This classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe makes a simple, family-friendly dinner that is as perfect for a weeknight as it is for a cozy Sunday dinner.
I remember as a kid being so excited every time my mom would start making her famous spaghetti and meatballs recipe. It was my favorite!
Something about helping her measure out the breadcrumbs to sprinkle into the meatball mixture and the smell of the sauce stewing together on the stove just smelled like comfort to me.
This classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe is fully inspired by the spaghetti and meatballs my mom made us as kids.
It's the kind of dinner that you can serve with a crusty loaf of bread, a big green salad and it's as perfect on a chilly weeknight as it is for Sunday night dinner.
How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs
I like to prepare spaghetti and meatballs in much the same way as my mom did when I was growing up.
To get started you will need the ingrdients for your sauce and the ingredients for your meatballs.
I always prepare my meatball mixture first and roll the meatballs, then place them onto a baking sheet or other tray once formed.
Then I pop the tray into the freezer so the meatballs can firm up a bit.
The next step in making spaghetti and meatballs is cooking the spaghetti. To keep things simple I generally use basic, dry spaghetti.
Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted water to the specifications on the packaging, until the spaghetti is al dente.
In the meantime, I'll also warm olive oil in a big cast iron skillet so I can brown the meatballs when I pull them from the freezer.
After browning the meatballs, I'll set them to drain on paper towel and build my sauce right in the same skillet.
Once it has simmered for a while, I add the meatballs back into the sauce and simmer for a while longer.
Finally, everything gets served over the spaghetti and topped with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.
You might be wondering what meat is best to use when making meatballs. It's a common question to ask!
I make spaghetti and meatballs in the tradition of my mother's recipe, which involves multiple kinds of ground meat, cheese, herbs, eggs and breadcumbs.
Generally I make meatballs with the following:
- Ground veal
- Ground pork
- Ground beef
- Breadcrumbs (I prefer using panko crumbs)
- Parmesan cheese
- Parsley (you could also add basil and/or oregano)
- Salt and pepper to taste
While you can absolutely use just ground beef if that's what you have on hand, using a combination of ground meats adds a richness and depth of flavor that is lovely in a meatball.
Alternately, you could use half ground beef and half ground sausage to add a lot of savory flavor.
If you opt for the sausage, I suggest a mild or sweet sausage as opposed to a hot sausge to suit a wider range of palates.
You can always top your spaghetti and meatballs with crushed red pepper flake (and I suggest it) to add a touch of heat to suit your own taste.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti and Meatballs?
I love serving this classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe for any casual family dinner or dinner party, but it's also a great dish to prep ahead.
If you're wondering how to freeze spaghetti and meatballs, there are a couple of options. Either way, you can safely freeze spaghetti and meatballs for up to six months.
- Combine your prepared spaghetti, meatballs and sauce until throughouly mixed together. Cool completely. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze.
- Dish the prepared sauce and meatballs into separate freezer-safe containers. Cool completely. Freeze for up to six months and prepare spaghetti when ready to serve.
- Combine prepared spaghetti, meatballs and sauce until throughouly mixed together. Cool completely. Portion into individual servings and spoon into portion-sized freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to six months.
How to Reheat Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs is a dish that reheats easily and is often even tastier the next day!
If you are reheating spaghetti and meatballs that you have previously frozen, it is best to first thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Alternately, when in a time crunch, you can use the defrost mode on your microwave to speed up the thawing process.
For a large batch of spaghetti and meatballs, transfer everything to a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and place in an oven preheated to 350°F.
Warm in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the spaghetti and meatballs are warmed through. It may take more or less time depending on how much you are reheating.
To reheat indiviual portions, lightly spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and warm over medium heat until warmed through.
How to Serve Spaghetti and Meatballs
I believe spaghetti and meatballs are best served with a great crusty loaf of bread.
Because spaghetti and meatballs can be a bit heavy, I like brightening the meal up with a fresh green salad such as an arugula and apple salad.
More Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipes
We are no strangers to a good spaghetti and meatballs recipe around here - we happen to love this one for Instant Pot turkey meatballs with spaghetti!
For a totally unique spin on meatballs these Tex Mex enchilada meatballs can't be missed! They are a crowd favorite every time.
If you or someone in your family can't eat gluten free, these slow cooker turkey meatballs are gluten free, tangy and delicious.
Not to be forgotten, these easy sweet and sour meatballs are perfect for dinner or as a party appetizer!
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