Homemade SpaghettiOs with Meatballs

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
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These saucy homemade spaghettiOs with meatballs are the un-canned version of the classic comfort food. Freshly grated parmesan and herby parsley add the ultimate wow-factor to this childhood favorite!

Why You’ll Love These Homemade SpaghettiOs with Meatballs

This homemade spaghettiOs recipe makes way more than a can and tastes so much better despite being easy to make. Here’s why you will love it:

  • Easy: Boil the pasta, stir in the sauce ingredients and meatballs, and let everything simmer away.
  • Nostalgic: This 90’s classic will taste even better than you remember!
  • Kid Friendly: Packed with juicy bite-size meatballs, and tender pasta in a rich tomato sauce that you eat with a spoon…even the pickiest eaters will love it!
  • Wholesome: Since it’s homemade, you are in control of the ingredients. There is no high fructose corn syrup or strange additives used in these homemade SpaghettiOs!
  • Convenient: Frozen meatballs and canned tomatoes means most of the work is already done for you!

If you love this retro classic, you will also enjoy homemade Hamburger Helper!

Ingredients for homemade spaghettiOs with meatballs.

What You’ll Need

The creamy sauce is packed with Italian flair from the seasoning and crushed tomatoes. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Pasta Rings: These ring shaped pasta are what make this dish look just like the original, canned version. You can use different small pasta shapes, if desired.
  • Butter
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Use original to taste like traditional SpaghettiOs, or use fire roasted tomatoes for added flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar: Light brown sugar is okay as well.
  • Italian Seasoning: Don’t skip it because it’s the flavor-base.
  • Salt: Kosher-salt is best.
  • Frozen Meatballs: Bite-sized ones are perfect because they won’t over-power the rest of the dish. A few brands make smaller meatballs, but I found frozen mini beef meatballs at Target made by Earth’s Best brand.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Make sure it’s freshly grated.
  • Heavy Cream: Half-and-half is not as creamy, but is a good swap.
  • Fresh Parsley: Basil works too!
Bowls of homemade spaghettiOs with parmesan and fresh parsley on top and spoons for serving on the side.

How to Make Homemade SpaghettiOs

Don’t over-simmer the spaghettiOs once you add the heavy cream, because the sauce can separate. Scroll to the recipe card at bottom of the post for full detailed instructions.

  • Prep: Cook the pasta and drain it well. Toss it with butter and set aside.
  • Sauce: Mix the tomatoes, sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt together in a large pot. Cover and let it simmer. Stir in the parmesan and heavy cream.
  • Meatballs: Place the meatballs into the sauce. Add the pasta and cook, simmering, for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve: Remove the pot from the heat. Garnish with parmesan and parsley, if desired. Enjoy!
Homemade spaghetti os in a red sauce in the pan topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Tips & Variations

Turn these homemade spaghettiOs into a vegetarian dinner by using plant-based alternatives.

  • Meatballs: Use any size frozen meatballs you prefer, but mini, bite-size ones will give you that authentic “canned” feel. If you have full size meatballs, feel free to quarter them.
  • Use Homemade: Roll my baked Italian meatballs into mini-sized ones. Bake them at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add them to this recipe as directed.
  • Vegetarian: Swap the meatballs for a plant-based alternative or skip them completely for a copycat version of the spaghettiOs original!
  • Pasta: Set a timer on your phone so you can remove the pasta from the heat as soon as it’s al dente. If you over-cook it, it’ll get mushy once simmered in the sauce.
  • Add Veggies: Add 1/2 cup of vegetables to bulk up this dish. Sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, and baby spinach are all great additions.
  • Spicy: Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste for some heat. I usually spice up my individual bowl to keep the rest kid friendly.
  • Garlic: I skipped garlic to keep it as close to the original as possible, but when I make this at home I always add a little freshly minced garlic to the sauce. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder would also work!

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Spaghetti Os

This recipe isn’t freezer-friendly because the pasta will change texture significantly when thawed.

  • Fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat: Pop it into the microwave in 30-second intervals until warm. You can also reheat it in a pot over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
Landscape photo of homemade spaghetti o's.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 6 Servings

Homemade SpaghettiOs with Meatballs

This homemade spaghettiOs recipe tastes way better than the original! Use canned tomatoes and frozen meatballs for a convenient, but wholesome, version of this classic comfort food.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pasta rings
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 20 oz frozen bite-sized meatballs
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional garnish

Instructions 

  • Cook the pasta rings according to the package directions. Drain and toss with the butter to coat. Set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, combine the crushed tomatoes, sugar, Italian seasoning and salt. Cover and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add the parmesan and heavy cream and stir until combined. Then add the meatballs and pasta and continue simmering for 12 minutes.
  • Serve with a little grated parmesan and some chopped parsley on top!

Notes

Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheat: Pop it into the microwave in 30-second intervals until warm. You can also reheat it in a pot over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meatballs: Use any size frozen meatballs you prefer, but mini, bite-size ones will give you that authentic “canned” feel. If you have full size meatballs, feel free to quarter them. A few brands make smaller meatballs, but I found frozen mini beef meatballs at Target made by Earth’s Best brand.
Use Homemade: Roll my baked Italian meatballs into mini-sized ones. Bake them at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add them to this recipe as directed.
Vegetarian: Swap the meatballs for a plant-based alternative or skip them completely for a copycat version of the spaghettiOs original!
Pasta: Set a timer on your phone so you can remove the pasta from the heat as soon as it’s al dente. If you over-cook it, it’ll get mushy once simmered in the sauce.
Add Veggies: Add 1/2 cup of vegetables to bulk up this dish. Sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, and baby spinach are all great additions.
Spicy: Add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste for some heat. I usually spice up my individual bowl to keep the rest kid friendly.
Garlic: I skipped garlic to keep it as close to the original as possible, but when I make this at home I always add a little freshly minced garlic to the sauce. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder would also work!
Crushed Tomatoes: Use original to taste like traditional SpaghettiOs, or use fire roasted tomatoes for added flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 746kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 1058mg, Potassium: 1285mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 978IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 251mg, Iron: 6mg

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.