Tender and full of flavor, these keto meatballs are delicious as a snack or as a main course. With your favorite dipping sauce, on a pile of low carb noodles or greens, I’ve got a few tricks for meatball magic that’ll make this a go-to recipe, however you serve ’em.
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Meatballs by the Dozen
Or at least that’s how I make them. And my favorite way to make a juicy keto meatball is by using an 80/20 ground beef mix (we’re aiming for higher fat content here) and a little parmesan. The idea is to replace a traditional panade, which is a breadcrumb and liquid mixture that adds moisture and lightness to traditional meatballs.
I also make them by the dozen because they freeze really well. And isn’t life always better with a meatball snack ready to go? Tender, juicy flavor that can be casually dipped or dressed up for a plate of pasta, these are very versatile and very tasty. And with a batch in the freezer, they can also be very easy.
Meet your new favorite keto meatball! – Linds x
What You’ll Need
Gluten free meatballs may have you feeling skeptical, but with two types of meat, loads of seasoning, and a secret ingredient (fine, it’s parmesan), these are every bit as juicy and flavorful as the traditional kind. Here’s what you’ll need to throw them together:
- The meat – A combo of Italian sausage and ground beef adds just enough flavor while keeping these low carb meatballs interesting. If you’d rather use just 1 type of meat, opt for ground beef, and add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. 80/20 is important here to keep the meatballs moist.
- The ‘panade’ – Panade is used in traditional meatballs to add moisture and prevent the meat from becoming tough. The low carb solution? Add a bit of keto cheese.
- The flavor – seasoning and sauteed onions and garlic add loads of flavor and hardly any carbs.
How to Make Keto Meatballs
1. Saute onions and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until softened.
2. Add sauteed veggies to a large bowl with the grated parmesan, and toss to combine.
3. Add all other ingredients to the parmesan and veggies, and incorporate using your hands.
4. Shape the gluten free meatballs, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven until cooked through.
Making keto meatballs is time-consuming, so I love making a big batch to freeze. Freeze cooked or frozen meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet in a single, non-touching layer, for 1 hour. Then remove from the freezer and place in a resealable bag–this prevents them from sticking together.
Low Carb Meatballs FAQs
- What can I use instead of breadcrumbs for keto meatballs? Breadcrumbs are typically added to keep meatballs moist and to bind everything together. To keep these moist, we’ll use 80/20 beef. And we’ll bind everything together using eggs and parmesan.
- Can I use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs in meatballs? You can, but almond flour is gluten free, and won’t bind ingredients. It’s also significantly more dense than flour.
- Is it better to fry or bake meatballs? I prefer to bake these, as it cooks them all the way through without drying out the edges.
How to Serve These Gluten Free Meatballs?
These gluten free meatballs are delicious and flexible–serve them to suite your cravings. Here are some ideas for you:
- Spaghetti and meatballs over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or cabbage noodles (like I use to make this lasagna recipe).
- Pizza topping – slice meatballs and serve them over this keto pizza crust.
- Main course – alongside a side of veggies.
- Meatball subs – with keto bread, or a zucchini boat.
- Over a bed of cauliflower, with sauce and cheese. A simplified version of pasta, I like to do this when making keto ziti.
What Sauce Should I Use?
As you probably know by now, most spaghetti and marinara sauces are loaded with sugar, so if going the store-bought route, be sure to find one that is sugar free. You have options…
- Keto spaghetti sauce – make your own marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce. You can also purchase a product such as Rao’s.
- Pesto is typically very low carb.
- Keto alfredo – alfredo ingredients fluctuate depending on the recipe, typically it’s made with heavy cream or cow’s milk (not low carb). So check your recipe and read labels carefully.
This keto meatball recipe is pretty flexible and straightforward. Here are a few tips for success:
- Give your low carb meatballs some breathing room – This allows the heat to circulate around the meatballs, rather than steaming them.
- The best tool for mixing your meatballs is your hands. This helps to mash everything together thoroughly.
- Keto Gnocchi
- Zucchini Ravioli
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Keto Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Keto MeatballsPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 cup Yellow Onion minced
- 6 Garlic Clove minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 1/2 Pound Italian Sausage casings removed. We prefer sweet here.
- 2 Large Eggs lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef 80/20
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 32 ounces Keto Spaghetti Sauce
- Preheat oven to 475 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes. Add minced garlic, dried oregano, and crushed pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Place onions/garlic mixture in a large bowl. Add grated parmesan and combine using your hands. Add Italian sausage, eggs, ground beef, and salt and knead until ingredients are well incorporated.
- Form into 40 – 2 1/2" inch meatballs. Place meatballs on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 17-19 minutes. The internal temp of your meatballs should be 160 F.
- Meanwhile, heat pasta sauce in a large pan. Serve the meatballs warm, over your favorite low carb pasta with sauce on top. Enjoy!
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- Nutritional information is based on 1 serving if you make 40 meatballs, which would be 4 meatballs per serving: