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

  • I’ve made this recipe a BUNCH. I always freeze the meatballs after cooking and they are FABULOUS – pulling them out and reheating with the Rao’s sauce. Started making it with Marcella Hasan’s tomato sauce and they are OUTSTANDING! I always use 1/2 beef and 1/2 pork and often make a triple batch. This last time I forgot to add the Parmesan Cheese :(. They are still good, but the cheese is essential. I often eat these meatballs reheated in the mircrowave (1 or 2) as a snack by themselves! So good!

    • — Heather D on September 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my new favorite spaghetti and meatball recipe. Thankfully my husband agrees and moved his go to spaghetti recipe aside for this one without getting his feelings hurt. He was quite proud of his recipe.

    • — Autumn on September 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • As written, this is quite probably the best recipe on the web. I have tried several, by trained chefs. Those are good, but this one is much better. The fresh herbs make a difference. If at all possible, do not sub out the fresh flat-leaf parsley. The dried stuff just cannot compare.
    I used 3/4 lb ground pork, and 3/4 lb ground beef that I like to buy at a meat store rather than in grocery stores., if time permits. Grocery store prices have gone up so much, that the special meat store prices are not much higher than those now. Plus the grade of beef is usually Prime, not ” choice” So, at least you are getting more for the price.
    Next time I MIGHT try adding in 1 medium to lg fine diced Shallot ( the purple-ish oval ones…just b/c some people can confuse them )
    I MIGHT also try just 1 extra lg clove of fresh garlic. But as written, this recipe is company worthy. Make it as written ( or ground pork/beef combo as mentioned by Jen )before messing with a great recipe.

    • — GMJ on July 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve tried many meatball recipes. These seemed too simple to be anything special but, having made many of your recipes without ever being disappointed I thought “why not”? They were the easiest and best I’ve made. Thank you!

    • — Sharon on June 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe last month and got two batches of meatballs out of it (it’s just me and hubby). I froze one batch uncooked and fixed them tonight. We got 4 meals out of one recipe😄So delicious! Nice to have a batch ready to go. Thank you for the suggestion of the Rao’s marinara sauce. It’s very good.

    • — Glinda on June 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Excellent recipe! Whole family enjoyed it so much.

      • — Denise on October 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Do you have a recommendation for quantities when subbing dried herbs for the fresh? I don’t always have fresh on hand. Thnx.

    • — Mommo on May 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mommo, When substituting dried herbs for fresh, the rule of thumb is to use 1/3 of the amount. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Jenn….honestly AMAZING! Whipped these up this weekend as part of meal prep for the week.
    Popped them in the oven on a busy week night for a quick and delicious dinner. Totally outstanding. My 5 year old gave it “one million stars”. Served with whole wheat pasta and roasted broccoli. A definite keeper.

    • — Elizabeth on April 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are really easy to make and full of flavor. I made a double batch (froze half) and served with spaghetti squash and fresh parmesan. This is my go to classic meatball recipe!

    • — Kristyn on April 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • I know Jen said to cook then freeze.. but I was hoping I could just freeze the meatballs before I cooked them?

      • — Melissa Dufty on May 29, 2021
      • Reply
      • Yes, you can freeze them uncooked. To keep them from sticking together, I’d arrange them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen. You can then transport them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on May 31, 2021
        • Reply
  • I made this recipe as is and it’s delicious!! I was always intimated by making meatballs they never came out right! Too dry or not enough flavor. But this one was perfect and super easy. My family loved it!! Thank you! It’s a keeper for me.

    • — Marleen S on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello,

    I am a foods teacher and make take and bake meals with my students. Any recommendations for this recipe? Would reheating these in the oven work?

    • — Madison Steffes on March 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Madison, I’d recommend reheating them on the stovetop in the sauce. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • I just made these meatballs and they are perfect! I was using another meatball recipe until my husband mentioned that he really didn’t care for them. The next day I received my weekly email from you Jenn with your meatball recipe and knew I had to try them. Purchased all the ingredients this morning and followed the recipe exactly as written. Well! My husband had several for lunch and loves them! I have enough ingredients to make another batch tomorrow. I made the meatballs one ounce each and got 35 perfectly delicious meatballs.
    Thank you for another fabulous recipe.

    Jan…🇨🇦

    • — Jan Painter on March 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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 think you will notice a nice fresher taste with the fresh flat leaf (Italian) Parsley. If using dried basil, just be sure your dried spices are not older than a yr old. Plus I have found that buying them in glass containers keeps them much better. Just an idea.

      • — GMJ on July 5, 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.