Cottage Cheese Is The Key To Stretching Meatball Recipes And Maintaining Moisture

Sure, spaghetti is an outstanding dish — but where would it be without its number one counterpart, the beloved meatball? Arguably, meatballs can make or break spaghetti. But you'll be glad to know that there's a simple trick when it comes to meatballs that kills two birds with one stone: just add in some cottage cheese. For every pound of ground meat that a recipe calls for, spoon in ½ cup of cottage cheese. Mix it in with the rest of the ingredients, and carry out the recipe as normal. What exactly does this do? 

The liquid in cottage cheese provides plenty of extra moisture, and because it does contain some fat — though much less than other cheeses — this keeps the bulk of the added moisture from being evaporated during cooking. Moreover, with an added ½ cup of volume for every pound of ground meat, you will considerably stretch the recipe out — and who doesn't love more meatballs? 

Tips for working with cottage cheese in meatballs

While this trick can be used on any meatball recipe, it's particularly useful when selecting lean mince. Many people reach for lean ground meat because it tends to be healthier, but it often gets dry when cooked. With a bit of cottage cheese at play, you'll be able to enjoy those leaner ground cuts without losing any of the juicy meatball consistency you're craving.

Arguably, one of the best things about cottage cheese in meatballs is that it doesn't have to be a ground beef recipe that you're adding it to. For instance, our recipe for special Italian meatballs calls for ½ pound of ground beef plus ½ pound of ground veal or pork, and the cottage cheese ratio won't change here. Not only will the cheese keep everything moist, but it will also add some bright notes of tang and saltiness.

If you'd like to opt for low-fat cottage cheese, you can definitely do that, but keep in mind that cottage cheese is already fairly low in fat, so you won't be getting as full-bodied of a taste as you would with full-fat. Nevertheless, you can still get great moisture with low-fat and stretch out your recipe just the same.