Table of Contents
  1. The ingredients that make these such good meatballs
  2. Watch how to make these meatballs with spaghetti
  3. Meatballs with Spaghetti Recipe

Meatballs with spaghetti is a meal that’s always talked about, but how often do we actually make own our meatballs? Probably not often enough! Spaghetti is probably made more often, but that’s why this recipe is specifically titled “meatballs with spaghetti.” It’s all about the meatballs, giving them a starring role with a quick, fresh-style tomato sauce that works perfectly with spaghetti.

Meatballs really are made with simple ingredients, but there are a few steps that make all the difference in achieving a tender, juicy, and flavorful finish. The most important step is the panade, which is made with milk and bread. This paste transforms the meat and helps it stay soft.

Top down view of white plates filled with meatballs and spaghetti with pan filled with red sauce and more meatballs all on white countertop

The ingredients that make these such good meatballs

  • Bread is essential in creating a meatball that is juicy and tender rather than dry and tough. I make it simple by using whatever fresh bread is on hand in my house. Since that usually tends to be an artisanal-style bread, I remove the crusts. This way, the bread can be broken down easier when combined with the milk.
  • Milk is mixed with the bread to create a soft paste. To add the most flavor, I use whole milk when possible.
  • Beef is one half of the meat mixture. The better the quality of beef, the better the flavor. I use an 85% lean beef to ensure there is enough fat for good flavor.
  • Pork is the other half of the meat. Pork is naturally lean and adds a lighter flavor. It also cuts through some of the heaviness of the beef.
  • Dried basil and dried oregano are the perfect way to add herbs without needing to have fresh varieties on hand. The dried herbs contain so much flavor and will really give these meatballs a terrific seasoning.
  • Egg will help bind all the ingredients together and create a cohesive mixture. Trust me: one egg makes all the difference!
  • Grated onion is the best to to ensure the onion is evenly worked into the meatballs. Pieces or chunks of onion are not desirable, and grating is the ideal way to ensure the onion is in fine pieces.
  • Garlic rounds out all of the flavors. Make sure it is well minced or use a garlic press to ensure it will combine evenly with the other ingredients.
  • Parmesan cheese adds the final seasoning. The salty funky flavor inherent in Parmesan provides the perfect finish to the meatballs.
Meatball sitting in red tomato sauce sliced in half showing inside of meatball with spaghetti on plate in background

These meatballs really could eat like a meal on their own. But when they’re paired with the sauce and the spaghetti, they truly become an all-in-one meal. The ingredients are mostly pantry staples, yet somehow taste as though they took more work and effort than they really did.

The simplicity of this recipe is the key to why you’ll keep coming back to it time and again!

Top down view of meatballs sitting in red sauce in silver saucepan with tongs

Watch how to make these meatballs with spaghetti

YouTube video
Top down view of white plate filled with spaghetti and meatballs sitting on white countertop with a white napkin

Meatballs with Spaghetti

5 from 9 votes
There's no more iconic pairing than meatballs with spaghetti. A lot of times, the noodle is the main focus of meals made at home. But this recipe focuses on the meatball and complements it with a delicious homemade sauce. When mixed together, it's a match that's made in heaven!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings


For the meatballs

  • 2 slices bread crust removed
  • cup whole milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp grated onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese

For the sauce

  • 1 small onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes (with juice)

For the pasta

  • 12 oz spaghetti


For the meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a small bowl, tear the slices of bread (with the crust removed) into small pieces. Add the milk and mash into a paste. Then set aside.
    2 slices bread, ⅓ cup whole milk
  • In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, prepared bread paste, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, egg, onion, garlic, and Parmesan. Using hands, combine and work together until the mixture is very evenly mixed. Do not worry about overmixing. Make sure it is evenly combined. Portion the mixture into 12 equal meatballs and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
    1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork, 1 ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, 1 large egg, 3 tbsp grated onion, 2 oz Parmesan cheese, 3 cloves garlic
  • In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Repeat with the second half of meatballs. Once all the meatballs are browned, return to the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven. Bake until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160°F, about 15-18 minutes.

For the sauce

  • Heat the same skillet the meatballs were browned in over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds, salt, and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer for 20 minutes.
    1 small onion, 2 cloves garlic, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp salt, 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • When the sauce is finished, dress the spaghetti to personal preference and use the remaining sauce with the meatballs.
    12 oz spaghetti


Serving: 1servingCalories: 741kcalCarbohydrates: 67.9gProtein: 43.1gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 12.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 13.5gTrans Fat: 0.7gCholesterol: 145.1mgSodium: 1876.6mgPotassium: 1230.1mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 75.2IUVitamin C: 23.8mgCalcium: 308.7mgIron: 9.2mg
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. I m obsessed with all your recipes. I print out
    All the recipes. There’s not one recipe that isn’t awesome.
    I love Wyse Guide and share.
    Don’t tell Kaleb but I’ve adopted him😂.
    Thanks Mr Kaleb For all Your great blogs,recipes,videos and gardenings. Im learning alot at 71!
    Be safe and Goodluck with your website. Your doing fantastic! So is Joel with the editing side.

  2. EVERY SINGLE recipe I have made of yours has been beyond excellent…and this one no different!!!
    My husband thinks I should open a restaurant!!
    Thank you so much for sharing these delicious recipes in the most delightful videos ♥️👍😘

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Kaleb,

    I followed your instructions and made your meatballs – so easy and delicious. I watched the video about 10 times before trying this and, sorry for being so OCD, noticed the Thyme added and mentioned in the video, when preparing the meatballs, isn’t mentioned in your meatball ingredients (above). I assume its a teaspoon of Thyme – which mirrors the quantity in the meatball sauce.

    Regards David.

  4. 5 stars
    Dear Kaleb.

    Great to see the addition of the “1 tsp dried thyme” ingredient in the meatball recipe.

    Not a criticism, but just want everyone everywhere to enjoy your gorgeous meatball recipe as you intended:-

    There is just a small typo between platforms (hence this email):-
    On Facebook, this meatball recipe ingredient calls for “1/2 tsp dried thyme”, not “1 tsp dried thyme”.

    Thank you.

    Regards David.

  5. I canned pickles yesterday using your recipe for spicy garlic. They look wonderful I can hardly wait to try. Very simple to do
    Thank you so much

  6. 5 stars
    Kaleb, Brenda, Jacque, Billy – my internet “Go to Guys” for meal preparation ideas and recipes!
    I appreciate the simplicity of your instruction and the easy availability of the ingredients you use, most items are within easy reach. I hope you realize your value to all your followers.

  7. 5 stars
    I made these today and they were awesome.
    In addition to the beef and pork I added chorizo sausage mince.
    Absolutely delicious.