Mama mia, it’s time for my spaghetti and meatballs recipe! Want to get back to the basics of Italian cooking? Need something savory and rich that sticks to your tummy and oozes comfort? Look no further than this king of all spaghetti recipes and pasta recipes, the incomparable meatballs, and spaghetti!
But Kathleen! you say. There are dozens of spaghetti and meatballs recipe — why is this one special?
Because with this pasta recipe, I guarantee you’ll get the tenderest meatballs possible.
Intrigued? Let’s get cooking!
My family probably does not love the fact that while I make my spaghetti and meatballs recipe, I always feel the need to belt out chords from the infamous song, “On Top of Spaghetti.” But hey, it’s the price they pay!
- Tender, juicy meatballs
- Bright tomatoey sauce
- Perfectly cooked noodles
- Beloved by all!
I’m going to say it. Are you ready? I’m going to make a declaration that many chefs have made before, but this one is true. I promise. Ready?
This is the best spaghetti and meatballs ever. Don’t believe me? Let me convince you!
Perfect Meatballs, Part 1: I’ll let you in on the first of two secrets to getting perfect meatballs: breadcrumbs! Or, I should say, not using breadcrumbs. Many spaghetti meatballs recipes have you use breadcrumbs as a binding agent, but all breadcrumbs do is dry out your meatballs.
Instead, you’ll want to make a panade — a bread soaked in liquid, in this case, milk. All that extra moisture makes a delectable meatball!
Perfect Meatballs, Part 2: You’ve got your panade — now what do you put it into? Another common mistake is that people use only one type of meat to make their meatballs.
You want a ratio of fatty meat to lean to make sure your meatball isn’t too dry or too mushy. That’s why I use a mix of sausage and ground beef!
Sauce: You’ve got your meatballs good and tender — now what? The sauce! You’ve probably seen carrots added to tomato sauce recipes, and I’ll tell you why: it cuts the bite of the acidity. Everyone loves spaghetti and meatballs sauce to add that brightness, but too much bite isn’t good for anyone.
While adding carrots doesn’t actually lower the acid content, their sugars do work to cover that bite.
Spaghetti Storing Tips
Once you make your big ol’ pot of my spaghetti, you might be wondering how best to conserve your precious leftovers. After all, you worked hard for those meatballs! Never fear, friend — I’ve got tips lined up!
Can You Freeze This?
You can freeze my spaghetti and meatballs recipe! But, alas, only for up to two months. Pasta is notoriously fickle in the freezer’s low temps, and the longer you leave it in there, the less structure the starches retain.
If you want to store your spaghetti and meatballs recipe longer, I recommend freezing only the sauce and meatballs. Those will last far longer, up to four months. Then, when you’re ready to eat, make spaghetti fresh!
Make Ahead Tips
This is definitely one of my longer recipes — but it’s worth it! Those meatballs, mmmm.
But if you do want to cut the time, you can always make the meatballs ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to four days. You can do the same with the sauce, and store it as well for up to a week.
The night you want to serve your spaghetti and meatballs recipe, heat up your sauce on the stove, add the meatballs, and bring to a simmer. Make your spaghetti, and combine. Yum!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
I love having individual servings of my spaghetti and meatballs recipe in pre-measured airtight containers for lunches throughout the week. If you make this recipe on a Sunday, your leftovers will last all the way through Friday!
That’s a surefire way to guarantee a great week, with spaghetti and meatballs waiting for you at lunch every day. Delicious!
Can I Cook This In An Instant Pot Instead?
If the make-ahead tips didn’t quite do it for you, you’re probably a fellow Instant Pot believer. Go for my Instant Pot spaghetti recipe! It’s right up your alley.
But want these luscious meatballs too? Got you covered: my Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe is waiting for you!
Can I Cook This In A Crockpot Instead?
I adore my Instant Pot, but there’s something extra delicious about food cooked in a Crockpot. Crock pot spaghetti is no different — that sauce simmering for hours, those noodles soaking up all that tomatoey goodness. Perfection, ready for you by dinner time!
Can I Bake The Spaghetti Too?
If you love the rich flavor of Crockpot cooking, the oven is calling! Baked spaghetti has a layer of crunch and richness that Crockpot spaghetti doesn’t. And if you want to really up the richness factor, go for my baked spaghetti with cream cheese. I promise it’s as delicious as it sounds!
Can I Use Chicken Instead?
Of course! Chicken spaghetti is a tender twist to the hearty heaviness of meatballs. Cheesy chicken spaghetti is a family favorite in my house — who doesn’t love cheese and chicken and pasta? It’s like fancy mac n cheese!
Want a zesty option? My chicken spaghetti with Rotel is just for you! Rotel adds such a bright Mexican burst of flavor. And speaking of Mexican twists…
Can I Make This With A Mexican Twist?
Taco Spaghetti! I’ve yet to meet anyone who can resist the flavor combination of tacos and spaghetti. It’s a marriage of two perfect things!
If you want to truly celebrate all that’s good about Mexican and Italian food, Mexican spaghetti is where it’s at! I love serving this with chopped lettuce and tomatoes as garnish.
Spaghetti And Meatballs Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
- 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage,
- 2 1/2 pounds ground beef, 80/20
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup carrot, finely grated
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup water
- 16 ounces spaghetti, cooked per package instructions
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic then saute until onions are translucent 7-10 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside and cool.
- In a large bowl, add milk and bread and let sit for 10 minutes. Mash with a fork then stir the cooled onion mixture and combine. Add remaining ingredients and knead to combine.
- Form mixture into 2 1/2 inch meatballs ( you should have approximately 16 meatballs ), place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes.
- While meatballs are baking make the sauce. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and carrot and saute until onions are translucent 7-10 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 40-60 minutes. Add the oven browned meatballs to the sauce, do not stir, and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over cooked pasta, passing the extra sauce.
My spaghetti and meatballs recipe is a gateway to other fantastic Italian dishes. Give these a try!
- Italian Spaghetti – Cheaper than a vacation to Rome!
- Spaghetti Casserole – All the flavors with that oven touch.
- Chicken Spaghetti Casserole – Chicken makes everything better.
- Million Dollar Spaghetti – Money money flavor!
- Chicken Spaghetti Bake – Easy-peasy noodle goodness!
I hope my spaghetti and meatballs recipe got you thoroughly in that Italian mood. If this was your first time making meatballs, what’d you think?
Let me know in the comments!