This recipe for meatballs in marinara sauce uses premade meatballs, marinara, and cheese to make a low-prep dish. Be sure to keep this in your pocket for busy weeknights!
Hot tip: Did you already use up your last jar of marinara sauce? Don’t fret — make your own homemade marinara sauce with tomatoes, olive oil, marsala wine, and basil leaves. It takes a mere five minutes!
How To Make Marinara Meatballs
Marinara meatballs is the perfect weekday dinner for busy people — it takes minimal prep and comes together so quickly.
- Prep the ingredients: Take out all four of the ingredients for the recipe, including the fresh basil (if using).
- Assemble the meatballs: Place the meatballs on the bottom of a large skillet or baking pan, then cover them with marinara sauce.
- Top with cheese and bake: Top the mixture with mozzarella cheese, then cover and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid: Remove the lid from the pan and bake for an additional five minutes. Serve!
Hot tip: For a more hands-off cooking experience, use a crock pot or slow cooker. Place the sauce and meatballs into the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours, or on the low setting for four hours. Then, add the cheese on top and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Tips For A Great Meatball Dish
We’ll be honest — there are very few ways to mess this recipe up. However, we have a couple of tips to ensure the end result “meats” your expectations.
- Use your favorite cooked meatballs: Feel free to use any frozen meatballs you and your family love. We like Farm Rich meatballs, but any ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey meatballs are great. If using fresh meatballs, make sure to cook them first, then continue with this recipe.
- Cover the pan: For even cooking and a mess-free experience, cover your pan. The marinara does tend to pop and splatter quite a bit!
- Add more flavors: For more flavor, sauté half a diced onion and a few garlic cloves prior to adding in the meatballs. For more herby flavor, instead of topping the dish with basil, add in fresh parsley or dried oregano.
How To Serve Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Marinara meatballs are not only easy to make, but also convenient. Use these meatballs in a variety of dishes including appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and more.
- As an appetizer: For a quick, protein-filled appetizer, skewer each meatball with a toothpick to allow your guests to quickly grab one at a time.
- In a sub: Make a marinara meatball sub by placing the meatballs into French rolls or hoagies. Top with provolone cheese, sauteéd bell peppers, and onions. Place the subs open-faced on a lined baking sheet and broil them in the oven until the cheese melts.
- With spaghetti: Who doesn’t love a good old bowl of spaghetti? Mix the meatballs with freshly made pasta, and sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan cheese! Make sure to have flatbread or garlic knots to dip into all the delicious leftover sauce!
- As a topping/side for a salad: Marinara meatballs are an exciting departure from the traditional chicken breast as a salad topping. Add them on top of a large bowl of garden salad or serve them next to your side salad.
- On the side with veggies: If you’re looking for a way to add more veggies to your diet, or sauteéd veggies and meatballs are a great choice. Cheesy zucchini breadsticks or zucchini and squash casserole are also a great pairing.
- With zoodles (zucchini noodles): For a lower carb option, use zucchini noodles instead of pasta. With a mandoline slicer, cut a few zucchinis into long, noodle-like strips. Sauté them in olive oil until they become soft, but not soggy.
How To Store & Reheat Leftovers
With all the different ways to enjoy meatballs in marinara sauce, it’s a genius move to make a large batch and serve them in different dishes throughout the week. For the best taste, follow these tips on how to store and reheat your meatball leftovers.
- Refrigerator: To store for up to four days, place the cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: To store for up to four months, transfer the cooled meatballs and marinara into an airtight container and freeze. Thaw in the fridge when ready to eat again.
- Reheating: Reheat leftover meatballs and marinara in a nonstick skillet set over medium-low heat and covered. Every few minutes, give the mixture a stir to distribute the heat evenly. Or for a quick reheat, use a microwave.
More Meatball Recipes
- Baked Lamb Meatballs — Packed with savory ground lamb and spiced herb flavor
- Tomato Lentil Soup With Meatballs — A hearty, comforting soup perfect for cold weather
- Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs — Make your own meatballs with ground turkey, breadcrumbs, and eggs
- Meatball Kale Soup — A light chicken broth-based soup with potatoes, meatballs, and kale
- 26 oz meatballs
- 16 oz marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- Prepare all ingredients for the recipe. Fresh basil is optional, but a refreshing addition.
- Place the meatballs in the bottom of a baking pan. Cover them with marinara sauce.
- Top off the mixture with mozzarella cheese. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
- Remove lid/foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite salad, pasta, or bread.