Spaghetti is one of those quick meals that is always a hit. Our spaghetti and meatballs recipe combines everything you love, from the cheesy sauce to the mouth-watering homemade meatballs. All you need is little to no prep time and a few simple ingredients to make this restaurant-quality dish.

Spaghetti and meatballs recipe made with homemade meatballs in a large pot with Italian bread.

For an authentic Italian dinner, you must serve this delicious dish alongside homemade buttery breadsticks  and a classic caesar salad

Spaghetti tastes best when paired with a fresh tomato sauce. Each bite is loaded with cheesy, saucy goodness. This quick and easy meal comes together with minimal ingredients, but the result is an iconic dish that will become a staple in your home. 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple recipe. This recipe comes together with ease; anyone can make it!
  • Minimal ingredients. You only need a few basic ingredients for this incredible recipe.
  • Customizable. Easily make this dish your own!
  • Easy meal prep. This dish is easy to make ahead of time for an easy meal for the week.

Ingredients for Spaghetti and Meatballs  Meatballs 

  • Meatballs – our from-scratch easy meatballs.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – an easy way to get a delicious tomato sauce.
  • Garlic – infuses the sauce with incredible flavor.
  • Seasoning – a dry oregano, parsley, salt, and black pepper blend.
  • Basil – fresh basil gives this sauce the best flavor.
  • Spaghetti pasta – long pasta that soaks up all the sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese – gives this spaghetti a finishing touch.

See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Instant Pot Meatballs

Make these meatballs in advance using an instant pot. These instant pot meatballs are so juicy and easy to make!

Spaghetti and meatballs in a plate, garnished with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Expert Tip for the Perfect Meatballs:

Keep the meatballs uniform in size so that they cook evenly. Do this by using a kitchen scale to measure an even amount of meat for every ball. 

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

Step-by-step instructions make spaghetti and meatballs! 

Meatballs – 

A large mixing bowl of all the meatball ingredients.

1 – Add all the meatball ingredients to a large bowl.

A large mixing bowl of the meatball mixture.

2 – Mix the ingredients by hand until you have the perfect meatball mixture. 

A baking sheet with the shaped meatballs.

3 – Wet your hands and shape the meat mixture into small meatballs. 

A pot with the seared meatballs.

4 – To a large pan, add olive oil and lightly sear each side of the meatballs. Cook them in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Once each side is seared and fork tender, remove from the pan and set aside. 

Marinara Sauce – 

A dutch oven with the cooking onions.

1 – Lightly saute the onions in a dutch oven or a large skillet. 

Sauce ingredients are added to the dutch oven and lightly simmered.

2 – Add canned tomatoes, garlic, water, and seasoning to the pan. Stir together and let it simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Use an immersion blender to get the consistency you want. 

The meatballs are added to the sauce, along with the spaghetti.

3 – Add the meatballs and fresh basil to the sauce and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in a large pot of salt water according to package instructions, then drain.

The spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs is stirred together.

4 – Finish by adding the spaghetti to the sauce and lightly mix. Top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese to serve.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Add spice: Bring the heat to this dish by adding red pepper flakes to the sauce. The result is a light spice that elevates this dish!
  • Meatballs: Replace ground beef meatballs with ground pork or ground turkey for a complete change in flavor.
  • Protein: Don’t like meatballs? Top the spaghetti with pan-seared chicken for a delicious dish. 
  • Extra easy: Skip the ground beef meatballs and make a hearty meat sauce to serve over the spaghetti. 
  • Baked: Love an oven-baked pasta dish? Try our baked ricotta ziti for the perfect tomato sauce baked pasta.
A sliced open meatball on a plate of spaghetti.

Serving Suggestions

Recipe FAQs

Can I use different cheese? 

Use any of your favorite cheeses. Mozzarella works great because it melts perfectly.

Should meatballs be thoroughly cooked before adding to the sauce?

When searing the meatballs, they don’t need to be fully cooked. The meatballs finish cooking in the sauce. 

What is causing my meatballs to fall apart? 

This results from too much binder in the meatballs, a.k .a. too many breadcrumbs. 

Store & Reheat 

  • Storage. Store leftover spaghetti in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Reheat. Warm spaghetti in a skillet over low-medium heat until warmed through.
  • Freeze. Place cooled spaghetti and in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat: Thaw spaghetti in the fridge overnight before warming on a skillet. 

More Italian Recipes

If you enjoyed this pasta with meatballs recipe, be sure to try our other popular Italian-inspired recipes; here are some of the reader favorites:

If you tried this spaghetti and meatballs recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below – we appreciate it!

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Author: Valentina
5 from 6 votes
This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is so simple to follow, and the result is the most incredible italian pasta dish. Long noodles are coated in a basil tomato sauce, all paired with the juiciest meatballs.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings



  • 1 1/2 lbs ground meat beef, pork, turkey or Italian sausage
  • 1/2 medium onion finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp of whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp of oil for searing meatballs

sauce –

  • 1/2 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp of ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

pasta –

  • 8 oz uncooked spaghetti pasta
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter


meatballs –

  • Add meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix together.
  • Wet your hands to shape meat mixture into even-sized meatballs.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet and lightly sear each side of the meatballs.
  • Set cooked meatballs aside.

sauce –

  • In a pan, heat oil and butter, and add chopped onion. Cook until translucent.
  • Add water, canned tomatoes, minced garlic, and seasoning. Stir together and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to your desired consistency.
  • Add the meatballs and fresh basil to the sauce and cook for ten minutes.

pasta –

  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Add 2 Tbsp of butter to the noodles.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan and let come together for 2 minutes. Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve!


    • Even meatballs: Use a kitchen scale to measure out meatballs to create even-sized balls. This helps them cook evenly. 
    • Refrigerate spaghetti: Refrigerate leftover pasta in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
    • Freeze spaghetti: Allow the spaghetti to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat: Allow spaghetti to defrost overnight in the fridge before warming on the skillet. 


452kcal Calories12g Carbs24g Protein34g Fat14g Saturated Fat3g Polyunsaturated Fat13g Monounsaturated Fat2g Trans Fat154mg Cholesterol971mg Sodium640mg Potassium2g Fiber5g Sugar471IU Vitamin A15mg Vitamin C114mg Calcium4mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 452 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Trans Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 154mg51%
Sodium 971mg42%
Potassium 640mg18%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 471IU9%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 114mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)