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Baked Italian Meatballs made with beef, pork, and fresh basil are so flavorful.

Perfect in spaghetti but also in a delicious meatball sub sandwich! These tasty homemade basil Meatballs are best when tossed in your favorite sauce or they can be kept the refrigerator for a quick protein filled snack.

italian meatballs and spaghetti
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Why this recipe works:

One of my favorite dinners is homemade spaghetti and meatballs. What’s not to love? This meal gives me:

  • an excuse to drink red wine. I simply cannot eat Italian Meatballs without a class of red wine.
  • a belly full of one of my favorite comfort foods.
  • and a reason to remember that scene from Lady and the Tramp when they nibble on the noodle until their lips meet.

Here’s how to make them:

  1. Using a food processor, combine fresh basil with parmesan cheese, garlic, and red onion. Process until it forms a thick mixture.
  2. Combine with the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, egg, and seasonings.
  3. Form into meatballs using hands and bake for about 30 minutes.
  4. Smother in your favorite marinara sauce and serve over pasta!
how to make meatballs step by step process photos

Pasta recommendations:

If you know me, you know I’m going to recommend homemade pasta. No matter the shape, is far and beyond better than any kind of dried store bought pasta. If you’ve never made it, you must try it!

But, since making your own homemade pasta isn’t always the best choice on a busy weeknight, most of us will use store bought.

My family prefers spaghetti or linguine when I make these meatballs. I usually use whole wheat pasta for at least half of my pasta just to make it a bit healthier. I often will spiral cut a couple zucchinis to mix in as well.

How long should you cook meatballs in sauce?

Since my meatball recipes requires you to cook the meatballs in the oven first, they only need to be in the sauce long enough for the meatballs to heat all the way through.

If you add them to the sauce straight from the oven, it will instantly be ready to serve as long as your marinara sauce is already hot.

If you make your meatballs ahead of time and pull the cooked and chilled meatballs out of the refrigerator, you’ll have to heat them in the sauce until they’re heated through.

Likewise, if you prepare and cook them ahead of time but freeze them, just be sure to thaw completely in the refrigerator before adding to the sauce, otherwise they’ll have to heat in the sauce for quite a long time.
How long can you keep leftover spaghetti and meatballs?

Fresh herbs always make every recipe better, and I love me lots of basil.

homemade baked italian Basil Meatballs with spaghetti

Love homemade meatballs?

 Then you’ll have to try these recipes:

I highly recommend making your own homemade pasta, homemade spaghetti sauce, and a Caesar salad to serve alongside these meatballs for the ultimate spaghetti and meatball dinner!

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Basil Meatballs

Prep15 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Total45 minutes
Servings 10 servings
These tasty Basil Meatballs are packed full of flavor. Toss them in your favorite sauce, or keep them in the refrigerator for a quick protein filled snack.



Baked Italian Meatballs:

  • 1 cup parmesan grated
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 20 large basil leaves fresh is always best
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef grass fed recommended
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Spaghetti and Meatballs:

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To make the meatballs:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Alternatively, if you have an oven safe baking rack that sits on top of a baking sheet, that will create even better meatballs because air will touch the bottoms and allow for even browning.
  • In a food processor, blend parmesan, garlic, basil leaves and red onion until well blended. It should resemble a thick pesto.
    parmesan cheese in food processor for meatball recipe
  • In large bowl, combine basil mixture with remaining ingredients except salt and use hands to mix until all ingredients are well combined. Do not over mix. Once blended, add salt and mix just until the salt is distributed.
    ground beef and pork for meatball recipe
  • Form meatball mixture into small balls, about a tablespoon in size. I like to use a cookie dough scoop to make them all the same size.
    homemade meatballs for spaghetti
  • Space evenly on baking sheet about a half an inch apart. I was able to fit 40 on one baking sheet. You will most likely need to cook them in two batches.
    how to bake italian meatballs
  • Cook in preheated oven on prepared baking sheet until nicely browned, about 30-35 minutes. If you are unsure if they are cooked through, the inside of the meatball needs to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

To make spaghetti and meatballs:

  • To make spaghetti with meatballs, heat sauce in large pot over low heat and drop desired amount of meatballs in sauce. Cook until sauce and meatballs are heated through.
    meatballs in marinara sauce


I prefer small meatballs for spaghetti but I’ll form large balls for meatball subs. You just need to increase cooking time to account for the larger size.
Meatballs can be kept warm in a slow cooker with marinara sauce with the temperature on low if serving a crowd or as an appetizer.
Serving size based on about 1/4 pound of meat per person.


Calories: 539kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 522mg, Potassium: 470mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 190IU, Vitamin C: 1.6mg, Calcium: 174mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally created in 2015 but has been updated with more information and cooking tips!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    Amazing, simply amazing!!! We didn’t have ground pork so we made it will all beef and it was awesome. Now I need to try with pork as I am sure it is even better.

  2. 5 stars
    You can’t beat a good spaghetti and meatball recipe, this sounds lovely, looking forward to trying it out!