Mmmmm …. Spaghetti & Meatballs

So you’re wondering how to make spaghetti and meatballs.  Try this easy and undeniably delicious version. Or don’t. But then you’ll be missing out on something realllyyyyyyy good.


Skip right to the recipe.

I wanna talk about spaghetti & meatballs. Kind of because it’s spaghetti & meatball season and kind of because  I often want to talk about spaghetti & meatballs. Whenever there’s a chance to work spaghetti & meatballs into a conversation I do.   I suggest you do the same, for it will change your life; only and always for the better.

Take these conversations I recently made up, for example:

My mother:  “I don’t really like your hair that way, dear. You look like a squirrel..”
Me:  “Do you like spaghetti & meatballs?”
My mother:  “Oh my Lord! I LOVE spaghetti & meatballs. I remember this one time when your father and I … is that a new hairdo? It looks sharp!”

Another example:

Your Boss:   “Did you finish that assignment I gave you today?”
You:   “No. You can suck it. I’m taking a 5 hour lunch today that will involve eating spaghetti & meatballs, you miserable wound.”
Your Boss:   “Did you say spaghetti & meatballs? I LOVE spaghetti & meatballs. Hey! When’s the last time I gave you a raise?  Or a day off for no reason?  And do you have a company car? You totally need a company car. Jeez … I can’t believe you love spaghetti & meatballs. I love ’em too.”

There’s just something about spaghetti and meatballs that brings out the best in us.  And by “us” I mean human beings, dogs, cats, most other animals and the occasional stray from outer space.

There are a multitude of ways to cook spaghetti & meatballs including using fresh tomatoes, but my preferred way is to use tomato sauce that I jar in the fall.

The taste of this recipe completely changes according to how long you cook it.  The longer you cook it the smokier and denser it tastes … the less you cook it the more vibrant and bright it tastes.

As you can see from the recipe … if you don’t have a couple of quarts of homemade tomato sauce you can use the secret ingredient … tomato juice.  From the can.  Yup … that tomato juice.  The kind you’d normally drink in a juice glass while lounging in the velvet booth of  a 1970’s steak house.

Make sure you get reduced salt tomato juice though, otherwise your spaghetti sauce will be too salty.  Dead sea salty.  Salt lick salty.  Long Shoreman salty.

Here we go …

If you’re kind of a cooking expert who doesn’t need photos you can jump straight to the printable recipe here.



Gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 375 °F


Do NOT be alarmed!  This is an old photo. I am not currently using decade old tomato sauce.

Pour all of your tomato juice (homemade or otherwise) into a roasting pan.


Add a full can of tomato paste. The recipe says a “large” can but I just add a full small can (the most common in stores)



Add your chopped onion and garlic.



Add in all of your spices and remember to crush them in your fingers to bring out the aroma and flavours of them.



Grate in about 2 Tablespoons of fresh parmesan cheese. Or used the stuff in a cardboard can. I won’t judge or give a care.



Stir everything up and then set it aside because ….



It’s time to make meatballs!!! I use 100% ground beef most of the time, but occasionally I’ll mix things up and do a 50/50 blend of ground beef and ground pork. Also, judge for yourself how much bread crumbs you’d like to use. I find adding in a little extra bread crumbs tends to make the meatball less hard and dense. I like a slightly softer textured meatball. So I add extra bread crumbs.



Taking a large tablespoon of meat, roll it in your hands with medium pressure. Again, the harder you roll the meatball the more dense it will be. If you barely form it together it will be too soft and will fall apart. Medium pressure.



Once you have rolled all the meatballs …



Throw em in the roasting pan full of sauce.



You may find they just sort of float on top of the sauce. Not to worry. This is how they brown.



Cover the roasting pan with a lid and put it in the preheated oven for half an hour to an hour. Once the sauce is bubbling and gurgling, you can remove the lid so the sauce will thicken.  Cook for another 1 ½ – 2 hrs until sauce is thickened.  Remember … the earlier you take it out the sharper and more tomatoey it will taste … the later you take it out the smokier and richer it will taste.  I go for smoky and rich.  Total cooking time … around 3 hours.



