What are Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes?
Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes is a perfect little dish serves so many issues with traditional spaghetti & meatballs. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can’t go wrong with the traditional, but sometimes, there is an even better option. So here are some great reasons to make Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes:
- It is neater. Every parent has the adorable photo of their baby covered in marinara sauce trying their first spaghetti. The thing is, after the first picture, kids eating spaghetti can quickly transition into the nightmare of laundry/hair washing/ugh sighing. These Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes are super unlikely to become a mess. (I say unlikely, not impossible as I know many children, my own included, can make ANYTHING a mess). But more likely this dish can be cleanly eaten with a fork or just let the kids pick them up and munch. My two year olds managed to eat this in white shirts without incident so-WIN!
- They are portable. Let’s be honest, you aren’t really taking a plate of spaghetti and meatballs on the road. These Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes could easily go with you for dinners on the go for nights with soccer practice or dance class.
- They keep well. Traditional Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes don’t keep that well, the noodles get dried out and it just doesn’t work. These Cupcakes keep well making them perfect for meal-prep or make ahead dinners. You could easily make a big batch on the weekend for simple lunches all week. The eggs and cottage cheese in these keep the dish fresh for days.
- They sneak in hidden protein. I’m all for making any dish, especially ones I’m giving my kids, healthier. Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes up the protein ante by adding eggs and cottage cheese.
Ingredients in Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes:
- Butter: I used plant based butter, use whatever is your favorite
- Spaghetti: These were designed to invoke the feel of traditional spaghetti and meatballs. If you prefer you could substitute vermicelli or angel hair pasta but want to avoid changing noodles too much so that the cups will hold together.
- Eggs: These will help the cups hold together
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Marinara Sauce: Either homemade or your favorite store bought sauce will both work just fine.
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Meatballs: You will need pre-cooked meatballs for this dish, they can either be bought cooked or you can prepare them. Whatever type of meatball you prefer will also work: soy, turkey, pork, etc.
How to store & reheat leftover Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes:
If you have leftover spaghetti and meatball cupcakes, there are a few ways you can store them to keep them fresh:
- Refrigerate: Allow the cupcakes to cool down to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Place the container or bag in the refrigerator, where the cupcakes can be stored for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: If you want to store the cupcakes for a longer period, you can freeze them. Allow the cupcakes to cool down completely before placing them in an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag. Label the container or bag with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
- Reheating: When you are ready to eat the leftover spaghetti and meatball cupcakes, you can reheat them in the oven or microwave. To reheat in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F, place the cupcakes on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. To reheat in the microwave, place the cupcakes on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
What to serve with Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes?
- Pair some lemon roasted vegetables for a light, fresh twist on dinner
- Bring the restaurant home and make some Copycat Little Caesars Cheesy Bread
- Bake up a loaf of Stromboli Pizza Bread to have an easy, fun bread recipe that will pair perfectly with these Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes
- Go classic and make some Slow Cooker Rosemary Sea Salt Bread to go with your spaghetti cups. Add some extra marinara or olive oil dipping sauce for your bread and your are good to go.
- Or, keep it more simple:
- Texas toast or garlic bread
- Simple roast vegetable (broccoli, asparagus, etc)
- Fresh Salad
Can Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes be made Vegetarian or Vegan?
Vegetarians: I’ve got you covered! There is literally only 1 swap needed and that is the meatballs. I used these, but many other varieties exist depending on your local market.
Vegans: Unfortunately, I really don’t know how to convert this dish to vegan. If any of you have ideas, please let me know as I try to make as many of my dishes as I can accessible to everyone. I’m just stumped on getting the cup to hold together without the egg.
How to make Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes
Gather all of your ingredients & pre-heat your oven. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Beat the eggs. Toss the spaghetti with the melted butter. Add the eggs, cheese, garlic powder and cottage cheese to a bowl. Mix well to combine.
Stir the mixture well to combine. Spray a large muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the mixture evenly among the cups. Using the back of a spoon gently press and flatten the muffins. Top each muffin with a bit of sauce and add a meatball on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and then put in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is beginning to brown.
Allow the finished cupcakes to set in the pan for around 5-10 minutes to cool and firm up before removing. To remove run the edge of a butter knife around the edges of each cup and gently lift. Serve immediately or store in the fridge. They will keep for several days and reheat great!
Spaghetti Meatball Cupcakes
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 3/4 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 12 pre-cooked meatballs
- Heat the oven to 350. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
- Cook the meatballs as directed on the package.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the parmesan & cottage cheese and mix well.
- Mix the butter with the cooked spaghetti. Pour in the egg mixture and stir well to combine.
- Spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray. Divide the mixture and press into the cups with a spoon. Lightly press down using the back side of a spoon to gently flatten.
- Divide the pasta sauce evenly among the cups to "sauce" the tops, any leftovers can be saved to serve alongside the cups.
- Add a meatball in the middle of each 'cup' & top with the mozzarella cheese, dividing evenly.
- Bake 30 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let sit about 5 minutes to allow the mixture to set. Take a butter knife and gently run around the edges of each cup to loosen before removing.
- Serve warm with additional sauce, if desired.