Meatball Pasta Bake



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With mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta this meatball pasta bake is an ultimate comfort food for any night of the week. Who doesn’t love a cheesy baked pasta with meatballs?

Meatball Pasta Bake

Do you like Instagram recipes? I always thought no one would ever make a recipe from a caption but that’s not true. I find that people actually save the recipes and make them. It blows my mind because I personally can’t imagine cooking from a caption—they’re so small. But maybe I’m just wrong?

Anyway, this recipe. Mini little meatballs are rolled and put on top of orecheitte and the entire thing is topped with cheese. It’s not baked for a super long time but it is so, so good. I love it so much.

I feel like I need to make more pasta bakes!!

Meatball Pasta Bake


How to Make a Meatball Pasta Bake:

  1. Portion out the meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients and use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to portion out the meatballs.
  2. Cook the meatballs. Brown the meatballs in a large skillet with a little bit of oil. Once they’re cooked remove them and set aside.
  3. Warm up the sauce. Heat up your favorite jar of marinara with some créme fraîche.
  4. Add the pasta. Once the pasta’s cooked, transfer it to the pan of sauce and stir to coat.
  5. Add meatballs and cheese. Place the meatballs all over the pasta then top with more cheese than you think you need.
  6. Bake! Let it bake up until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you want some golden brown on there place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes afterwards.

Ingredients for a Pasta Bake:

The great thing about a pasta bake is that you can switch up just a few ingredients to work with whatever you have in your pantry.

  • The meat: I used mini meatballs here but you could also brown some Italian sausage. grilled chicken could also work if you had that.
  • The sauce: Use whatever your favorite jar of sauce is, and doctor it up if needed. I added the créme fraîche because I like the extra bit of richness and tang it gives to the dish.
  • The Pasta: I used an orecchiette pasta here but any short pasta will do. Anything from a penne to a rigatoni would work in this dish.
  • The Cheese: I don’t think that anything besides mozzarella would work here because it’s so melty but if you wanted to you could use less mozzarella and finish it with burrata when it comes out of the oven.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.
5 from 2 votes

Meatball Pasta Bake Recipe

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 Servings
Meatball pasta bake is one of those ultimate comforting dishes. Mini meatballs tucked away in gooey cheese and saucy pasta make this a comforting weeknight meal.


  • 2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound ground beef, (90%/10%)
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 yellow onion or red onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 23-ounce jar of marinara or homemade
  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 pound of pasta, I used orecchiette, cooked to al dente
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, Parmesan, onion, garlic, dried oregano, salt, crushed red pepper and egg.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Using a tablespoon (or small cookie scoop—my favorite tool for meatballs), scoop out the meat mixture, forming meatballs using your palms. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the meatball mixture.
  • In a medium skillet, set over medium heat, add the oil. When hot, cook the meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping them and cooking on the opposite side for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a bowl. Pour the marinara into the skillet, along with the crème fraîche and stir until smooth. Cook until warmed, about 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning the marinara sauce to your liking (I added a bit of crushed red pepper and some additional salt).
  • To a large baking dish, add the cooked pasta, marinara sauce and toss until combined. Add meatballs atop the pasta and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until cheese is nice and melty. Garnish with Italian parsley, if you like.


  • You can freeze this! Just make the dish up until it needs to go into the oven. Transfer it to a freezer and oven safe pan and let cool before topping with the cheese and transferring it to the freezer. When you go to bake just be prepared to bake it for around 45 minutes to an hour for it to cook through from frozen.
Le Creuset Braiser | Food Processor | Chef's Knife


Serving: 4g | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 663mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!

Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more pasta recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Meatball Pasta Bake

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Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this on a whim so I tried substituting ricotta I had on hand and some cream cheese for the crème fraiche, but it was absolutely delicious! AND super quick to make which is always a huge plus. And my toddler loved it too! Definitely going to become a go-to for us when I don’t feel like just making a plain spaghetti.

  2. Sounds like an amazing recipe! I’m wondering if you have any suggestions on a substitute for the creme fraiche? I can’t find it where I live.

  3. OMG! Definitely will be making this again – it was so, so, so easy and more importantly: DELICIOUS! I made it for myself and three other people and we devoured it.

  4. Just made this tonight, was such a big winner in our household! The meatballs are to die for! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  5. Easy & tasty! My hubby made the marinara, used penne rigate, and I forgot to add an egg to the meatball mix but it was still tasty. Thank you!

  6. It’s a good thing we made a large batch of meatballs the other day. They may not be mini but they’re mighty garlicky good!! What an adorable idea for pasta. And after we made the meatballs we made a huge vat of marinara sauce. Looks like we’re halfway with this recipe. I’ll have to check the pantry for the recipe. I am inspired by pictures and since I seem to read everything that passes in front of my eyes I’m intrigued by titles. Can’t wait to make this recipe!!

  7. This looks so good! I’m thinking of making it ahead of time and then baking for a weeknight dinner, do you think I should make any adjustments for that?

  8. This looks amazing! *insert heart-eyes emoji* How do you know if someone has saved one of your Instagram photos? Does Insta notify you?

  9. This looks absolutely delicious and so warming for those cold winter evenings! I cannot wait to give it a go and I know already that my mum is going to want the recipe too. YUM!

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  10. I’m glad you posted this here! I saw it on Instagram and forgot to save it! Can’t wait to make.

    Also….can’t help myself….Go Astros!