Serve on a skillfully folded tea towel, placed in front of some artfully arranged parmesan cheese and shavings.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Classic homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  PLUS it's super easy!
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Karen



  • 48 oz tomato juice (1 large can, reduced salt)
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1 lb ground beef Or use 1/2 lb pork and 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or 350 degrees F convection.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients into a dutch oven.
  • Mix the ingredients for the meatballs and then form them. You'll get 15 smaller sized meatballs from 1 lb of ground meat or 8-10 larger ones.
  • Add meatballs to the sauce allowing the tops to float out a bit. This will brown them.
  • Put a lid on the dutch oven and put it in a 375 degree F oven for half an hour. After that time, remove the lid and continue to roast for another 2 hours.
  • Stir the sauce occasionally to allow the meatballs to turn over and brown on various sides. (anything sticking out of the sauce will brown)
  • The sauce is done whenever you want.  The longer you cook it the darker and earthier tasting it will be.  If you take it out early it will be brighter and more tomatoey tasting. 


I use 2, one litre jars of my own home pressed tomato sauce for this recipe but if you don't have that (and many people don't) the best substitute is regular tomato juice. The kind you would drink. Don't forget to buy the reduced salt version of tomato juice because you boil it down so much in the oven it'll be too salty otherwise.

And the reason it’s called “Gramma’s Spaghetti & Meatballs”? Because when my niece first moved out of her parent’s house I typed out a bunch of her/my favourite recipes to give her. (GREAT gift idea by the way)

And the originator of this recipe is … her gramma. My mother. Betty. Who happens to like my hair … at the moment.

→Follow me on Instagram for more food stuff.←


Mmmmm .... Spaghetti & Meatballs


  1. Sandra D says:

    I. don’t. know. My dad made spaghetti every Saturday with a meat sauce, and that’s the way I’ve been doing it for the past 40 years. My husband asked for meatballs one time, so I just bought them already made and threw them into my meat sauce :)

    From the comments, I’m very tempted to try this, even if it’s just for the meatballs and him(!) We just had the rest of my sauce today, but I’ll come back with a better comment once I try it.

  2. Karen says:

    Big day of cooking at my house. The spaghetti sauce with meatballs are in the oven now and the scent is unbelievable! Cannot wait for 6pm dinner time! I also made my second batch of antijitos today. I was going to make a double batch on Sunday but man that is a lot of chopping. Well worth the effort though, this next batch will go in the freezer. So damn good!

    • Karen says:

      You’re right, those antojitos take a LOT of chopping, lol! I hope the spaghetti and meatballs tasted as good as they smelled. :) ~ karen!

  3. Jackie says:

    Karen – This sounds great. I have never heard of meatballs cooked in the oven. I have to tell you, I have never even wanted to try meatballs since I am not too big a fan of meatloaf & think of them as almost the same. But your recipe sounds & looks great. For years I have made my spaghetti sauce with meat & mostaccioli sauce with meat in my slow cooker – different from a crock pot because the heat is only on the bottom. That way I can cook it all day long & never have to worry about it sticking or burning. I use my slow cooker for as many things as I can – soups – stew – chili – etc. I love it. When my son was little he once ordered spaghetti in a restaurant & boy was he disappointed – it didn’t taste like mine & he would hardly eat it. This looks & sounds fantastic and since you love it & it came from Betty, I have to try it. Also, I have never heard of using tomato juice for the sauce but I will try it. I must have missed this post the first go-round or it was before I found you – so I am glad for the re-run.

  4. Leisa Joan says:

    My man friend puts cooked crumbled bacon in the meatballs before forming & cooks them raw in the sauce. The best!

  5. Rosiland Ball says:

    My MIL taught me to make sauce and meatballs back in the 60’s. And she started with tomato juice! The only time I EVER, EVER saw or heard of anyone using tomato juice as a starter. And your recipe for both sauce and meatballs is pretty much the same as hers down to the addition of some sugar!

  6. Sheri Braaksma says:

    I have a friend whose husband is the first person I ever saw make spaghetti sauce with tomato juice instead of sauce. He makes the meatballs giant size tho and fries them first to brown them. For hours. It takes him over a day to get everything cooked but it is to DIE for and he won’t share his recipe. We begged him to make it for us but now I will try this one and see how it compares. His salad is plain leaf lettuce with regular white vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Soooo nummy with the spaghetti. Like eating chips but it’s healthy!

