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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Recipe and images from

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 10 servings


  • cups (5.2 oz) fresh bread crumbs* (or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, then more if needed
  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion**
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano (optional)
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, only if using the fried method


  1. In a large mixing bowl stir together bread crumbs and milk while adding more milk 1 Tbsp at a time to moisten bread fully. Let rest while you prep ingredients (or at least 5 minutes).
  2. To breadcrumb mixture add beef, eggs, onion, garlic, herbs (if using), parmesan and season over top of ingredients evenly with salt and pepper (I only use 3/4 tsp salt if I plan on using jar sauce to coat since it can be salty).
  3. Gently toss mixture and break meat up with fingertips until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  4. Shape mixture with greased hands into even size meatballs, about 1 1/4-inches each (or about 38g).

Oven Baked Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees before you begin preparing meatballs.
  2. Spray two dark coated non-stick pans well with non-stick cooking spray***, or brush with olive oil.
  3. Place formed meatballs on baking sheets, fitting about 20 per each and spacing evenly apart. Bake in upper and lower third of oven 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and turn meatballs if browned already on bottom (use a thin metal spatula to scrape from baking sheet). Transfer pans to opposite racks and bake until cooked through, about 8 - 12 minutes longer (should register 165 degrees in center of meatballs).
  5. Stir into warmed marinara sauce****. Simmer on low heat if desired for even more tender meatballs (about 10 - 20 minutes, toss occasionally gently).

Pan Fried Stovetop Method

  1. To pan fry meatballs pour 3/4 cup olive oil into a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat over medium heat.
  2. Cook meatballs in 3 batches (so they aren't overcrowded) until golden brown on bottom, about 4 - 6 minutes. Then turn to opposite side and cook opposite side until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  3. Transfer meatballs to warmed marinara sauce (see note 5) in a large pot, submerge in sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat until meatballs are 165 degrees in center, gently tossing meatballs occasionally, about 15 - 20 minutes.


  1. *To make fresh bread crumbs tear slices of stale hearty bread into pieces and place in a food processor, pulse mixture to fine crumbs.
  2. **Be sure to chop yellow onion to a fine mince, about the size of the minced garlic otherwise it won't be tender by the time meatballs are done cooking.
  3. ***Standard light aluminum baking sheets will work too meatballs just won't brown as much.
  4. ****For this amount of meatballs you'll need 2 (24 oz) jars tomato basil sauce (such as Rao's) or 1 recipe marinara sauce. Then you'll also need about 16 - 20 oz. spaghetti, cooked to al dente according to package instructions.