Spaghetti and Meatballs

Y’all, this Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is straight-up fire! This homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe brings together spaghetti pasta with a simple yet robust marinara sauce with juicy hand-rolled meatballs. It’s not just food, it’s an experience, making every meal unforgettable and a surefire hit with the whole fam! And get this—it’s all coming together in just 30 minutes.

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A bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on the table topped with a sprinkle of parmesan and herbs.

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a meal I grew up with for so many years. It was a mainstay my mama always made. It was always the perfect comfort food for any weeknight or even dressy enough for a Sunday supper. This recipe has a load of flavor boos and will remind you of all of those wonderful nostalgic meals you remembered growing up. My mama’s spaghetti was necessary, and I know you are gonna love this!

The Heart & Soul Of This Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian Inspired Soul Food

Primary Cooking Method: Stove

Dietary Info: Omnivore

Key Flavor: Bright tomato sauce with a balance of acid and sweetness, along with meaty and perfectly seasoned meatballs.

Skill Level: This recipe is well-suited for anyone at a Beginner-Intermediate level. Some basic cooking skills are required, and while the recipe isn’t difficult, there are multiple steps in the recipe involved.

Sweet Spots

  • Made with Lean Protein: We’re making delicious juicy meatballs without beef that are full of flavor by using a combination of turkey or chicken sausage and ground meat.
  • Family Favorite Dinner: This hearty meal is a crowd favorite no matter the age group you are serving! Even picky kids love it.
  • Restaurant Style Meal Made at Home: No need to travel to enjoy this Italian favorite! You can easily make a great-tasting spaghetti with meatballs at home.
  • Quick Weeknight Dinner: Ready in just 30 minutes! It’s perfect for busy households or for anyone who simply doesn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner for the family.
  • Make Ahead: You can easily make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time to make this dish an even quicker dinner during the week.

Ingredients to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Meat: We’re using a dynamic duo of turkey or chicken sausage and ground turkey or chicken to make lean meatballs that are full of flavor.
  • Eggs: One large beaten egg to keep our meatball mixture together while the meatballs cook.
  • Seasoning: A medley of Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, Italian herbs, and a kick of crushed red pepper is the secret to meatballs with attitude.
  • Breadcrumbs: These add texture to the meatballs as well as help to hold everything together.
  • Aromatics: We’re layering flavor to our homemade sauce right from the start with a combination of chopped onions and minced garlic.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: These canned tomatoes give the sauce a texture that’s slightly chunky and saucy at the same time.
  • Wine: A splash of red wine in the sauce brings depth and a touch of elegance.
  • Flavor: Italian seasoning and a bit of sugar to balance the tang, with salt and pepper to taste.
Ingredients to make homemade spaghetti and meatballs on the table.

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs

Step 1: Make the Meatballs

  1. Add the sausage, ground meat, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, Italian herbs, red pepper, and bread crumbs to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Mix them together using your hands until everything is well combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into small to medium-sized meatballs and set aside on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Cook the meatballs in batches in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Turn the meatballs over on all sides to make sure they are thoroughly cooked through. Add more olive oil if necessary to cook all meatballs.
  6. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Continuing cooking until all the meatballs are done.
A collage showing the steps for making the meatballs for spaghetti.

Step 2: Cook the Sauce and Bring the Dish Together

  1. Cook chopped onions in the same skillet with a bit more olive oil added, and cook until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for only 30 seconds making sure not to burn.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, Italian seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook the sauce over low heat for about 4-5 minutes to allow the flavors time to meld together.
  3. Add your meatballs to the skillet.
  4. Cook the meatballs covered for 15-20 minutes over low heat to thicken and allow the flavors to come together.
A collage of images showing the steps for making the spaghetti sauce for meatballs.

Serve it up. Toss your cooked spaghetti pasta with the sauce and meatballs or spoon the spaghetti sauce and meatballs over the cooked spaghetti. Garnish with parmesan cheese, basil and/or parsley.

