basics/dinner/ground pork recipes/meal prep

Fennel Pork Meatball Recipe

Posted February 25, 2012 by Stephanie

I first had fennel sausage at Campanglolo, a fun, rustic Italian restaurant in  Vancouver. The sausage was scattered on a delicious pizza with just the right amount of crisp and chew. The pizza was fantastic, but the fennel sausage was the star. I literally wanted to pick off the few pieces of sausage on the pie and stuff them into my mouth to make one satisfying bite.

I refrained from acting like a savage in public, but I couldn’t get the fennel sausage out of my head so I set out to make a pork and fennel meatball that i could really get my teeth into. If you’ve never tried cooking fennel seeds before, you’re in for a treat. Their crunchy, slightly anise flavour is the perfect compliment to pork. Toss these meatballs with your go-to sauce and some pasta for a bowl of comfort.

I am pork-y, I am balled: I AM FENNEL PORK MEATBALL!

Fennel Pork Meatball Recipe
yield: 24 meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 2 tablespoon roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

In a small sauce pan, heat up a splash of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and fennel seeds and cook until the onions are translucent and slightly brown, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the onions and fennel seeds from the pan, set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, parsley, panko, egg, salt, pepper, and the cooled onions and fennel seeds. Mix well and shape into 1-inch size meatballs (about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons). Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmery. Add the meatballs to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning as needed, about 4-5 minutes per side, 20 minutes total. Check for doneness by cutting one open and ensuring there is no pink. Enjoy as an appetizer hot, or serve with your favorite sauce and pasta.


  1. Simply Tia says:

    Very beautiful presentation! I’ve never tried a pork meatball but I’m thinking I just have to now!!!

  2. I love fennel, especially with pork. This sounds great!

  3. mjskit says:

    These meatballs look delicious and I love the addition of fennel seeds! Great presentation and pictures!

  4. We made these a few months ago as well and can vouch that they are delicious! So much lighter than your traditional beefy meatballs.

  5. sara says:

    These meatballs look fantastic…I bet they taste incredibly delicious…so need to try these sometime! :)

  6. Anna says:

    Ummmm you list an egg as an ingredient and then forget all about it in the process…

    1. steph says:

      Oops…fixed now!

  7. Karin K says:

    Made these and they are fantastic!!! Thanks!

  8. Ramona says:

    Wow, wow, sooo good… please give this a try. Did two things different, replaced the breadcrumbs with 1 1/2 slices of white bread soaked in a little milk (ensures a tender meatball every time!) and added a little garlic.

  9. These meatballs look incredible! It’s been a while since I’ve made some, maybe it’s about time to try this recipe!

  10. Dan says:

    I just discovered your website and tried this recipe! I loved it!

  11. BusybodyT says:

    I just made out my shopping list! I am going to cook it as “loose meat” and use it on a thin crust pizza with creamy garlic sauce and goat cheese. (yup! I tried one at Pappa Murphys and was hooked}!

  12. PHXFoodie says:

    Could the parsley be substituted with fresh fennel fronds?

  13. Anna says:

    Oh wow I have no words… I have been trying to decide on a good meatball recipe to cook for a week now with nothing really grabbing me.. until now! My favourite restaurant makes something similar, I don’t know how I never thought to try them at home. Thank you a million times.

  14. Haley Musial says:

    Omg fennel….. Num num num in my belly!

  15. Deb says:

    Tried them tonight. Look very moist and great presentation but I have to say they were quite dry. Good thing I had a sauce with pasta with them.

  16. Perry Kusnierz says:

    This my go 2 meatball for anything pizza,subs,with sauce or to just eat! I grind my pork it comes out moist and delicious whether I bake,fry or deep fry.

  17. Mary says:

    I used Parmesan instead of breadcrumbs and I seared mine on all sides and then put in convection oven for about 20 minute in some marinara sauce.

    1. Stephanie says:

      yum! i love the idea of parm instead of breadcrumbs :)

  18. Chris says:

    You ever find a recipe that, once you taste it, you get this “destiny” feeling, like “I have cracked the oatmeal code! Henceforth I am the guy with the amazing oatmeal that people are still talking about the next day” or something?

    You have cracked the meatball code.

    1. Stephanie says:

      oh thank you so much! meatballs forever!!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Stephanie
    Looking forever for a great recipe for meatballs. My old boyfriends grandmother ( Italian) made the best .
    I was over there one night when they were already made and he Saad try one !
    Wow, the best . She put ouzo in her meatballs but that is all I remember about the recipe
    Do you think I can add ouzo and fennel
    Or would that be too much ????

    1. Stephanie says:

      i haven’t tried with ouzo but i think it would add a nice flavor. deglaze the onions and fennel seeds with a bit, i think it would taste lovely!

  20. Kathryn stinis says:

    I do not have fennel seed but I have ground fennel. Would that work and if so how much should I add?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kathryn,
      sorry for the late reply! i would use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp depending on how much fennel flavor you like :)

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