Best Easy Sauce For Meatballs

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The best and easy sauce for meatballs is quickly put together with tomato puree or passata and a few aromatic herbs.

Half of those fried meatballs I made yesterday will go into this delicious sauce.

This is another staple Romanian recipe from my childhood called β€œchiftele marinate”.

Just a few ingredients cooked together and we can enjoy leftover meatballs at another level with different flavors infused.


πŸ… Ingredients For This Meatball Sauce

Besides fried meatballs, there are just a few ingredients needed that you probably already have at hand in your pantry.

easy meatball sauce ingredients

  • Fried meatballs (made here)
  • Tomato sauce – puree or passata (good quality recommended)
  • Garlic – just a few cloves
  • Dried thyme & bay leaves –  gives intense aromatic flavor
  • Salt and black pepper – for seasoning
  • Sugar – corrects acidity and increase tastiness
  • Vinegar – for just a bit of tartness
  • Vegetable oil – few tablespoons


πŸ§„ How To Make The Best Meatball Sauce

Step 1: Prepare sauce

In a large enough pan, heat the oil and let the chopped garlic cloves infuse their aroma for about 2 minutes. Add the passata, stir, cover and simmer for another couple of minutes.

best easy meatball tomato sauce

Add salt, black peppercorns, dried thyme and bay leaves. Add sugar and stir again.

Let it simmer partially covered on low flame another 10 minutes to reduce more and absorb all aromatic herbs into it.

Step 2: Add fried meatballs

Add some more warm water (one or 1 1/2 cup) to have enough sauce for the meatballs to cook in. Have a taste and correct with salt and sugar if needed.

Add vinegar and carefully place those fried meatballs into sauce.

Stir so they are all covered in this delicious sauce and let them cook for another 15-20 minutes.

image of meatballs in easy tomato sauce

🍽️ Serving

Turn off the flame and serve immediately with mashed potatoes or rice and your favorite seasonal salad.

They are delicious even cooled. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge up to 3 days and add a little water when reheating. Enjoy!

meatballs with tomato sauce and mashed potatoes


Other must try ground meat recipes:


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5 from 3 votes

Best Easy Sauce For Meatballs

The best and easy sauce for meatballs is quickly put together with tomato passata and a few aromatic herbs
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Romanian
Keyword: meatballs, meatballs with sauce, sauce for meatballs, tomato sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 16 fried meatballs
  • 3 cups (700ml) tomato puree or passata
  • 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp cooking oil


  • Heat the oil on middle-low flame and infuse it with the chopped garlic cloves. Add tomato passata and simmer for 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, sugar, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Stir, cover partially and let it reduce for about 10 minutes.
  • Add more warm water and the vinegar. Stir, taste and correct the salt and sugar level if necessary. Add the meatballs, cover them in sauce and cook together for another 15-20 minutes.
    Serve immediately with mashed potatoes or rice and your favorite salad. Enjoy.
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