Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Indulge in the comforting flavors of this traditional Italian meal: classic spaghetti and meatballs. This homestyle dish is packed with savory meatballs simmered in a rich, tangy tomato sauce, served over a bed of al dente spaghetti. The combination of lean ground beef and pork gives the meatballs a juicy, flavorful texture that pairs perfectly with the robust tomato sauce. It's a simple recipe, yet its classic flavors have a way of making any dinner feel special.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Photos of Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are common pantry staples, but you may need to make a trip to the supermarket for a few items. Lean ground beef and ground pork are the basis for the meatballs, so ensure you select quality meat. Italian tomatoes can be found in the canned goods aisle; they add an authentic Italian flavor that sets this recipe apart. Also, don't forget the seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, which add texture and flavor to the meatballs.

Ingredients for Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti: The long, thin pasta that serves as the base for this dish.

Olive oil: Used for sautéing and also in the meatballs for a hint of richness.

Onion: Adds a sweet, slightly sharp flavor to the sauce and meatballs.

Garlic: Provides a pungent, spicy flavor to the sauce.

Italian tomatoes: Canned whole and crushed for their high-quality taste and texture.

Tomato paste: Concentrated tomato flavor that adds depth to the sauce.

Italian seasoning: A blend of herbs that enhances the sauce's flavor.

Crushed red pepper: Adds a hint of heat to the sauce.

Ground beef and pork: For making juicy, flavorful meatballs.

Bread crumbs: Gives body and texture to the meatballs.

Egg: Binds the meatballs together.

Basil: A sweet herb that complements the meat and tomato flavors.

Parsley: Adds a fresh flavor and vibrant color to the meatballs.

Parmesan cheese: Brings a salty, nutty element to the meatballs.

One reader, Gardener Harwell says:

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This classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a winner! The meatballs are juicy and flavorful, and the sauce is rich and delicious. It's a perfect comfort food that brings back memories of home-cooked meals. I highly recommend trying this recipe for a satisfying and heartwarming dinner.

Gardener Harwell

Techniques Required for Making Spaghetti and Meatballs

How to make the sauce: A step-by-step guide on how to prepare the tomato-based sauce, including cooking the onions and garlic, adding the tomatoes, and simmering to the desired consistency.

How to make the meatballs: Detailed instructions on combining the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, and seasonings to form the meatballs, as well as browning them in a pan before adding them to the sauce.

How To Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is easy to make with beef and pork meatballs simmered in tomato sauce and served over spaghetti noodles.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes



  • 1lbspaghetti

For the Sauce:

  • 2tbspolive oil
  • 1onion,small, diced
  • 4garlic cloves,minced
  • 28ozwhole Italian tomatoes,canned
  • 28ozcrushed tomatoes
  • 3tbsptomato paste
  • 1tspItalian Seasoning
  • ½tspcrushed red pepper

For the Meatballs:

  • 1lblean ground beef
  • ½lbground pork
  • cupseasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼cuponion,finely diced
  • 1egg
  • ½tspbasil
  • 2tbspfresh parsley,chopped
  • ½tspsalt & black pepper,to taste
  • ¼cupParmesan cheese,shredded
  • 1tbspolive oil,for frying


  1. Cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

  2. Reduce heat to low, add remaining sauce ingredients with 1 cup of water. Simmer covered for 60 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, combine all meatball ingredients except olive oil and form 18 meatballs.

  4. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add meatballs. Brown on all sides until golden for about 10 minutes.

  5. Add meatballs to sauce, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer until sauce reaches desired consistency.

  6. Serve over spaghetti.


  • Calories: 1813.41kcal
  • Fat: 77.13g
  • Saturated Fat: 36.05g
  • Trans Fat: 0.89g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 28.06g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.95g
  • Carbohydrates: 175.96g
  • Fiber: 16.16g
  • Sugar: 28.11g
  • Protein: 104.08g
  • Cholesterol: 208.67mg
  • Sodium: 3248.07mg
  • Calcium: 2124.77mg
  • Potassium: 1978.61mg
  • Iron: 12.83mg
  • Vitamin A: 444.48µg
  • Vitamin C: 49.55mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfect Spaghetti and Meatballs

When forming your meatballs, try not to overwork the mixture as this can result in tough and dense meatballs. Instead, gently combine the ingredients until they are just mixed. This will ensure your meatballs remain tender and juicy. Additionally, using a combination of ground beef and ground pork in your meatballs can add a depth of flavor and richness that is not achievable with just one type of meat.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables, measure ingredients, and prepare the sauce in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Multitask: While the sauce is simmering, use that time to prepare and cook the meatballs to save time.

