Go Back
+ servings

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Classic spaghetti and meatballs made however you like— on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, and even the instant pot!
a big bowl of spaghetti with meatballs
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote


  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 90/10 but you can use other %)
  • ½ cup fresh finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 8 oz spaghetti (or noodle of choice)


  • Add breadcrumbs and milk to a large bowl and toss together. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile whisk together the egg, basil/parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.
  • Add ground beef and parmesan cheese to the large bowl along with egg mixture. Use your hands to gently massage ingredients together until combined. Do not overwork meat or meatballs will be tough.
  • Portion mixture into rounds using a scoop or spoon, then shape into balls.
  • (Optional) For more flavor, brown meatballs on a lined sheet pan in the top third of the oven under the broiler for about 10 minutes. Or brown in a skillet with a little olive oil over medium high heat, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • (Optional) You can also chill meatballs as a make-ahead option and to help them keep their shape while cooking. Chill meatballs on a lined sheet pan in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • To cook on the stovetop: Add browned or chilled meatballs to a pot of simmering marinara sauce. Cook for 10-30 minutes (depending on if meatballs are browned or frozen), stirring often, until meatballs are cooked through.
  • To cook in a slow cooker: Add marinara sauce to slow cooker, followed by the browned or chilled meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until meatballs are cooked through.
  • To cook in a pressure cooker (instant pot): Add marinara sauce to pressure cooker followed by meatballs. Cover, seal, and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, with a 5 minute natural release.
  •  Meatballs are done when an instant thermometer inserted into the centers reaches 165°F or meatballs show no pink when cut open.
  • When the meatballs are almost done, cook spaghetti (or noodle of choice) in a pot of heavily salted boiling water. Drain and serve with meatballs and marinara sauce.


  • Recipe time listed above is for the stovetop method only.
  • If you are concerned about keeping your meatballs round, use the broiler browning method instead of the stovetop.
  • I typically use my favorite store-bought marinara sauce to keep things easy, but you can also make your own.
  • Reserve a little pasta cooking water to thin out the marinara sauce if needed.
  • Meatballs freeze really well! Freeze them in a single layer on a lined sheet pan, then transfer them to a ziplock bag, squeeze out any excess air and store them in the freezer for several months. No need to thaw before cooking in marinara sauce.


Calories: 431kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 1027mg, Potassium: 724mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 823IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 165mg, Iron: 4mg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a review below or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.