Classic Beef Meatballs

Here they are—the top sellers at The Meatball Shop and sure to be a big hit at home. Most traditional meatball recipes call for Parmesan or pecorino cheese. While we’re big fans of these stronger cheeses, we prefer ricotta. It’s our secret weapon. The mild and creamy consistency of this fresh cheese gives the meatballs a unique, light texture. Beef has a subtle flavor, and the ricotta is a great way to add fat and moisture to the recipe without the overpowering flavor of a sharper cheese. These are quick to prep, and baking rather than frying makes this a fast comfort food even during the busiest of weeks.–Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow

LC On Top Of Spaghetti… Note

Remember that little ditty about somebody’s meatballs that some poor hungry soul lost when somebody sneezed? Well, there’s more ways to serve your meatballs than over pasta. Like in a sandwich. Or on pizza. Or, well, you tell us.

Classic Beef Meatballs Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups classic tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Drizzle the olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface.
  • 2. Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, fennel, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl and mix by hand until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
  • 3. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
  • 4. Roast until the meatballs are firm and cooked through and a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball reads 165°F (74°C), 20 to 30 minutes.
  • 5. While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.
  • 6. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan. Pour the tomato sauce over them and turn to coat. Return the meatballs to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Serve as desired.

Turkey Meatball Variation

  • Substitute ground turkey for the beef. That’s it. Everything else remains the same.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Shannon Parrish

Oct 28, 2013

As a busy mom, I’m always in search of quick and easy yet delicious meals to serve my family. This recipe fits the bill. There are just so many reasons why I love these Classic Beef Meatballs. First and foremost, they’re absolutely delicious! The ricotta contributes to such an incredibly moist meatball and the fennel seed really enhances the flavor. These meatballs were devoured by kids and adults alike. My search for the perfect recipe ends here! They came together quickly and were essentially a 1-pan meal—how great is that? I definitely didn’t miss the traditional messy browning of the meatballs on the stovetop before baking in the oven. The recipe yielded twenty-six 1 1/2-inch meatballs. The first night I served the meatballs and sauce with a side of pasta. The second night I served them sub-style. I just don’t think you could go wrong any way you serve them! In fact, they hardly need any accompaniment at all.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Oct 28, 2013

Let me begin by saying that I’ve never been fond of all-beef meatballs. These meatballs changed that. Not only is this a simple recipe, but it’s as tasty as any I’ve ever had. For the first time, I neither have the desire to smother them with sauce or regret the absence of pork. The meatballs took exactly 25 minutes to prepare and the recipe produced 34 golf ball-sized meatballs. I used Lidia's Twenty-Minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Basil and I highly recommend it. The meatballs and sauce form a perfect partnership. (It's a good thing, too, because I couldn't keep myself from eating them directly from the baking dish.) I ultimately made a nice pain ordinaire and ate a fabulous meatball sandwich. These will be exceptional in any dish, pasta, etc. that you like to use meatballs in, but be forewarned: Make some extra, as you’ll certainly be popping them in your mouth as soon as their temperature drops.

Testers Choice
Kelley B.

Oct 28, 2013

This was an awesome meatball in texture and flavor. It would’ve never occurred to me to put ricotta in a meatball mixture. They were moist and also delicious from the herbs/spices. It calls for pepper flakes, which add complexity, and even for the faintest of heart not too much heat. My family said this was a keeper and we threw out our other recipe. We served them with spaghetti and Lidia Bastianich’s Twenty-Minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Basil from Leite’s. The recipe calls for 80/20 ground beef and on a second try we made it with 85/15 with no noticeable difference in consistency, but considerable difference in the fat rendered/shrinkage. The yield was much different than what the recipe states. In the first trial, I measured 1 1/2-inch spheres and it made 50 meatballs versus the 24 that the recipe says it yields. In the second trial, we divided the meat in half to make 12 (half of the stated yield) 2 1/2-inch balls and the rest at 1 1/2 inches again. We got 25 smaller ones (half of the actual yield). I’m a quilter, so measurements are important.

