Spaghetti and Meatballs

Beef & Pork  |  Published Apr 14, 2020  |  Updated Sep 22, 2020  |  By Tawnie

A close up of meatballs with red sauce in a skillet

This easy spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a classic recipe the whole family will love. Plus, whoever is cooking will love it too because they are so easy to make and clean up is a breeze.

I love this make this dinner when I am craving something comforting, homey and overall super simple.

Garlic-laced meatballs swimming in my mom’s homemade red sauce are basically a throwback to growing up in the kitchen. So.much.goodness.

Plus, it’s honestly my favorite thing to order out at Italian restaurants. You know a good Italian restaurant if they have a good meatball.

It may seem like a simple recipe to make, but a well-crafted meatball with a delicious red sauce is everything!

These beef meatballs are best served resting atop a mound of spaghetti and with a heaping ladle of marinara sauce.

And you can’t forget to finish them off with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I love this recipe with ground beef, but you can also use ground turkey, veal, pork or a combination thereof.

Overall, this is comfort food kept simple.

So, loosen your belt and get ready to enjoy the best recipe for spaghetti and meatballs!

Ingredients needed for this spaghetti and meatballs recipe:

ingredients needed to make spaghetti and meatballs
  • Pasta: 1lb. of spaghetti pasta, or your favorite pasta!
  • Red sauce: I recommend making this with 2 jars of pasta sauce (~48 ounces). You want enough sauce to cover most of the meatballs so they simmer in the sauce and become nice and tender.
  • Ground beef: 1 lb. You can also use ground turkey, ground chuck, ground chicken, ground veal or ground pork. Just keep in mind, the fattier the meat the more tender the meatball will be.
  • Breadcrumbs: This is the binder so you don’t want to skip this part.
  • Panko breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs is what I typically use. However if you don’t have those on hand you can use a slice of torn-up bread, or even crumbled saltine crackers.
  • White onion: Very finely diced. Or grated on the large holes of a coarse grater.
  • Other ingredients needed: Ketchup, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, oregano, garlic powder, dried parsley (or fresh), salt, Worcestershire, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish.
spaghetti and meatballs on a white plate

How to make the best recipe for spaghetti and meatballs

Cook your spaghetti or pasta of choice and be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Combine all of the ingredients: In a large bowl, gently mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs: ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, ketchup, Dijon, garlic, oregano, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and Worcestershire.

Work the meat just until combined either with clean hands or a spatula or spoon.

Form into meatballs: I like to have a rimmed baking sheet by my side so I can place the rolled meatballs onto it. Either using your hands or a cookie scoop, scoop out some of the meat mixture and roll into a ball ~2-3 Tbsp. each.

Continue shaping until all meat is used and place on the baking sheet, don’t let the meatballs touch. You will have about ~17-18 meatballs.

uncooked ground beef meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet

Cook the meatballs: In a large/deep frying pan over medium heat, warm 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil. Place meatballs down in an even layer and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until they are browned on each side.

Simmer meatballs: Pour the red sauce and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water over the meatballs, bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer they simmer the more tender they become!

Serve: Serve meatballs over cooked spaghetti noodles and garnish with cheese and/or Italian parsley and fresh basil.

How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are important for binding when it comes to making meatballs. However, there is a way to make them without breadcrumbs.

Panade is actually my hubby’s grandmother’s secret to a tender meatball. Panade is essentially bread soaked in liquid (milk) so it gets mushy.

If you want to try this method: remove the crust from 1 or 2 slices of white bread (1 cup cubed) and cube it up. Soak it in about 3 Tbsp. milk until it gets mushy. Add this to the meat mixture and it will have the same binding power and also create a very tender meatball.

spaghetti and beef meatballs with parmesan cheese and parsley on top

Tips for making easy spaghetti and meatballs:

Simmering: Gentle simmering make some of the most tender and most flavorful meatballs you’ve ever had, but the sauce also becomes richer and more savory in the process.

Low carb: Make this meal lower in carbohydrates by replacing a portion of the spaghetti noodles with zoodles or spiralized zucchini noodles.

Don’t want these with pasta? Serve on a hoagie roll and melt more cheese on top for a meatball sub.

Avoid overworking the meat. Mix the meat and other ingredients just until combined. I also recommend using your hands for this step; since you can actually feel when things are mixed, you’re less likely to overwork the meat. Use a spoon if this grosses you out!

Use a fattier meat: the fattier the meat the more tender the meatball will be.

Double the recipe for leftovers or larger crowds.

Meatballs can be frozen for up to 2 months. Be sure to let them cool completely before freezing.

spaghetti and meatballs on a white plate

Do you twirl your spaghetti on your fork, or cut them up?

HUNGRY FOR MORE? If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow me on Pinterest or InstagramSign up for my email list, too!

A close up of meatballs with red sauce in a skillet
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Spaghetti and Meatballs

An easy spaghetti and meatballs recipe: a classic recipe the whole family will love!
4.92 from 12 reviews
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 440kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 48 oz. red sauce (or 2 jars)
  • Parmesan/Parsley/Basil for garnish.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti pasta, cooked
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Instructions

  • Cook your spaghetti or pasta of choice and be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
    cooked pasta on a white plate
  • Combine all of the ingredients: In a large bowl, gently mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs: ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, onions, ketchup, Dijon, garlic, oregano, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and Worcestershire. Work the meat just until combined either with clean hands or a spatula or spoon.
  • Form into meatballs: I like to have a rimmed baking sheet by my side so I can place the rolled meatballs onto it. Either using your hands or a cookie scoop, scoop out some of the meat mixture and roll into a ball ~2-3 Tbsp. each. Continue shaping until all meat is used and place on the baking sheet, not touching. You will have about ~17-18 meatballs.
  • Cook the meatballs: In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil. Place meatballs down in an even layer and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until they are browned on each side.
  • Simmer meatballs: Pour the red sauce and the 1/2 cup reserved pasta over the meatballs, bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer they simmer the more tender they become!
  • Serve meatballs over cooked spaghetti noodles and garnish with cheese and Italian parsley.

Video

Notes

 
  • Avoid overworking the meat. Mix the meat and other ingredients just until combined. I also recommend using your hands for this step; since you can actually feel when things are mixed, you’re less likely to overwork the meat. Use a spoon if this grosses you out!
  • Meatballs can be frozen for up to 2 months. Be sure to let them cool completely before freezing.
Find Kroll’s Korner on Instagram!Mention @krolls_korner or tag #krollskorner

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 440kcal

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Courtney Battaglia
4 months ago

This is by far one of my favs. It’s sooooo good. My whole family loves it and it’s incredibly easy.

Rachel Ruiz
1 year ago

Made these with ground turkey and they were delicious!

Emily Liao
1 year ago

This classic dish never gets old! The sauce was perfectly rich and everyone loved the meatballs. Definitely keeping this in my dinner rotation.

Laura | Wandercooks
1 year ago

Whenever I need a soul warming, satisfying meal I have meatballs – and these were the best ones I’ve made in a long time!

1 year ago

Made this for dinner tonight and it has easily become a new family favorite meal! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow! It was delicious!

Biana
1 year ago

Oh, my goodness! I am a huge fan of spaghetti and meatballs, and your recipe looks great. Will be making it soon.

Jeannette
1 year ago

My partner LOVES spaghetti and meatballs. I personally love how you added dijon mustard for that extra bit of flavour. Thanks for sharing!

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