The BEST Spaghetti and Meatballs (VIDEO) – Easy!

5 from 12 votes
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Spaghetti and Meatballs is the definition of a comfort meal! My homemade meatballs are juicy and moist, on top of spaghetti tossed in an easy and delicious homemade tomato sauce – this is going to be one of those timeless recipes that you’ll make over and over again! Best part is that all of this amazing flavor can on your table in under one hour – keep reading for all my tips and tricks for making this ultimate comfort meal at home!

Spaghetti and Meatballs on a white plate.

Watch the Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe video below!

Ingredients for Spaghetti and Meatballs

I love to make my own meatballs and my own tomato sauce – it allows me to control what ingredients are in the food I eat and customize it to my exact preference! I highly recommend you do the same – you’ll see that it’s not as hard as you may think AND it tastes so much better homemade!

  • Meatballs
    • 1 lb ground beef 85/15 – I recommend a slightly higher fat content for the beef, as it adds a ton of flavor. However, you are welcome to use whatever ground beef you prefer!
    • 1 lb ground pork – If you cannot eat pork, you can substitute with ground turkey
    • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
    • 3/4 cup whole milk – this is for hydrating the breadcrumbs (one of my key tips to making moist and juicy meatballs); if you don’t have milk on hand or want to avoid dairy, you can use chicken or beef stock.
    • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese – I always recommend grating your own cheese to avoid the extra additives and preservatives added to grated cheese (to prevent the shreds from melting).
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – I recommend fresh parsley for the flavor and vibrant color. If you only have dried on hand, you can use that – make sure to halve the amount.
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 large egg
  • Tomato Sauce
    • 1 yellow onion finely minced
    • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
    • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
    • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of spaghetti, cooked to al dente – while this recipe is for “Spaghetti” and I highly recommend you use a long pasta, you can technically use any kind of pasta you have on hand or prefer.

What kind of tomatoes should I use?

I almost always recommend using canned San Marzano tomatoes in my Italian dishes (such as in my Chicken Parmesan or Bucatini all’Amatriciana). They are a certified product of the San Marzano region of Italy and you can truly taste the difference in the sauce. Make sure the label clearly states “San Marzano” (not “San Marzano style”).

If you cannot use canned San Marzano tomatoes, you can substitute with another canned tomato or, alternatively, you can use fresh tomatoes if they are in season (typically May through October). I love cooking with fresh tomatoes, such as in my Cherry Tomato Pasta!

If you prefer a pasta without a tomato sauce, try my wife’s favorite Carbonara, authentic Fettuccine Alfredo, a foolproof Cacio e Pepe, or a bright and lemony Pasta al Limone! If you would like some seafood with your pasta, try Linguine with Clams or Shrimp Scampi Pasta!

Meatballs simmering in tomato sauce in a pan.

Spaghetti and Meatballs: Recipe Instructions

1. Season and Hydrate the Breadcrumbs

Start by adding unseasoned breadcrumbs in large mixing bowl with salt, pepper, grated parmesan, garlic, parsley, oregano. Stir to combine. Add milk slowly and mix into the breadcrumbs with your hands. This is called hydrating your breadcrumbs and is a key component to making moist, delicious meatballs. Do not skip this step!

2. Mix and Form the Meatballs

Take a baking sheet or tray and line with parchment paper or foil.

To the bowl of seasoned and hydrated breadcrumbs, add your ground meat (beef and pork), egg, and olive oil. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.

I like my meatballs on the medium to larger size, so I take 4 ounces of meat and roll them into balls. Refer to the image for scale. You can form the meatballs into any size you prefer – just keep in mind cooking time (larger will require longer cooking time for food safety).

Roll the meatballs and lay them on the baking sheet or tray with parchment paper or foil. Make sure the meatballs do not touch each other. Place the sheet or tray with the meatballs into the freezer for 15 minutes – this will help firm up the meatballs and hold their shape when cooking them!

Hands rolling the meat mixture into meatballs.

3. Fry the Meatballs

After freezing for 15 minutes, take out the sheet or tray with meatballs.

Take a large non stick pan and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs on each side for a total of 3-4 minutes – they should be golden brown all over. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on a plate.

Do not remove the fat and olive oil in the pan!

Meatballs frying in olive oil in a pan.

4. Make the Tomato Sauce

Dice your onions and garlic.

In the same pan with the remaining fat and oil, sauté diced onion and garlic over medium heat, until the onions are translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the San Marzano tomatoes. As you cook them, crush the tomatoes until no large chunks remain. Add the dried seasonings and simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat.

5. Simmer the Meatballs

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Cover and let the meatballs and sauce simmer for another 30 minutes; the meatballs should be cooked through and tender. Make sure to cut into one to confirm they’re done!

Cook your spaghetti in salted water to al dente (approximately 2 minutes less than the package instructions). Drain and add the cooked spaghetti directly into the sauce and mix to finish. Enjoy your Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Meatballs simmering in tomato sauce in a pan.

PRO TIPS

Expert Tips for the BEST Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Hydrate the Breadcrumbs

Hydrating the breadcrumbs with a liquid (such as milk) is one of my key tips to juicy, moist meatballs! If you need to substitute the milk, you can use chicken stock or beef stock instead

San Marzano Tomatoes

I highly recommend using canned San Marzano tomatoes , which are a certified product of the San Marzano region of Italy. Trust me, you can really taste the difference in the sauce. Make sure the label clearly states “San Marzano” (not “San Marzano style”).

