Delicious Italian Spaghetti Recipe with Homemade Meatballs

Listen up, fellow foodies! I’m about to share with you the recipe for the most classic and flavorful Italian spaghetti with meatballs you’ll ever taste. This dish has the power to transport you to the charming streets of Italy and make you feel like you’re eating at a beloved nonna’s kitchen table.

But let me warn you, this is not your average pasta dish. This authentic Italian spaghetti meatballs recipe is made from scratch using only fresh ingredients that will leave your senses screaming for more. From the juicy and tender homemade meatballs to the rich and zesty tomato sauce, this dish will never disappoint.

So, bring out your inner chef and let’s dive in together to create an unforgettable meal that will satisfy any craving for classic spaghetti and meatballs. Follow along as I guide you through the steps and give you all my tips and tricks, so you can wow your friends and family with your culinary skills.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs
Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs

Listen up, fellow foodies! You won’t regret trying this Italian spaghetti with meatballs recipe. Trust me; it’s worth the time and effort. It’s a classic dish that never goes out of style, and the tender, juicy meatballs bursting with flavors will have you hooked in no time.

Let’s start with the star of the show: the meatballs. Made with lean ground beef, turkey or even ground pork, these meatballs are seasoned to perfection with minced garlic cloves, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, fresh basil and more! The mixture is bound together with breadcrumbs and eggs to create colossal meatballs that are tender and juicy.

While the meatballs are delicious on their own, serving them on a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti, drizzled with homemade tomato sauce will transport you to Italy!

Plus, making spaghetti with meatballs from scratch allows you to control every ingredient that goes into the dish. You can substitute ingredients like turkey for beef or add more herbs to make it more flavorful without sacrificing texture or taste.

So, if you’re looking for an authentic Italian meal that’s easy to prepare and loved by all ages, try out this recipe. From slow cooker meatballs to classic spaghetti bolognese or homemade pasta sauce – this dish is versatile enough to suit any situation or palate.

Ingredient List

 The ultimate comfort food - Italian spaghetti with meatballs!
The ultimate comfort food – Italian spaghetti with meatballs!

Ground Meat: Start with 1 lb. of lean ground beef or turkey. You can use a combination of beef and pork if desired. The meatball’s main ingredient is the ground meat which makes up most of the meal’s flavor.

Breadcrumbs: Use 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably made out of fresh bread, not dried breadcrumbs from a canister. The breadcrumbs will help to bind the ingredients together and soak up moisture from other ingredients.

Egg: Adding one egg to your mixture adds moisture and helps bind the meatballs together.

Milk: Milk will keep your meatballs tender and juicy since it adds extra moisture.

Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese is used in this recipe for added flavor to the meatballs.

Garlic: Two minced garlic cloves are included in this recipe, adding a garlicky depth of flavor.

Fresh Basil: Fresh basil leaves add complex green flavors as well as some sweetness to the tomato sauce. It is advised to use fresh basil rather than dried basil for maximum flavor.

Salt and Pepper: These two seasonings are essential. Use just enough salt and pepper that suits your taste preference.

Cayenne Pepper: An Italian spaghetti with meatballs recipe may lack vibrancy without cayenne pepper, which adds heat to the dish.

Oregano: A teaspoon of dried oregano gives a distinct earthy tone to our spaghetti sauce.

Tomato Paste & Whole Tomatoes: A combination of tomato paste and whole tomatoes are frequently used to achieve a shiny red sauce that coats each strand of spaghetti noodles perfectly. Tomato paste adds thickness while whole tomatoes deliver an intense acidic punch slowing down sugars (fondly known as umami), which provides great balance for the entire dish.

Olive Oil: Olive oil is an essential ingredient when making Italian dishes, adding depth of flavor throughout this particular recipe.

Spaghetti: This authentic Italian spaghetti with meatballs recipe has us going for classic spaghetti but you can also substitute it with your favorite pasta shape

All these ingredients are readily available at any grocery store, and probably you already have them in your pantry or refrigerator! Having good-quality ingredients will make your homemade meatballs burst with deliciousness, so keep an eye out for that!

The Recipe How-To

 Mamma mia! Get ready to indulge in this savory plate of Italian goodness.
Mamma mia! Get ready to indulge in this savory plate of Italian goodness.

Let’s get started on the main dish of this party – Italian Spaghetti with Meatballs. This recipe is perfect for a big gathering, since it can serve a crowd and is always a fan favorite. Here is my step-by-step guide on how to make it.