Use a food processor: Utilize a food processor to quickly chop onions, garlic, and herbs for the sauce and meatballs.

Organize your workspace: Keep all your ingredients and cooking tools within reach to avoid wasting time searching for items.

Substitute Ingredients For Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

  • spaghetti - Substitute with zucchini noodles: Zucchini noodles are a low-carb and gluten-free alternative to traditional spaghetti, making it a healthier option for those looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake.

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a similar smoke point to olive oil and a mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for sautéing and cooking the sauce.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, adding a delicate taste to the sauce.

  • garlic cloves - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic cloves, providing a convenient alternative without compromising the flavor.

  • whole italian tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for whole Italian tomatoes, providing a similar texture and flavor to the sauce.

  • crushed tomatoes - Substitute with tomato sauce: Tomato sauce can be used as a substitute for crushed tomatoes, providing a smoother texture to the sauce.

  • tomato paste - Substitute with ketchup: Ketchup can be used as a substitute for tomato paste, adding a hint of sweetness and depth of flavor to the sauce.

  • italian seasoning - Substitute with dried oregano and basil: A combination of dried oregano and basil can be used as a substitute for Italian seasoning, providing a similar herbaceous flavor to the sauce.

  • crushed red pepper - Substitute with paprika: Paprika can be used as a substitute for crushed red pepper, adding a mild heat and vibrant color to the sauce.

  • lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef, offering a healthier option with a similar texture and flavor.

  • ground pork - Substitute with ground veal: Ground veal can be used as a substitute for ground pork, providing a tender and mild flavor to the meatballs.

  • seasoned bread crumbs - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs can be used as a substitute for seasoned bread crumbs, offering a lighter and crispier texture to the meatballs.

  • egg - Substitute with flaxseed meal: Flaxseed meal can be used as a binding agent in place of eggs, making it a suitable substitute for those following a vegan or egg-free diet.

  • basil - Substitute with parsley: Parsley can be used as a substitute for basil, adding a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the meatballs.

  • fresh parsley - Substitute with cilantro: Cilantro can be used as a substitute for fresh parsley, providing a bright and citrusy flavor to the meatballs.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino romano: Pecorino Romano can be used as a substitute for Parmesan cheese, offering a similar salty and nutty flavor to the meatballs.

  • olive oil - Substitute with butter: Butter can be used as a substitute for olive oil, adding a rich and creamy flavor to the meatballs.

Presenting Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the classic spaghetti and meatballs, focus on creating a visually appealing plate. Use a large, flat plate to showcase the dish, ensuring the spaghetti is neatly twirled and the meatballs are evenly spaced for an elegant presentation.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a pop of color and freshness to the dish by garnishing with freshly chopped parsley. Sprinkle it over the top of the spaghetti and meatballs just before serving to add a vibrant touch to the plate.

  3. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese over the top of the dish to provide a delightful textural contrast. The cheese will not only enhance the flavor but also add a visually appealing element to the presentation.

  4. Use high-quality dinnerware: Opt for high-quality, elegant dinnerware to serve the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Choose a sophisticated plate and bowl combination that complements the colors of the dish and adds a touch of refinement to the overall presentation.

  5. Focus on symmetry: Arrange the spaghetti and meatballs with precision, paying attention to symmetry and balance on the plate. This attention to detail will elevate the visual appeal of the dish and demonstrate a high level of culinary finesse.

