Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs


This is an Italian-style pasta sauce with homemade meatballs that's cooked slowly over low heat for an intense tomato flavor. It's easy to make the spaghetti sauce ahead of time; gently reheat and add meatballs 30 minutes before you're ready to serve with your favorite pasta.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
6 servings

Whether you're looking for a spaghetti sauce with meatballs for your next spaghetti night, a meatball sub, or any other Italian recipe, you have just found the best recipe on the internet. This simple recipe shows you how to make homemade meatballs with a delicious and fresh tomato sauce.

We promise you will never go back to store-bought meatballs or spaghetti sauce ever again! We recommend getting a big pot ready because you'll want to double (or triple) this recipe.

a low angle view looking into a single serving of spaghetti topped with a red sauce, meatballs, and parmesan cheese.
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce With Meatballs

You'll find the full step-by-step recipe below, but here's what you can expect from this easy recipe:

Make the Meatballs

Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, black pepper, garlic powder, and egg in a bowl. Form into meatballs. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

While we love this method, some reviewers like to brown the meatballs before adding them to the sauce to lock in the flavor.

Make the Sauce

In a large saucepan, combine garlic, onion, tomatoes, salt, sugar, and a bay leaf. Simmer those ingredients for 90 minutes.

Add the Meatballs

Add tomato paste, basil, pepper, and the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes (or until meatballs are cooked).

How to Use Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

This recipe makes the perfect, versatile sauce for any Italian-inspired dish. You can serve it over your favorite pasta for an easy dinner. Or you can try one of these mouthwatering recipes.

Meatball Sandwich
Meatball Sub Casserole
Spaghetti Bread

How to Store Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

Store this spaghetti sauce with meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for three to five days.

Can you Freeze Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs?

Absolutely, and it's actually a great idea! You'll want to brown the meatballs first before freezing them, however.

If you make a big batch of sauce, add a few meatballs to zip-top freezer bags and top with sauce. Label the bags and freeze them flat. Sauce will remain fresh for up to three months.

You can also freeze the sauce and meatballs separately. Simply ladle the sauce in zip-top freezer bags and freeze them flat.

To freeze meatballs, first brown them, then place them on a baking sheet. Freeze the baking sheet for a few hours (or overnight), until the meatballs are solid. Transfer the frozen meatballs to a zip-top freezer bag.

Sauce and meatballs will remain fresh for up to three months.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Great recipe and always well received by the family! I quickly pan fry the meatballs just enough to get the outsides brown, but not cooked all the way through. It adds firmness and nice color. I have also made this successfully in the crackpot and let it simmer for hours," says BigHungryBrownBear.

"My boyfriend is Italian and this is as close to home as he's ever felt since his move to Minnesota to be with me. He loved this recipe but he did insist that I bake the meatballs prior to adding them to the sauce. I use this recipe at least 3 times a month," according to holliollie83.

"Great recipe. I made this just as it stated and it turned out wonderful. I added a little bit more parmesan cheese but besides that it was great on its own. I was worried about not cooking the meatballs first but they cooked perfectly in the sauce. I will make these again for sure. No need to buy premade meatballs when these are so easy," raves Jackie Applegate.

Editorial contributions by Bailey Fink



  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 egg, beaten


  • ¾ cup chopped onion

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed.

  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more.

    a low angle view looking into a single serving of spaghetti topped with a red sauce, meatballs, and parmesan cheese.
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

347 Calories
21g Fat
23g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 347
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 1493mg 65%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 140mg 11%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 1023mg 22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love