Spaghetti and Meatballs

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a classic, kid-friendly dinner with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Homemade spaghetti is the perfect delicious family Dinner Recipe for a weeknight. This version is an easy way to make it all on the stovetop. You can also try our Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs or Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs for other cooking methods. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs in a bowl with parmesan and parsley topping and fork


When it comes to everyday meals, fresh pasta and sauce is a crowd-pleasing comfort food that never seems to get old. This will become one of your all time favorite recipes because it’s easy, but always gets everyone excited for dinner and asking for second helpings. Honestly, you could probably serve Spaghetti with Meatballs multiple times a week and your family still wouldn’t be bored of it!

With this recipe, you can make the family favorite from scratch. Instead of heating up a jarred pasta sauce, make your own marinara with fresh ingredients and flavors that make a huge difference. Instead of frozen meatballs, combine ground beef with a few easy recipe ingredients to make your own Italian meatballs on the stovetop. Then serve it all over pasta and enjoy.

Spaghetti and Meatballs sauce in pot

For an even more impressive dinner meal, you can make some of your favorite Italian sides to go with the Spaghetti and Meatballs. Garlic Bread or Cheesy Pesto Bread would both taste amazing. 



  • Meatballs: The base ingredients for meatballs are the milk-soaked bread and the ground meat. Along with the eggs, the bread acts as the binder in the recipe. Mixing the beef with bread and eggs helps to keep the mixture together into balls of meat. Along with those base ingredients, we also use salt, pepper, onion, and Worcestershire sauce to make smoky and flavorful meatballs. 
  • Marinara sauce: Crushed tomatoes and tomato paste make up the base of the sauce. Garlic, onion, oregano, basil, sugar, and red pepper all add flavor to the tomato sauce. By covering and simmering the sauce for a full 30 minutes, the flavorful recipe ingredients all blend together for a rich sauce recipe. 
  • Pasta: The only other component of this recipe is the pasta, of course. All you have to do is cook up some spaghetti noodles to serve under the meatball sauce. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs meatballs before cooking


  • Homemade marinara sauce: Start by making the fresh tomato sauce. Slice a medium onion in half and dice one side of it. Add olive oil and the onion to a pan. Sauté the onion on medium-low heat until it starts to lightly brown. Then add in the minced garlic cloves and cook for another 15 seconds, so that the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil leaves, salt, sugar, red pepper, and water. Stir the sauce, then cover the pan and continue to cook on low for 30 minutes. 
  • Homemade meatballs: To make the meatballs recipe, add the milk and bread slices to the bowl of your stand mixer. Leave them so that the milk soaks into the bread. While that’s soaking, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan with minced onion. Cook until translucent and not browned. It should take about 5 minutes. Remove the onion from heat and let it cool. Then add the cooked onion, ground beef, eggs, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the stand mixer over the soaked bread. Turn the mixer to low speed to break the bread apart and let it mix with the other ingredients. Using the stand mixer, instead of your hands, helps keep the mixture cold and tender. 
  • Cook meatballs: Use an ice cream scoop or your hands to form the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Add butter to the skillet and cook the meatballs on all sides until cooked through. 
  • Cook pasta: After the meatball cooking time, put a large pot of water over medium heat. Add dry spaghetti to the boiling water and cook. Drain pasta, then transfer the cooked pasta into serving bowls. 
  • Serve: Now that you have cooked spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs, all you have to do is combine them. Spoon sauce and meatballs over spaghetti, then sprinkle on some parsley and parmesan cheese to serve. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs in a bowl with parmesan and parsley topping and fork


  • Seasonings: There are a variety of spices that you could add to the marinara sauce like pepper flakes, onion powder, thyme, or sage. 
  • Lean meatballs: If you want a slightly lighter dish, you can make the homemade meatballs with lean ground beef, or ground turkey. 
  • Cheese: Once it’s cooked, you can top the pasta dish off with a variety of cheeses depending on your preference. Mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, or provolone cheese would all taste great. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top while the pasta is still warm so it can melt. 



  • Serve: Don’t leave Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Store: If you have leftovers, let them cool and then transfer them to an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Freeze: You can also put the pasta in airtight freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers to store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat the leftovers, let them thaw in the fridge then reheat in the oven or in a pot on the stovetop. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs in a bowl with parmesan and parsley topping and fork

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a classic, kid-friendly dinner with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder


Marinara Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup water

Meatball Recipe:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 slices bread
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion , minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
  • 2 pounds ground beef , (80/20)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

To Finish:

  • 1 pound spaghetti , cooked
  • 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese , shredded
  • 2 tablespoons parsley , minced


To make the Marinara Sauce:

  • Add the olive oil and onion to the pan and sauté on medium low until very lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and let cook for 15 seconds or until you can smell the garlic.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered, on low for 30 minutes.

To Make the Meatballs:

  • While the Marinara Sauce is simmering, make your meatballs.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the milk to the slices of bread.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the minced yellow onions.
  • Cook them on medium low until translucent but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In your bowl with the milk soaked bread add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the cooked onions.
  • Mix it on low until the bread is broken apart and the meat is combined with the ingredients (using the stand mixer and not your hands helps keep the mixture cold and tender).
  • Using a meatballer/ice cream scoop or your hands scoop them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, about 1 1/2" inches.
  • Add the rest of your butter to your skillet and cook on medium high on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes.

To Serve:

  • Add the spaghetti to the pot and stir well to combine and heat through.
  • Serve in bowls topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese.


Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 722mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 642IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword: Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Hello, I am currently making this recipe from your cookbook for the slow cooker. The sauce has been on low for 2 hours but it’s already starting to boil. Is this normal?