Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer

Spaghetti nests and meatballs appetizer - horizontal

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Are you looking for clean eating spaghetti and meatballs recipe? Then this Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer recipe is for you!

 

We are talking clean eating as in no messy slurping of the spaghetti while the sauce is slapping your face clean eating, and not the other, healthy version. 😜

 

Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs - with text overlay

DON’T FORGET TO P I N THIS RECIPE! I guarantee you will make it over and over! 

 

NOTE: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for photos and content.

 

These mini spaghetti nests with Italian meatballs are mess-free bites perfect for special gatherings, be it birthdays, potlucks, football parties, and just because. A classic dish turned into finger food – can I get a Heck Yeah? 🙌

 

Do you know someone who doesn’t like spaghetti and meatballs? Yeah, me neither. These entirely satisfying little bites made with creamy Alfredo pasta and Italian-style meatballs in marinara sauce are easy to make and a huge crowd-pleaser!

 

*DON’T MISS: See how to dress up these spaghetti nests for Halloween at the bottom of the post. 

 

WHY THIS MINI SPAGHETTI NESTS AND ITALIAN MEATBALLS RECIPE WORKS:

 

  • These are easy to make.
  • They feed a crowd.
  • No need to make the meatballs (unless you want to). Use the frozen ones!
  • They can be made ahead.
  • They’re delicious! I mean, who doesn’t like pasta and meatballs, amirite?
  • It’s so fun to pop these little amazeballs in your mouth. Oops, I heard it too.  😳
  • They are great warm or at room temperature.

 

Meatball and spaghetti appetizer nests lined on a wooden board.

 

WHAT ARE INGREDIENTS FOR THIS MEATBALLS AND SPAGHETTI NESTS APPETIZER?

 

Seriously, this is a super easy and simple recipe that yields delicious (and addictive) little bites. If you have the time and desire to make your own meatballs and marinara or spaghetti sauce, go right ahead.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking from scratch for my family, but when planning a party, there’s usually no time for that. So, here’s the shortcut:

 

  • Angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian-style frozen meatballs
  • Marinara sauce
  • Parmesan and fresh basil to garnish (optional)

 

Ingredients for spaghetti and meatball appetizer.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

CAN I FREEZE SPAGHETTI?

 

If you cook pasta al dente, you can successfully freeze it. I wouldn’t recommend freezing it for this recipe, because:

 

A. Cooking spaghetti takes as long as it takes to reheat them, and

B. Spaghetti is better pliable when freshly cooked (unless you’re looking into freezing the nests – I suppose you could do that if you must).

 

HOW DO I PREVENT SPAGHETTI FROM STICKING TOGETHER?

 

  • Wait for the water to reach a rapid boil before adding pasta to it.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil into the water.
  • Drain the pasta, rinse and drain again. Serve or mix with a sauce immediately.

 

HOW DO YOU REHAT SPAGHETTI NESTS AND MEATBALLS?

 

Place spaghetti and meatballs on a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 90 seconds, in 30-second increments.

 

WHAT MARINARA SAUCE IS BEST FOR THIS RECIPE?

 

If you’re not making your own and you don’t already have a favorite, I highly suggest Rao’s Marinara sauce (not an affiliate). It’s super flavorful with all fresh and natural ingredients! 

 

Rows of spaghetti nests topped with Italian meatballs.

 

HOW TO MAKE MINI SPAGHETTI NESTS & ITALIAN MEATBALLS:

 

* The full and printable recipe is available in the recipe box at the bottom of this post. Also, check out the below tips for the best results.

 

  1. Cook thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta until al dente. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce and meatballs.
  3. Drain the pasta and mix with Alfredo sauce and Mozzarella cheese.
  4. Fill each of the 24 holes of a mini muffin tin with pasta mix.
  5. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Bake.
  6. Assemble meatballs on top of the nests, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil if desired.

 

6 easy steps to making meatballs and spaghetti nests.

 

PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES:

 

  • Thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the nests, as I used here, is better than regular spaghetti, which is too bulky for the mini muffin/cupcake tin. 
  • To make the nests, swirl spaghetti with a fork and release into the muffin hole; press down on the top to make an indent. 
  • Let the nests cool at least 20 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin; otherwise, they might fall apart. 
  • You can use half the recipe to make 24 nests. This works best for smaller gatherings and when you have heaps of other food. Just know that they are super addictive and go first and fast. 😋

 

Italian meatballs in spaghetti nests.

 

MAKE THIS SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALL APPETIZER FOR HALLOWEEN:

 

Use black food coloring to turn this spaghetti and meatballs into ghoulish bites for your Halloween party or buy black spaghetti.  

How do you color noodles? Easy:

 

  1. Mix two tablespoon water with 10 drops of water-based food coloring (liquid gel dye) and place it in a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Add cooked spaghetti to the bag, seal, and work the pasta into the coloring with your hands.
  3. Alternatively, you can place it in a bowl and using kitchen tongs, mix the pasta well into the coloring.
  4. Add halved pearl onions to meatballs to create eyeballs and pour extra marinara sauce on top. Enjoy!