Testers Choice
Natasha Roetter

Oct 28, 2013

Really a fantastic, moist, and flavorful meatball (and I forgot to buy fresh parsley, so with the fresh parsley, it would’ve been even better). The ricotta was fantastic—I was amazed that the meatballs came out so moist without any eggs, and I also used lean ground beef (since I had this on hand). The fennel and oregano added a very subtle but unique flavor. The recipe was easy to follow. I followed the instructions to a tee and they were spot-on almost all the time. I did have one minor area where the instructions were slightly unclear. The recipe calls for the extra grease to be drained, but doesn’t really specify how. Since the meatballs are in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, this could be interpreted a few ways (e.g., put in another baking dish, skim the fat with a spoon, etc.). I ended up lining my baking dish with tin foil, then actually putting the meatballs in a new baking dish to spoon the sauce over (which worked quite well; only downside is you need to wash two dishes then). The ingredients are all easy to find and inexpensive.

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

Oct 28, 2013

I was mildly surprised to find ricotta as the cheese in these meatballs, but what a great surprise. I also can’t recall ever using ground fennel before, but this, too, is a really subtle flavor that keeps you guessing. These took me a little bit less than the 25 minutes the recipe allots. The meatballs are rolled large enough that they come together quickly. Baking them is so much easier than frying them because it leaves you free to cook everything else. When you bite into these meatballs you’ll find a light, almost fluffy-textured meatball that fits nicely into a lighter pasta meal. There was a lot of grease in the baking dish using 80/20. I wouldn’t change the mixture ratio though because you could end up with a dry meatball, despite the ricotta.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Oct 28, 2013

These meatballs are the best! The preparation of the meatball mixture came together quickly; the forming of the meatballs took the most time. It all came together within the stated 25-minute hands-on time. Adding the ricotta cheese gave me the opportunity to see how well all the ingredients were combining. It took a bit more mixing to get the ricotta fully incorporated into the meatball mixture. My meatballs were a bit bigger than golf balls, closer to 2 inches in diameter, fitting snugly into the 13-by-9-inch dish. This added 5 minutes to the baking time. The bigger meatballs yielded 21 total. I used the Freezer Tomato Sauce adding a cup of red wine to the sauce as it warmed. As the sauce and meatballs roasted together, I prepared some rigatoni. I used about half the meatballs and sauce for 1 pound pasta. The lightly coated pasta was fantastic with these. They come out very dense and firm but not rubbery like some meatballs. I used the other half of the meatballs and sauce a few days later, placing them in the Crock-Pot before I left for work in the morning. I came home to an easy, delicious meatball sub filling for dinner. This time the meatballs and sauce had even more flavor. The meatballs themselves were more tender after spending the day in the sauce in the Crock-Pot. This was comfort food at its best.

Testers Choice
Ayanna Fews

Oct 28, 2013

Not all meatballs are created equal. Thankfully this recipe held its own among the great meatballs in food history! Unfortunately, way too many recipes end up creating dry and flavorless meatballs, or one-hit wonders that don’t taste good once reheated. These were excellent the first day for dinner over pasta and just as good the next day for lunch with a salad; had there been any left I’m sure they’d have made for another great meal. I have a favorite recipe that also uses ricotta and I think that this contributes to the moistness. The seasoning was really effective for creating a well-flavored meatball. I generally cook my meatballs in the sauce, but this cooking method in the oven worked nicely. It was great to be able to just put them in the oven for a while, then add the sauce and serve! I did end up with about 2 dozen meatballs. The 25-minute hands-on time is about right. I used a small scooper, which helped with the even portioning of the meatballs and made the process move a little faster. Also, if you add a little oil to your hands, the meat doesn’t stick as much when you form the meatballs. I’d definitely make these again!

Testers Choice
Gene C.

