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Baked Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

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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 mins
COOK: 25 mins
TOTAL: 45 mins
Servings: 4


  • 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.


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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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


  1. These are the best meatballs ever, Liz! Thanks so much for sharing your fab recipe. The ricotta cheese is such a great addition. These meatballs are so moist and flavorful!!! My husband and I both agreed that we don’t need to look any further for our go-to meatball recipe. I can’t wait to make them again… I even have some leftover pasta sauce in the freezer. I like to plan ahead like that. :)

  2. I made these last night for me & my hubby… I was not impressed!

    The meatballs shaped up well & cooked perfectly in the time stated & looked pretty, but as far as taste goes, there was a lot left to be desired! They didn’t really have ANY flavor & turned out dry. Luckily, the bought sauce I put over them made them edible, but I will not be wasting a pound of meat on this recipe again. :|

    1. Hi Shannon: I am so sorry to hear you and your family did not enjoy these meatballs. My husband (the pickiest eater I know!) and 17 month old son both devoured these so they are usually my indication. Regardless, I appreciate your candid feedback and again apologize. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. It’s funny you say that – when I made this I wanted to freeze some for sandwiches but of course there were none left. ;-)

  3. I wish I had an Italian grandma that would come over every single Sunday and make sauce. It would simmer away all day and make my house smell amazing. That way I could just sit back and reap the rewards. I love this lightened up version of a classic.

  4. You know, I’ve never thought to add ricotta to a meatball. I was reading on Real Foods Real Deals about how to make my own ricotta, so I’m game to have some on hand, but it never occurred to me to use them inside a meatball. I’m sure they’d taste delicious.


    1. I am not a *huge* fan of plain ricotta but you truly don’t taste it in these meatballs. Mostly they are used to add moisture and an airy texture. It’s sort of like baking with yogurt which we both love doing. Try them! :-)

    1. Dude. I have an autographed copy baby!! I am OBSESSED with MS. I just can’t quit him. Too funny about your mom!!! :-)

    1. It’s funny – I think I prefer turkey meatballs over beef but I also crave beef every now and again so I like to switch it up! Let me know what you think!

  5. I am really into making meatballs and freezing them for my son now! It is so easy for busy weeknights or lunches. These looks delicious. I love the ricotta in them! Do these freeze well do you know?

    1. Yes they freeze VERY well!! Great idea to make them for your son – I need to do the same next time because he literally ate 5 in about 2 minutes – lol.

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