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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

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This is the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe that will easily become your family’s favorite as it has mine.  Simple shortcuts to the sauce with homemade meatballs simmered to perfection and served over spaghetti noodles.  

the best spaghetti and homemade meatballs with text overlay

Early on in married life, I tried to make meatballs but they seem to always come out not-so-good, so when I found the frozen variety I thought I struck gold!  I will admit, I used them for many years before I tried making meatballs again.  

On a trip home, my mom was making meatballs to go with the spaghetti sauce my dad was making for dinner.  I watched mom make the meatballs and she told me the secret to her delicious tender meatballs was fresh basil and if you didn’t have that, use freeze-dried basil.  I always loved Mom’s meatballs but never really thought about how she made them.  She mentions to not over cook them or they will become dry and tough.  In fact, Mom undercooks the meatballs and lets them simmer in the sauce to finish cooking. 

best spaghetti and meatballs in white bowl with garlic bread

One thing you must understand, my mom does not cook.  This is the only recipe I have ever seen her make.  Dad always did the cooking and mom did the dishes.    

Now, as for the sauce – Dad was a wonderful cook and I learned volumes from him growing up and even up to his death a little over a year ago.  He was always my go-to person if I didn’t remember or know how he made this or that.  Dad was always sending me recipes to try before he would.  He rarely made homemade sauce, instead he used jarred sauce and “doctored” it up and you really never could tell it was from a jar when he was finished with it.  

When I say jarred sauce, we’re not talking name brand but store brand.  He would add sauteed onions, peppers, garlic, and seasonings to it and allow it to simmer for a couple of hours with those delicious meatballs.  It is the best spaghetti and meatballs recipe ever!

Don’t let this spaghetti and meatballs recipe with jar sauce scare you away – sometimes the best recipes start with shortcuts. This is a prime example of just that.

Homemade meatballs simmering in sauce for the best spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you that today is #NationalMeatballDay and my group of Festive Foodies blogger friends and I are sharing our favorite meatball recipes.  Check them out at the end of this post!

How to Make the Best Spaghetti and Meatballs 

Making the Spaghetti Sauce

Start by getting the sauce simmering on the stove.  Heat a tablespoon olive oil into a large saucepan (it will need to be large enough to hold the sauce and meatballs) on medium-high.  Add the finely diced onion (remember to save 2 tablespoons for meatballs) and peppers to the saucepan and saute until soft. 

diced onion and bell peppers on cutting board

Add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds and then pour the two jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce into the saucepan.  Then it’s time to add in the 1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano and basil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  I do not add salt, but feel free to add it to your tastes.  Bring sauce to a simmer and then turn down to low and allow to cook for up to 2 hours.  

spaghetti sauce simmering on stove top

Pro Tip: My dad never liked to waste food so he would turn the jars of sauce upside down (with the lids on) after he poured the sauce in the pot.  Let the remain sauce in the jar drip down to the lid, and then pour it into the saucepan with the rest of the sauce.  

spaghetti sauce jars tip

How to Make Homemade Meatballs

I’ve made these meatballs so many times now that I had to really step back and try to measure the seasonings and such to write the recipe down for you.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top of that.  Spray the rack with non-stick spray.  Set aside.  Alternatively, you can just spray the foil and bake the meatballs on it that way. 

I like to use lean ground beef for most recipes, unless it’s burgers or meatballs. I think those two need a bit of the fat found in ground beef.  For this recipe, I used one pound of an 85% lean ground beef.  Place ground beef in large bowl. Add in two tablespoons of the finely diced onions, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoon of freeze-dried basil and oregano. If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of each herb.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts.  Again, I do not add salt, if you want to, add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, according to your tastes. 

large bowl with ground beef and seasonings for meatballs

Beat one egg in a small bowl and add it into the bowl with the ground beef and seasonings.  Using clean hands (I find this is easiest so that you don’t overwork the meat) mix everything until just combined.  I like to make the meatballs about two inches in diameter, so from one pound of meat, I can get about 18 meatballs.  Roll the meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet. 

homemade meatballs on baking sheet ready to bake

Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes – you want to undercook them slightly.  Remove from oven and place in saucepan with sauce.  Gently mix in and cover and let simmer for at least an hour.  

homemade meatballs simmering in sauce in pan

Cook your spaghetti noodles according to the package directions and drain.  Serve with the sauce and meatballs. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese and garlic bread!  

white bowl filled with spaghetti and meatballs with a side of garlic bread

When I make spaghetti and homemade meatballs, it brings wonderful memories back.  

Freezer tip: make a double batch of the meatballs. Flash freeze some, and then store in a freezer safe container in the freezer.  The cooked sauce and meatballs can also be frozen when they’re cool.  Store in a freeze safe container.  

sheet pan with parchment paper and raw meatballs ready to flash freeze for the freezer
close up of best spaghetti and meatballs

Printable Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

white bowl filled with spaghetti and meatballs with a side of garlic bread

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is the Best Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe that will easily become your family's favorite as it has mine. Simple shortcuts to the sauce & homemade meatballs simmered to perfection.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: homemade meatballs, meatballs, spaaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs
Author: Lisa Kerhin

Ingredients

Ingredients for Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped, divided save 2 tablespoons for meatballs
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jars (26 ounces each) Your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Classico)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freeze-dried oregano If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of oregano.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts. 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freeze-dried basil If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of basil.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts. 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for Meatballs

  • 1 lb 80-85% lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freeze-dried oregano If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of oregano.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts. 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freeze-dried basil If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of basil.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts. 
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (or panko bread crumbs) or Panko bread crumbs

Instructions

How to Make the Spaghetti Sauce

  • Start by getting the sauce simmering on the stove.  Add a tablespoon olive oil into a large saucepan (it will need to be large enough to hold the sauce and meatballs) and heat to medium-high.  Add the finely diced onion (remember to save 2 tablespoons for meatballs) and peppers to the saucepan and saute until soft. 
  • Add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds and then pour the two jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce into the saucepan. 
  • Add in the 1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano and basil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  I do not add salt, but feel free to add it to your tastes. 
  • Bring sauce to a simmer and then turn down to low and allow to cook for up to 2 hours.  

How to Make Homemade Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top of that.  Spray the rack with non-stick spray.  Set aside.  Alternatively, you can just spray the foil and bake the meatballs on it that way. 
  • I like to use lean ground beef for most recipes, unless it's burgers or meatballs. I think those two need a bit of the fat found in ground beef.  For this recipe, I used one pound of an 85% lean ground beef.  Place ground beef in large bowl. Add in two tablespoons of the finely diced onions, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoon of freeze-dried basil and oregano. If using fresh, use a heaping tablespoon of each herb.  If using dried, follow the freeze-dried amounts.  Again, I do not add salt, if you want to, add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, according to your tastes. 
  • Beat one egg in a small bowl and add it into the bowl with the ground beef and seasonings.  Lastly, add about 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal (or panko bread crumbs) to the bowl.
  • Using clean hands (I find this is easiest so that you don't overwork the meat) mix everything until just combined.  I like to make the meatballs about two inches in diameter, so from one pound of meat, I can get about 18 meatballs.  Roll the meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet. 
  • Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes – you want to undercook them slightly.  Remove from oven and place in saucepan with sauce.  Gently mix in and cover and let simmer for at least an hour.  
  • Cook your spaghetti noodles according to the package directions and drain.  Serve with the sauce and meatballs. Don't forget the Parmesan cheese and garlic bread!  

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Blogghetti” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Tried this recipe?I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this one! I hope you try it, enjoy it, comment and rate it, and share it with your friends and family!

Other Meatball Recipes You May Enjoy

Celebrating National Meatball Day!

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