For the meatballs, you will need:

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh chopped basil leaves

And for the spaghetti, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of spaghetti pasta
  • 2 (28 oz) cans of whole tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepping the Meatballs

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped basil until well combined.

Form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs, and set them aside.

Prepping the Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add in the whole tomatoes with their juices and tomato paste. Use your hands to carefully break apart the whole tomatoes, then stir everything until it’s well-combined.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Adding the Meatballs

After the sauce has been simmering for about 15 minutes, gently add in meatballs to the pot one-by-one. Spoon some sauce over each meatball as you go.

Cover the pot with a lid almost all the way shut; leave just a slight opening so that steam can escape. Let everything bubble on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Cooking Spaghetti

While the meatballs are cooking, boil salted water in a large pot for spaghetti pasta.

Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente; then drain well.


Spoon some sauce over spaghetti noodles onto plates or bowls. Place some meatballs on top of noodles.

Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese and some freshly chopped basil leaves for garnish before serving.

This recipe makes a great hearty meal that’s sure to feed a crowd. Serve with some garlic bread and red wine for an authentic Italian dining experience that everyone will love!

Substitutions and Variations

 Taste the love in every bite with our homemade meatballs and spaghetti.
Taste the love in every bite with our homemade meatballs and spaghetti.

Listen, I understand that not everyone can handle the heat. So if spicy meatballs aren’t your thing, don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe. Leave out the cayenne pepper and you’ll still get a delicious and authentic Italian flavor.

Also, if you’re looking for a healthier option, try swapping out the ground beef for ground turkey. It’s leaner and will provide a lighter taste. Trust me, your body will thank you.

But let’s get creative here, shall we? You can add chopped onion and garlic to your meatball mixture for added flavor and texture. And if you want to take it up a notch, mix in some Italian sausage with your ground beef for an even richer taste.

Now, let’s talk about serving options. For those on a low-carb diet or just wanting to switch things up, consider using zucchini noodles instead of traditional spaghetti. Or try a classic spaghetti bolognese instead of spaghetti with meatballs.

And who said meatballs have to be made with beef or turkey? Get wild and use different meats such as pork, veal, or lamb.

Lastly, let’s talk about cheese. Don’t be afraid to swap out the parmesan cheese for another type of cheese such as pecorino romano or asiago. It’ll give your dish a whole new level of depth.

With all these substitutions and variations available, there’s no reason not to dive in headfirst into an incredible world of meatballs and spaghetti possibilities.

Serving and Pairing

 Perfect for a cozy night in, spaghetti and meatballs always hits the spot.
Perfect for a cozy night in, spaghetti and meatballs always hits the spot.

A plate of Italian spaghetti meatballs is the perfect meal for any dinner party, family gathering or a quiet night at home. When serving this dish, I recommend that you sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil on top to add extra flavor and aroma.

Pair this classic spaghetti recipe with a glass of red wine such as Chianti or Sangiovese for a full-bodied and rich dining experience. The smooth and bold taste of the wine pairs perfectly with the robust flavors of the spaghetti sauce and adds an extra layer of complexity to the dish.

For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, pair this spaghetti recipe with a cold and refreshing glass of lemonade. The citrus notes in the lemonade will balance out the savory flavors in the dish while cleansing your palate.

When it comes to side dishes, I recommend serving this Italian spaghetti meatballs recipe with garlic bread or a green salad. The crispness of the salad provides an excellent contrast to the richness of the pasta dish while garlic bread adds an extra layer of buttery savoriness to the plate.

With these serving and pairing tips in mind, you can confidently pull off an authentic Italian-themed dinner party that everyone will remember!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get the whole family involved in making this classic Italian dish.
Get the whole family involved in making this classic Italian dish.

Now, let’s talk about what to do with any leftover spaghetti and meatballs. Because let’s be honest, there’s always going to be leftovers. You can store the pasta and the meatballs separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to four days. When it comes to reheating, it is recommended that you do so separately as well.

For the spaghetti, simply add a splash of water to the pasta and then microwave for one to two minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until hot throughout. If you prefer not to microwave, place the spaghetti in a pot with a little bit of olive oil and heat slowly over low heat, adding some water if necessary to prevent sticking.

As for the meatballs, you can reheat them by placing them in a small saucepan with some leftover tomato sauce or even just a bit of water. Heat over medium-low heat for about five minutes or until they are heated throughout.

If you want to get ahead of the game, these italian spaghetti meatballs can also be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Simply cool completely before freezing and then thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as mentioned above.

