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Chef John's Ricotta Meatballs

Chef John's Ricotta Meatballs

Chef John

"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 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 8 servings


  • Calories:
  • 331 kcal
  • 17%
  • Fat:
  • 20.9 g
  • 32%
  • Carbs:
  • 18.9g
  • 6%
  • Protein:
  • 16.3 g
  • 33%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 75 mg
  • 25%
  • Sodium:
  • 865 mg
  • 35%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

See full nutrition

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  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.


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

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Read all reviews 77
  1. 104 Ratings

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...

Most helpful
Most positive
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. ...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

Best meatball recipe I have ever made! I had no trouble with them sticking or falling apart. The only suggestion I have would be adding additional sauce if you are serving them over spaghetti or...

Yum! Made these almost as written, except I had to substitute the bread crumbs for panko flakes because that's all I had. I used the course flakes, which I think worked well. The meatballs wer...

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