  6. Consider the negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the dish to stand out. Avoid overcrowding the plate and let the classic spaghetti and meatballs take center stage, creating a visually striking presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking and roasting food.
  • Stove: A cooking appliance used for heating and cooking food.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle, used for cooking sauces, boiling or heating liquids, and preparing soups.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing ingredients together, often used in baking and cooking.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for slicing, chopping, and dicing various ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A durable board used for cutting and preparing food.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Utensils used to measure precise amounts of ingredients for cooking and baking.
  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with perforations used for draining foods such as pasta or rinsing vegetables.
  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients together.
  • Tongs: A tool with two arms and a pivot used for gripping and lifting items, commonly used for turning food while cooking.
  • Grater: A kitchen tool used for grating foods such as cheese, vegetables, and spices.
  • Spatula: A flat, flexible utensil used for lifting, flipping, and spreading foods.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and roasting in the oven.
  • Rolling pin: A cylindrical tool used to flatten and shape dough for baking.
  • Pot: A deep cooking vessel used for boiling, stewing, and simmering ingredients.
  • Blender: A kitchen appliance used for blending, pureeing, and emulsifying ingredients.
  • Food processor: A versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, and pureeing ingredients.
  • Mixer: An electric appliance used for mixing, beating, and whipping ingredients, commonly used in baking.
  • Grill: A cooking appliance used for grilling and barbecuing food over an open flame or heat source.

Storing and Freezing Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • To store leftover spaghetti and meatballs, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before placing in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze the meatballs and sauce separately. Place the cooled meatballs on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Pour the sauce into a freezer-safe container, leaving some room at the top for expansion.

  • Label the containers with the date and contents, and freeze for up to 3 months.

  • To reheat, thaw the meatballs and sauce overnight in the refrigerator. Place the meatballs in a covered baking dish with some of the sauce and bake at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, about 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, reheat the meatballs and sauce together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.

  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions and serve with the reheated meatballs and sauce.

  • Pro tip: For best results, freeze the meatballs and sauce separately to maintain their texture and flavor. This also allows you to thaw and reheat only what you need for future meals.

How To Reheat Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Stovetop method: Place the leftover spaghetti and meatballs in a large saucepan or skillet. Add a splash of water or tomato sauce to help moisten the pasta and prevent it from drying out. Cover the pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the spaghetti and meatballs are heated through, about 10-15 minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more water or tomato sauce to achieve the desired consistency.

  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover spaghetti and meatballs to an oven-safe dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the pasta from drying out. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the spaghetti and meatballs are heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to allow the top to brown slightly and the sauce to thicken.

  • Microwave method: Place the leftover spaghetti and meatballs in a microwave-safe dish. Add a splash of water or tomato sauce to help moisten the pasta. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes, then stir the spaghetti and meatballs. Continue microwaving in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the spaghetti and meatballs are heated through.

  • Steaming method: Fill a large pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Place the leftover spaghetti and meatballs in a heat-proof dish that fits inside the pot without touching the water. Cover the pot and allow the spaghetti and meatballs to steam for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. This method helps to retain moisture and prevent the pasta from drying out.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to check the internal temperature of the meatballs to ensure they have reached a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C). If the sauce seems too thick after reheating, add a little more water, tomato sauce, or olive oil to achieve the desired consistency. Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, or parmesan cheese before serving for added flavor and visual appeal.

Interesting Fact About Spaghetti and Meatballs

The classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a popular Italian-American dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It is a comforting and hearty meal that brings together the flavors of savory meatballs and rich tomato sauce. This dish is often served at family gatherings and celebrations, making it a beloved favorite for many. Additionally, the tradition of serving spaghetti and meatballs has been passed down through many Italian-American families, making it a cherished part of their culinary heritage.

Is Making Spaghetti and Meatballs at Home Cost-Effective?

This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as ground beef, pork, and spaghetti, are generally affordable and readily available. The use of pantry staples like tomatoes and onions further adds to its cost-effectiveness. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly meal option. Overall, this classic recipe offers a satisfying and economical choice for families, earning a solid 8 out of 10 rating for its cost-effectiveness.

Is This Dish Healthy or Unhealthy?

The classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe, while delicious, may not be the healthiest option due to several factors:

  • The recipe uses a significant amount of ground beef and pork, which are high in saturated fat and can contribute to heart disease and other health issues when consumed in excess.
  • The recipe calls for breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in the meatballs, which can add extra calories and sodium to the dish.
  • The sauce contains a large amount of canned tomatoes and tomato paste, which may have added sugars and sodium.

