Our Favorite Ricotta Meatballs!
Our favorite ricotta meatballs are incredibly tender, juicy and flavorful. Easy to make ahead of time and perfect for sandwiches, pasta or salad, these are sure to be a hit with everyone!
Meatballs are made for the weekend!!
I could give you all the exclamation points with these.
This weekend, make a batch of these and you will be in heaven. These ricotta meatballs are so tender, flavorful and perfect to make ahead of time for meals. Simmer them in your favorite marinara sauce, then serve as you wish.
Isn’t it crazy that I didn’t really love meatballs until a decade ago? When I was pregnant with Max, I started to really like meatballs (and marinara/tomato sauce which I didn’t care much for either) and it’s stayed ever since. Which makes me happy, because they are easy, simple, so versatile and a huge crowd pleaser.
Now all my kids love them too.
These are easily the best “traditional” meatballs I have ever made. Eddie loves all things meatballs, and these have been his absolute favorite. When I say traditional, I just mean more of a classic meatball in marinara sauce. I have zero Italian blood in me so I know nothing.
But I do know that these are PHENOMENAL!!
Prior to these, I used to make my baked mini meatballs all the time. That has always been my go-to recipe. I took that recipe and added the ricotta, with the method of whipping it up before incorporating all the ingredients. The ricotta keeps the meatballs so tender and moist. There is no other word than moist, truly. Sometimes it just has to be used.
Whisking the ricotta with the egg before mixing in everything else ensures that the ricotta gets evenly distributed through the entire meat mixture. You can even see in the photos of uncooked meatballs – there is ricotta through each one.
The meatballs are excellent served on sandwiches, with pasta or with salad – you may remember my meatball salad from The Pretty Dish! Those are one of the most popular recipes from that book. I love to make meatballs as a main with vegetables on the side too. I do this often with my parmesan roasted broccoli. Love it!
These meatballs are wonderful when prepared ahead of time. They also freeze well. I like to flash freeze my meatballs and then store them in a resealable bag. Sometimes I throw them frozen in the slow cooker with sauce and they cook all day! Other times, I let them defrost, then sear and bake. You can also cook them and freeze the leftovers. Both ways work.
The perfect meatball does exist.
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh herbs, like parsley and basil, plus extra for topping
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- Whisk the ricotta cheese, egg and garlic together in a large bowl until combined and somewhat smooth. Add in the ground beef, parmesan, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, dried basil and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir the mixture together until just combined, using your hands to bring it together as needed.
- Wet your hands slightly and roll the mixture into meatballs that are 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides - let them get golden and dark all around. Once browned, add the marinara sauce. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. You can also simmer them longer over low heat on the stove. Or throw them in the slow cooker with sauce once they are browned.
- Serve in sandwiches, with pasta, over salads or with vegetables. Top with extra parmesan and herbs.
All the cheese please.