I think sometimes it may appear from my blog that all I eat is sweets, but that is definitely not the case.  I try to post a wide variety of recipes, both sweet and savory.  Even though dessert is my favorite part of the day, we all need more well-rounded meals to eat before that time comes.  Homemade spaghetti and meatballs is a classic recipe that should be a part of everyone’s repertoire, so I decided it was time to post my favorite version.  This recipe makes a large quantity of both meatballs and sauce so it can be used for multiple meals.  We made meatball subs with the leftovers one night (AWESOME!), and then ate the remaining marinara sauce over pasta a couple weeks later.  I haven’t tried it myself, but I think this would freeze well and would be a nice meal to thaw out at a moment’s notice.  

Spaghetti and Meatballs
For the sauce:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup of water (or more) 

For the meatballs:
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground beef, pork and veal mixture (or 1 lb. ground sirloin)

For serving:
Freshly cooked spaghetti
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh basil

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion to the pot and saute until tender, 5-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and sugar.  Add water to thin the sauce out to your desired consistency (I would estimate that I add about 1/2 cup).  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Let simmer for at least 2 hours. 

To make the meatballs, in a medium mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs with the milk.  Let the bread crumbs soak for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Form the mixture into meatballs (I usually get about 20-25 out of one batch).  Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce about 45 minutes before the sauce will be finished cooking.  Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 35-45 minutes.  

Transfer freshly cooked pasta to serving dishes.  Top each serving with sauce and meatballs.  Garnish with shredded Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.  

Source: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • Haha same here – by the looks of MY blog, people probably think that all I eat are batches of blondies :-D

    Lovely pasta dish!!

  • Mmmm! What a delicious meal and beautiful picture!

  • Now you have me craving a meatball sub! :) The meatballs look great!

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of those meals that will always make me happy. I haven’t made it for ages and I think it’s about time I did.

  • I don’t think that could be a more perfect photo of spaghetti and meatballs! Looks amaizing

  • This looks great, Annie. I completely agree–all good cooks should be able to pull off a fabulous spaghetti and meatball dinner. Your recipe (thanks Chelle!) looks like a great one for me to try!

  • joelen

    Everyone must have a tried and true spaghetti & meatballs recipe and yours looks fantastic!

  • Looks delicious – spaghetti and meatballs is such a great comfort food dish!

  • mmeccles

    Annie, I just have to tell you how much I appreciate your blog–your tested and true recipes, the gorgeous pictures, and the fact that you are keeping up with this despite your family and your demanding career. I am learning much from you. I have been a faithful follower for about 2 months now and have tried many of your recipes–perfect pizza crust, oatmeal raisin cookies, and more–and I have quite a list of others that I want to try.

    In sum…thank you.

  • Your spaghetti and meatballs looks amazing! I might have to give this recipe a try.

  • I’m glad you guys enjoyed this sauce and meatballs, I just love them! And yes, both freeze really well.

  • Ann

    made them– so simple but the best recipe i’ve had!

  • I tried this recipe last night and it was amazing! And, per your suggestion, we’re going to use the leftovers for meatball subs.

    Thanks for all the great recipes — I love your blog!

  • Michelle

    I have never made spaghetti and meatballs from scratch before and I’m not a huge fan of red sauce, but I LOVED this! I also liked how you don’t cook the meatballs first, you just drop them in the sauce. I added canned diced tomatoes to the recipe for some chucks and fresh portabella mushrooms. Next time, I may put the meatballs in from the beginning and cook it all in the crock pot. The meatballs were really good too, but next time I’ll make them with less cheese in them. My husband and I ate this for like a week straight and we are already craving it again.

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to make something I otherwise would not have!

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  • molly

    these look amazing what a perfect picture!! xx

  • Kim Bouchard

    Made this tonight, but into meatball subs. My husband LOVED them. I just took some meatballs in sauce with extra cheese on top and put it under the broiler. Will be my go to recipe from now on…no more bottled spaghetti sauce.