  7. Nancy North says:

    To me “Dutch oven” means my cast iron pot. But I’ve always heard that it’s not good to cook anything with a lot of tomatoes in an iron pot. Is this correct? Or maybe just being sure to wash the pot immediately after using it is what needs to be done?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy! I just noticed this comment of yours that I didn’t answer! Not that you care about the answer now, lol, but a dutch oven is just any casserole type pot with a lid. Most of them now are enamelled on the inside and outside. As far as cooking tomatoes in iron, it’s perfectly safe to do it, it’s just that if the cast iron isn’t seasoned well it can impart a slightly metallic taste into anything acidic you’re cooking. Like tomatoes. But if the pan is well seasoned it’s less likely this will happen. ~ karen!

  8. Idaho Girl says:

    Living here in the Northwestern US most of my life, I’d never heard of this method of roasting the spaghetti & meatballs, but it makes so much sense, I can’t wait to try it! In the spirit of passing on our own cooking tips: This recipe calls for a full can of tomato paste, but so many things call for a tablespoon or so, and since I can never find the fancy paste in a tube like I’ve seen on TV cooking shows, I buy it in the can. I let numerous partial cans get to the science experiment stage in the fridge before I came up with this obvious solution I want to share. When I’ve opened a new can of tomato paste and don’t use it all, I measure the remainder into tablespoon sized lumps on plastic wrap and freeze (wrapped well and zip lock bagged. Next time I need to add just a little tp to a recipe, I almost always have some stashed in the freezer door.

  9. TONI CLORAN says:


    • martina says:

      Pasata is just uncooked strained tomatoes so it should work in place of tomato juice. It’s what I always use for tomato sauce. Might reduce faster so keep an eye on it and add water if necessary.

  10. canadamsel says:

    Grew up in Brightside – a working class multicultural neighbourhood in the north end of Hamilton. Where/when did the standard originate of pouring a dollop of sauce atop the mound of pasta? My Dad (Italian – always the one who made the sauce) poured it into the (drained) pot of spaghetti and mixed, before serving. Maybe not as artistic, but allows the flavour to be absorbed right into the noodles. We also enjoyed fried spaghetti leftovers the next day. And meatball sandwiches, of course. Thanks for the childhood memory!

    • Karen says:

      I hear you and it makes sense! But this is how we’ve always done it. I like it. Once it’s on your plate you mix it around a bit and then get to pick and choose how much sauce you have with each bite. :) ~ karen!

  11. Mary W says:

    First time I ran to post before reading the comments. I have QUESTIONS! How do you keep the oven clean after removing the lid – 375 F? Seems it would be bubbling all over the interior. Once I know your answer, I will be making this tomorrow! The final picture is just exactly how I like my spaghetti and it normally ends up too runny even if I use a ready made sauce. Now I know the secret. Roasting it. Tell Betty I love her!

    • Karen says:

      I don’t know, lol. I’ve never thought about it bubbling over. It just doesn’t. It spatters for sure but not a ton. :) If your oven happens to run a bit hot then just turn it down to 350. No problem. :) Do it! ~ karen!

  12. Alena says:

    I don’t understand the obsession with spaghetti and meatballs. I make pasta only in emergency (nothing in the fridge, no time to do groceries) and even if I do, it’s never with meatballs. Meatballs are something I prefer to make from ground turkey and I use them as meat with my (big) salad to take to work with me.
    Don’t remember where I got the idea but I usually add curry powder as seasoning or some Thai seasoning (whatever I have). I have also never ordered pasta when eating out (I guess you can tell that I have been to East Side Mario’s probably a total of 5 times in my life).

  13. Terri says:

    I love days like this…warm enough to go to the grocery store today, gonna snow tomorrow, and an amazing new recipe to try. My Grandma served spaghetti sauce over Kluski noodles or papardelle instead of the skinny spaghetti strands.

