Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs are an ooey gooey twist on regular Italian meatballs. Baked in the oven before being served with marinara and melted mozzarella, they’re the best topping on spaghetti, polenta, or to eat on their own!Jump to Recipe
Oven baked cheese stuffed meatballs
If there’s one way to make your comfort food that much better, it’s to add cheese. You can stuff cheese into just about anything; pizza crust, baked chicken breasts, or even hamburgers! Seriously, it’s the best way to make any meal or snack irresistible.
The same goes for these Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs. Made with a ground beef, pork, Italian herb, and ricotta mixture, the raw meatballs are each stuffed with a knob of fresh mozzarella before being baked and tossed in marinara sauce. Each one is deliciously tender, packed with Italian flavors, and ooey gooey.
You can serve baked meatballs in tomato sauce for a cheesy party appetizer or an out-of-this-world family dinner! I especially like them on top of pasta or polenta for the true Italian experience. You can also serve them stuffed in Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders Recipe.
These tender baked meatballs can be cooked and stored for later or even kept in the freezer for months. It’s the perfect solution when you’re looking to quickly curb your cravings with something cheesy and delicious!
Tools you need for baked mozzarella stuffed meatballs
- Baking Sheet
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Knife
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cup
- Baking Dish
Cheesy meatball ingredients
- Ground beef and ground pork – Lean 80/20 ground beef is best because the small amount of fat will ensure the meatballs don’t turn out too greasy.
- Mozzarella cheese – Buy pearl size mozzarella balls to make your job easier or cut a block of mozzarella into small pieces yourself.
- Ricotta cheese – Whole milk ricotta and panko breadcrumbs are soaked together to make a panade before being mixed in with the ground meat mixture. This helps everything bind together while giving the meatballs a tender texture and adding an extra layer of cheesy goodness.
- Panko breadcrumbs – To help bind the meatball mixture together. If you don’t have panko, use regular breadcrumbs or gluten free breadcrumbs.
- Dried herbs – Parsley, basil, and oregano give each meatball a true Italian flavor.
- Marinara sauce – For serving!
How to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs in the oven
This recipe should give you 45 1-inch meatballs. They’re delicious hot and fresh out of the oven or you can prepare the batch in advance and freeze them for later. Regardless of how or when you serve them, the baked meatballs are always easy to put together:
- Soak the panko and ricotta.
Stir the ricotta and panko breadcrumbs together in a bowl. Let them soak for 5 minutes.
- Make the meatball mixture.
Add the ground beef, pork, ricotta and breadcrumb panade, onion, garlic, whisked eggs, parmesan, dried herbs, and salt to a bowl. Use clean hands to fold the mixture together until just combined.
- Form the meatballs.
Scoop about golf ball size amounts of the meatball mixture out of the bowl and gently roll into balls. Place each one on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Stuff with mozzarella.
Gently flatten each meatball. Add a mozzarella ball to the middle, then fold the meat back over the cheese so it’s back in its round, meatball shape. Place them back on the baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs.
Place the stuffed meatballs in the oven and bake under the broiler. While they’re baking, pour the marinara sauce into a baking dish and place in the oven to warm up.
- Coat in marinara sauce and cheese, then serve.
Transfer the baked meatballs to the dish with the sauce and add the remaining cheese on top. Broil until melted, then top with fresh basil and serve!
Tips and variations
- Instead of beef or pork – These cheese-stuffed meatballs can be made with ground chicken, ground turkey, or a blend.
- Soaking ricotta and panko – This cheesy breadcrumb mixture, AKA panade, is the secret to keeping your meatballs tender. Don’t skip the soak!
- Gently form the meatballs – If you press the meatballs into tight, compact balls, they’re more likely to dry out.
- For evenly sized meatballs – Scoop the meatballs out of the mixture with a 1-inch cookie scoop.
- For added spice – Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne into the meat mixture.
Mozzarella meatballs are a sensational party appetizer. Simply serve them with the sauce on a platter or in a slow cooker to keep them warm and keep some toothpicks on the side for easy eating.
Otherwise, serve the meatballs for a comforting dinner with crusty bread and vegetables on the side. They’re so delicious on top of pasta, polenta, cauliflower mash, and mashed potatoes. If you want to go the extra mile, stuff them into buns to make these cheesy Italian meatball sliders!
To store: Keep the leftover meatballs in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze raw meatballs: Freeze the raw meatballs on the baking tray until they’re solid. Transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. They can be cooked from frozen but may need an extra few minutes in the oven.
To freeze cooked meatballs: Store the meatballs (without the sauce) in an airtight container or ziplock back and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat: Heat the pre-cooked meatballs in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
Looking for more meatball recipes?
- French Onion Chicken Meatballs
- Easy Keto Baked Asian Meatballs
- Air Fryer Asian Pork Meatballs
- Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders
Did you try these Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Baked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs gluten free or regular
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese whole milk
- 16 ounces ground pork
- 16 ounces ground beef 80/20
- 5 cloves garlic minced garlic
- 1 small onion grated and juices strained
- 2 eggs whisked
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- ¼ cup basil finely chopped plus more for serving
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt more to taste if needed
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese pearl size or cut into small pieces
- 25 oz marinara sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to broil, positioned the top rack of the oven right under the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Prep all ingredients according to the ingredients list above.
Soak the panko and ricotta
- Add the ricotta & panko in a bowl. Stir to combine well. Set aside to soak for 5 minutes.
Mix the meatballs
- In a large mixing bowl add beef and pork, soaked breadcrumb with ricotta cheese, grated and drained onion, garlic, whisked eggs, grated parmesan, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh basil, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt. Use your hands to gently fold the mixture well. Avoid over-mixing.
Form the meatballs
- Gently form the mixture into meatballs slightly larger than the size of a golf ball, rolling just until smooth – take care to avoid pressing the meatballs together too compactly. For quickness & ease, I like using a 1-inch spring-loaded scoop. The mixture will yield 45 1-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
- Take each meatball in your hand, gently flatten them out, add a mozzarella ball.
- Fold over the meatball and roll to shape. Add back to the baking dish.
Bake the meatballs
- Transfer the meatballs to the oven & bake for 8 minutes under the broiler. While meatballs cook, add sauce to a baking dish and place at the bottom of the oven rack to heat up.
- Once the meatballs are done. Transfer to the sauce. Add any remaining mozzarella balls on top and broil for 2-3 mins or until melted. Top with fresh basil and enjoy with your favorite pasta, crusty bread or as an appetizer on their own.
Storage & Reheating
- Simply transfer the cooled meatballs to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
- These meatballs are incredibly freezer-friendly. You can either freeze them raw and cook later. If freezing once cooked, transfer the cooled meatballs to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen meatballs in the refrigerator overnight. Easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. Serve with sauce.