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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Beef Ricotta Meatballs

Ricotta is one of my favorite ingredients to add to meatballs - I love my meatballs to be light and not dense, and the ricotta gives it an amazingly tender texture. These meatballs gain so much flavor from simmering away in your favorite marinara sauce. I like to serve them simply over some arugula or with roasted vegetables, and some crusty bread on the side is a great addition.


Beef Ricotta Meatballs


Main Course

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Beef Ricotta Meatballs


    For The Meatballs:

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk at room temperature
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce, such as Bio Orto
  • For the Salad:

  • 1/2 5 ounce container baby arugula, (about 4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese


  1. This recipe originated on an episode of Giada Entertains. Episode: Weeknight Special.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the breadcrumbs, milk, egg, ricotta cheese and parmesan. Stir well to combine and allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add the beef and salt. Using your hands mix gently to combine.
  3. Heat a medium straight sided skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Roll heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture into balls and place in the hot pan. Add as many as the pan will allow without overcrowding, working in two batches if needed. Brown the balls on all sides rotating as needed, about 8 minutes. Remove the balls to a plate when they are browned all over. Continue with the remaining meat. When all the meatballs are browned, pour off the excess oil from the pan. Add the marinara. Return the balls to the sauce and cover the pan. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl toss together the arugula, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan shavings. Divide the salad among 4 to 5 salad bowls and top with 3 to 4 meatballs. Serve with more cheese if desired.



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
18 grams
44 grams
57 grams
Saturated Fat
21 grams
Trans Fat
1 grams
170 milligrams
2044 milligrams
4 grams
10 grams
Unsaturated Fat
30 grams
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5 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Lauren Gallo

    These are decadent!!! I can’t have meatballs sans garlic so I sautéed some in EVOO and threw in to the meat mixture-parsley too. I made 8 large balls and they didn’t stay together that well so I baked them in sauce at 375 for about 15 mins. My teen says they’re “off the chain”.

  • Author's avatar image
    Peggy Brown

    Can you use gluten free bread crumbs and still have it work?

  • Author's avatar image
    luxator 54

    Serves 4 so for example, if you make 24 meatballs from the mixture in this recipe then it would be 6 meatballs approximately equals 757 calories. That may but probably does not include the nearly insignificant one cup of dressed salad.

  • Author's avatar image
    Cindy Dacey

    How many meatballs equals 757 calories that your recipes states? Thinking of making tonight!

  • Author's avatar image
    Deb Janus

    I love all your food !

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