How to make crispy meatfree meatballs

6 Ingredient Crispy Ricotta Balls

Share Post:

How to make crispy meatfree meatballs

These crispy ricotta balls are every vegetarians dream…crispy, creamy, filling and a good source of protein! You can’t beat that!!

Jump to Recipe

When I go grocery shopping, I hardly have a list (or should I say, I have a list of what I NEED which is often only about 1/4 of what goes in my cart).

I tend to buy what I’ve run out of (pantry staples, milk, eggs, bread…you know, the usual), and I let the rest “speak to me” as I meander through the store.

Do you guys do that?  I’ve often wondered if more people shop like me or if most stick to their lists (which I would think means you are planning your meals at home and buying ingredients for said meal).  My head just doesn’t work that way.

I like to pick up products that stir my creativity.

Last week it was yogurt (I made a Greek baked yogurt dish I saw on Instagram!), the week before it was a pork shoulder (uhmmm, hello pulled pork) and this week it was ricotta.

I thought about making Maria’s Ricotta Cookies that I have on the blog, but I got busy testing some cookbook recipes so that never happened.

Then I remembered that I promised to post my mom’s ricotta balls that I made a few weeks back…

So, my fellow food enthusiasts, get ready to impress your taste buds and those fortunate enough to enjoy these delightful Italian Ricotta Balls. With their perfect balance of flavors and textures, they’re sure to become a beloved addition to your culinary repertoire. Buon appetito!

And, don’t be afraid to get creative with this recipe! You can add a touch of lemon zest for a refreshing twist, incorporate chopped fresh herbs like basil or oregano for an herbal punch, or even experiment with different types of cheeses to tailor the flavors to your liking. The possibilities are endless!

ricotta balls

I used to eat these by the dozen when I was a kid, literally standing by the stove as the crispy balls of goodness were placed on a side plate hot out of the frying pan…gahhhhh, so good!

My mom used to fry them (which, in my opinion, is still a really yummy way but it makes a mess in the kitchen!) but I’ve given you an option here to bake them…healthier and still super yummy! Aaaand if you have an air fryer, well, you know that’s always an option!!

Crispy no-meat ricotta balls

What are the Different Ways to Cook These Crispy Ricotta Balls?

  • You can bake them as directed here in your oven (400 degrees for 20 minutes)
  • Use your air fryer for the same amount of time!!
  • You can shallow fry them in a mild oil until golden and crispy
Crispy no-meat ricotta balls

These crispy balls made without meat, and with fresh ricotta, are going to be a hit at your next gathering! And without having to fry them, they’re even healthy! #ricotta #balls #unprocessyourfood #easyrecipes #healthy #italian

♬ Italian Tarantella – Italian Restaurant Music of Italy

What Do We Need to Make These Crispy Ricotta Balls:

  • ricotta (obvs – check out it’s health benefits here)
  • eggs
  • parmegiano
  • flour
  • fresh and dry bread crumbs
  • chopped cooked spinach or grated zucchini
  • salt and pepper
  • oregano

Next time you find yourself with extra ricotta, make a batch of these….pleeeease!!!!

Meat free Monday, here we come!!!!!!

How to make crispy meatfree meatballs

The Crispiest Ricotta Balls

Need a no-meat alternative to your favorite meatball?  I really think you gotta give this a try!!
There are so many ways to serve them...drop them in a tomato sauce once they're cooked or serve them "appy style" like these here with a dollop of warm tomato sauce and topped with some mozzarella cheese!!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8


  • 425 grams ricotta
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded can sub in 1/3 c chopped, cooked spinach
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or crushed crackers)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, fresh bread crumbs, zucchini, oregano, parmigiano, 1 egg and salt and pepper to taste until well combined (if you feel like the mixture is too wet - some ricotta is creamier than others - you can add more bread crumbs); place the mixture in the fridge while you get the breading ready.
  • In three small bowls, place flour in one, panko in another and the remaining egg in the last bowl (beat the egg and add a few tablespoons of water)
  • Using a large tablespoon (or a small baking scoop), scoop up a gold ball sized amount of the mixture and roll it in your hands; dip in flour, then in egg, then in panko; set in the freezer while you wait for your oil to heat up
  • In a large pan, heat the oil to hot and slowly add in the coated balls, turning to brown all sides; remove to a paper towel lined plate and re-season with a sprinkle of salt (alternatively, place uncooked balls on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning half way to brown both sides).
    Crispy no-meat ricotta balls
  • Serve warm as is or reheat in some tomato sauce