  • Annie

    Hi Kim,
    Yes, we love to make meatball subs with these! Just did it a couple weeks ago, and I agree, the broiler makes them just right. Glad you all enjoyed!
    :) Annie

  • Penny

    I made this last night and we loved it. It tasted just like one of our favorite resturants. My husband was actually exceited to take leftovers to work. Yesterday was the first time, I had visited your site and I love it. Thanks for getting me excited about cooking. I going to try making the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies today.

  • I stumbled upon your blog, from the blog ” The Girl who eats everything” I made these meatballs last night! They were delicious as well as the sauce, my husband loved them so thanks for sharing! I have also printed off a bunch of your other recipes!

  • this is one of my favorite sauces. last night i made a double batch…i froze one half for ourselves and froze the other half to give away as a “new baby meal.”
    i talked with a friend who is from italy and he said that his mom (i mean, she’s an italian mom, she’s the gold standard) always browns the meatballs before she adds them to the sauce. so, of course, that’s what i now do too.

  • Val Reimer

    My family LOVED this recipe! Thanks!

  • Cynthia

    Hi Annie do you think this will still be good with ground turkey or should I just go for the real deal?

  • Annie

    I’ve never tried it so I can’t say. I always use ground sirloin, which is pretty lean.

  • Gail

    This is still one of my favorite sauces. I usually x4 the recipe and freeze it for an easy weeknight dinner. Last night, however, I was feeling spicy so i sauteed two cloves of garlic and a 3/4 tsp of red pepper flakes over medium-high heat for 30 seconds before pouring in my defrosted sauce. Holy amazing dinner, batman. SO good.

  • Heidi

    When you store the leftovers, do you separate the meatballs from the sauce or is it okay to just keep it all together? Or, mine will be finished cooking before dinner – it won’t hurt to leave the meatballs in the sauce until dinnertime, right?

  • Annie

    Yeah, I just leave them in the sauce. I think either way would be fine.

  • Plue

    Made this for dinner.
    Two words.
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe, my very favorite for spaghetti and meatballs.


  • Kate lau

    Do you freeze the meatballs uncooked or is it better to cook them and then freeze?

  • Annie

    I freeze them uncooked.

  • Kristin

    This is so, so good. It’s now our go-to spaghetti & meatball recipe – thanks!

  • David Crockett

    When you say tomato sauce are you using an italian sauce or a specific brand. Seams like you are adding your own spices on top of an already made sauce.

  • annieseats

    Tomato sauce is one of the many canned tomato products you can find in that section at the store. It is unseasoned.

  • Des

    Just a question. Is tomatoe puree crushed tomatoes or tomatoe paste? I can’t seem to find tomatoe puree in Canada?

  • annieseats

    I believe it’s something different than both of those. Definitely not the same as tomato paste. You might want to try Googling to learn about the exact differences between the varieties of tomatoes. There are so many and apparently they have at least slight differences.

  • Des

    I googled it. It said to mix 1/3 cup tomato paste with 2/3 cups water and whisk because tomato paste is additive free but thicker than puree. I tried this. Next time I make the sauce I will omit the salt. I found it quite salty for my taste. I tried to fix this and it ended in disaster! I tried adding sugar. Did not work so I hopped on line again and it said to add a teaspoon of baking powder to get rid of the salt. I tried this. The pot of sauce began to foam. It took the salty taste away and left an extremely bitter tasting sauce. At this point I tried to fix it, but couldn’t get the bitterness out. The meatballs were delicious! And in the end I learned a valuable lesson!

  • Toby Trachy

    Made this dinner last night for my parents and used ground turkey instead of beef (we are a no red meat group!) and it was awesome! Definitely the easiest and best sauce recipe I have found. Your recipes never fail me, Annie!

  • Claudia Bird

    There is a woman on FB who has not only copied and pasted your recipe word for word and is claiming it as her own, but she is using your picture as well…smh…

  • Annie

    Can you give me some more info/a link? I can file a copyright complaint with FB and have it removed.

  • Claudia Bird

    Her name is Karen Brunner with (Karen Pasino Brunner) in parentheses below. She posted it on October 8th at 7:01 p.m. I don’t know how to link it to you but if you can’t find her, I can email you a screenshot of it.

  • Annie

    Thank you. I filed a copyright violation report with Facebook. They usually remove them within a few days. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

  • Claudia Bird

    You’re welcome.