  14. Sabina says:

    Heh heh, spaghetti and meatball season, that’s cute. That would be every Sunday in my house! As a through and through Sicilian I silently scrutinize your recipe in my head, dry-spitting at the mention of some ingredients and shaking my hand, fingers pinched together and facing up, at the absence of others, lol! The foodie in me says, try a new recipe, you may be pleasantly surprised! So I will do just that, I will try your recipe this Sunday. If my family disowns me I hope you have a spare bedroom!

  15. Looks good! The spaghetti…the meatballs… and your hair, hehe.

  16. Terry says:

    I have a niece who can’t eat gluten, I’ve discovered that if you use grated parmesan in place of the breadcrumbs you get even better tasting meatballs.

    • Lynn Johanson says:

      Really? I’ve been trying all the non-grain meatball recipes I could find and all of them make little rocks instead of meatballs. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try them next>

  17. Kelly says:

    Do you use unseasoned breadcrumbs or italian seasoning breadcrumbs? Looks like you have little flecks of green in there, and I just thought I’d ask!

    Looks delicious!

  18. MaryG says:

    Just a textural hint for the meatballs…. Look at the ground beef texture before adding your egg. Add only enough bread crumbs, after mixing in the egg, to get the meat back to that original texture.
    Also add a few lightly browned pork ribs to cook in the sauce with your meatballs. This will give another added dimension of richness to the tomato sauce.
    I too like to cool, defat, then reheat my sauce for serving.
    I am sure your recipe is divine as is so my apologies for adding anything to it but I am getting too old to hang on to the cooking hints and secrets I have gained over the years and just wish to pass these on!

  19. Yyz says:

    Is this a rerun? What’s with all the comments from October 2010?
    What did your hair look like then?

    I gotta find a cooking friend to try this out because Yum!

    • Karen says:

      It’s a rewritten, photo improved rerun. :) I repost things once a week or so, so that people who have joined The Art of Doing Stuff in say … the last 8 years, lol … get a chance to see some of the older content. ~ karen!

      • Lez says:

        I’ve also been confused over some of the last posts, as there were mentions of “The Boyfriend”!!
        I thought you were keeping something from us, and just ‘casually’ throwing it in there, until I saw the dates!

        To be honest, I think you would upstage any man, with all that you can do, & they would feel their manhood threatened! :)

        Heard today, Idris got married…but it’s apparently not true! You still stand a chance girl, but do you really want 2 previous wives leftovers!? LOL.
        You deserve better!

  20. Julie Anne says:

    Crumble the dried spices to bring out the flavour & aromas – brilliant!

  21. Shawnna says:

    Making this recipe now, it’s been in the oven for 2 hours (took the lid off after 1 hour when the sauce was bubbling), the sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening yet, any suggestions to make it thicker?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shawnna – It’ll thicken up, don’t worry. Just leave it and check on it every half hour or so. If you want to rush it up a bit turn your oven up by 25 degrees. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      Or use convection if you have it. ~ karen

  22. Shawn says:

    Hi, Karen. I’m planning to try your recipe tonight, but my kiddos don’t like meatballs, so I usually just crumble browned meat into the sauce to hide it from them ;-) Do you think the sauce will still turn out well without meatballs?

    • Karen says:

      Sure it’ll be fine Shawn. But why not make a few meatballs for yourself and just don’t serve them the meatballs? Either way it’ll be fine. Remember the longer you cook it the thicker and less “sharp” it tastes. So if you taste it and think “that’s too acidic for my tastes or for the kids”, just cook it a little longer. If it gets too thick just add some water and stir it in to loosen it up a bit. ~ karen!

    • Sarah McDonnell says:

      meh, just goggle your eyes when you open the lid and say “Wowza! We have MEAT BUBBLES, Kids!!!!”. Because kids will peck at anything weird and amazing. And Meat Bubbles are nothing like meatballs. Presentation is everything.

