This easy Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe has juicy homemade meatballs simmered in a homemade tomato sauce, served over spaghetti for a cozy, comforting meal! See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.
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Spaghetti is our kids’ favorite meal, and this homemade version is right at the top of the list alongside this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce and this healthier Instant Pot Spaghetti!
It’s made with the juiciest Homemade Meatballs, which was my 6 Ingredient Staple recipe this February!
That means for the rest of the month I’ll be sharing all kinds of different ways to enjoy those juicy, flavorful meatballs — starting with this classic homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti!
I confess that I have no shame in using store bought tomato sauce for spaghetti any night of the week, but there is something so fabulous about making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients possible.
The sauce for this easy Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is made with just a few ingredients, so there’s almost no reason to go for the jar.
How to make this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe ahead:
I almost always have a batch of my homemade meatball recipe tucked away in the freezer, which makes this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe a breeze.
Simply get the sauce simmering on the stove, and then add in the meatballs right from frozen.
While your meatballs are warming, cook your spaghetti until al dente in a pot of boiling, salted water.
Here are a few more ways to make this recipe ahead:
- Prep the tomato sauce in advance and store in the fridge up to 4 days or freeze up to 6 months.
- Prep the tomato sauce and add the meatballs, then let cool slightly, cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.
- Cook the spaghetti until al dente, drain and refrigerate up to 4 days. To reheat, either add to a pot of boiling water and heat 1 minute, or stir some tomato sauce into the pasta and heat gently over medium-low until heated through.
Variations and Substitutions for this recipe:
- Meatballs: you can use store bought meatballs in a pinch, but I don’t think there’s anything that compares to the flavor of homemade!
- Tomatoes: if you like a chunkier tomato sauce, you can use diced tomatoes instead of crushed
- Seasoning: feel free to add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover, more red pepper flakes if you’re a spice lover, and more herbs or sprinkle in some fresh chopped herbs if you love that herby flavor. This recipe is simple and really easy to customize to your tastes!
- Pasta: obviously, you can cook any style or shape of pasta and it will work in this recipe. I usually choose white spaghetti noodles with added fiber for the best of both worlds.
- If you’re feeling extra: some chopped roasted red peppers (from the jar), basil or roasted red pepper pesto or a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese would add a ton of great flavor!
Can I freeze spaghetti and meatballs?
The short answer is yes!
There are a few ways to freeze spaghetti and meatballs, and it just comes down to your tastes and preferences.
- Freeze the meatballs in the sauce: place the meatballs and sauce in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag and remove as much of the air as possible. Freeze up to 3 months before thawing and serving.
- Stir some of the sauce into the spaghetti and place in a lightly grease baking dish. Spread the meatballs and remaining sauce over top. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil (using both helps to eliminate freezer burn), and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerate before warming through in the oven at 350 degrees F (remove the plastic wrap and put the foil back on to keep the moisture in). If the pasta begins to look dry, drizzle on ¼ cup of water and continue baking.
More spaghetti recipes you’ll love!
- Healthy One Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce – with added veggies!
- Healthier Baked Chicken Spaghetti — no canned soups anywhere in sight!
- Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti — perfect for busy days!
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Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 1 slice soft bread
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese fresh if possible — up to 1 cup for extra cheesy meatballs!
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Spaghetti and Sauce
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how much spice you like)
- 3/4 cup low sodium beef broth
- 798 ml canned crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
- 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 375 grams spaghetti
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil — optional but helps with clean up! (OPTIONAL: instead of baking, you can also simmer right in the tomato sauce for 8 minutes per side. I bake a big batch at once, which is why I do it this way).
- Tear bread into small pieces and place in a food processor. Process until the bread is in fine crumbs and combine with water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and soaked bread until just combined — don’t overmix!
- Shape into 1.5-2" balls (I get about 20 this way, but you can get up to 30 if you shape them into 1" balls) and place 1" apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes (longer for 2" rounds, shorter for 1" rounds), until a meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees F in the largest meatballs (a meat thermometer is your best chance at having perfectly cooked meatballs!)
- Remove from the oven.
Spaghetti and Sauce:
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown.
- Add garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, basil, and pepper flakes and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in beef broth to pick up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir meatballs into sauce, cover, and let simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes, until heated through (NOTE: if you are cooking them raw in the sauce, you will need about 8 minutes per side)
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until desired tenderness is reached.
- Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water and drain the spaghetti. Stir just enough pasta water into the sauce so that it comes together and desired thickness is reached.
- Stir in a couple big scoops of tomato sauce into the drained spaghetti and stir to coat.
- Serve spaghetti with meatballs and a generous dose of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.
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Pat Pumphrey says
Why can you only keep frozen for a few months
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Pat! That is pretty much the standard time for freezing food.
The tomato sauce is so good! My husband made sure I saved the recipe.
Thank you for this great recepie with clear instructions. My kids loved it and my son says it’s the best dish I ever made 😊
Ashley Fehr says
I’m so happy to hear that!