Baked Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

4.15 stars average

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My baked beef and ricotta meatballs is a lightened up version of an Italian favorite. Lean sirloin and part-skim ricotta adds moisture and keeps these meatballs on the lighter side.

Beef and Ricotta Meatballs on a plate

When I was little, I always wanted to be that iconic Italian mother in the kitchen who spent her days stirring a pot of something delicious. My family is full of loud and crazy women who know their way around the kitchen but you’re more likely to find Stuffed Grape Leaves, Syrian Salad or Meat Pies than lasagna or ravioli.

As fate would have it, I married an Italian man and gained the last name as Italian as it gets: Della Croce. (Yes, we were married by my Rabbi but that’s beside the point.)  Now that we have a son who has Italian blood, I feel it is my maternal duty to make meatballs at least once a month.

Meatballs Ready for the oven HR

My version is lightened up with lean sirloin and part-skim ricotta but you are welcome to go all out and use a pork/beef mixture and full-fat ricotta.

Your fork is waiting.

Beef and Ricotta Meatballs on a plate

Baked Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

4.15 stars average
A lightened-up version of an Italian favorite. No breadcrumbs and lean sirloin keeps these meatballs on the lighter side.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 25 minutes
TOTAL: 45 minutes


  • 16 oz ground sirloin (90% lean)
  • cup part-skim ricotta
  • cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg whites (whisked)
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and spray a foil-lined baking sheet with non-stick spray; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl. combine beef with ricotta, parmesan, egg whites, garlic, parsley, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Be careful not to over-mix – that causes dense, dry meatballs.
  • Using a small cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop out the meat mixture and roll into balls and place in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned. Add to pasta sauce of choice and serve over whole wheat spaghetti.

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Note: Serving size will vary depending on the size of your meatballs. If you’re watching calories, divide the meat mixture in four and make sure you only eat 1/4 of the total mixture.


Calories: 298kcalCarbohydrates: 3.5gProtein: 31.4gFat: 17.9gSaturated Fat: 8.8gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 587mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1.5g
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61 responses to “Baked Beef and Ricotta Meatballs”

  1. Joe Avatar

    Approximately how many total meatballs should I yield in order to have them cook properly within the 20-25 minute baking time?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I use a two tablespoon scoop!

  2. Amanda Jackson Avatar
    Amanda Jackson

    These really were the Best meatballs I’ve ever made! I used ground elk instead of beef and tripled the recipe. So savory and moist!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh that makes me so happy! So glad you enjoyed them!

  3. Elisa Avatar

    These are my favorite! They are perfectly delicate, such an improvememt on normal meatballs!

    Have you put them in a crockpot? I have an event coming up where I’d like to have these meatballs the tomato sauce on low or warm in a crockpot all day. Will the meatballs fall apart?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You know I haven’t but I bet they would work perfectly!!

  4. Alison Walters Avatar
    Alison Walters

    These just came out of the oven and are delicious! Thank you. :)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh I’m so glad! And jealous – I wish I had some on in my oven!!

  5. barbara Avatar

    I absolutely love ricotta and will definitely be making these. Just wondering about the nutmeg. Do you taste it? was wondering if I could leave it out as I’m not sure I would like the taste in a meatball.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You really don’t Barbara! It just adds a subtle background note that brings out the other flavors!

      1. barbara Avatar

        great more you think I could use chicken instead of the beef in this recipe? I believe you already said turkey would be good

        1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
          Liz DellaCroce


  6. Alice Avatar

    Made these, they were delicious but they completely fell apart. Perhaps because I used whole milk ricotta which I already had. Next time ill use the skim.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh no – I’m sorry they feel apart on you!! If your meat mixture seems a little too loose you can always add more breadcrumbs. I’ve never tried them with whole milk ricotta but I’m surprised that made a difference. Sorry again!

      1. Debra Avatar

        Are there supposed to be breadcrumbs in this recipe? If so, none are listed!

        1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
          Liz DellaCroce

          Nope :)