Oct 28, 2013

Being a full-blooded Italian, I couldn’t pass these up. I’ve been baking meatballs for years and always used the hard cheeses. This recipe got my attention. These meatballs are ready to eat; no simmering for hours to make them softer and less tough (move over, nona; there’s a new way). Though very skeptical of getting away from the norm, I went ahead and am glad I did. These were very tender and juicy and didn’t lack any flavor or taste. I did, however, use a homemade ricotta recipe that is from this site (I suggest you try it) and my own homemade sauce, which is very similar to the simple tomato sauce recipe from here. However you proceed, these are great. I never thought of ricotta in place of tomato paste, etc. I served them with pasta, but they’ll also make a great meatball Parmesan sandwich (lunch tomorrow). Go get busy making a batch; they freeze well. I used the full amount of fennel and would use less next time. Overall these were great but could use a little less fennel—found it to be a little overbearing but not intolerable.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Oct 28, 2013

I decided to make a half recipe using the 80% ground beef suggested and another half recipe using ground turkey since my daughter was eating with us and she doesn’t eat red meat. Both batches were hits here. I was actually surprised since none of us really care for fennel, but it worked in this dish. We loved the flavor and moistness that the ricotta lent the meatballs. I liked that they were baked in the oven. Not sure it was necessary to heat the sauce before adding to the meatballs and returning to the oven, but maybe it gives the sauce a head start by not slowing the meatballs down, since it’s already hot when you add to the meatballs. Rubbing the olive oil on the pan probably also helped the meat not stick to my hands as I was rolling. I used panko for my bread crumbs, dried oregano, and store-bought pasta sauce. We had our meatballs over spaghetti. I did get a dozen meatballs with each half recipe. Baking time was spot-on.

Testers Choice
Kara Vitek

Oct 28, 2013

These meatballs were really enjoyed by all that tried them. They’ve the perfect texture: not pillowy-soft, yet not firm. The recipe yielded 24 meatballs and they came together in no time at all. I loved the combination of herbs; I used fresh oregano. I wish the meatball had more flavor from the herbs; perhaps next time I’ll double the amount of herbs called for. I couldn’t really detect the ricotta cheese or the red pepper flakes in the finished product but the overall flavor was superb. I followed the recipe to a tee; the only thing I did differently was that I poured off the grease from the meatballs after the initial roasting time (just prior to adding the sauce to the pan). I loved the way the meatballs made the sauce even better. I’ll definitely make these again; they could be a great weeknight dinner, as the meatballs could be prepared earlier and roasted just prior to eating. Yum!

Testers Choice
Renee H.

Oct 28, 2013

Meatballs. What could be better than moist, seasoned beef smothered in tomato sauce? I can't think of anything. The recipe describes how the addition of ricotta makes these meatballs unbelievably moist, and that's no lie. The addition of fresh herbs and fennel seeds gives them a fresh, earthy flavor that stands up nicely to the tomato sauce (I used Leite's Simple Tomato Sauce). The yield here was 32 golf ball-sized meatballs—enough for meatball sandwiches to gorge on during Sunday football as well as a spaghetti and meatball supper that’ll be a breeze to throw together during the hectic work week. When I tasted the meatballs prior to adding the sauce I was left wanting garlic. The addition of the Simple Tomato Sauce rectified that right quick!

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Oct 28, 2013

These Classic Beef Meatballs were definitely light and tender. The ricotta did add a more subtle flavor than traditional meatballs made with stronger cheese like Parmesan or pecorino. I used an ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs and I got exactly 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs. The cooking time was perfect to achieve the 165° temperature internally. I served them over fettuccine with my classic tomato sauce. I topped the dish with Parmigiano-Reggiano. I cooled half of the meatballs and froze them in a ziplock bag for a future dinner. In future batches, I’d add another 1 teaspoon salt and double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes and ground fennel seed. The meatballs were very satisfying as stated, but we felt they needed just a little more spice. Delicious and mess-free preparation for classic pasta with meatballs!

Testers Choice
M.K. Morgan

Oct 28, 2013

These are tender and tasty. I’ve always used Parmesan in my meatballs and these did have a more delicate flavor. They took me about 30 minutes to mix and put together, but that included picking the parsley leaves. I do prefer baking meatballs, but it never occurred to me to test them with a thermometer—not sure that was necessary. The recipe made 24 as advertised. I think 4 cups sauce would’ve been a little skimpy, but the Simple Tomato Sauce made more than that, which we used when we served the meatballs over pasta. Yum. I froze the extra meatballs to enjoy later.

