Traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

For all the Italian recipes I’ve brought you over the years I felt there was one classic that was noticeably absent. So today I’m rectifying that and bringing you a dish that every household should have their go-to recipe for. And that meal is Traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs.

I come from an area (eh hem pretty much all of New Jersey) that is heavily populated with Italian families. I have found that most local people I know make their own Spaghetti and Meatballs. This recipe could be passed down from a grandmother, a replica from a favorite restaurant, or a personal own creation. But, I also take for granted that I live in an area where AMAZING Italian food is a dime a dozen. And that’s why I wanted to bring you all this recipe. I know that my readership spans well beyond New Jersey. And that said, you all deserve to eat good pasta! However; first you need the right recipe to follow along with.

This recipe is a blend of Italian flavors my own family passed down to me and my own techniques and flair I’ve refined over time. There is one note I’ll share on this dish. And that is, in my humble opinion, Spaghetti and Meatballs is a dish you want to enjoy at home. I almost never order it out. I find it’s best enjoyed surrounded by your family around a big table, with crusty bread, a bottle of table wine, and great conversation. But don’t just take my word, try it for yourself, I bet you’ll agree!

This recipe is your ticket to being Italian-American for the night. Together with my easy at home instructions above and the recipe steps below and you’ll have an evening to remember.

…all for the love of the dish


Traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2, 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2, 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2, 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • For the meatballs:
  • 2 lbs of meatloaf mixture OR ( 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb ground pork, 1/2 lb ground veal)
  • 1 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 lb spaghetti


  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot on medium/high heat. Add diced onion and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add all cans of tomatoes and spices.
  3. Bring to a bubbling simmer. Then reduce heat to low. Cook for at least 1 hour stirring occasionally. *Note I like to cook mine for 3 Hours if I have the time but 1 hour is just fine!
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets and coat with cooking spray.
  6. Mix all meatballs ingredients by hand until well blended and breadcrumbs can no longer be felt coursely by the hand.
  7. Roll meatballs into small palm size balls. The mixture should make about 2 dozen meatballs.
  8. Bake the meatballs on the lined baking sheets for 25 minutes.
  9. Add about 15 meatballs to the marinara sauce. Bring heat to medium and simmer while pasta cooks. *note you will have extra meatballs. You can freeze, make more sauce or use in a difference recipe!
  10. Cook 1 lb of spaghetti according to box directions. Divide out in bowls and top with sauce and 2-3 meatballs each.
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