These cheesy ricotta meatballs can be easily made gluten free and can be made with beef or pork to fit your preference. This recipe makes a generous portion and is absolutely perfect for meal prep, family gatherings, or a simple dinner at home. Ricotta meatballs are versatile and can go with or on anything you like to add meatballs to. It’s delicious, easy, and a classic all in one.
Why This Recipe Works
- Versatile: You can easily serve this recipe with pasta, as a salad topper, in a wrap or hoagie, or anywhere you need a ricotta meatball in your life. Plus, ricotta meatballs can be made gluten free or with your choice of ground meat.
- Filling: Ricotta meatballs make a generous amount of meatballs and is sure to fill you up no matter what you serve them on or with. They make great leftovers, as well, so you can’t go wrong.
- Easy: Meatballs are an easy recipe to make. You simply mix them, portion them, and cook them. It’s as easy as one two three. If you line the sheet pan with foil, even the cleanup is easy.
- Perfect Meal Prep: This ricotta meatball recipe makes around 30 meatballs and goes with anything so it’s the perfect option to use as a meal prep recipe for your week ahead. Since they pair with so many things, you can make a different meal prep for each day of the week!
Ingredients to Make Ricotta Meatballs
To make ricotta meatballs you will start with a pound of both pork and beef, a cup of ricotta cheese, a half cup of parmesan cheese, and a half cup of panko breadcrumbs. You will need a half of a grated yellow onion, an egg, and 32 ounces of marinara sauce. For seasonings you will need two tablespoons of minced garlic, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, dried parsley, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
You also want to include a pasta or spaghetti squash if that is your choice for serving these meatballs. Garnishes that work well are chopped flat leaf parsley, basil, extra parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes.
How to Make Ricotta Meatballs
Start the recipe by mixing together the ricotta, parmesan cheese, and the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Stir it until it is well combined and set it aside for the moment.
Secondly, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with foil or coat it lightly with a coat of oil or cooking spray. In a large bowl mix the ground beef and pork with the egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Then, grate the onion directly into the bowl so the the juices fall into the bowl instead of a cutting board.
Once that is all well combined, add the ricotta mixture to the bowl. Using your hands, mix and combine these two mixes together. Make sure to not over mix this; stop once everything had been incorporated.
Portion and shape your meatballs into about 2 inch balls and place them on the lined baking sheet. You should get around 28-30 meatballs. Be sure to space them evenly on the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes at the 450 degrees F. While the meatballs bake, add the marinara sauce to a large skillet or sauce pan.
Next, when the meatballs are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently loosen them from the baking sheet with a spatula or fork so they keep their meatball shape. Add them to the marinara sauce in the skillet.
Bring the sauce and meatballs to a slow simmer, this should be around medium heat on the stove, and let them cook for about 15 minutes. Just until the sauce is heated and the meatballs are cooked through.
If you are serving these ricotta meatballs with pasta start the water and boil it during this step to save yourself some time and ensure everything is ready at the same time.
How to Make Ricotta Meatballs Gluten Free
To make your ricotta meatballs gluten free all you do is to swap out the breadcrumbs for a gluten free breadcrumb variety, or almond flour is also an option, along with other types of gluten free flours like cassava or brown rice. Switch these out in a one to one ratio and make the recipe as normal.
- Pro Tip: If you are crushing your own try placing a half cup of your gluten free crackers or cereal into a plastic bag and using a rolling pin or the side of a large bottle to crush them. Measure out the crumbs and crush more as needed to make a half cup.
Instructions for Serving and Storing
Garnish your ricotta meatballs with a sprinkle of extra parmesan cheese, or red pepper flakes. They are also great with some chopped flat leaf parsley and basil as well.
These meatballs go well with the traditional pasta or hoagie. I have enjoyed them with spaghetti squash and also on top of a cauliflower rice or mash if you are avoiding gluten, or options like gluten-free noodles, zucchini noodles, or broccoli rice.
Store these meatballs for later by letting them cool to room temperature and placing them in an airtight container and refrigerate. They will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Ricotta meatballs are a recipe that I highly recommend placing into individual meal prep containers before refrigerating to make them easier to reheat and eat later. If you are eating them with pasta or spaghetti squash, place them on a bed of pasta or spaghetti squash with a scoop or so of the marinara sauce and they will reheat super well for leftovers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use other meat besides the pork or beef for ricotta meatballs?
You can substitute the ground meat out and do all pork or all beef easily. The recipe remains the same with the substitutions. Chicken or turkey meatballs are also an option as long as you make sure they are cooked to the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Are meatballs gluten free?
This recipe uses panko breadcrumbs as a standard but it is easy to switch them out for a gluten free option and keep the recipe the simple and easy recipe it is. Gluten free substitutions options include: almond flour, rolled oats, gluten free breadcrumbs (or make your own by crushing up gluten free crackers, gluten free rice cereal, or gluten free corn flake crumbs), cassava flour or another type of flour like brown rice flour.
Can you make these ricotta meatballs dairy free?
You can try to switch out the dairy in this recipe (the parmesan and ricotta) for a dairy free option if you like. We haven’t tested it with any of these substitutions, however, so I don’t know how that will affect the recipe.
Do you line the baking sheet with foil for ricotta meatballs?
You don’t have to line the baking sheet with foil but I would highly recommend it for the sake of your cleanup. You can use a light coating of oil as well.
Can I make ricotta meatballs without the marinara sauce?
You do not have to make these ricotta meatballs with the marinara sauce if you would like to use them with something else. Just make sure to check and ensure the meatballs have cooked all the way through when you pull them out of the oven.
Other Meatball Recipes You’ll Love!
- Curry Chicken Meatballs
- Easy Firecracker Meatballs
- 5 Minute Instant Pot Chicken Meatballs
- Easy Greek Meatballs
- Air Fryer Pork Meatballs (or Turkey Meatballs!)
- 1-pound ground beef
- 1-pound ground pork
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (see notes for substitution options)
- 1/2 yellow onion, grated directly into the bowl
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 32 ounces marinara sauce
- For serving: pasta such as spaghetti noodles or pasta of choice, chopped flat leaf parsley, basil, parmesan
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush/spray on a light coating of olive oil
- In a large bowl, add the ground beef and ground pork, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, basil, salt and pepper
- Grate the onion directly into the bowl so the onion juices are go into the meatballs and not a cutting board
- Add the ricotta mixture into the bowl with the meat and use your hands to combine and mix everything together. Do not overmix, stop once everything is incorporated together
- Shape into 2-inch meatballs and place each one onto the prepared baking sheet spaced evenly apart. You should have 28-30 meatball
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes
- While the meatballs are baking, add the marinara into a large sauce pan/skillet. Once the meatballs are done, gently loosen them from the baking sheet with a spatula and add them into the marinara
- Bring the marinara to a low simmer and let cook with the meatballs for 15 minutes, or until hot and meatballs are cooked through
- If you’re serving it with pasta, start boiling the pasta once you pull the meatballs out of the oven
- Serve with pasta, fresh basil and parsley, parm
- For gluten free: substitute the breadcrumbs for gluten free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten free crackers, oats, gluten free corn flake crumbs, almond flour or cassava flour.
- If you prefer all beef or all pork ricotta meatballs just swap out the ground meat in the same quantity for your preferred meat.
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