juicy Chicken Ricotta Meatballs

Elevate your dinner routine with our flavorful Chicken Ricotta Meatballs in Spinach Alfredo Sauce recipe. Combining tender ground chicken with creamy ricotta, these meatballs are baked to perfection and served in a luscious Alfredo sauce infused with spinach. Whether you’re looking for a cozy family meal or an impressive dish for guests, this recipe promises to deliver a delightful combination of savory flavors and creamy textures that will leave everyone asking for more.


For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1.5 pounds (700 grams) ground chicken or turkey
  • 6 ounces whole milk ricotta (approximately 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt, to taste

For the Creamy Sauce:

  • 6 bacon strips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cooking cream (35% fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat oven to 450°F (235°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare Breadcrumbs Mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with milk and set aside to soak for 2 minutes.
  3. Prepare Vegetable Mix: Add the onion, garlic, parsley, and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Make Meatball Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with ground chicken, soaked breadcrumbs, egg, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt. Mix just until combined.
  5. Form Meatballs: Shape into 18-20 (2.5-inch) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with cooking oil.
  6. Bake Meatballs: Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside and cooked through.
  7. Prepare Sauce: In a large skillet, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon, then melt butter in the same pan. Add minced garlic and sauté briefly. Pour in heavy cream, season with salt and pepper, and whisk in Parmesan cheese until melted. Add baby spinach and cook until wilted.
  8. Combine Meatballs with Sauce: Add the baked meatballs to the skillet with the sauce. Simmer for 2 more minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  9. Serve: Serve the Chicken Ricotta Meatballs and Spinach Alfredo Sauce over pasta of your choice. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and fresh parsley for garnish.

Recipe Details

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Calories: 206 per serving
  • Servings: 6

Serving and Storage Tips:

  1. Garnish and Presentation: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or additional grated Parmesan cheese over the dish just before serving. This enhances the visual appeal and adds a burst of fresh flavor.
  2. Accompaniments: Serve the meatballs and sauce over your favorite pasta, such as fettuccine, spaghetti, or penne, to soak up the creamy sauce. Garlic bread or a side salad makes excellent accompaniments for a complete meal.
  3. Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of cream or broth to revive the sauce if needed.
  4. Freezing: These meatballs freeze well. Place cooled meatballs and sauce in freezer-safe containers or bags, ensuring they are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  5. Meal Prep: Consider doubling the recipe to batch cook for future meals. Prepare the meatballs and sauce separately if freezing, then combine and heat when ready to serve for a convenient weeknight dinner.
  6. Variation in Serving: For a lighter option, serve the meatballs and sauce over zucchini noodles (zoodles) or cauliflower rice instead of traditional pasta. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavors with fewer carbs.
  7. Reheating Tips: When reheating, add a bit of extra cream or broth to the sauce as it may thicken in the refrigerator. Heat gently to avoid overcooking the meatballs and spinach.
  8. Gathering Feedback: Encourage feedback from family and friends to tailor the dish to everyone’s preferences. Adjust seasoning or ingredients accordingly for future preparations.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Chicken Ricotta Meatballs in Spinach Alfredo Sauce remain delicious and enjoyable, whether you’re serving them fresh or reheating for another meal. Enjoy the creamy, savory flavors with these easy-to-follow suggestions!

Variations :

  1. Mushroom Cream Sauce: Instead of spinach Alfredo sauce, prepare a creamy mushroom sauce by sautéing sliced mushrooms with garlic and shallots. Add heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and a touch of thyme or rosemary for a rich, earthy flavor. Serve the meatballs over pasta or mashed potatoes.
  2. Pesto Twist: Replace the spinach Alfredo sauce with a vibrant basil pesto sauce. Blend fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil until smooth. Toss the meatballs in the pesto sauce and serve with roasted cherry tomatoes for a burst of sweetness.
  3. Greek-Inspired: Infuse Mediterranean flavors by adding chopped Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, and dried oregano to the meatball mixture. Serve with a tangy tzatziki sauce and a side of couscous or quinoa.
  4. Asian Fusion: For an Asian-inspired twist, season the meatballs with ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve with a creamy coconut curry sauce made with coconut milk, red curry paste, and lime juice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts.
  5. Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground chicken with a mixture of cooked lentils or chickpeas and mashed tofu. Add Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and ricotta as per the original recipe. Serve with a creamy tomato sauce or marinara over spaghetti squash or spiralized vegetables.
  6. Spicy Chipotle: Add minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the meatball mixture for a smoky and spicy kick. Serve with a creamy chipotle sauce made with sour cream or Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. Enjoy with rice or tortillas for a Mexican-inspired meal.
  7. Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour in place of Italian breadcrumbs. Ensure all other ingredients, including sauces and seasonings, are gluten-free. Serve over gluten-free pasta or quinoa for a satisfying meal.
  8. Seafood Twist: Incorporate seafood by adding finely chopped cooked shrimp or crabmeat to the meatball mixture. Serve with a creamy lemon-dill sauce made with heavy cream, lemon zest, chopped dill, and grated Parmesan cheese. Pair with linguine or rice for a luxurious seafood dinner.
  9. Cauliflower Alfredo: Create a lighter version of Alfredo sauce by blending steamed cauliflower with garlic, low-fat milk, and nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese. Toss the meatballs in this creamy cauliflower Alfredo sauce and serve with whole wheat pasta or spiralized vegetables.
  10. Barbecue Glaze: Brush the meatballs with a homemade barbecue sauce before baking. Serve with a creamy barbecue ranch dipping sauce made with Greek yogurt, barbecue sauce, and ranch seasoning. Enjoy with sweet potato fries or a side of coleslaw.

These variations allow you to explore different flavors and ingredients while maintaining the hearty and comforting essence of Chicken Ricotta Meatballs in Spinach Alfredo Sauce. Whether you prefer Mediterranean, Asian, or vegetarian options, these ideas will help you create a memorable and personalized meal for any occasion.

FAQs :

  1. Can I use ground beef instead of ground chicken or turkey? Yes, you can substitute ground beef for chicken or turkey in this recipe. Adjust cooking times as needed to ensure the meatballs are fully cooked.
  2. How can I make the meatballs gluten-free? Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or ground oats instead of Italian breadcrumbs. Ensure all other ingredients, including sauces and seasonings, are also gluten-free.
  3. Can I omit the bacon in the sauce? Yes, you can omit the bacon for a vegetarian version of the dish. Simply start with melted butter in the skillet before adding garlic and continuing with the cream sauce.
  4. Is it necessary to bake the meatballs, or can I cook them on the stovetop? Baking the meatballs helps them cook evenly and allows excess fat to drain away. However, you can also cook them in a skillet with a bit of oil over medium heat until browned and cooked through.
  5. What can I substitute for heavy cream in the sauce? You can use half-and-half or evaporated milk as a lighter alternative to heavy cream. Coconut cream can also be used for a dairy-free option.
  6. Can I freeze the meatballs with the sauce? Yes, you can freeze the cooked meatballs with the sauce. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, ensuring they are tightly sealed. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

This recipe for Chicken Ricotta Meatballs in Spinach Alfredo Sauce promises a delightful combination of flavors and textures, perfect for a memorable dinner with loved ones. Enjoy the richness of creamy Alfredo sauce paired with tender, flavorful meatballs for a satisfying meal that’s sure to impress!