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Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

One evening, we had unexpected company. Since I had the ingredients on hand, I made this spaghetti and meatballs recipe. Everyone raved! This classic recipe makes a big batch and is perfect for entertaining. —Mary Lou Koskella, Prescott, Arizona
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 2 hours
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups soft bread cubes (cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds spaghetti, cooked


  • In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions; saute until softened. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in tomato paste; cook 3-5 minutes. Add next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 50 minutes.
  • Combine the first 7 meatball ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  • In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add meatballs; brown in batches until no longer pink. Drain. Add to sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until flavors are blended, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with hot cooked spaghetti.

Test Kitchen Tip
  • Instead of frying, you can bake the meatballs at 400° on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet until golden brown. It will take about 20 minutes or so.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1/2 cup sauce with 4 meatballs and 1-1/4 cups spaghetti: 519 calories, 18g fat (6g saturated fat), 106mg cholesterol, 1043mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 4g fiber), 30g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Celeste
      May 12, 2019

      Today I personally made this all by myself and I got to say it was the best spaghetti I have ever tasted I had the honor to share with my in-laws and my nephews and they couldn’t stop asking for seconds. My son couldn’t stop telling me how good my food was. I am so satisfied that everybody Love the recipe.

    • svale
      Nov 17, 2018

      Finally! A recipe for spaghetti sauce that doesn't use some type of chopped tomatoes! My grandmother always made her sauce with tomato paste and tomato sauce so it never had those clumps of tomatoes in it. Great recipe!

    • barbara
      Dec 19, 2017

      When my husband says that something is great, you can count on it. Served these meatballs to guests and they were very well received. I used the oven-baking method.

    • motherofdogs
      Dec 11, 2017

      A very good recipe, both for the sauce and for the meatballs. I baked the meatballs on a sheet pan lined with no-stick foil, setting my oven's "convection bake" feature for 400 degrees for maybe 21 minutes, rotating the trays from upper rack to lower rack when halfway done. They browned up fine. Used a very lean ground round, so there was hardly any fat on the pan. For breadcrumbs, I put slices of whole grain white bread in my miniature food processor, which gave me soft, very fine breadcrumbs. The meat mixture was soft, but rolling them wasn't difficult, and not much stuck to my hands. I'll make this again!

    • Nan Mock
      Dec 7, 2017

      Very tasty sauce and a great, homey dinner! I opted to bake the meatballs instead of frying them, and this still fit with the time-frame of the recipe.

    • SouthernMaster
      Oct 9, 2017

      @delucak: You didn't even try it & gave it one star?? Great recipe!!

    • Lady Fingers
      Oct 9, 2017

      A really good recipe. Mild, garlicky meatballs with a great texture. I froze the extras on a cookie sheet and then bagged them in single meal portions.

    • justmbeth
      Oct 8, 2017

      I've been making this for quite a few years. It's really good. I make meatball subs with any leftover meatballs. Freeze well too.

    • greatwithoutgluten
      Oct 8, 2017

      So good! We loved this recipe and will be making it again. I used gluten free bread and it turned out wonderful. Great recipe!

    • curlylis85
      Sep 3, 2017

      Soft, juicy meatballs, flavorful sauce, and a great crowd-pleaser!