Testers Choice
Steve Dunn

Oct 28, 2013

This is my kind of family-friendly meal. A short ingredient list of easy-to-find items, about 25 minutes of hands-on prep time (I won’t call it work, because when has hand mixing and forming meatballs ever been considered work?), and an end product that’s equally tasty atop cheesy polenta, in a bowl of spaghetti, or stuffed inside a hoagie roll for a knockout meatball sub. I used a size #24 cookie scoop to initially form the balls before rolling them between my palms. The scoop, which is about 2 inches in diameter and yields 1 1/2-ounce balls, made for perfectly sized orbs.

The balls delivered not just in their ease of prep, but in their tender texture and delicious flavor. Too often meatballs are tough, bland, and all-around rather forgettable. Not so with these little marvels. The ricotta adds a lightness to the texture while the oregano, parsley, and fennel seed work wonders on the flavor profile. I served mine tossed in a quick tomato pan sauce studded with fresh garlic and basil, all poured over a Fontina polenta fresh from the pot. Mama mia!

Testers Choice
Kristen Kennedy

Oct 28, 2013

WHY did it take me so long to find a meatball recipe that uses ricotta as a binder? These were so moist, easy to work with, and the kick from the crushed peppers nicely offset the creaminess from the ricotta. I made these for my in-laws when they were in town and there were rave reviews all around. I’m throwing out my other go-to meatball recipe and replacing it with this! I made the recipe exactly as written and used a jarred sauce because I didn’t have the time to whip up fresh sauce.

Testers Choice
Carrie S.

Oct 28, 2013

There are so many meatball recipes out there but I’m always searching for an easier recipe, and I think I found it! Baking the meatballs is a great idea and a huge time-saver since there’s no need to babysit the meatballs like when they’re frying up in a pan. The ricotta really does make the meatballs less dense, yet they still hold their shape. What I also like about this recipe is that it seems like a solid starting point for experimenting with other flavors, depending on what kind of sauce you pair with the meatballs. For my family’s dinner of pasta and meatballs, I picked a marinara sauce that was on the garlicky side, and it was great with these meatballs with a dusting of Parmesan. If I had a less flavorful, perhaps simpler tomato sauce, I’d throw in a touch of Parmesan or garlic to the meatball recipe to balance it out. I have an ice cream scoop that made the making of the meatballs go super fast. After the first 20 minutes of baking you’re supposed to drain the oil, but one look at the loads of hot oil and meatballs in the large pan triggered the danger flag for me. It didn’t seem like there was a good way to keep all of these meatballs in the pan while removing the oil out without some serious pain of hot oil splashing on my skin or the meatballs tumbling out of the pan. I decided to remove the meatballs and drop them in the warm tomato sauce, then empty the pan, and then add the sauce and meatballs back to the pan. No burnt skin or runaway meatballs!

Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Oct 28, 2013

Great classic meatball recipe, definitely a keeper. I found myself looking for some pure comfort food after a celebratory night out that involved some overindulgence, and these fit the bill perfectly. They came together very quickly and easily with minimal extra filler. Very pure meatball flavor. You can definitely taste the ricotta, but it’s not overpowering, and the other herbs and spices weren’t overwhelming either. I multiplied the recipe by 1 1/2 because I was feeding a crowd (what a great recipe to feed a crowd with!) and I ended up with about 3 dozen meatballs, just as predicted. The prep took no time at all. It’s an ultimate weeknight dish: Just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, mix it up like crazy with your hands (maybe work out some of that workplace stress while doing so), roll it into balls, and throw them in the oven. I’d say that my cooking time was a bit longer, but I was also looking to get a nice crust on the bottom of the meatballs. I tacked roughly 10 minutes onto the cooking time; they were cooked through and had a bit of a crust on the underside then. While the meatballs were in the oven I made the simplest of tomato sauces by cooking down some onion until nearly caramelized and throwing in some chopped, super-ripe heirloom tomatoes along with a bit of red pepper flakes and some fresh basil, of course. It couldn’t have been easier and the sweet tomatoes complemented the almost sweet ricotta wonderfully. I served these alongside a big green salad, with just a little pasta, but I really don’t think they need to be served with anything. They can hold their own as a meal as far as I’m concerned. Next time I might knock up the amounts of some of the herbs because I wouldn’t mind tasting some of them a bit more, specifically the fennel and oregano.