 

Note: wear disposable gloves and protect your working surface when using food coloring.

black spaghetti nests with eyeball meatballs for Halloween

 

MORE SPAGHETTI RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:

 

CHEESY SPAGHETTI NESTS

SPAGHETTI WITH VERACRUZ SAUCE

CARAMELIZED CAULIFLOWER AND MUSHROOM SPAGHETTI 

THE BEST SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

 

YOU MIGHT LIKE TO TRY THESE MEATBALLS RECIPES TOO:

 

GERMAN MEATBALLS IN CREAMY CAPER SAUCE

NEAPOLITAN SAUSAGE, MEATBALLS, AND RICE TIMBALE

GREEK LAMB MEATBALL PITA SANDWICH

MEATBALLS STROGANOFF

BOSNIAN-STYLE MEATBALLS

 

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in my posts. This doesn’t change the cost you pay for an item; it just means a tiny (and I mean TINY) commission comes to All that’s Jas to help offset the costs of running this blog. 

 

ESSENTIALS

for Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs


 

MAKING THIS RECIPE OR OTHERS?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #ALLTHATSJAS. I can’t wait to see your spin on it!

 

A trio of Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer

 


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Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer

Perfectly satisfying little bites made with creamy Alfredo pasta and Italian-style meatballs.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 48
Author: Jas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
  • 1 jar your favorite Alfredo sauce (15 oz.)
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 jar Marinara sauce (we like Rao's) (about 24 oz.)
  • 1 bag small bag fully cooked frozen mini Italian-style meatballs 1/2 oz. per each meatball
  • Optional: shredded Parmesan and fresh basil to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cook 1 pound angel hair pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain and mix with one jar Alfredo sauce and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
  • While pasta is cooking, heat the marinara sauce and meatballs until meatballs are no longer frozen and are heated through. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two mini muffin tins (or work in two batches using one) with cooking spray.
  • Fill each of the holes with Alfredo pasta using a fork to twirl it. Press down on the top to create the nest, adding more pasta if necessary. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 15 minutes on the middle oven rack. Remove the nests to cool. Carefully remove the nests from the muffin tin.
  • Assemble meatballs on top of the nests using toothpicks to secure, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil if desired. Enjoy!

RECIPE NOTES:

  • Thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the nests, as I used here, is better than regular spaghetti which is too bulky for the mini muffin/cupcake tin. 
  • To make the nests, swirl spaghetti with a fork and release into the muffin hole; press down on the top to make an indent. 
  • Let the nests cool at least 20 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin, otherwise, they might fall apart. 
  • You can half the recipe to make 24 nests. This works best for smaller gatherings and when you have heaps of other food. Just know that they are super addictive and go first and fast. πŸ™‚
Tried this recipe?Snap a photo and mention @all_thats_jas or tag #allthatsjas on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

NUTRITIONS:

Nutrition Facts
Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 107 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 175mg7%
Potassium 112mg3%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 93IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe featured at Repurposing JunkieApril Noelle, This Momma’s Ramblings, The Mrs Tee, Epic Mommy Adventures, Saved By The Mommy, Being a Wordsmith, Tabler Party of Two, Eclectic Red Barn, and Does Your Sister Have Normal Hair?

 

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85 Comment

  1. […] chose Mini Spaghetti and Meatball Appetizer from All That’s Jas. “Love these meatball appetizers. I am always looking for ideas for […]

  2. […] chose Mini Spaghetti and Meatball Appetizer from All That’s Jas. “Love these meatball appetizers. I am always looking for ideas for […]

  3. Reply
    Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled
    August 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Great appetizer. Pinning for my next gathering. Also the party looks super cute and special. Visiting from Snickerdoodle party.

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 14, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Thank you, Victoria! Hope your weekend is amazing! πŸ™‚

  4. Reply
    Crystal
    August 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Wow. Your invites, decor, everything looks amazing. I’m sure you created such a special memory for your granddaughters. What a cool idea–mini spaghetti & meatballs! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty Hope to see you back!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 14, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thank you bunches, Crystal! Wishing you an amazing weekend! πŸ™‚

  5. […] from All That’s Jas made these incredible looking Mini Spaghetti and Meatball Appetizers for her granddaughters’ […]

  6. Reply
    Theresa
    August 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Looks so yummy. & love all the party ideas. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight Party. Pinned & shared.

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thank you and thanks for hosting! πŸ™‚

  7. Reply
    Maria
    August 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    What a unique idea with pasta and meatballs! So cute!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thank you, Maria! Hope your day is amazing πŸ™‚

  8. Reply
    Helen
    August 7, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I love these little appetizers!! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Thanks for hosting, Helen!

  9. Reply
    Beverly
    August 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I can’t wait to make these! What a unique appetizer idea! Thanks for sharing with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday. Your party decor looks lovely. How fun!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Thank you, Beverly! Hope your week is grand!