  23. Jan in Waterdown says:

    I was looking for a yummy dish to serve to visiting family this week on Hallowe’en night after trick or treatin’ and thought to myself “What would Karen do?”. That brought me to this recipe, just a tad later than most! Just wondered if you have any thoughts on using bottled passata? It was on special recently so I have a whole whack of it just waiting to be used. Also, was thinking about all that grease floating around in the sauce . . . does it just get absorbed or do you skim it off? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jan! What do you mean bottled passata? I .. I don’t think I know what that is, lol. Do you mean jarred pasta sauce? No. NONONO. No. Just buy the cans of tomato juice (reduced salt). It makes a much better sauce. Honestly, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. And let it boil down until you’re almost worried it’s too thick. That’s when you get the good roasty flavour. If you think too much of the sauce has boiled away just add some water once you take it out of the oven and stir it in. I just stir the grease in, but if you notice there’s a TON of it, just skim it off once the sauce is cooked. ~ karen!

  24. angie says:

    Okay so I was just in the kitchen throwing this together and um…my pan was too small so I had to pour the sauce and meatballs into my turkey roaster. I’m not too good at math, but I figured that if you got two meals out of this recipe and there are two of you then maybe I should double the recipe for my family of 6 since we all like to go back for seconds. Did you know that doubling your recipe makes enough to FILL UP A TURKEY ROASTER?!? Yes, it does. I read where you said the balls freeze up great, but have you ever frozen the sauce before? If so please tell me what you put it in before freezing, I was thinking just a ziplock freezer bag.
    Oh, and this sauce smells really great as it’s cooking….neighbors sniffing the air as they walk to their cars like they do when someone barbeques great. I feel kind of like a rockstar for making my own sauce from scratch. Thanks for that.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Hi Angie. Sounds like you’ve got some sauce goin’ on. I freeze the sauce w/ meatballs all the time. Just put it in baggies, or Tupperware and throw it in the freezer. Label it though. You’ll look at it 2 months from now and think What the hell is that? For the meatballs to be their absolute best, let them float to the top until they get browned. Once you look in and see them browned, stir them up so their undersides, or the meatballs underneath can get browned. Good luck. You’re gonna love it! ~ karen

  25. Bridget says:

    Help! I am making this now and just saw the part about “low sodium tomato juice” I used regular V8! Will it be too salty to eat? Should I put a cut up potato in it to absorb the salt? Seems like I read that somewhere….

    If that doesn’t work, I guess we’ll all have to be longshore man salty dogs tonight.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bridget – V8? I’m not sure how that’ll turn out. Does it taste like regular tomato juice? From what I remember V8 is kind of sweet, LOL. Oh dear. This might turn out like an interesting sauce. Don’t bother with the potato, it doesn’t really work. DON’T add the sugar if you haven’t already. Taste the sauce about halfway through cooking if it’s too strong (either sweet or salty) add in a whole container of water. Yup. Water. It’ll take quite a bit to dilute the sauce. The other thing is, if you don’t boil it down as much the salt and sugar won’t be as sweet because you won’t be evaporating as much liquid. This will be your practice batch. :) ~ karen

      • Bridget says:

        Thanks for the speedy reply, Karen! I already have it all assembled ready to pop in when the family arrives from out of town! Argh. So, no to the potato, yes to more water if needed. Thanks for the suggestions! You could probably tell I was stressing out over this…

        I thought v8 was what you really meant when you said “Yup, that tomato juice” and that you were just being careful how you worded it…I should know that you aren’t shy! I have never considered drinking true tomato juice.

        Well, at least I have a frozen pizza or two for emergency back up if this is a complete fiasco. On the other hand, it could turn out to magically be my best dinner yet! Time will tell. I will report back afterwards.

        • Bridget says:

          It’s a miracle! I tasted midstream as you suggested, and the V8 doesn’t seem to have harmed the sauce! Tastes really wonderful – not too sweet or salty either. Whew! What a relief.

          Now, I can relax and enjoy that wonderful aroma! My family will arrive from out of town in an hour, and I know they’ll be eager to eat this up! It will be so nice to greet them with these lovely smells!

        • Karen says:

          Excellent! Don’t forget … keep tasting. The longer it boils down, the stronger the salt and sugar become. Have a good dinner! ~ karen

  26. Judy D. says:

    I come from an Italian family and make meat sauce and/or spaghetti and meatballs fairly often. I’ve always cooked it on the stovetop. I’m so anxious to try your oven method as I can understand why it would get that smokey flavor. I just found your blog today and I know I’m going to learn a lot from you. Grazie molte.

