Posts may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.

I have spent months perfecting this meatball recipe to try and replicate my late Aunt Annie's who made the best spaghetti and meatballs I've ever had in my life. This meatball recipe is better than you'l find in most Italian restaurants!
5 from 17 votes
Print Recipe Jump to Recipe

I’ve been working on perfecting this Beef Meatball Recipe with my homemade spaghetti sauce for quite some time. Growing up, every Sunday we would visit my mom’s Aunt Annie who used to make the most amazing spaghetti and meatballs. For years I’ve been trying to replicate her recipe and finally nailed it this weekend. For those who may not know, I am incredibly picky about my meatballs!

So what makes an amazing meatball you might be asking yourself. In a previous article from covering Angelino’s Pizzeria, I discuss how an amazing meatball must be tender, moist, and well blended. A delicious meatball should never taste like a ground meat patty or have the texture of a burger. The majority of meatball recipes leave out one key ingredient that makes all the difference.

Instead of cooking for meatballs and sauce all day, I highly recommend using the Instant Pot. You could also use a crockpot, but with an Instant Pot your time would be 20 minutes instead of 8 hours. My Aunt Annie used to start her spaghetti sauce and meatballs early in the morning and simmer it for hours. If you have not purchased an Instant Pot it is one of the best appliances you can invest in.


Beef Meatball Recipe Ingredients

The secret ingredient if you want tender, juicy beef meatballs is 2% milk! You never want to add dry breadcrumbs when you’re blending your meatballs. You first add milk to moisten the breadcrumbs before adding them t the bowl. Below are the ingredients you’ll need for our beef meatball recipe.

  • 90% Lean Ground Sirloin
  • 2% Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Whole Egg
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Basil & Oregano
  • Garlic Powder, Salt,  & Pepper

Ingredients for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Of course, amazing meatballs need an equally delicious sauce. My Spaghetti Sauce recipe is very similar to the recipe for my marinara I posted in my Chicken Meatball Recipe. The only main difference is that you blend the ingredients when making a pasta sauce. I still like a few chunks of tomato in my sauce so I reserve a few stewed tomatoes to chop and add to the sauce once it’s blended. Homemade sauce and marinara are so simple to make using canned whole peeled tomatoes, you’ll never want store-bought again.

  • Canned Peeled Whole Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Onion
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper

Beef Meatball Recipe with Homemade Pasta Sauce for the Instant Pot

I have spent months perfecting this meatball recipe to try and replicate my late Aunt Annie's who made the best spaghetti and meatballs I've ever had in my life. This meatball recipe is better than you'l find in most Italian restaurants!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 servings
Calories 380 kcal



Beef Meatball Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground sirloin 90% Lean
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese fresh grated
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp oregano chopped fresh
  • 1/2 tsp basil chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt Pink Himalayan
  • .5 tsp pepper

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • 64 oz whole peeled tomatoes 2 large cans
  • 2 tbsp garlic chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup basil fresh, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt Pink Himalayan
  • 1/2 tsp pepper



  • First add your breadcrumbs to the bowl with the 6 tbsp of milk so your breadcrubms are moist. Never add dry breadcrumbs without first moistening them with milk.
    Then, add the remainder of your meatball ingredients, mixing well with your hands. The more you mix your meatballs, the more tender they will be.
    Using an incecream scoop, form your meatballs and place them to the side.

Spaghetti Sauce

  • First, take out the tomatoes from the cans and reserve the juice in a separate bowl. Add two tablespoons of Tomato Paste and whisk.
    Then take 4 of your stewed tomatoes, dice them and put them in the bowl.
    Take the remainder of the tomatoes, dice them, and set them to the side.
    Next, Turn your Instant Pot onto the Saute setting (More which is high heat).
    Once heated, add your olive oil, garlic, and onions. Saute for about 1-2 minutes and then add the remainder of your diced tomatoes, salt, & pepper.
    Turn off your Instant Pot, remove everything and transfer to a blender. Puree until you reach your preferred consistency.
  • Next, add your reserved sauce and blended ingredients to the Instant Pot. Add your meatballs, scooping sauce over them. Set your Instant Pot to the pressure cook setting on high for 20 minutes.
    While your meatballs are cooking you can boil water for your pasta and add it when there are 10 minutes left on your Instant pot.
    Plate and add parmesan and chopped basil as a garnish.


Remember the secret to amazing beef meatballs is to use 2% milk and moisten your breadcrumbs before adding them to your bowl.

Serving Suggestions

  • Make your dinner even healthier by using whole wheat pasta which will add 150 calories per serving
  • Serve with polenta and use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this dish gluten-free. This will add 150 calories per 1/2 cup
  • For a completely carb-free meal serve with zucchini noodles, heart of palm noodles, zero carb noodles, spaghetti squash, or sliced grilled eggplant


Serving: 2meatballs with sauceCalories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 28gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 2021mgPotassium: 1131mgFiber: 5gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 740IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 302mgIron: 6mg
Keyword authentic beef meatballs, homemade spaghetti sauce, Instant Pot Meatball Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Make Your Spaghetti and Meatballs Healthy Without Sacrificing Taste

I really urge everyone to stop buying refined pasta and only purchase pasta which is whole wheat. You want a pasta that is high in fiber. Many even include a boost of protein by including ingredients like chickpea and pea proteins. I promise you they taste exactly the same. Here is the Trader Joes pasta and Barilla Pasta I recommend using. They have really improved the recipe of these whole-wheat kinds of pasta and they are good for you! You can eat all the spaghetti and meatballs your heart desires without the weight gain.

When I cook at home, I never eat refined carbs. Trust me when I tell you, it makes a huge difference and is one of the key reasons I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight. When you see white rice in a photo, my fiance eats it. I prefer the Brown Rice Medley from Trader Joes or Whole Wheat Couscous. I am also a big fan of Farro. Trust me, ditching refined carbs like white rice, bleached pasta’s, and white bread makes all the difference.

If you try my Beef Meatball Recipe with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce at home I would love to hear your thoughts. I really think this dish is just as good or better than I’ve found at most Italian restaurants.

Find Delicious Recipes By Category

Don't be shy. Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!x