  10. Reply
    Carlee
    August 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I just love a party and I love everything you made! These appetizers look amazing too. So cute and delicious, what a fun idea. Thanks so much for sharing at Throwback Thursday!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Hi, Carlee! Thank you bunches and thanks for visiting! πŸ˜€

  11. Reply
    Wendy
    August 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    WOW! There is A LOT to brag about here!! So many people are going to be delighted that you shared the details of this amazing party theme!! At first I was taken in by the meatballs. We often have “tapas night” for Friday night dinner, and these meatball appetizers are now on my list! But this party….from the amazing invitations to the lovey picnic-like table, your granddaughters had a real-life fantasy birthday party!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you, Wendy, it means a lot! The meatballs tasted much better than just piled up on the plate for some reason, lol. I’m most proud of my invitations because I spent so much time creating them using just Photoshop and a printer. I finally bit the bullet and ordered Silhouette Cameo so I hope it will cut down on time and give me accesses to some cool designs. Thanks for stopping in and have a great weekend! XO

  12. Reply
    Kim
    August 4, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    I think that this is just about the cutest appetizer I have ever seen…and as an Italian girl, I have eaten meatballs in every way you can. THIS is original!! Love it!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 5, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Well, I’m so honored that I got this review from an Italian girl! πŸ˜€ Thank you Kim! Have a blessed weekend.

  13. Reply
    Karly
    August 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    These are so genius! Like a big, family-style dinner in just one bite… I love the idea! And heck, who can turn down a good meatball!? I’ve gotta try these out!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      Not me, lol. I haven’t met a person that didn’t like meatballs πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping in, Karly!

  14. Reply
    Terri
    August 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Wow, I want you to be my mommy, if you give parties like that! Everything was beautiful. I hope those little girls had a great time.

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      They sure did. This grandma spoils them rotten, lol. Thank you, Terri! Have a great evening πŸ˜€

  15. Reply
    SheilaG- Plum Doodles
    August 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Wow, your party looks beautiful, and the meatball nests are amazing. I want to give them a try with gluten-free pasta. How many nests did one package of pasta make?

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you, Sheila! I got about 48 nests out of one whole package, give or take. I’d use half the ingredients for a smaller crowd, we had 50 people that day. Have a great rest of the week and thanks for visiting!

  16. Reply
    Lisa
    August 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    These little treats look almost too cute to eat.

    We are gluten free around here but I think I could make a couple of substitutions to make it work.

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you, Lisa! We try to cut down on gluten and dairy any chance we get, but it is hard (for me at least) to come up with a gluten free party food for a large crowd. πŸ™‚

      1. Harp
        January 25, 2018 at 3:01 pm

        Thanks so much! Making tomorrow for a paint nite at my place with a bunch of girlfriends. Last question, promise! Your recipe calls for a jar of Alfredo sauce. Would 410 ml jar be too much? Not sure what a typical jar size would be.

      2. Jas
        January 25, 2018 at 9:41 pm

        The jars are about 15oz./425g here. I say, keep adding the sauce until your pasta is creamy, but not drenched. It easier to add than to remove. πŸ˜‰ Let me know how it turned out!

  17. Reply
    Michelle
    August 4, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    These are darling! Great for a cocktail party!

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks, Michelle. Yes, they’d be great for a cocktail party! πŸ™‚

    2. Reply
      Harp
      January 22, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Can’t wait to make in a few days! How many days did you make before the party? Did you just pre make the nests and then add the meatball and sauce the day of? Just trying to get my head around how I can make ahead of the big day.

      1. Jas
        January 22, 2018 at 10:25 pm

        I made nests and meatballs a day ahead, but they can be made several days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring nests to room temperature (not sure if they would fall apart if you would heat them slightly in the oven, (unless they stay in the muffin tins) and heat the meatballs before assembling (which should go relatively quickly, if you’re using toothpicks to secure them). Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  18. Reply
    Mary-the boondocks blog
    August 4, 2016 at 5:56 am

    You have outdone yourself Jas. You take the grandma of the year award with this party! Everything is so well thought out and the decorations are perfect for curious little girls to go exploring. Happy Birthday to them both, they are adorable. I’ll be pinning this one.

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Aw, thank you so much, Mary! They are worth every effort, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them πŸ˜€

  19. Reply
    Pamela Shank
    August 3, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your secret garden party. They will always have this special memory. Your food all looks so good, very creative, Pinned this recipe. Thx

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Thank you so much, Pamela! We always go the extra mile for our grandkids, right? Even though they already give us unconditional love, or maybe its’ because of it? πŸ˜€

  20. Reply
    Ann
    August 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    You are an evil genius, Jas!!! I love angel hair pasta.
    Looks like a fun day over there. With Grandma, it’s always special. xoxo

    1. Reply
      allthatsjas
      August 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      More evil than genius, bahahaha! It was a blast, although at the end of the day I couldn’t feel my feet anymore. πŸ™‚

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