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome Judy D.! If you browse around a little bit you’ll find my post on pressing tomatoes somewhere. You could probably just punch “pressing tomatoes” or “canning tomatoes” into the search bar on the right and find it. :) That’s the tomato “juice” I use to make my sauce. Give it a shot in the oven! It’s a great dinner. :) ~ karen

  27. Celine says:

    It made it in my books! WOW My husband said this should have won an award!! Made it on a cold day, took the kids out to Winterlude and came home to this meal. So good with a nice glass of red wine! :)

  28. Celine says:

    Wow, just found your blog today…I love you! haha Thank you thank you thank you! I will these meatballs for my 3 boys this weekend, I’ll let you know if it was a hit!

  29. miriam says:

    Tomato JUICE, seriously? How does this work with tomato juice? I’m trying to believe all these rave reviews, but I can’t get past the whole tomato juice situation. Tomato juice. Like Sacaramento Tomato Juice. How is this possible?

    • Karen says:

      Miriam – When you “press” tomatoes like I do every fall, what you end up with is basically tomato juice. It’s the basis for almost all tomato sauces across every Italian kitchen. Buying a can of tomato juice is actually the closest thing you can get to home pressed tomatoes. Give it a shot. You’ll see. :) ~ karen

      • miriam says:

        You’re right, it was delicious and filled the house with a yummy smell all day. My meatballs did fall apart, so it was more of a meat sauce, but I might have cooked it a bit too long, or didn’t use enough pressure, or too many breadcrumbs, or whatever.

        Still, it’s definitely a keeper, and yes, with ordinary tomato juice–who knew? Thanks for the recipe!

  30. Chrissy says:

    I made this sauce in a slow cooker yesterday. I can’t believe how insanely easy it was for as great as it tasted. I’m sure the oven roasting would add even more flavor, but it was great in the slow cooker just the same.

    • Karen says:

      Chrissy – Excellent! Did it thicken up nicely in the slow cooker? I imagine if your cooker has a vent it would. Isn’t it easy and delicious? Those are my fav. recipes. :) ~ karen

      • Chrissy says:

        It thickened just fine, no vent, and I only used the little can of paste. There’s six in our family and this made enough for two meals. Thanks for the recipe!

        • Karen says:

          Chrissy – Um … heh … well that’s embarrassing. This feeds my family of 2 for two meals. Maybe I should get off the meatballs, LOL. They’re an addiction. :) ~ karen

        • Jacquie Gariano says:

          I also have used the slow cooker for our “family” recipe of spaghetti & meatballs (much like yours) with great results. I love being able to toss it together and set it and come home after a busy day to a wonderful smell and a great dinner. We almost always have garlic (lots of garlic) bread to sop up all the sauce. I always put up tomato sauce and our “family’ recipe spaghetti sauce each fall. So quick for “those” days. My Italian grandpa taught me to sue a slice of bread to twist the spaghetti on rather than the spoon so many use. Even more flavor on the bread.

  31. alice says:

    Just popped this in the oven — nice to have the prep done so early. I used ground chicken instead of beef, because it was on sale, but what with all the tomato and garlic flavours, I don’t think anyone will notice.

  32. Candy says:

    I loved this recipe. Absolutely delicious sauce, I made this on New Years day and then had the left overs the day after.
    I wasn’t so keen on the mess it baked onto my roasting dish but I do the cooking and the boyfriend does the washing up so I wasn’t *that* bothered.

    Thanks for sharing.


  33. Kelly Kline says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe Karen!! Can’t wait to try it!

  34. Patrice says:

    OMG…just finished my second helping and I have to tell you this is fabulous. I put the sauce and meatballs in the oven, went outside to cut up some wood so that I could have a fire in the pit outside tonight…did a little prewinter maint on the car. Came back inside to the most heavenly of smells. Thanks so much for this recipe…I’m a sucker for spaghetti and meatballs and I’ve been jonesing for a fix for several weeks now. Hands down the best I’ve had in years!