Tips for Making the Best Meatballs and Spaghetti

  • Measure Your Meatballs: Use a scoop, measuring spoon, or scale to ensure that all the meatballs are about the same size. This makes the cooking time more even.
  • Don’t Overcook: Cook the meatballs just long enough to brown in the oil. They will continue to cook in the sauce. Since chicken and turkey have less fat they can easily turn out a bit dry when overcooked.
  • Cook Your Pasta Al Dente: Pasta is meant to have a slight bite to it rather than being completely sauce. Check it a couple of minutes before the package instructions indicate it should be done to avoid overcooking it.
  • Salt Your Pasta Water: This is the key to flavorful pasta. It should be quite salty as most of it won’t be absorbed by the pasta.
  • Use Ground Sausage: You want to be sure to grab the right kind of sausage to make meatballs. Many stores carry an Italian style of sausage that’s already spiced. If it comes in casings you can use a sharp knife to slice it open and remove the meat.
  • Ground Beef and Italian Sausage: You can definitely use beef if you prefer! These meats often contain a bit more grease so you may find you need to use slightly less oil when cooking them.
  • Vegetarian: Swap the meats for your favorite store-bought plant-based meatballs or try my Lentil Meatballs. Cook them according to the package instructions.
  • Canned Tomatoes: Use whole tomatoes instead if you prefer a slightly chunkier sauce. You will want to break them up with a wooden spoon a bit after adding them to the pot. Diced tomatoes will also yield a slightly chunkier sauce than crushed tomatoes.
  • Quick Dinner Option: Replace the homemade sauce with your favorite store-bought sauce. This saves you the time of cooking the sauce from scratch. However, I still recommend simmering the meatballs in the sauce for 15-20 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
  • Use a Different Pasta: While spaghetti and meatballs might just be the BEST combination another long pasta such as fettuccine or linguine works well too. If you prefer short pasta, these are fine as well!
A plate of soul food spaghetti and meatballs on a white plate with a another serving bowl in the corner and a loaf of bread.

What to Serve with Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Bread: Enjoy your favorite bread so you can be sure to scoop every last drop of this delicious sauce. Check out my easy-peasy recipe for garlic bread, it’s the ultimate garlic bread that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. My roasted garlic bread is another option that pairs well.
  • Salad: Try this shrimp Caesar salad for a fresh twist on the crisp Caesar salad. It’s a light and refreshing counterpart to the hearty spaghetti and meatballs. With a little shrimp, it gives you a little extra protein too.
  • Veggies: If you prefer a cooked vegetable side dish try this creamed spinach recipe or some balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts.
  • Dessert: End on a sweet note with our mouthwatering strawberry tiramisu recipe. It’s a delightful Italian dessert that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Rome!

How to Store & Reheat Spaghetti and Meatballs

After enjoying your meal, cool the leftovers and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can store them together or store the sauce and pasta separately.

When you’re ready to reheat, simply warm the spaghetti and meatballs in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through. You may need to add a splash of water or extra sauce to keep it moist and delicious. Alternatively, you can heat individual servings in the microwave.

When stored separately you can reheat the sauce with meatballs in a saucepan and either microwave the pasta or drop them in boiling water for just a few seconds.

How long will spaghetti and meatballs last in the fridge?

When stored properly your dish will generally stay fresh for up to four days. You can enjoy it as another dinner during the week or take it along with as an easy and hearty lunch.

Can I freeze spaghetti and meatballs?

Yes! I don’t love freezing pasta so for the best results I suggest keeping them separate if you know you will be freezing some. Freeze the meatballs and sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to two months. Note if you do freeze spaghetti and meatballs the pasta may be slightly softer when thawed. Remove from the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the fridge before reheating.

A plate of soul food spaghetti and meatballs on the table with a sprig of basil and loaf of bread in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my meatballs falling apart?

Make sure you measured all your ingredients and didn’t leave anything out. Also, you need to mix the seasoned meat with your hands. This is the most efficient way to fully mix everything together and also makes the meat stick together better. The eggs and breadcrumbs are essential ingredients to keep your meatballs together so avoid making substitutions as you may not get the same results.

