Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe

This classic Ground Beef meatball recipe will never let you down! Make this Italian family favorite a dinner staple in your house.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes

  • 1 pound Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (26 to 30 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, cooked
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine meatball ingredients in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into twelve 2-inch meatballs. Place on rack in broiler pan. Bake in 350°F oven 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Cook's Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed Ground Beef. Ground Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of Ground Beef doneness.
  3. Combine meatballs and spaghetti sauce in large saucepan; heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve over spaghetti; sprinkle with cheese.
Alternative Cooking Method
  1. Recipe can be made in a 8-quart Air Fryer. Heat Air Fryer to 350°F. Combine meatball ingredients in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 12 2-inch meatballs. Place in Air Fryer basket sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 24 to 27 minutes.

Nutrition Information


26 % *

4.3g SAT FAT

23 % DV **


76 % DV

5.5 mg IRON

30 % DV

7.8 mg ZINC

70 % DV

* Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
** Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet

Nutrition information per serving: 522 Calories; 121.5 Calories from fat; 13.5g Total Fat (4.3 g Saturated Fat; 0.2 g Trans Fat; 2.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat; 4.5 g Monounsaturated Fat;) 135 mg Cholesterol; 1282 mg Sodium; 61 g Total Carbohydrate; 5.7 g Dietary Fiber; 38 g Protein; 5.5 mg Iron; 1169 mg Potassium; 15.2 mg NE Niacin; 0.9 mg Vitamin B6; 2.9 mcg Vitamin B12; 7.8 mg Zinc; 65.2 mcg Selenium; 159 mg Choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Iron, Potassium, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Selenium, and Choline.


Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

To twirl or not to twirl? This Italian derived dish is full of Ground Beef meatballs simmered in herb seasoned tomato sauce served over spaghetti. Many versions exist, even ones passed down through family generations, that may include wine, vine-ripened tomatoes or a blend of secret family spices. Our version is simply seasoned and topped with common favorites, shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

The Essential Ingredients

  • Ground Beef - also called ‘hamburger’ by some; this product is made by grinding beef cuts and beef trim. This recipe calls for lean Ground Beef (93/7). Ground Beef that is 93% lean or leaner meets government guidelines for “lean.” If you’re trying to choose lean meats, this is an excellent choice for you. It works well in dishes that require crumbles, however any leanness of Ground Beef (or what you have on hand) works well in this recipe… just be sure to drain any remaining fat after cooking.
  • Breadcrumbs - either fresh or dried breadcrumbs can be used in these meatballs. Use what you prefer or have on hand. The breadcrumbs are a 'binder' ingredient and help the meatballs hold their shape and not fall apart while cooking.
  • Onion & Garlic - you know that captivating smell wafting around the kitchen when you’re cooking? Succulent, sweet onion and garlic are the ingredients responsible! Not only that, but they are great flavor enhancers to the dish.
  • Sauce - our recipe calls for your favorite storebought pasta sauce (and there are some great ones out there), however substitute homemade sauce, from garden vegetables, if you have it on hand.

Tips and Tricks

  • Baking the meatballs provides walk-away convenience and ease, however if you prefer you can brown meatballs on the stovetop, in a large skillet before baking. Browning = flavor!
  • Be careful of overworking the meat mixture…. or you’ll have tough meatballs! Mix ingredients just until the meat mixture comes together, and then loosely shape into meatballs.
  • This is the perfect recipe to make for guests, with its make-ahead versatility. The meatballs and sauce can be made ahead and combined and heated through before guests arrive.
  • Cook the meatballs in the sauce for a more balanced and well-rounded flavor.

Flavor Variations to Spice it up

Flavor Variations to Spice it up

Tickle your taste buds with Greek flavors tonight. Enjoy these sub sandwiches packed with Greek beef meatballs, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and a creamy feta-yogurt sauce.

Swedish Meatballs make a delicious main course or appetizer. The flavorful meatballs are made with a famously creamy sauce.

These cheese-stuffed Ground Beef meatball arancini are sure to be a hit at your next party.

Enjoy this hearty Tuscan-style Ground Beef meatball soup chock-full of vegetables, beans and grains.

Marcia Smart will help you take that ground beef recipe from ordinary to extraordinary with these beefy tips and tricks.

Ideas for using leftover Ground Beef

Ideas for using leftover Ground Beef

Buying Ground Beef in bulk? Here are ways to cook it and make versatile meals for your family.

  1. Classic Beef Sloppy Joes are a family favorite and easy meal to prepare in under 30 minutes.
  2. This one-dish Korean Beef Skillet is a delicious way to enhance Ground Beef with fresh vegetables.
  3. Meatloaf is an all-time crowd pleaser! This version uses a sheet pan with less cleanup for a speedy solution to mealtime.
  4. Chili is a make ahead favorite and freezes beautifully for easy, weeknight dinners ready for reheating.

Safe Handling Tips

  • Wash hands with soap and water before cooking and always after touching raw meat.
  • Separate raw meat from other foods.
  • Wash all cutting boards, utensils, and dishes after touching raw meat.
  • Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods.
  • Wash all produce prior to use.
  • Cook Ground Beef to 160°F as measured by a meat thermometer.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

For more information on degree of doneness and other cooking tips visit:

For more information on safe food handling and beef safety, see:



  • Can I use other pasta besides spaghetti?
  • Yes! Angel hair or fettuccine pasta works well; veggie noodles are a great substitute if you are looking for a low-carb option.
  • Can I use my homemade sauce versus store bought?
  • Absolutely! Substitute the same amount of scratch made pasta sauce into this dish.
  • Can you freeze this dish?
  • Place leftover spaghetti and meatballs into a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • I don't have lean Ground Beef on hand, can I use 80/20 Ground Beef in this dish?
  • Yes, any leanness of Ground Beef can be used in this dish, however, drain the beef before mixing with the spaghetti sauce.
  • What other pasta recipes can I make with Ground Beef?
  • Four Way Baked Mini Meatballs is a great dish to try! It shares how to turn into 4 unique dishes using meatballs.
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