Spaghetti and Meatballs

Dinner, Quick and Easy

This comforting Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is here for us when we need it most! These meatballs are light-as-a-feather, initially roasted and then braised in sauce. This combination makes leftovers, which reheat like a dream.

A very big part of me hopes and wishes that you read this blog post title as, “Spaghetti and a Meat-a-balls!” ***Chef’s Kiss***

I feel like I just talked about my love of gangster movies a few weeks ago but I really do love that scene in Goodfellas where they’re all in jail and they’re like, who cares, so what! And cook up this like massive feast. Oh and that one guy slices the garlic with a razor blade? So unnecessary but so awesome.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Reheat Like a Dream

This recipe serves four and leaves you with leftover meatballs. They reheat like a dream. The next day, I placed the leftover meatballs in between two pieces of bread and let me tell you…HEAVEN.

You can reheat the spaghetti and meatballs (or just meatballs solo) in the microwave OR on the stove with a lid on low heat.

Ingredients for the Best Meatballs

  • Italian bread crumbs. Some recipes are call for day old bread. You can use this too is you want. I like to use finer bread crumbs.
  • Parmesan-Reggiano. A must in meatballs.
  • Onion and garlic. I like plenty of garlic. It’s generous.
  • Italian parsley leaves. Fresh herbs are a win. If you don’t have any fresh parsley, you can add a teaspoon of dried. 
  • One egg. This helps bind the meatballs together and make them a bit light. 
  • Crushed red pepper, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. 
  • Ground pork and ground beef. This combination makes for super delicious flavorful meatballs. I typically buy grass-fed ground beef (90/10) and then the pork adds some nice flavor and fat.
  • Jarred sauce. You can also make homemade sauce pretty easily. But I have to say, I’m partial to Rao’s Jarred Marinara Sauce. So good and makes everything easy.

How to Cook Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. Soak the breadcrumbs with the milk. Give them a mix and let them sit.
  2. Grate the Parmesan. I like to use the food processor for everything. It makes everything a breeze. Grind up the Parmesan.
  3. And then add the chopped onion and garlic. Along with everything else: parsley, egg, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.
  4. Add the pork and beef to a large bowl. And then top it with mixture. Mix everything with your hands. You really have to get in there and squeeze the meat with the bread crumb mixture to really combine it.
  5. Divide the balls into 2-ounce portions. I used a 2-ounce cookie scoop and put them on a greased baking sheet. And then I rolled the scoops into balls.
  6. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes. 
  7. Meanwhile, warm up the jarred sauce. And then transfer the roasted meatballs to the sauce, cover the lid and cook them for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Boil the pasta. Drain the pasta. And then add sauce to the pasta. here’s the thing: you could skip this step. And just add a bit of sauce from the meatballs to the pasta. But I personally think it’s essential to have my spaghetti super saucy.
  9. Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce. Toss and then serve!

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 320kcal
This comforting Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is here for us when we need it most! These meatballs are light-as-a-feather, initially roasted and then braised in sauce. This combination makes leftovers, which reheat like a dream.



  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, (like canola, vegetable, avocado oil)
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 ounces grated Parmesan Reggiano, (1/2 cup grated Parmesan)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef, (I used grass-fed)
  • 1 (28-ounce) jarred tomato sauce


  • 1 pound spaghetti or bucatini, (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 (28-ounce) jarred tomato sauce (see notes below)


To Assemble the Meatballs:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush a half baking sheet with the neutral oil and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk. Let them stand for about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the Parmesan chunks to the food processor. (If you’re using grated, skip this step.) And pulse until the Parmesan is in little bits. And then, add the chopped onion, garlic, parsley leaves, egg, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and reserved bread crumb mixture. Pulse until totally cohesive, scraping down the sides as needed, and then blending one last time.
  • *If you don’t own a food processor, no biggie, you can grate the Parmesan (or buy grated Parmesan), and mince up the onion, garlic, parsley with a knife. And then mix everything in a bowl vigorously until cohesive.
  • Add the ground pork and ground beef to a bowl. Pour the onion combination and mix together gently until everything is combined. I definitely, like, squeezed the meat between my fingers to get everything thoroughly combined.
  • Divide the meatballs into 2-ounce portions and roll each portion into a ball and place them on the prepared baking sheet. I used a 2-ounce cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs and then went back and rolled them with my palms.