Can I bake my meatballs in the oven?

Yes, you can. Just note that I find you don’t get quite the same color on the exterior in the oven! Here’s how to do it. Shape them into balls and place them on a well-sprayed baking pan. Bake them at 350° F turning several times to brown the different sides. The time it takes to fully cook the meatballs will vary depending on the size of your balls.

How do I know when my spaghetti is done?

Use the package directions as a guide. I usually try to check the pasta about 2 minutes before the instructions say to cook for al dente. Remove one strand of spaghetti from the water using a pasta spoon or a fork. Bite into it. It should have just a small amount of bite to it but not feel overly firm.

A bowl of old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs on the table.

This Spaghetti and Meatballs is a total mealtime slay that you can whip up at home quicker than you can say “dinner’s ready!” And honey, why not double up on those meatballs and sauce, so you can keep the party going all week long? Tuck ’em into a sandwich or remix ’em into something new. I’m all about sharing the love, and I hope your fam digs this dish just as much as mine does!

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A plate of spaghetti and meatballs on the table garnished with a basil leaf and a loaf of bread behind.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

This soul food spaghetti and meatballs recipe is perfectly flavorful and perfect for a weeknight or Sunday supper. It's ready in about 30 minutes for a dish the whole family will love.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:

  • ½ pound turkey or chicken sausage decased
  • ½ pound ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper for some heat
  • cup seasoned bread crumbs

For the Spaghetti Sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese, Basil or Parsley to Garnish.

Instructions

  • Add sausage, ground turkey or chicken, egg, worchestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, italian herbs, red pepper and bread crumbs into a medium sized bowl and mix together using your hands until well combined.
  • Scoop the mixture into small to medium sized meatballs and set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Wash hands and add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium sized pan over medium high heat.
  • Cook meatballs in batches until golden brown, turning over on all sides to make sure it is thoroughly cooked through. Add more olive oil if necessary to cook all meatballs. Remove meatballs from pan and drain on paper towels until all are done.
  • Begin on the sauce by turning the heat to medium low and adding a bit more olive oil then chopped onions and cook until tender.
  • Next add in garlic and cook for only 30 seconds making sure not to burn.
  • Add in your crushed tomatoes, and stir in red wine, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for about 4-5 minutes then add in your meatballs and cover to cook for 15-20 minutes over low heat to thicken and allow the flavors to come together.
  • Either toss your cooked spaghetti pasta in or spoon spaghetti sauce and meatballs over cooked spaghetti. Garnish with parmesan cheese, basil and/or parsley and serve.

Notes

  • Measure Your Meatballs: Use a scoop, measuring spoon, or scale to ensure that all the meatballs are about the same size. This makes the cooking time more even.
  • Don’t Overcook: Cook the meatballs just long enough to brown in the oil. They will continue to cook in the sauce. Since chicken and turkey have less fat they can easily turn out a bit dry when overcooked.
  • Cook Your Pasta Al Dente: Pasta is meant to have a slight bite to it rather than being completely sauce. Check it a couple minutes before the package instructions indicate it should be done to avoid overcooking it.
  • Salt Your Pasta Water: This is the key to flavorful pasta. It should be quite salty as most of it won’t be absorbed by the pasta.
  • Use Ground Sausage: You want to be sure to grab the right kind of sausage to make meatballs. Many stores carry an Italian style of sausage that’s already spiced. If it comes in casings you can use a sharp knife to slice it open and remove the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1102mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 510IU | Vitamin C: 15.4mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3.3mg
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Filed Under:  Dinner, Italian Recipes, Pasta, Stovetop

Comments

  1. Best spaghetti and meatball that we have ever had. Everyone loves them – from the kids to the grandparents. Thank you for this delicious and savory recipe.

  2. Made this for dinner and the flavors are wonderful! We don’t have ALDIs in Seattle, but when I lived in TX it was my go to store. Many of us are paying way too much for groceries these days, but thankfully this is a meal that stretches.

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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