Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Spaghetti and Meatballs is a family favorite that never goes out of style. Tender beef and pork meatballs are simmered in an easy homemade tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. Like most pasta recipes, this easy favorite is perfect topped with a sprinkle of parsley and some parmesan cheese. 

Serve this easy Italian favorite with a loaf of homemade garlic bread and a tossed salad or caesar salad.

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs topped with parsley and parmesan cheese

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is delicious and needs time to cook but the prep time is pretty fast, most of the time is spent simmering. Usually, I make the sauce first, and while that’s simmering, I move on to the meatballs.

The secret to the full-bodied flavor in this sauce is that you let it slow simmer for a minimum of an hour, and cook the meatballs right in the sauce after a quick brown! This method allows the flavors to deepen and develop, and the sauce to thicken too. An added bonus is that the smell of traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs will fill your kitchen with its heavenly fragrance!

Ingredients for spaghetti sauce to make spaghetti and meatballs in a large dutch oven

Tomato Sauce for Spaghetti:

Similar to my favorite Marinara Sauce, this tomato sauce is a very easy to make and the flavor is only made better by the addition of meatballs! I use whole Italian tomatoes (San Marzano are best for flavor).

  1. Dice and prep all your ingredients for the sauce!
  2. In a large pot, sauté your onions and garlic until softened and fragrant! Your kitchen should begin to smell heavenly!!
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and simmer on low for an hour, stirring occasionally.

That’s really all there is to it! After the sauce has simmered for about an hour your ready to move onto the meatballs!

A wood board topped with ingredients to make homemade meatballs for spaghetti

Meatballs for Spaghetti and Meatballs:

I use both ground beef and ground pork, plus a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese and Italian herbs in my homemade spaghetti and meatballs (and the fresh parsley in the recipe makes a big difference, please don’t skip it). The hearty flavor is amazing.

I often bake big pans of my favorite meatball recipe in the oven and freeze them for easy meals like this one. If you’ve got homemade frozen meatballs, use those in place in this recipe (just give them time to simmer to flavor the sauce). Store bought meatballs work in a pinch but the flavor and texture truly cannot compare to homemade.

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Form into meatballs and give them a quick brown in a frying pan
  3. Place them right into the simmering sauce, cover and continue simmering on low for half an hour.
  4. Uncover and allow the sauce to boil down and thicken to your desired consistency.

What to Serve With Spaghetti and Meatballs

When it comes to what goes best with spaghetti and meatballs, I always fall back on the traditional sides, and everybody always enjoys it! Serve it with Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks, warm garlic bread or biscuits. Add in a fresh green tossed salad or caesar salad!

A pot of homemade spaghetti and meatballs ready to serve

How to Freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti sauces freezes perfectly! Just let it cool, then ladle into freezer safe containers, leaving about an inch of headroom for expansion. Meatballs are great to make ahead and freeze as well. They’ll keep for up to four months, so go ahead double up the recipe. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat over medium low heat on the stove top.

Keep the pasta separate and freeze only the sauce.  While the sauce it heating, boil up some fresh spaghetti for an easy meal ready to go!

More Spaghetti Favorites

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Juicy seasoned beef and pork meatballs in an easy homemade tomato sauce.


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 oz whole Italian tomatoes canned
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

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  • Cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  • Reduce heat to low, add remaining sauce ingredients with 1 cup of water. Simmer covered 60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine all meatball ingredients (except olive oil) and form 18 meatballs. 
  • In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add meatballs. Brown on all sides until golden (they do not need to be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
  • Add meatballs to sauce, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer until sauce reaches desired consistency.
  • Serve over spaghetti.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 722, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 867mg, Potassium: 1294mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 810IU, Vitamin C: 30.9mg, Calcium: 202mg, Iron: 6.9mg
Keyword spaghetti and meatballs

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Spaghetti and Meatballs served in a large white dish


Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian dish that is filled with tomatoes, ground beef,  ground pork, and delicious Italian seasonings! Try making this freezer friendly spaghetti sauce and meatballs as a casserole or even in the crockpot! #spendwithpennies #spaghettiandmeatballs #maindish #pastasauce #slowcooker #freezerfriendly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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