Easy baked meatballs are an easy meatball recipe with a surprise ingredient that helps keeps these moist and totally not dry! The best thing about this special ingredient is that you have it in your house right now, in nearly endless supply, and it doesn’t expire. Do you know what it is?
How to avoid dry meatballs
Ugh, the dry crumbly meatball. No one wants or enjoys a dry meatball. So, how do we avoid a dry meatball and get that soft and moist texture in these easy baked meatballs? I mentioned above the easiest secret ingredient. Ready to know what it is?
Yes, water is what you can add to your meatball mixture to help keep the meat moist when it’s baking and you won’t end up with that unfortunate too dry meatball. I got the idea when I was watching an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives. One of the restaurants that Guy was filming at was making a meatball, and added water! That was a major “Ah-hah!” moment for me. All along I’ve already tried various tricks, but trust me, the water is what does it. And how awesome that it’s not something you need to add to your grocery list?
I think what makes a meatball tricky is that we need the meat to be cooked through, but not so cooked that it ends up dry. And that’s where the water comes in to help keep the meat soft and moist. See, meatballs aren’t like a hamburger. Burgers are OK to eat red in the middle and juicy. We can’t and don’t order meatballs medium-rare for this reason, meatballs need to be cooked all the way through. And because of this, it’s easy to cook them too much, or not prepare the meat properly and end up with dry meat.
Next time you’re wanting an Italian dinner night with meatballs, give this recipe a try! Add the water and you’ll never make water-less meatballs again!
Just look at this pillowy bed of whipped ricotta that hugs each meatball. Whipped ricotta is a blend of ricotta cheese, marscapone, Parmesan cheese and salt. It’s smooth, creamy, and cool. And it makes a the perfect combination to the tomato sauce and the meatballs!
Never had marscapone cheese before? Well, you’ll find it in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store. At my store, it’s right next to the containers of fresh Mozzarella cheese and comes in two tub sizes, a large and small. It’s smooth and creamy and has a flavor similar to cream cheese. I think cream cheese is a bit more tart, while marscapone is more mild. It’s consistency is also softer than cream cheese. It makes a great addition to cream sauces!
Ideas for using Whipped Ricotta
This whipped ricotta with marscapone can be used in many ways! Here are some ideas:
- As a spread on a meatball parm
- Dolloped onto of pastas or baked ziti
- As a dip for pizza bites or Italian appetizers
- In stuffed shells
- On top of eggplant parm
Tips for Making Easy Baked Meatballs
A few tips to help you get the best meatball!
- Don’t over mix the meat mixture, you don’t have to knead it like a dough. Just gently mix together and then form the meatballs.
- Baked your meatballs slightly elevated on a cooling rack or baking rack on top of the baking sheet. By doing this the fat and oils will bake away from the meat and settle underneath it, and the meatball will be elevated above all this. If you don’t elevate them the meatball will sit in these fats and they can become too oily or soggy. We want moist meatballs, not soggy!
- I like to check a meatball to make sure they are cooked before taking all of them out of the oven. I originally baked these for 15 minutes, then checked a meatball. It was ever so slightly pink right in the center, so I put them back in the oven. That’s why in the recipe below I noted the cook time as between 15-17 minutes.
Easy Baked Meatballs with Whipped Ricotta
Easy baked meatballs are a meatball recipe with a surprise ingredient that keeps these super moist! Cover in homemade sauce or you favorite jarred sauce and serve with the cool and refreshing whipped ricotta.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Category: Meatballs
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
For the Baked Meatballs
1lb ground beef
1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
For the Whipped Ricotta
1/2 cup ricotta
3/4 cup marscapone
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your baking sheet by lining it with tin foil, then placing a cooling rack or baking rack on top and spraying it with cooking spray so the meatballs don’t stick to it.
2. To make the meatball mixture, in a large bowl add the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg, bread crumbs, and water. Mix everything together, but do not over mix or else you could end up with tough meatballs. Once everything has combined, form medium sized meatballs and place them on the baking rack on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until no longer pink inside and cooked through.
3. As the meatballs are baking, make the whipped ricotta. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, marscapone, Parmesan and salt. Stir with a fork or whisk until combined and smooth.
4. To serve, spoon some of the whipped ricotta into a bowl or plate, top with your meatballs and cover with your tomato sauce.
If you want to make this easier use your favorite jarred sauce. Go for a quality jarred sauce if you’re not making your own.
Keywords: easy baked meatballs