Testers Choice
Alexander Cowan

Oct 28, 2013

Many years ago I started making meatballs from a recipe I found in The NY Times. This recipe had become my standard killer meatball and always received rave reviews. Well, I’m happy to say that I now have a new favorite meatball recipe—this one! These ricotta-infused beauties are so light, moist, and flavorful, I’ll never go back to my old recipe. I have a 2-inch ice cream scoop that I use for meatballs, so my yield was slightly different than the recipe. I ended up with twenty-one 2-inch meatballs, which worked out because the odd-numbered one was my “taster” meatball. One of the beautiful things about this recipe is its simplicity. Essentially everything goes into one bowl, then is scooped out into a baking dish. So 25 minutes might be a little generous. This may’ve taken 10 minutes to prep; however, if this time includes making the sauce (separate recipe), I’d say it was spot-on.

How did I serve them? Since there are only two of us in our family I decided to use the meatballs in two separate recipes. I did make tomato sauce on the stovetop, but instead of pouring the sauce onto the meatballs, I added half of the meatballs to the sauce and let them slowly simmer for about an hour. We ate these in “bowl of balls” style—so, bowl of meatballs, sauce, and a slab of grilled bread. Killer. The other half of the meatballs were sliced up and laid on a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. I’m not sure which I loved more, though this shows how versatile these meatballs are.

Testers Choice
Linda M.

Oct 28, 2013

These meatballs were easy to make and tasted delicious. They came together quickly, definitely under the 25-minute preparation estimate. I ended up with just under 3 dozen meatballs that were at least an inch and a half in diameter, and filled the 9-by-13-inch baking pan almost completely. I roasted them as stated and they were at about 180 after the initial 20 minutes; I wish I’d checked them sooner. I served them with the Simple Tomato Sauce and they were delicious, flavorful, and “light,” if you can say that about a meatball.

Testers Choice
Marilee Johnson

Oct 28, 2013

I was very happy with this recipe. The ingredients were easy to put together and the mixture rolled nicely into meatballs. It made 45 balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and completely filled the 9-by-13-inch glass dish I used. I measured out exactly 2 pounds of ground beef. I’ll be interested to read other evaluations to see how many meatballs their attempts yielded.

I let them roast for 20 minutes, which was a little too long. They registered around 180° so I took them out immediately. The outcome was very good despite cooking them too long. They were still tender and the flavors melded well. The fennel flavor was prominent, as was the heat of the red pepper flakes. The dried oregano and fresh parsley were a little less so. I think the author was spot-on with the ricotta. It added moisture and fat without the sharpness (or salt) of another cheese overpowering the taste.

I made Gram’s Spaghetti Sauce from a previous session, which made about 7 cups. I substituted the meatballs for the sausage and served it over spaghetti. This recipe made a lot! I did use all of the sauce, which added to the volume, obviously. The two of us ate all we could and I packaged up lunch for one the next day. There was still enough for 4+ people so I froze the meatballs with the sauce.

The total hands-on/cooking time was about right at 1 hour. But here are a couple of things I’d suggest or change: Take a temp reading after 15 minutes. Maybe their balls were larger than 1 1/2 inches, which would be in line with an additional 5 minutes of cooking time. Also, I found it hard to drain the fat from the 9-by-13-inch dish without the balls falling out of the dish. I’d gently tilt them into a colander or use a slotted spoon to remove them and then drain the fat. If your sauce is already hot, I don’t think there’s a need to sauce the meatballs, then return to the oven. You can add the meatballs to the sauce or just add the meatballs and sauce to the pasta.

All in all, it’s a really good recipe!

Testers Choice
Pat Francis

Oct 28, 2013

Overall, this recipe is a winner. These were very tasty, classic-style meatballs and were excellent served with spaghetti. Starting out, I was wary of the amount of fat in the recipe. While I don’t usually use the leanest ground beef in cooking, I don’t use meat with 20% fat like this either. Adding ricotta to the meat to increase the fat content made me raise my eyebrows a bit. And then there was adding oil to the pan! Honestly, I was surprised that there wasn’t more fat to drain off than there was. I didn’t measure the amount, but I really expected a lot more. Pouring the fat out of the pan was a bit tricky but manageable. I used a small gravy ladle to get most of it out. Perhaps a turkey baster would’ve been better.