To Cook the Meatballs:

  • Transfer to the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pour the jarred tomato sauce in a pot and warm it up over low heat and cover so it’s ready and waiting for the meatballs.
  • Open the oven and remove the baking sheet. The meatballs will have browned slightly and rendered out some of their fat—this is good! Transfer the meatballs, one by one, to the sauce. Bring the sauce to gentle simmer, lower the heat to low and cover. Cook the meatballs for an additional 10 minutes.
  • These meatballs can be cooled completely and then refrigerated or frozen for up to 3 months. This recipe makes enough meatballs to accommodate 2 pounds of pasta so if you make 1 pound of pasta, you’ll end up with meatball leftovers.

To Make the Pasta:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pasta in and cook according to the package’s instructions. I cooked my bucatini for about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.
  • Pour the other 28-ounce jar of tomato sauce into the pot. Turn the heat to medium heat and allow the sauce to warm up for about 1 minute. Add the pasta and toss in the sauce.

To Serve:

  • Divide pasta amongst bowls. Top with 3 meatballs, a sprinkling of Parmesan-Reggiano and Italian parsley.


***If you don’t have a food processor, you can absolutely grate the parmesan by hand, mince up the onions, garlic cloves, parsley leaves and mix them in a bowl with the egg, spices and soaked bread crumbs.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Cutting Boards | Food Processor | Stainless Steel Bowls | OXO Measuring Cups | OXO Measuring Spoons | Food Scale | Le Creuset Braiser
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keywordhomemade spaghetti and meatballs, how to make meatballs, meatball recipe, meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs
Serving: 6g | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 4mg
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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Abby Ashton April 16, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Adrianna!

    I really want meatballs, and I also really want lamb. I was thinking about combining this recipe with your Lamb Bolognese recipe. Do you think ground lamb can be a swap for the beef/pork here? Would your meatball ingredients be any different with lamb?



    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 16, 2020 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Abby, Yes I think that could be great. You can use the sauce from the lamb bolognese and make the lamb meatballs separately and just cook them in the sauce. I think they’d be great! I wouldn’t change much.

  • Reply ginger Carbone March 14, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    5 stars
    This is the EXACT recipe my Italian grandmother taught me. Only difference is she fried the meatballs and
    then added to sauce.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme March 16, 2020 at 6:24 pm

      ahh yes! that’s an old school move, i find that the oven is a bit less messy! 🙂

  • Reply Dutch meat balls April 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Spaghetti Meatballs, no doubt this will be my kids target for today evening snacks as they love spaghetti very much and when its mix with meat ball then no doubt it will be rich like heaven…..Will try this and let you know how well they enjoyed it!

    Last day I made Dutch Meat Balls got the Idea from the website:

    Oh! my god…..believ me it was really a succelent dish…

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    Your recipe looks sensational!

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  • Reply Lisa December 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Good blog post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!

  • Reply Jara Nachbar April 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    i’m making this recipe RIGHT now and, i’ll tell ya, my whole house smells incredible and the sauce just started to cook. i’m thrilled to eat this! spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite dinner ever 🙂 thanks A!

  • Reply Lauren April 18, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Did you blend the sauce before you served it? I used San Marzano diced tomatoes, and it just didn’t feel right.
    LOVED the meatballs…I learned the milk + breadcrumbs trick on FoodNetwork–works every time!!

  • Reply Katie @ Blonde Ambition April 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Such wonderful photos! Growin’ up with an Italian mama, comfort dishes to me always include pasta and tomato sauce. Always.

  • Reply Tina April 16, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Dude love the simplicity of this. That sauce is killer love love love!!

  • Reply anna @ annamayeveryday April 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This looks delicious which is no mean feat as spaghetti and meatballs isn’t the easiest to get a good photograph of (I’ve tried) well done you, really makes me want to try these!

  • Reply kiersten April 13, 2013 at 7:58 am

    i totally read it as “spaghetti and a-meat-a-balls” !!!!!!!

    • Reply Adrianna April 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Ha. Good. Very good.

  • Reply Kitty Quintana April 13, 2013 at 5:33 am

    I’m ready to dive in this pasta!!!

  • Reply M.C.@ ThousandStoryKitchen April 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I love it when someone spends time on Spaghetti and Meatballs and gets it right! You made this look awesome. Can’t wait to try it!

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