Once reheated, you may also consider serving this dish alongside some crunchy garlic bread or a fresh side salad. But when it comes down to it, this classic spaghetti and meatballs dish really needs no accompaniment at all- that’s how good it is!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A staple in Italian cuisine, spaghetti and meatballs never goes out of style.
A staple in Italian cuisine, spaghetti and meatballs never goes out of style.

Let me give you some tips that will help you perfect your Italian Spaghetti with Meatballs recipe. First and foremost, the secret to making delicious meatballs is to mix the ingredients properly. Combine the bread crumbs, milk, minced garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients until they are blended perfectly. Then add either lean ground beef, turkey or a mixture of beef and pork as per your preferences.

When forming the meatballs, make sure all the ingredients are well-distributed. If the ingredients aren’t combined evenly and tightly packed, the meatballs may fall apart while cooking. Therefore, I recommend forming the meatballs somewhat compact since they will expand during cooking.

To ensure that the meatballs hold their shape, it’s important to chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking them. It makes them firmer and improves their flavor.

Another tip for making delicious skillet-browned meatballs is to avoid overcrowding them in the pan. Overcrowding will cause them to cook unevenly due to excessive moisture buildup. To avoid sticking, it helps to oil or lightly butter the skillet beforehand; however always pat-dry them first on paper towels.

When cooking meatballs in a saucepan with tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce, remember that they will absorb some of the sauce so adjust accordingly by either adding more liquid or reducing cooking time for authentic meatball bolognese spaghetti.

Lastly, I suggest using fresh herbs like basil or parsley as opposed to dried ones since it improves their overall taste while also adding freshness to your recipe. Allow your guests to sprinkle extra grated Parmesan cheese over their pasta dish if they like it cheesier.

By following these tips precisely instead of just guessing or improvising, you’ll undoubtedly achieve remarkably tender and juicy Italian meatball spaghetti that will beat every frozen meatball dish available!

Bottom Line

It’s time to take your taste buds on an unforgettable trip to Italy with this delicious Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs Recipe. This recipe is a true game-changer and perfect for impressing your guests at any gathering.

Making this classic spaghetti couldn’t be easier, with simple ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. Adding meats like ground beef, turkey or even Italian sausage to the mix makes the meatballs tender, juicy and undeniably flavorful. The breadcrumb mixture with real parmesan cheese adds an authentic Italian twist to this traditional dish.

You can make extra meatballs and freeze them for future dinners, or serve them as the perfect party appetizer with some garlic bread. It’s a versatile recipe that can be customized to suit your preferences with different ingredient substitutions.

In conclusion, this Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs recipe is an all-time favorite that has been passed down for generations. If you’re looking to create authentic Italian food at home or wanting to bring a little piece of Italy into your cooking repertoire, this recipe is for you. Trust me, once you try it, it won’t be long before it becomes a staple in your household. Give it a try and fall in love with the flavors of Italy!

Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs

Italian Spaghetti With Meatballs Recipe

I got this from Recipe Exchange back in the Dinosaur Age. According to the author, the original recipe came with her grandmother from Italy in 1920. I have been working with it for years and have, of course, tweaked a good deal. This is an awesome sauce. I usually make a batch early in the year, we eat it for a few days and I freeze the remainder (without the meatballs) and just make more meatballs later and add to the defrosted sauce (simmer for a good while to cook the meat). The meatballs are really versitile and the main reason we love this recipe. They are great on sandwiches or just by themselves with a little sauce and parm.
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 306.7 kcal



  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef or 2 lbs turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil


  • Sauce:
  • Pour one can whole tomatoes and one can tomato paste in to a food processor. Add all spices and blend until smooth.
  • Pour this in to a large pot (I use a 10 qt to be sure there's plenty of room).
  • Process remaining tomatoes and paste until smooth and add to pot. Add somewhere between 6 and 10 cups of water until the sauce has a loose, but not watery, consistancy. This will be the key to your sauce's thickness later.
  • Bring sauce to a boil and then simmer (the longer the better, but at least 2 hours). Once your pot is simmering, drop in your raw meatballs, one at a time and gently. Stir regularly, always from the bottom.
  • Meatballs:
  • Mix all ingredients together and form in to small balls, no bigger than a golf ball. Drop in sauce gently after it has started its simmer.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 358gCalories: 306.7kcalCarbohydrates: 25.4gProtein: 26.3gFat: 12.2gSaturated Fat: 5.1gCholesterol: 85.4mgSodium: 1434.5mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 13.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat
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