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.

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

Why This Recipe Makes My Top 10

Spaghetti and Meatballs are a classic Italian recipe that is sure to bring my family around the table!

While it needs time to cook, it is quick to prep and tastes so delicious! Most of the time is spent simmering and filling your house with a delicious aroma.

This homemade spaghetti and meatballs recipe is also easy to prepare in advance. Just prep the meatballs and sauce ahead of time and cook the spaghetti when ready to serve.

You can even freeze the sauce and meatballs (separately) for a quick weeknight meal, so I always make a big batch!

Ingredients & Variations

SAUCE While this recipe calls for whole and crushed tomatoes feel free to toss in whatever you have on hand. Try adding from fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or even stewed tomatoes.

If not using the whole Italian tomatoes listed in this recipe you will want to add some Italian seasoning to boost the flavor!

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

If you’re running short on time toss in some store-bought or homemade frozen meatballs! Just give them some extra time to simmer in the sauce to heat all the way through.

SPAGHETTI While you can’t have homemade spaghetti and meatballs without spaghetti you can definitely enjoy these hearty meatballs and savory sauce over any pasta you have on hand.

Try serving over other long pasta noodles like bucatini, pappardelle, capellini, or linguine in a pinch. For short pasta noodles, I love fusilli, rotini, macaroni, or penne. But any pasta will do!

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

Since the sauce needs time to simmer, start by making the sauce first, and while that’s simmering, move on to the meatballs.

Ingredients for spaghetti sauce in a large dutch oven

How to Make Tomato Sauce

Similar to my favorite Marinara Sauce, this tomato sauce is 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. Prep: Dice and prep all ingredients for the sauce!
  2. Saute: In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic until softened and fragrant. Your kitchen should begin to smell heavenly!!
  3. Simmer: 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 and you are ready to move onto the meatballs!

Tips for the Perfect Tomato Sauce

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!

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

How to Make Meatballs

Making homemade meatballs is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Prep: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and form into meatballs.
  2. Simmer: Brown quickly in a frying pan and simmer in the prepared sauce (per recipe below).
  3. Thicken: Uncover and allow the sauce to boil down and thicken to your desired consistency.

I often bake big pans of my favorite meatball recipe and freeze them for easy meals like this one.

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 enjoys it!

Serve with cheesy garlic breadsticks, warm garlic bread or biscuits. Add in a fresh green tossed salad or caesar salad to round out the meal.

A pot of homemade spaghetti and meatballs ready to serve

How to Freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti sauce freezes perfectly! 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 stovetop.

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

Best Homemade Spaghetti Recipe

Have you tried this Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs topped with parsley and parmesan cheese
4.99 from 53 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Juicy seasoned beef and pork meatballs in an easy homemade tomato sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound spaghetti


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces whole Italian tomatoes canned
  • 28 ounce crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt & black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying


  • 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.


  • For a full-bodied sauce allow it to simmer for a minimum of an hour and cook the meatballs right in the sauce. 
  • To freeze: 
    • Ladle the cooled sauce into freezer bags and lay flat in the freezer.
    • Freeze cooked meatballs on a baking sheet and transfer to a zippered bag or airtight container once froze.
    • The sauce and meatballs should keep for up to 4 months. 
4.99 from 53 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 722 | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 868mg | Potassium: 1295mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 808IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 202mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dinner, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian

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Top image - a serving spaghetti and meatballs. Bottom image - tomato sauce with homemade meatballs with writing


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About the author

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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Recipe Rating


  1. Last night I had 9 kids at my house ranging between the ages of 5 and 15 years old. I made this recipe for the first time and they all loved it. the sauce tastes delicious and so comforting. My 7 year old daughter came back for seconds. I was thrilled!!!5 stars

  2. This was very easy to make! I used a cookie scoop ro make the meatballs and got more than 18. They all did fit in my sauce! This is a delicious meal and the whole family loved it.5 stars

  3. If I want to save some hassle and just cook the raw meatballs in the sauce instead of frying, for how long should they simmer in the sauce?

    1. Hi Spencer, we always brown our meatballs first but if skipping that step you will want to simmer them in the sauce for 40-45 minutes to ensure they are fully cooked.

    1. In this recipe I find that the fats and flavors from the meatballs soften the tang of the tomatoes but you can certainly add grated carrots if you’d like.

      1. You could definitely add cherry tomatoes Rhonda. Enjoy the recipe!

  4. Directions were clear and food was good.

    While this recipe was not bad, just based on personal preferences, I don’t think that I will be making it again. Spaghetti is meant to be an easy quick meal (for me at least). I decided to change it up a bit to see if my tried and true method was worth improving upon. I have to say the time and effort was not worth the difference in taste. I think I may actually prefer the pre-made jarred sauces. They pack more flavor. The meatballs were delicious but I think I prefer the more distributive delivery of meat that a classic meat sauce offers.

    Thank you for providing me something different in my kitchen escapades :-). They did not disappoint, just didn’t WOW me. I look forward to trying other recipes from the site. I’m sure I will find something that will knock my socks off ;-)4 stars