Easy Spaghetti and Meatball Recipe

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This spaghetti and meatball recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight — and it’s a family favorite, too!

Here’s a super-simple and super-delicious spaghetti and meatball recipe to add to your repertoire. The meatballs are tender and flavorful — and you’ll love that they’re browned on a sheet pan in the oven rather than fried on the stovetop. To cut down on effort and cooking time, I cheat and use a good quality store-bought marinara sauce, but if you have some homemade sauce stashed in your fridge, by all means, use it!

What You’ll Need To Make My EASY Spaghetti and Meatball Recipe

spaghetti and meatball recipe ingredientsFor the most flavorful meatballs, I recommend using equal parts beef, veal, and pork; at most supermarkets, this blend is labeled “meatloaf mix.” If your market doesn’t carry the blend, you can use half beef and half pork (since ground veal isn’t readily available).

For the cheese, be sure to use the real-deal imported Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy; domestic Parmesan pales in comparison. You can always tell if it’s authentic by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano-Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”

How To Make Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

herbs, egg, water, and seasoning in mixing bowlBegin with the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the egg, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and water; whisk well.

whisked liquid ingredients

Add the meat, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano. meatball recipe

adding meat, bread crumbs, and cheese to wet ingredients

Mix with your hands until just combined.

meatball mixtureRoll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

raw meatballs on sheet pan

Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a metal spatula or tongs to turn the meatballs (they will stick a bit but should release easily when you scrape under them with the spatula).

turning meatballs halfway through cooking

Put the meatballs back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, until they are nicely browned and almost cooked through.

baked meatballs

In the meantime, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I usually add a healthy pinch of sugar and some freshly ground black pepper). Transfer the browned meatballs to the marinara sauce, leaving the fat behind. Cover loosely with a lid or foil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors marry and the meatballs are cooked through. Keep warm until ready to toss with pasta.

meatballs in marinara sauce

While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

boiling the spaghettiAdd the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, then toss with the sauce and meatballs.

spaghetti and meatballs in skillet

Transfer the spaghetti and meatballs to serving bowls and top with fresh chopped basil and more grated cheese.

You may also like

Spaghetti & Meatballs

This spaghetti and meatball recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight — and it’s a family favorite, too!

Servings: 4 to 6 (Makes 22 to 24 small meatballs)
Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (plus more for serving)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground "meatloaf mix" (approximately equal parts ground beef, pork and veal)
  • 3/4 cup dried Italian style bread crumbs (such as Progresso)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for serving)
  • Large jar (32 oz) good quality Marinara sauce (such as Rao's)
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and water. Add the meat, breadcrumbs and cheese and mix until just combined (your hands are the best tool). Do not overwork it.
  3. Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the baking sheet from oven and use a metal spatula to turn the meatballs (they will stick a bit but should release easily when you scrape under them with the spatula). Put the meatballs back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, until they are nicely browned and almost cooked through.
  4. In the meantime, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I usually add a healthy pinch of sugar and some freshly ground black pepper). Transfer the browned meatballs to the marinara sauce, leaving the fat behind. Cover loosely with a lid or foil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors marry and the meatballs are cooked through. Keep warm until ready to toss with pasta.
  5. While the meatballs are simmering, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, then toss with the sauce and meatballs (you may find it easier to toss everything together in the pasta pot rather than the skillet; it depends on the sizes of pans you are using.). Serve topped with fresh basil and more grated cheese.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked meatballs can be frozen, in their sauce, for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop until the meatballs are hot in the center.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 731
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 78 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Sodium: 897 mg
  • Cholesterol: 116 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Another solid recipe.

    • — Rosemary on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best meatballs in the whole world! This meatballs are really the best, made them for my family and husband and they were blown away… super soft, creamy and full of flavor. Delicious! A must keep recipe for sure!

    • — Marisabel on February 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is soooo good ! And so simple to make! Plus it freezes beautifully!!!

    This is by far the best recipe for spaghetti sauce (gravy) & meatballs!!!!!
    In fact my boyfriend and I are having it tonight, and it’s our 5th time having it in a 1 1/2 months!
    I stuck to the recipe provided w/o changing anything- I wouldn’t want to😉

    Thank you so much AGAIN Jenn for sharing your “gift” of good cooking ☺️

    Lisa

    • — Lisa on February 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – This is amazing. I’ve made it a hundred times. A couple of questions for you: 1. Which of your desserts would you pair with this? 2. Would you mind linking the skillet you use here? Thank you!

    • — Chad on February 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Chad, So glad you like this! This would be nice with the pavlova, any of my biscotti, or the ricotta cheesecake. And the skillet I use in the recipe is a 12-inch All-Clad. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • My daughters LOVE spaghetti and meatballs and they declared this recipe their favorite version. I don’t eat veal so used half ground beef and half pork. I also used Italian panko rather than breadcrumbs as I prefer panko and they turned out great. I doubled the meatball recipe while I was at it and froze the extra in a vacuum sealed bag so it will be super quick and easy to make this again. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Sara Jenkins on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • My entire family loves these meatballs. In fact, this is one of the few dinners both my kids will reliably eat, so I make them regularly! I just use ground beef rather than a mix of meats, and they’re delicious. My husband’s family is Italian and has their own family meatball recipe, which is also great, but…these are better!

    • — Jaclyn on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved how easy this recipe was! I used ground turkey, dried parsley and dried basil because that’s what I had on hand. Meatballs were flavorful but I will try to use fresh parsley and basil next time. Our guest loved it. This recipe is a winner!

    • — Helen Wong on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • I probably make this recipe every other week when my grandkids are here for dinner. I made this one again this week and unfortunately I am unable to find veal. I then use 3/4 lb. of hamburger and 3/4 lb of pork. The meatballs are still outstanding. The recipe is so easy and a big hit.

    • — Kathleen Severson on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is our go to meatball recipe. The basil really makes a difference. I use only 1lb. Ground beef and 1/2lb. Ground pork and they come out great. We freeze what’s left over before adding to sauce for another meal. Another winner!

    • — Beth on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • As good as mom made it. Was very happy not to fry the meatballs – much healthier but just as good. The recipe is a keeper!

    • — Joanie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a quick and really good spaghetti dish and I love that you mix the pasta in the sauce. The sauce has a really good flavor and meatballs are excellent. It was a big hit at my house and I plan to make again. It was good cold the next day too!

    • — Nancy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this recipe several times now. Big hit with teens and husband. Recipe is part of our dinner rotation now. Thanks for suggesting Rao’s marinara.

    • — Diana R on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Have made these multiple times and always a crowd pleaser. I double the recipe because there’s six of us

    • — Randi on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are delicious! Funny story: When I was forming these into meatballs, my husband walked into the kitchen. I said, “You might have to taste test these to make sure I got the spices right.” He let out a little whimper-like sigh. I looked over at him, and said, “Not now, when they are cooked!” Poor guy, I still laugh about that every time I make these!

    • — Amber Block on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • My 7-year old Great, Great, Nephew asked me to cook spaghetti and meatballs for his birthday dinner. I had never made meatballs before. So, when I found this recipe, I went for it. I did not include the veal, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It turned out great! It made plenty for the 4 adults and 4 children from ages 4 to 12. I saved the recipe for future meals.

    • — Richard Turner on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have never been able to make good meatballs. They tasted like a tasteless round hamburger. This recipe is great. Family loves it! I make a double batch so I always have some in the freezer for a quick meal!

    • — Ellen Boshe on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.