If you cannot use canned San Marzano tomatoes, you can substitute with another canned tomato or fresh tomatoes (especially if they are in season!)

Seasonings

I opt for dried oregano, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes for my sauce, but feel free to add additional seasonings such as chopped fresh basil or fresh basil leaves for a bright, fragrant burst of flavor!

Freeze the Meatballs!

After you’ve rolled the meatballs, lay them on a parchment paper or foil lined tray and freeze for 15 minutes. Make sure the meatballs are not touching each other! Freezing the meatballs for 15 minutes will help firm them up and help them keep their shape when cooking them! Do not skip this step if possible!

Storage and Reheating

You can make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you are ready to eat your Spaghetti and Meatballs, heat your sauce and meatballs up in one pan while you cook your pasta. Finish the spaghetti in the sauce and serve – dinner is done in 20 minutes!

If you want to freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs, I recommend freezing the sauce and meatballs separately.

  • Freeze the meatballs on a parchment lined sheet or tray for 1-2 hours before transferring into a freezer safe bag. This will help them from sticking together in the freezer.
  • Once the sauce has cooled, I like to ladle it into freezer safe bags about halfway. I’ll lay them flat on a baking sheet or tray and flatten the sauce until it becomes a flat rectangle or square. I freeze them on the baking sheet or tray until they hold their shape before removing the sheet or tray.

More Dinner Ideas!

Looking for more dinner ideas? I love easy and comforting classics like Meatloaf (with the perfect glaze!) or Fried Chicken. If you want to impress someone, you have to make my Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes or Steak with Peppercorn Sauce! For a lighter option, I love using my air fryer – favorites include Air Fryer Chicken Thighs and Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. You can’t forget about the sides – Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Cauliflower goes with everything!

If you tried this Spaghetti and Meatballs or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

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5 from 12 votes

The BEST Spaghetti and Meatballs (Video)

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Spaghetti and Meatballs on a white plate.
This Spaghetti and Meatball recipe will be your new go to weeknight family dinner! This is the best recipe for super tender beef and pork meatballs and a home made tomato marinara sauce is an easy, timeless recipe that you'll be making again and again.

Equipment

Ingredients 

Meatballs

  • 1 lb Ground Beef, 85/15
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 1 cup unseasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 large egg

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, I highly recommend you use San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked to al dente

Instructions 

  • Add unseasoned breadcrumbs to a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, grated parmesan, garlic, parsley, oregano. Stir to combine then add milk and mix through with your hands until the breadcrumbs are moist and softened.
  • Add the ground beef and ground pork, egg, and olive oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Take 4 ounces of the meat mixture and roll them into balls with your hands. Lay them on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze them for 15 minutes to allow the meatballs to firm up and hold their shape.
  • In a non stick pan over medium high heat, add 4 tbsp of olive oil and sear meatballs for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan to a plate.
  • In the same oil, sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add the San Marzano tomatoes. Crush until desired consistency then add crushed red pepper, sugar, dried oregano, dried thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Cover and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for another 30 minutes until cooked through and tender. Cook the pasta to al dente, finish in the sauce and enjoy!

Notes

    • Hydrate the Breadcrumbs
      Hydrating the breadcrumbs with a liquid (such as milk) is one of my key tips to juicy, moist meatballs! If you need to substitute the milk, you can use chicken stock or beef stock instead
      San Marzano Tomatoes
      I highly recommend using canned San Marzano tomatoes , which are a certified product of the San Marzano region of Italy. Trust me, you can really taste the difference in the sauce. Make sure the label clearly states “San Marzano” (not “San Marzano style”).
      If you cannot use canned San Marzano tomatoes, you can substitute with another canned tomato or fresh tomatoes (especially if they are in season!)
      Seasonings
      I opt for dried oregano, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes for my sauce, but feel free to add additional seasonings such as chopped fresh basil or fresh basil leaves for a bright, fragrant burst of flavor!
      Freeze the Meatballs!
      After you’ve rolled the meatballs, lay them on a parchment paper or foil lined tray and freeze for 15 minutes. Make sure the meatballs are not touching each other! Freezing the meatballs for 15 minutes will help firm them up and help them keep their shape when cooking them! Do not skip this step if possible!

      Storage and Reheating

      You can make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you are ready to eat your Spaghetti and Meatballs, heat your sauce and meatballs up in one pan while you cook your pasta. Finish the spaghetti in the sauce and serve – dinner is done in 20 minutes!
      If you want to freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs, I recommend freezing the sauce and meatballs separately.
        • Freeze the meatballs on a parchment lined sheet or tray for 1-2 hours before transferring into a freezer safe bag. This will help them from sticking together in the freezer.
        • Once the sauce has cooled, I like to ladle it into freezer safe bags about halfway. I’ll lay them flat on a baking sheet or tray and flatten the sauce until it becomes a flat rectangle or square. I freeze them on the baking sheet or tray until they hold their shape before removing the sheet or tray

Nutrition

Calories: 621kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 48gFat: 76gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 38gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 1769mgPotassium: 836mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 624IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 339mgIron: 4mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love spaghetti and meatballs and honestly it was something i only ate with my mom but this was different this was amazing.

  2. 5 stars
    Making this for supper today. Been looking for a recipe for some time now and I’m betting this is it.
    Gave it 5 stars in belief that it will be the one I go to from here on out.