The Best Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

A black bowl of homemade spaghetti and meatballs on a white checkered plate. A salad and another bowl of spaghetti and meatballs sit in the corner of the photo.

5 from 3 reviews

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs seem to always be a family favorite in any household. Extra-large and tender meatballs swim in a sea of mouth-watering marinara sauce.



Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Chopped Onions
  • 8 large Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 328 ounce can Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (I prefer Glen Muir)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped Fresh Oregano, divided
  • 1 cup chopped Fresh Basil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Fennel Seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar

Homemade Meatballs

  • 1 pound Ground Veal
  • 1 pound Ground Lamb
  • 1 pound Ground Beef (80/20)
  • 1 medium Finely Chopped Onion
  • 6 large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/21 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seed
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Freshly Chopped Italian Parsely


Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • Heat a Dutch Oven or a large heavy bottom pan over mediun-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot. Lower the heat to medium and add 2 cups chopped onions and cook until tender and translucent, approximately 8-10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Add 8 large minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir for one minute.
  • Place the Dutch Oven back on the heat and immediately add 3/4 cup dry white wine. Turn the heat to medium-high and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to a low boil and continue to cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  • Add 3 – 28-ounce cans of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano,  1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 1/2 teaspoon onion and garlic powder, 1 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.  Cool slightly.
  • Using a food mill with a medium blade and grind the marinara sauce through it.
  • Simmer for one to two hours.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oregano and 1/2 cup of basil the last 15 minutes before serving.

Homemade Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 pound each of ground veal, ground lamb, ground beef, 1 medium finely chopped onion, 4 tablespoons large minced garlic cloves, 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder, 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to taste), 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley.
  • Using a small ice-cream scoop, scoop out a round of the meat mixture (2 ounces each). Gently roll out the meat mixture into balls. Do not over handle at this stage.
  • Place the meatballs on a baking sheet leaving space between them.
  • Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender but fully cooked. Be careful not overcook them.
  • Immediately remove the meatballs from the baking sheet and let them drain on layers of paper towels.
  • Add the meatballs to the marinara sauce and simmer for the remaining time.

Serve the marinara sauce with the meatballs over al dente spaghetti noodles. 


  • The best way to add “fresh” herbs to the marinara sauce is 1/2 at the beginning and 1/2 at the end of cooking. The first addition will just become part of the sauce while the later one will retain its freshness and flavor. If you use “dried” herbs, add all of them at the beginning of cooking to simmer all the way through.
  • Don’t throw your parmesan rinds away, toss one into your sauce while it’s simmering. It won’t melt, only soften and then you can remove it before you serve the sauce. Throw your rinds in a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer for when you need them.
  • If you don’t have a food mill, there’s no need to go out and purchase one. You can get similar results with pureeing in a food processor. Just be careful putting really hot sauce in a food processor or blender as it can blow the lid off and make a mess of your kitchen.
  • Some people like chunky sauces, so if that’s you, leave the sauce the way it is. Chop the onions much smaller though.
  • Don’ overmix the ingredients for the meatballs. It will make for a tougher meatball. How the meat is handled has a direct impact on how tender it is. Mix with your hands and only until the ingredients are combined.
  • Use gentleness when forming the meatballs. You don’t want them compressed and tightly packed, otherwise, they become tough, dense and rubbery.
  • Lightly coat your hands with oil while you are rolling the meat mixture into balls. It helps with the meat not sticking to your hands.
  • Use a small ice-cream scoop and then gently roll the meatballs with your hands. This way you’re not over-handling them.
  • When the meatballs come out of the oven, immediately pull them off the baking sheet and place them on several sheets of paper towels in order for the grease to be absorbed.
  • An added bonus is the meatballs in the sauce can be frozen for up to three months. Let the spaghetti and meatballs cool completely and ladle them into either a large ziplock bag or smaller bags for individual servings.


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