substitute.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: This is an optional ingredient but the mildly pungent flavor adds to the overall taste.
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce: It is best to use this sauce for test. But, it can be replaced with reduced balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, or oyster sauce.
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth: I prefer using a chicken broth with low sodium content. While you can always salt it later, excess salt can spoil the dish.
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs or 3 tablespoonfuls of crumbs per pound of venison: You can use all types of breadcrumbs, including plain breadcrumbs, Italian breadcrumbs, and panko.  
  • 2 large eggs

Roasted Tomato Pasta

  • 8 large tomatoes, cut into 1⁄2 inch slices: Freshly picked tomatoes from your veggie garden are the best options.
  • Olive oil for brushing the tomatoes
  • Italian seasonings: You can prepare homemade Italian seasoning by combining dried herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and parsley.
  • Garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 box pasta, 8 oz
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1⁄2 tbsp crushed peppercorns
  • 1 full cup of shredded parmesan: The sharpness and mild tanginess brought about by parmesan are great for adding flavor.

Essential Equipment

Oven: I have tried cooking deer meatballs on the stovetop, but the problem is that they are super tender. More often than not, they tend to break while flipping. So using an oven for baking them is the best option.

Parchment paper:  You can use aluminum foil for lining the baking sheets, but the meatballs tend to stick to it. Parchment is a better choice from that aspect.

Ice-cream scoop: Like me, if you are not good at rolling even-sized meatballs, try using an ice cream scoop. That way you will get the same size every time and save a lot of time.

Kitchen thermometer: This will help you to check the internal temperature of the meatballs and know if they are ready.

venison meatballs

How to Make Venison Meatballs: Step-by-Step 

Venison Meatballs

  • Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Prepare the parchment by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Heat the olive oil in the frying pan on medium heat till it is smoking hot
  • Add onion, garlic, pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt to the pan. Sauté till the onion gets tender and light brown. This should take around 5-6 minutes.
  • Once the onion is ready, add spinach to the pan. Mix and then add the chicken broth and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook on medium heat till all the liquid has cooked out.
  • Once the mix has dried out, remove the heat. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
  • Beat the eggs lightly with a fork or a whisk. Mix the venison, egg, and breadcrumbs, in a bowl. Now add the cooled onion/spinach to the meat mixture.
  • The next step is rolling the meatballs. The meatballs should be around 1 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Make sure to use the right amount of breadcrumbs. Too much can make the mixture fall apart while too little will prevent it from acting as the filler. Use the scoop for even-sized meatballs.
  • Once rolled, place the metaballs on the baking sheet. Make sure to leave some space around each meatball.
  • Bake the meatballs in the oven. The internal temperature of the meatballs should be around 160 degrees F. This should take around 20-25 minutes. The outside of the meatballs should be evenly brown when they are ready.

roasted tomato pasta

Roasted Tomato Pasta

  • First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cover two cookie sheets with parchment of aluminum foil. Brush the surface with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle the garlic powder and Italian seasonings generously on the tomatoes. Placed the sliced tomatoes on the sheet and brush with olive oil
  • Bake till the tomatoes begin to char. It should take about 40-45 minutes.
  • Boil a pot of water and salt to cook the pasta. Cook it enough to be served al dente.
  • Put the butter and peppercorns on a large skillet and start heating. In a minute the butter should turn golden brown.
  • Next, drain the pasta, but reserve 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the butter along with half of the parmesan and some of the pasta water.
  • Keep adding cheese and more water alternately to the pasta. Stir until it turns creamy.
  • Now, it is time to add the roasted tomatoes and stir some more.
  • Lastly, add the meatballs to the mix and toss them gently. Do not overmix or overheat the meatballs. Serve when it is ready.

Why You’ll Love This Venison Meatball Recipe 

There are multiple ways to cook venison, including a few super-easy methods like the classic pan-fried venison. 

However, if you want something richer and a little more delicious, then this venison meatball recipe is hard to beat. If you field dress the deer properly, the venison will have that “gamey” flavor that many of us love.

Beyond being deliciously moist and tender, the venison meatballs have a higher protein content than any other red meat. It contains loads of B vitamins, along with essential nutrients like zinc. Plus, it has less saturated fats than other red meat like beef. 

On top of that, the addition of veggies and herbs makes this deer meatball recipe even more nutritious overall, the perfect dish for the whole family to enjoy.

Venison Meatballs FAQs 

What do you put in venison meatballs so they don’t fall apart?

Two items that act as binders for the ground venison meatballs are breadcrumbs and lightly beaten eggs. Make sure not to keep it balanced and not add too much or too little of these binders.

Do ground venison meatballs taste like ground beef? 

Since the deer feed on herbs, acorns, and nuts, venison has a richer and earthier taste when compared to beef. However, some varieties of ground venison may contain fats, ligaments, and skin that do not taste as good. If you are using your grinder, practice proper field care to get the best taste.

Is venison healthier than ground beef? 

Yes, it is. And the reason is that wild deer are healthier than cows. Venison contains fewer calories and less saturated fat than beef. In addition, it has more nutrients and vitamins.

shellys game kitchen

Venison Meatballs Recipe 

This ultimate venison meatball recipe is the perfect choice for a family dinner in a cozy ambiance. I suggest you prepare a few extra meatballs for lunch the next day- everyone loves venison meatballs. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes 
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes 
  • Total Time: Approximately 100 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Servings: 24-28 meatballs


  • Oven
  • Parchment paper
  • Ice-cream scoop
  • Kitchen thermometer


Venison Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Roasted Tomato Pasta

  1. 8 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  2. Olive oil
  3. Italian seasonings
  4. Garlic powder
  5. 1⁄2 box pasta, 8 oz
  6. 5 tbsp butter
  7. 1⁄2 tbsp crushed peppercorns
  8. 1 full cup of shredded parmesan


  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F and heat the olive oil.
  2. Add onion, garlic, pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt, and fry till the onion turns golden brown.
  3. When the onion is ready, add spinach to the pan, followed by the chicken broth and the Worcestershire sauce. Once the mix dries out cool it at room temperature
  4. Mix the venison, egg, and breadcrumbs, in a bowl and add the onion/spinach to it.
  5. Roll the meatballs by using the scoop and place them on the baking sheet. Bake them for 20-25 minutes.
  6. For the roasted tomato pasta, preheat the oven to 350 degrees,
  7. Brush the tomato surfaces with olive oil and sprinkle garlic powder and Italian seasonings. Bake the tomatoes till they begin to char.
  8. Boil the pasta and heat the butter and peppercorns in a skillet. Add the cooked pasta and half of the parmesan in the butter along with some water. Add cheese and stir till it turns creamy
  9. Add the roasted tomatoes and mix. Lastly, add the meatballs.


  • Mix the ingredients gently and do not overmix. This reduces the chances of the meatballs getting tough
  • Make sure to brown the meatballs on all sides.
  • Dice the garlic and onions into very small pieces to prevent the meatballs from falling apart.
  • If venison is too gamey for your taste, try adding beef mince to it. A 50:50 proportion should work.
  • Some chefs suggest using milk-soaked breadcrumbs to add moisture and keep the meatballs juicy and tender. This prevents the proteins in the meat from drying out and shrinking.

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