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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Juicy, tender meatballs simmered with marinara and then tossed with spaghetti noodles. These homemade spaghetti and meatballs taste like they came straight from an Italian restaurant! 

One of the most requested meals at my house is spaghetti and meatballs. It’s one thing that my kids can all agree on and they most always go back for seconds. Making your own marinara sauce and homemade meatballs will taste the best and take this dish to a whole new level.

plate of spaghetti and meatballs

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This is one of those classic dishes that’s on the menu of every Italian restaurant. It’s popular for good reason too…the homemade sauce and juicy meatballs are the perfect way to showcase those amazing Italian flavors. With this homemade version, you can easily make a long time favorite from the comfort of your own home in just 35 minutes. We love to top ours with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with some warm garlic bread. So yummy!

Italian meatballs in marinara sauce


Sauce: I love to whip up an easy homemade marinara. It’s got great flavor and really takes the dish up a notch. If using a store bought sauce, make sure it’s good quality (I list my favorites in the printable recipe card below).

Meatballs: Homemade meatballs are the star of the show in my opinion. They’re juicy, tender and taste so much better than the frozen premade meatballs from the grocery. I’ll often make a batch in the oven or make my easy instant pot meatballs, then freeze half to pull out specifically for when my family requests this dish. For a lighter option, try making healthy turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs.

Pasta: Spaghetti noodles are mixed in with the sauce and meatballs. Simply cook them according to the package directions.

spaghetti and meatballs in pot

How to make spaghetti and meatballs

MEATBALLS. Mix together the meat, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, garlic, onion and black pepper in a bowl until just combined. Make sure not to over mix. Scoop and form the meat into 1 1/2″ balls, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for about 17 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through (flip halfway through).

PASTA. Cook the spaghetti noodles in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Then drain and set aside.

SAUCE. Add the marinara and cooked meatballs in a large pot and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then mix in the spaghetti until the noodles are well coated with sauce.

spaghetti and meatballs in pot

Cooking tips

  • Use a combination of ground pork and ground beef for extra juicy and flavorful meatballs.
  • Don’t overcook your meatballs, use a meat thermometer if needed. They should be 165°F.
  • Instead of baking the meatballs, you can fry them in a pan over medium-heat with oil for about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • If using store bought marinara, make sure to use a high quality sauce such as Rao’s or Victoria’s.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the pasta water for optimal flavor. Find more tips on how to cook pasta.

spaghetti and meatballs on white plate

More types of spaghetti dishes:

spaghetti and meatballs on white plate

Spaghetti and Meatballs

5 from 2 votes
Juicy, tender meatballs simmered with marinara and then tossed with spaghetti noodles. These homemade spaghetti and meatballs taste like they came straight from an Italian restaurant! 
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 6


  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef (or sub with half ground pork)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 30 ounces marinara sauce (I prefer Rao's or Victoria's)
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles (more if desired)

For serving (optional): Fresh chopped basil, grated parmesan cheese


    • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. 
    • Combine the meat, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, garlic, onion and black pepper in a bowl. Stir just until combined, do not over mix. Add a Tablespoon or two of water as needed to keep a wet mixture. 
    • Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the meat. Then form into 1 1/2"  balls and place on the pan. 
    • Bake uncovered for 17-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Turn halfway through, so the bottoms don't brown. 
    • Add 1 Tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and cook noodles according to package directions.
    • Simmer meatballs with marinara sauce for 10 minutes and then mix noodles into the pot. Serve while hot.


    How to fry meatballs
    You can also cook in a pan with 2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked through. 
    You can use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and onion powder if you do not have fresh garlic and onions. 
    If I have pork on hand, I like to use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. It creates juicier meatballs. 

    Serving: 4meatballs | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 1193mg | Potassium: 805mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

    Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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