Homemade Mini Meatballs are a comfort food classic that anyone can make. They are super tender and flavorful but still so easy to make! This recipe is perfect for anyone with an egg allergy since ricotta is used instead of egg as a binder.
When I think of simple, fast, and family-friendly meals, one of the first thing that comes to mind is spaghetti and meatballs. You might think homemade meatballs are a lot of work, but they take are so simple. I cook my meatballs in the oven for added convenience and less cleanup.
I love this meatball recipe and use it in lots of different pasta bakes. The ricotta acts as a binder much like the egg in a recipe usually does. The ricotta also makes the meatballs extra tender.
These meatballs are great with spaghetti or another pasta of your choice. If you don’t want pasta tonight, they would also be awesome on a meatball sub sandwich with a little marinara and fresh mozzarella on a hoagie roll. They also make a great little party snack with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
It only takes a few simple ingredients to make Homemade Mini Meatballs.
- Ground beef- 85/15 blend is my favorite for meatballs, but lean (90/10) or chuck (80/20) will work too.
- Ricotta cheese- Whole milk or part skim works, but I prefer whole milk ricotta.
- Fresh basil- Fresh really is best when it comes to basil, but dried basil can be substituted in a much smaller quantity. Only use 1 teaspoon of dried basil if you’re subbing.
- Parmesan cheese
- Breadcrumbs- Italian style breadcrumbs are best, but panko would work too.
I hesitated to even include an Instructions section for Mini Meatballs given how simple the recipe steps are. There are a total of three steps from start to finish.
- Mix together all of the ingredients.
- Form the meatballs into half-ounce round balls.
You could also cook the meatballs on the stovetop. Use a nonstick pan and cook them over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until all sides are brown.
Given the simplicity of the recipe, there aren’t a lot of substitutions. If you cannot find ricotta cheese or don’t want to use it, one egg could be substituted.
- Serve: Pair with your favorite marinara or pasta and serve hot from the oven.
- Store: The meatballs can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
- Freeze: Meatballs freeze well. Let them cool completely before freezing in a plastic storage bag. Try to remove as much air from the bag as possible. They can be kept frozen for 60 days.
- Reheat: There are so many ways to reheat frozen meatballs depending on how much time you have and the equipment in your kitchen. Check out this article for eight different ways to reheat frozen meatballs.
Homemade Mini Meatballs are not tricky to make. The one heads up I will give you is to make sure you thoroughly mix the meat with the ricotta and spices before forming meatballs. You want to be sure that the ricotta is evenly distributed for the best meatballs.
If you like this recipe, be sure to also check out my Meatloaf Meatballs and Pork and Mushroom Meatballs. Looking for more quick and easy recipes that use ground beef? Onion Burger Mini Meatloaf and BBQ Meatloaf Sheet Pan Dinner are great options too.
Mini Meatballs are a recipe I use often. It will become a go-to on busy weeknights, for sure! Give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes in the comments section below!
- 1 lb ground beef 85/15 lean
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ C ricotta cheese
- 1 Tb fresh basil finely chopped
- 2 Tb parmesan cheese finely grated
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ C Italian style breadcrumbs
To make meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a mixing bowl. The best way to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated is to use your hands. If you're squeamish about touching the meat, use nylon kitchen gloves.
- Use a half-ounce scoop or spoon to portion out the meatballs and then use your hands to roll into a ball. The meatballs should be about a half dollar size or just smaller than a ping pong ball.
- Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil for easy cleanup, leaving a little room between each meatball. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use 1 egg instead. Also, whole milk or part skim ricotta is acceptable in the recipe.
If you can find it, fresh is best. If not, you can make the recipe with dried basil instead. You only need one teaspoon of dried basil if you're substituting.
Yes. Use a nonstick pan and cook them over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until all sides are brown.