While the large quantity of fat didn’t adversely affect the meatballs (and probably added to their flavor), I felt this recipe had too much salt. I paused and double-checked the recipe before adding 2 teaspoons and considered not using all of it. I used it all, and it was too much. I’d cut it at least in half next time. Perhaps I was predisposed to think so since I knew how much salt went in, but the meatballs tasted salty to me. Anyone who’s sensitive to salt or needs to restrict sodium intake will want to keep that in mind when making this recipe.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Oct 28, 2013

I usually use more than one kind of meat to make my meatballs; I like the complex taste that this imparts. So I was surprised at how much we liked these meatballs. The meatballs were ready for the oven after 25 minutes. I ended up with forty 1 1/2-inch meatballs, not 2 dozen. Guess I was lucky! After roasting the meatballs for 20 minutes, the meatballs reached 168°F (76°C). Draining the excess grease wasn’t enough, as there were congealed, scummy curds of fat in the pan. I found it easier to take the meatballs out and put them into a clean casserole before adding the tomato sauce. I also didn’t put all of the meatballs into that casserole. I wanted to see what the meatballs were like without the sauce. I made the Simple Tomato Sauce that’s on the site, doubling the amount of garlic as well as basil. Now, to serving the meatballs. There are oh so many ways:
1) spaghetti and meatballs
2) pizza with a thin layer of ricotta cheese, sliced meatballs, and grated mozzarella cheese (no sauce)
3) pizza with a thin layer of tomato sauce, sliced meatballs, and grated mozzarella
4) an open-faced sandwich (using a lightly toasted roll) with meatballs, sauce, and slices of mozzarella melted under the broiler
5) meatballs without any sauce in a lettuce cup with some chopped heirloom tomatoes

All of these incarnations were very good. However, once the meatballs were in the sauce, the nuances were lost. The meatballs without the sauce were far more full of flavor—flavor that the sauce covered up. The fennel and red pepper flakes could really be tasted in the plain meatballs, and those flavors were quite wonderful. They couldn’t be picked up when covered in sauce.

Testers Choice
Amy Iacopi

Oct 28, 2013

First off, I halved the recipe, as I only had slightly more than 1 pound ground beef left from our CSA. I’m lucky that I could use our own “hot and spicy” oregano and Italian parsley from the yard. Eggs came from a neighbor’s chickens, so really, I only needed to buy ricotta and whole wheat bread crumbs, which if I hadn’t been lazy, I’d have just made myself.

These little guys were absolutely delicious! I actually ate a few on their own with the sauce and they were perfectly moist, flavorful, and oh so inspiring! I wouldn’t change a thing! Well, next time I’d actually make the entire recipe or even double it for the freezer. These would be amazing with homemade fettuccine or a loaf of fresh bread with extra sauce and some added cheese.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Oct 28, 2013

These meatballs are quite good and they’re very easy to make. All the ingredients are mixed together at the same time and the shaped meatballs are baked in the oven. The ricotta gives the meatballs a much milder flavor than meatballs made with a sharper cheese. The ricotta also makes these meatballs more tender than other types of meatballs. I rolled the meatballs according to the recipe instructions and got slightly more than the stated yield: 32 meatballs, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I served them with a homemade tomato sauce and cheese ravioli.

Testers Choice
Mike S.

Oct 28, 2013

I’ll leave out the fennel seed the next time I make these. It’s not that I don’t like fennel seed, but the spice is so heavily associated with sausage that when added to beef, you can’t help but think of sausage. I prefer more of a beefy flavor in my meatballs, but for those of you looking for more of a sausage flavor, this would be right up your alley.

Testers Choice
Bette Fraser

Oct 28, 2013

I love meatballs and I thought I had been using THE BEST recipe for meatballs. I was wrong. These meatballs are simply divine. The ricotta cheese really does add a light texture to the meatballs that can't be achieved otherwise. And the recipe makes a lot. While it says it makes 2 dozen, I got 29 beautiful meatballs. I'm keepin' this recipe and tossin' my old one.


Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail