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side view shot of a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs
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4.69 from 76 votes

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs is a classic comfort food and pretty much everyone's favorite. A classic dish with delicious and hearty meatballs in a simple flavorful and tasty tomato sauce served over spaghetti. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: italian food, meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs
Servings: 8
Calories: 639kcal


For Meatballs

  • 3 slices white bread
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano dried or fresh
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

For Sauce and Everything else

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 56 oz crushed tomatoes (2 28 oz cans)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper or to taste
  • 2 large basil sprigs
  • 1 lb spaghetti uncooked
  • Parmesan cheese


  • Break the bread slices into pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour the milk over them and let the bread soak for about 10 minutes.
  • To the same bowl add the remaining meatball ingredients. Mix well using your clean hands. Shape the meatball mixture into balls around the size of a golf ball. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the meatballs and saute until brown and cooked through. Turn them often so they hold their shape. You might also need to do this in a couple batches, depends on how big or small your meatballs are and the size of your skillet. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes per batch.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside. If there's too much oil in your skillet, drain some of it out. You need about 1 tbsp of fat remaining in skillet. 
  • Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until onion is soft and becomes translucent. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth and scrape all the brown bits from the meatballs, this will add flavor to the sauce. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and basil springs. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce a bit.
  • While the sauce is simmering cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. 
  • If your sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin it out a bit until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Place pasta in a large bowl and add about 1 to 2 cups of the sauce to the pasta and toss well. Add the meatballs to the remaining sauce in the skillet and toss. Serve the meatballs over spaghetti, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley or basil.



  1. Before making your meatballs, you can place the meatball mixture in the fridge for 1 hour to up to a day. This will help the meatballs hold their shape while cooking. Since I baked these, I wasn't afraid of them losing shape, but if you choose to fry them instead, you might want to refrigerate the meat first for about an hour.
  2. Alternatively you can bake the meatballs at 400 F degrees for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
  3. If you feel like the amount this recipe yields is too much, you can hover your cursor over the number of servings in the recipe card. A slider will appear, and you can change the number of servings. The recipe will change accordingly.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 704mg | Potassium: 1174mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 789IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 6mg