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.
Did you make this recipe?
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I appreciate you so much!
All the cheese please.
19 Comments on “Our Favorite Ricotta Meatballs!”
Do you use whole fat ricotta or low fat?
i use whole fat but you can also use lower fat!
Your meatball recipes are my favorite, so much so that my kids are tired of them being in the lineup every week :/
Too bad! I’ll be making these soon.
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how long do you put them in the slow cooker?
Hi, curious as to why you decided to brown these in a pan instead of cooking them on the baking sheet like in the original recipe without ricotta? I am just wondering if it’s worth a try for me or if sometjing about adding the ricotta makes that an undesirable choice. Thanks!
Would baking the meatballs work for this recipe or is browning on stovetop preferred? If baking, what temp and time do you recommend?
I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes no frying, they were perfect!!! Mine were very small though.
Can’t wait to try these! Can I bake in the oven?
I always brown my meatballs in the oven. I started doing these on the stovetop and what a mess! I quickly converted to oven method and they came out great. They were sooo soft from the ricotta, but I did double the recipe.
I use the same ingredients but different construction process. I make 1-inch balls of ricotta cheese, then make thin large diameter compact meatball meat patties. Place the large thin patty in the palm of your hand, then center the ricotta ball in the middle, fold your hand, encircling the meat around the cheese ball. Work the loosely formed meatball around in your hand until it is firm. Bake in the oven at 325 until the outside is golden brown.
Loved these!!! I always follow a recipe the first go around and then adjust. Meatballs were easy to assemble, great texture, kept their shape while browning and did not dry out. What more can a working girl ask for at 5pm! Next go around my only change will be to kick up the spice. Thanks for sharing!
Most delicious meatballs I’ve ever made. They even gave the sauce great flavor from simmering. Thank you!
After 13 years of being vegetarian, I started adding some meat back into my diet in late 2022. For about 2 months, I ate meat mostly at friends’ houses and bought prepared meat at the store/restaurants, but had yet to cook it myself. This recipe sounded really good and I had leftover ricotta from making your ricotta pasta with broccoli, so it seemed like the perfect way to try cooking meat! I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great! I loved the meatballs on spaghetti and I’m very excited to make a sub out of them too. Thanks for helping me figure out a whole new world of food!
I made these last night for meatball subs. So easy and, like ALL of your recipes I’ve tried, SO delicious!! 😋
I loved these meatballs. I don’t make meatballs often. I found the interior soft and light. Is that what you expect from these?
At what stage of the cooking process do you flash freeze them? Before or after browning?
These are SO good! I made these for the first time tonight and they were an absolute hit! My family unanimously voted that this is our new go to recipe for meatballs! Thank you!
How many balls do you recommend?