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Chef John's Ricotta Meatballs

Rated as 4.6 out of 5 Stars

"Ricotta-spiked meatballs are so tender, so flavorful, and so delicious. There are hardly any ingredients. Of course we're going to throw this over some spaghetti, because we're Americans and that's what we do with meatballs."
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1 h servings 331
Original recipe yields 8 servings (32 meatballs)


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  1. Saute onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir garlic into onion and turn off heat. Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir ground beef, ricotta cheese, parsley, egg, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper with onion mixture until almost combined; stir in bread crumbs and continue to mix until thoroughly blended.
  3. Roll about 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 1-inch ball for each meatball. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in same skillet used to cook onions. Place skillet over medium heat and brown meatballs on all sides in hot oil, about 5 minutes. Hold a crumpled paper towel in a tongs and use it to remove excess grease from skillet.
  4. Pour marinara sauce and water over meatballs in skillet. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes.


  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 331 calories; 20.9 18.9 16.3 75 865 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 289
  1. 378 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

Wonderfully delicious moist melt in your mouth meatballs. Since I was the first to make this recipe I followed exactly, even using the paper towel to drain my juice, a very nice tip by the way. ...

Most helpful critical review

I made this with no changes except using chicken instead of beef (health thing). I fried 2 to test and found it to have a good texture but way too bland for our taste. I added more cayenne, re...

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Least positive

Wonderfully delicious moist melt in your mouth meatballs. Since I was the first to make this recipe I followed exactly, even using the paper towel to drain my juice, a very nice tip by the way. ...

These are so soft and cheesy! I did not cook them as the recipe states though, just stuck to my normal, which is roll into balls place on a greased baking rack (over a baking sheet) and baked 2...

Now I've been making meatballs for years and these are fantastic. Followed recipe as written except I did not add the 1 cup of water to the sauce since I like a thicker sauce. I also added 2 Tbl...

This is another Chef John winner! I got close to 30 meatballs using my close to two tablespoon cookie scoop. I used part regular parsley and part basil for the meatballs, but the marinara I us...

These are delicious! For those who complained about the meatballs being too fragile, make sure you are actually following the recipe's measurements. Ricotta cheese sold in the small containers ...

Great meatballs with a lovely soft texture! Changes I made: 1. I used dried parsley (1 Tbs.), basil (1 Tbs.) and ground marjoram (1/2 tsp.) because my own herb plants have not yet matured eno...

I just finished frying these up and was disappointed at how fragile they are. You really need to take your time or use a very non-stick pan. I think I will do as the previous reviewer mentioned ...

I made these Ricotta Meatballs today and they were delicious. I followed the recipe exact, except i mixed fresh Basil & Parsley together to make 1/4 cup. Since I like larger meatballs, I made ...

I've mad this twice now. The first time I neglected the egg. That was a disaster. They all fell apart. I've never had that problem with my meatballs before but I imagine that's because of the ri...