Skip to Content

Easy Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

This Easy Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is not only a family favorite and a regular in our dinner rotation, but it is also one the recipes on the site that I am most proud of. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Easy Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

My favorite meal has always been spaghetti and meatballs. When I was young my favorite was Ragu. Not Prego. No chunks of anything, either. My tastes have changed a bit as I’ve grown older, thank goodness!

Now I make the sauce myself…kind of. I don’t usually have access to fresh tomatoes good enough to cook down into my own sauce, so I cheat and used canned. It’s not exactly “homemade”, but I can control the ingredients, flavor, and accents much better than buying jarred sauce.

I have a BUNCH of recipes on the site that are a variation of this. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce & Herbed Marinara for an example!

My favorite way to make this sauce though is with good homemade meatballs!

What kind of tomato sauce works best for marinara?

You can use whatever brand of sauce and tomatoes that you want, but you’ll discover different brands lend very different flavors to the end result. Experiment and find your favorite, but be aware that the amount of seasonings you will need can vary greatly if you don’t use the same base ingredients that I am using.

Start by sautéing some thinly sliced and chopped onion in olive oil over medium-low heat. While the onions are cooking, start your meatballs. Stir the onions frequently and cook until translucent.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Take one slice of whole wheat bread and pour enough milk over it on a plate to thoroughly soak it. Squeeze the excess milk lightly from the bread, and tear into small chunks. Place into a bowl. Use 1 large egg, 1-2 TBSP chopped garlic, 2 tsp garlic salt, 2 TBSP super-finely chopped onions, ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp oregano, and a few shakes of ground black pepper.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Mix all of this together well, either with a fork or with your hands. Make sure the bread is mixed well and there are no chunks of it in the meat.

Spaghetti and Meatballs from

Form into small meatballs, approximately 1 inch in diameter. You can make them bigger if you prefer, but I find that they fall apart more easily if they are bigger, and they take much longer to cook through. Brown the meatballs in the same pot you are cooking the onion in. Scoot the onion over to one side of the pan and stir now and then to make sure they don’t burn.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

After all the meatballs have been browned, remove from the pan leaving the onion behind.

Spaghetti and Meatballs from

Add to pan 2 TBSP of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 28 oz can of Dei Fratelli All-Purpose Italian Sauce, 1 – 28oz can of Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce, and 1 14.5 or 15oz can of your favorite diced tomatoes. Add in ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp of chopped fresh basil (or substitute 2 tsp dried basil), and ½ tsp oregano.

Add in a little bit of the water to make sure the sauce isn’t too thick.

You want the sauce to have something to cook off so it’s not too thick in the end and so things don’t stick or scorch on the bottom. Add in the meatballs, stir gently on a regular basis, and cook an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until meatballs are cooked through. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs from

Top with a high-quality parmesan, and serve with your favorite pasta, caesar salad, and fresh garlic bread.

Spaghetti and Meatballs from

Have you heard of a Spaghetti Fork??

This little utensil is the greatest thing you’ve never heard of. You can twirl to your heart’s content and the pasta will NEVER SLIDE OFF. It is amazing. Is it a little ridiculous? Sure. But if you are as serious about your spaghetti as I am, it is ridiculously necessary.

Yield: 8 servings

Easy Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

Easy Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

This easy spaghetti and meatballs recipe is made from scratch and is one of our favorite meals, ever!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes



  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Onion sliced
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 slice Whole Wheat Bread
  • 1/4 cup or enough to soak bread Milk
  • 1 Egg large
  • 2 TBSP Garlic diced finely
  • 2 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 2 TBSP Onion finely sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Basil dried
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano dried
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper


  • 2 TBSP Garlic diced
  • 28 oz can Dei Fratelli All-Purpose Italian Sauce
  • 28 oz can Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce
  • 14.5 - 15 oz Canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Basil chopped
  • 2 tsp Fresh Oregano chopped
  • 1-2 cups Water


  1. Heat onion & olive oil in large sauce pan over medium-low heat, and saute until translucent. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Soak whole wheat bread with milk and squeeze out excess. Tear into small chunks and put into a mixing bowl with egg, garlic, garlic salt, onion, dried basil, dried oregano, and black pepper. Mix well until bread and seasonings are well combined with meat.
  3. Form into small 1 inch in diameter balls. Turn heat in sauce pan up to medium and brown meat balls. Remove from pan when brown and set aside.
  4. Add 2 TBSP chopped garlic to sauce pan and saute approximately 1 minute.
  5. Add all other sauce ingredients except the water, and heat to a simmer. Return meat balls to pan, reduce heat to low, and simmer on low stirring frequently until meat balls are cooked through and sauce is your desired thickness. You'll want to add some water to the sauce if it starts getting too thick. How much you'll need depends on what brand of sauces and tomatoes you are using. Just keep an eye out and add some as necessary.
  6. Enjoy with fresh grated parmesan, hot pasta, fresh garlic bread, and caesar salad.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1613mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 13gSugar: 21gProtein: 19g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

Love this recipe? Tell your friends!

Follow on Instagram for more!

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

chris mergener

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Hi Nicole, I just read the recipe for the spaghetti and meatballs and would like to make this soon but I have a question. In the recipe for the sauce under the picture it says to add the 1-2 cups of water but in the print out directions (#4) is says to add all other sauce ingredients EXCEPT the water. Please clarify. Thanks,. :)

Nicole Johnson

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Hey Chris! Thanks for catching that! I updated the recipe and the post. Basically you just want to add enough water so the meatballs can simmer and cook without anything sticking to the bottom or the sauce getting too thick, but not so much that it makes the sauce watery.

My Favorite Italian Salad - Sugar Dish Me

Monday 4th of February 2019

[…] for other meals that pair well with this, you will FOR SURE want to add my friend Nicole’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs to your list. She does it […]

Meatball Stuffed Manicotti » Or Whatever You Do

Thursday 9th of June 2016

[…] you craving something a little different than the typical spaghetti and meatballs? I’ve got a great one for you today. This meatball stuffed manicotti doesn’t even […]

Skip to Recipe