    • Karen says:

      Excellent! Glad you liked the recipe. My boyfriend thinks the best part about spaghetti and meatballs is meatball subs with mozzarella cheese the next day. I’d rather just have more spaghetti and meatballs … :) ~ karen

  35. Andrea says:

    Could I make these in a slow cooker instead?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea! I don’t see why not. I’ve never done them in a slow cooker (don’t own one … GASP!) but as long as you have a vent (to allow the spaghetti sauce to thicken) you should be fine. The only disadvantage is when you cook this in the oven it gets a smokey sort of taste that I don’t think you’ll get with a slow cooker. Also, when you cook them in the oven, the tops of the meatballs which float up towards the top of the sauce and get nice and browned. You probably won’t get this with the crock pot. If you give it a shot let me know how it goes! – karen

  36. vickie says:

    my husband puts in a stalk of celery. When the celery wilts the meatballs are done.

  37. June says:

    You are so right about working spaghetti & meatballs into a conversation! Thanks for the laugh.

  38. Michelle says:

    I tried for the second time last night to make meatballs … they all fell apart and it was more like lumpy spagetti. Fail! Will have to give yours a go next time and make the sauce then throw them in. If they’re a winner I’ll name them The Art of Meatballs :)

  39. Ana says:

    Holy Moley, you read my mind, I was going to make meat sauce tonight because I have all the ingredients, but now I can make MEATBALLS!

    Karen, do you think meatballs would freeze well??

    • Karen says:

      Ana – I know for a fact these meatballs freeze perfectly. You can either freeze them uncooked or cooked. They come out perfectly either way! ~ karen

      • Ana says:

        In the sauce or separate from the sauce?

        • Karen says:

          Either or. Doesn’t matter. Whenever I have leftover meatballs from a cooked batch I stick them in the freezer. And sometimes I make extra meatballs and set them aside. I line them up on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze them. Once they’re hard, take them off the cookie sheet, throw them in a freezer bag and they’ll stay perfect for months.

        • Ana says:

          Perfect! Thanks!!

  40. Jennifer H. says:

    Can’t wait to try this — thanks! My lower fat tip for the meatballs: make them first, place on a foil-lined cookie sheet, then par-bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or so while you put the sauce together. Drain rendered fat (into empty tomato paste can!) and add meatballs to sauce. This step helps bind the meatballs, too.

  41. Natalie says:

    Haha. I didn’t realize spaghetti and meatballs had such hypnotizing powers! Looks great!

  42. deborahinPS says:

    I’ve made a lot of sauce in my day and I’ve never tried it oven style…well fo shur it’s goin’ in the oven today. As in this morning.
    Because that’s just danged ingenious!

  43. Joni says:

    I just made spaghetti & meatballs last night – recipe from Joy of Cooking. I definitely will be trying your mom’s version. Thanks!

  44. debi says:

    A regular meal around here but I have never heard of cooking it in the oven!?! What a great idea! In my mother’s recipe the sauce and meatballs and sometimes pot roast, are simmered on top of the stove for hours the day before, left to cool overnight. Before serving skim off the fat, and reheat. Next time I’ll try your quicker oven method, thanks.

  45. dee says:

    just invited the High School Soccer Team over for Pasta before our Big State Game – was gonna go Store bought but You’ve made this look Oh So Yummy –

  46. marilyn says:

    wow i love spaghetti and meatballs and i always make extra meatballs because john loves meatball subs. sounds so yummy, and i like your hair with or without the

  47. Whitney says:

    Oh my, how you make me laugh! I want a raise… I’m going to talk to my boss about Spaghetti and Meatballs tomorrow!

    And make that recipe as soon as I recover from my wisdom teeth extractions… medium meatballs or no…they are just a little too ambitious for me at this point!

  48. den says:

    mmm, comfort food! i have to say though, nothing like freshly grated parmesan, or even better, romano cheese! the pre-grated stuff you shake out of canisters tend to be saltier.

  49. Kate says:

    Thanks Karen. I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

  50. Shannon says:

    eeew is that all meat stuck under your nails in the meatball pic Karen!?

    I can’t touch raw meat, I always wear gloves.

    Which is odd because I am totally fine walking around on dirty (I am talking forest floor dirty) wood floors with no shoes on in the kitchen. I get black feet…but raw meat hands, I draw the line!

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