These meatballs were a big hit with my family and when served at our neighborhood annual cookie exchange! They are light, juicy and very flavorful! (a rarity with ground turkey recipes!)
You can make them a little larger to serve with pasta or roll them smaller and they make great appetizers! I highly recommend serving a little extra ricotta (drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper) to dollop on the side.
I’ve been developing this recipe for well over a year. Truth be told, my family has not always been in agreement over the use of ground turkey. Sometimes ground turkey recipes can just be so dry and flavorless. But, now, after lots of testing and tweaking we have “go-to” recipes for both delicious and juicy turkey burgers (will post recipe soon!) and these Turkey Ricotta Meatballs!
The first time I made Turkey Ricotta Meatballs was from a recipe I saw linked in the New York Times Cooking Newsletter – it was a really simple recipe with just turkey, ricotta, Parmesan and a few seasonings. I’m not sure if I made them incorrectly, but they were super dense, dry and flavor lacking
I started with a pound of the leanest 99% ground turkey along with a pound of the 93% lean – to have the best of both wolds. Then, I experimented with adding different amounts of bread crumbs (to loosen the denseness of the protein), some very finely minced onion and fresh Italian parsley (for flavor and moisture), eggs, various amounts of ricotta as well as baking time and temperature.
Finally, a recipe we love! Hope you do too!
Our Favorite Turkey Ricotta Meatballs
- 1 pound 99% lean ground turkey
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I use the whole milk Galbani brand) plus extra for serving if desired
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons finely minced or grated onion*
- 2 cloves garlic* minced
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Romano (Locatelli) cheese or Parmesan
- 1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoom dry Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons if using coarse Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- oil spray
- your favorite marinara sauce
- fresh basil, optional
- 1-ounce (2 T.) scoop makes smaller appetizer size – about 45 meatballs – bake 12-15 minutes.
- 1.5-ounce (3 T.) scoop, slightly rounded, makes larger "spaghetti & meatball" size – about 24-30 meatballs – bake 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. I usually bake on parchment lined baking sheet, but you can bake on greased baking sheet as well.
- Stir together all meatball ingredients until just combined.
- Scoop and roll balls – damp hands can help with stickiness
- Lightly spray with oil spray.
- Bake Times: 425 degrees F.1-ounce (2 T.) scoop makes smaller appetizer size – about 45 meatballs – bake 12-15 minutes or until 165 F. internal temp – use an instant read thermometer.1.5-ounce (3T.) scoop, slightly rounded, makes larger "spaghetti & meatball" size – about 24-30 meatballs – bake 15-20 minutes or until 165 F. internal temp – use an instant read thermometer.
- Simmer for at least 30 minutes in marinara sauce of your choice.
- Serve if desired with some extra ricotta and Romano or Parmesan cheese on the side. I like to drizzle the ricotta with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Make-Ahead:After baking you can cool and freeze them. Freeze on a baking sheet, then transfer to zip freezer bag or freezer container – or you can make ahead and refrigerate for a couple days.