However, the recipe does include some healthy ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and herbs, which provide beneficial nutrients and flavors.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef and pork to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the meatballs.
  • Replace the breadcrumbs with whole wheat breadcrumbs or rolled oats to increase the fiber content and reduce the refined carbohydrates.
  • Reduce the amount of Parmesan cheese in the meatballs or use a low-fat version to decrease the calorie and fat content.
  • Choose low-sodium or no-salt-added canned tomatoes and tomato paste to reduce the overall sodium content of the sauce.
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the sauce, such as diced carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini, to boost the nutrient content and add more fiber to the dish.
  • Use whole wheat spaghetti or zucchini noodles instead of regular spaghetti to increase the fiber and nutrient content of the meal.

Editor's Opinion on This Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

This classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a timeless favorite. The combination of tender meatballs and rich, flavorful tomato sauce is a comforting and satisfying dish. The use of Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper adds depth and a hint of heat to the sauce, while the meatballs are perfectly seasoned with a blend of herbs and Parmesan cheese. The simmering process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a delicious and hearty meal. This recipe is a wonderful choice for a family dinner or a special gathering, and it's sure to become a beloved staple in any kitchen.

Enhance Your Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: A delicious and buttery garlic bread to soak up all the sauce
Caesar Salad: A crisp and refreshing Caesar salad with homemade dressing
Roasted Vegetables: A medley of colorful roasted vegetables for a healthy and flavorful side
Tiramisu: Indulge in a creamy and decadent tiramisu for a sweet ending to the meal

Similar Recipes to Try Instead of Spaghetti and Meatballs

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy and indulgent pasta dish is perfect for a cozy night in. The rich alfredo sauce pairs perfectly with tender chicken and al dente pasta.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This healthy and colorful salad is packed with roasted vegetables, fluffy quinoa, and a zesty vinaigrette. It's a great option for a light and satisfying meal.
Mango Coconut Rice Pudding: Indulge in this tropical twist on a classic dessert. Creamy coconut milk and sweet mango combine with rice to create a luscious and refreshing pudding.

Ideal Appetizers and Desserts for a Spaghetti and Meatballs Dinner

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy for a delicious start to any meal.
Bruschetta: Elevate the classic bruschetta by topping crispy bread with a variety of fresh and vibrant toppings, such as diced tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze. This appetizer is sure to impress with its burst of flavors and textures.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and creamy texture of this dessert will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Creamy Tiramisu: Savor the layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone cheese, dusted with a generous amount of cocoa powder. The delicate balance of flavors in this classic Italian dessert will transport you to a cozy cafe in Rome.

Why trust this Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe:

This recipe offers a classic and authentic taste, using high-quality ingredients such as Italian tomatoes and fresh parsley. The combination of lean ground beef and ground pork in the meatballs ensures a rich and flavorful experience. The use of seasoned bread crumbs and parmesan cheese adds depth to the meatballs, while the slow simmering of the sauce allows the flavors to meld perfectly. Trust the expertise behind this recipe to deliver a delicious and satisfying spaghetti and meatballs dish.

Share your thoughts and experiences making this classic Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
How can I make the meatballs more flavorful?
You can enhance the flavor of the meatballs by adding additional herbs and spices such as oregano, thyme, or even a pinch of nutmeg. You can also experiment with different types of cheese, such as pecorino or asiago, to add a unique flavor to the meatballs.
Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef for the meatballs?
Yes, you can definitely substitute ground turkey for the ground beef in the meatball recipe. Ground turkey can be a leaner option and will work well with the other ingredients to create delicious meatballs.
How can I make the sauce less spicy?
If you prefer a milder sauce, you can reduce or omit the crushed red pepper. You can also balance the spiciness by adding a teaspoon of sugar or a splash of heavy cream to mellow out the heat.
Can I make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time?
Absolutely! Both the meatballs and the sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This can be a great time-saving option for busy weeknights.
Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned for the sauce?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes for the sauce. Simply blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins, then chop and cook them down until they break apart, similar to the canned tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes can add a bright, fresh flavor to the sauce.

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