From cocktail parties to potlucks, no holiday party is complete without meatballs. These tasty treats are always a crowd pleaser and one of the first to disappear. This season, be authentic using these chef-to-table tips that will result in perfect meatballs every time.

1. For light and more flavourful meatballs, experiment with ground pork. It’s cost-efficient, adds amazing texture, and results in delicious meatballs. You can also combine ground pork with other lean ground meats and poultry. Choose high quality, extra lean ground pork like duBreton Certified Humane and organic pork for a nutritious option you can feel good about.

2. Presoak breadcrumbs in milk or water before combining with meat to help keep the meatballs tender and juicy. No breadcrumbs in the pantry? Crushed up crackers or corn flakes make a great substitute.

3. Use cold meat and cold, wet hands to form the meatballs. Form ones that are about 1” in diameter when raw for bite-sized cooked meatballs that are perfect for entertaining. You can use an ice cream scoop for larger portions. Keep them consistent in size to ensure even cooking.

4. If you’re serving the meatballs on their own or freezing for later, roast them on a baking sheet in the oven at 400°F (205°C) for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C). They’ll keep in the freezer for 3 to 4 months and make for quick and easy dinner and entertaining options that can easily be heated in your favourite sauce.

5. Once you’ve perfected your classic recipe, try experimenting by adding other favourite ingredients — cranberries, cheese, Greek seasoning — the sky’s the limit. Or get creative by serving with a variety of dipping sauces. For a festive flair, cook the meatballs by gently simmering in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours in a mixture of cranberry and chili sauces. Crunched for time? Precook the meatballs in the oven and then add the sauce and continue cooking on low for 15 minutes.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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