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Keto Meatballs

This recipe for Keto Meatballs is one of the best low carb Italian meals you will find. They are tender, juicy, delicious and so easy to make. If I didn’t tell you they are low carb meatballs without breadcrumbs you would never know it.

Best Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

Meatballs have always been one of my favorite foods, either on a grinder roll for a delicious sandwich or on top of a bowl of spaghetti!! When you are watching your carbs, those 2 foods do not fit into a keto diet plan. 

However, the good news is that the meatballs are something that is ok to eat as long as you do not load them up with bread or breadcrumbs. That is where the carbs will add up quickly. So we will show you how to make the meatballs without breadcrumbs which will keep the carbs very low. 

They are good with tomato sauce and cheese on them but they are also good without anything on them. It’s sort of like eating our delicious low carb meatloaf

You can put them on top of low carb pasta or zucchini noodles for the perfect Italian dinner! They are sure to be a family favorite for years to come!

Are Meatballs OK on Keto?

Usually, meatballs are not Keto-friendly because they are made with breadcrumbs or even with softened bread. So we needed to come up with a keto-friendly recipe that did not have all of that bread inside of them.

If you want to make low carb meatballs keto-friendly, instead of bread or breadcrumbs, our recipe uses almond flour to help hold them together. This brings the carb count down, as opposed to other meatballs with lots of bread or breadcrumbs in them. 

So even though they are loaded with carbs, we are happy to say that our meatballs are keto-friendly.

How Many Carbs are in Keto Meatballs?

There are only 0.3 NET Carbs in our keto meatballs, which make them a perfect choice when you are eating low carb.

The Secret to the Best Meatballs

How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

There are a few things that will give you the best keto meatballs:

  • Use fattier meats which will give you more tender ketogenic meatballs. This is especially important since there are no breadcrumbs in this recipe. Beef, lamb and pork are all good choices, whereas when you use leaner meats like chicken or turkey the meatballs tend to be drier especially when you overcook them.
  • Keep the meat cold before making the meatballs with no breadcrumbs so that the fat does not start melting and therefore breaking down and becoming tough.
  • Eggs, almond flour, and milk of some sort will help keep the meatballs tender.
  • Do not overmix the meat or else your no carb meatballs will become tough.
  • Use a small ice cream scoop to make the meatballs the same size so that they will cook evenly and not dry out.
  • Baking the low carb meatballs will make them more tender than if you fry them on the stove. Frying them will crisp up the outside, sometimes too much if you do not keep your eye on them.

What Can I Use Instead of Breadcrumbs in Keto Meatballs?

  • Eggs act as a binder, which is helpful in making meatballs without breadcrumbs. 
  • Sometimes I make meatballs without any binders other than eggs, however, they tend to be on the tough side. Have no fear because as this recipe shows, almond flour can be used as a binder replacement for breadcrumbs. Mixed with almond milk it also makes the meatballs tender. 
  • Ground up pork rinds is a great 0 net carb filler in meatballs and meatloaf.
  • Crushed walnuts or pecans make a similar texture as almond flour or almond meal.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese is also a great binder to hold meatballs together.

Low Carb Meatballs Ingredients

Keto Meatball Ingredients
  • Ground Beef – 80/20 hamburger meat.
  • Almond Flour – !00% ground almonds make up a fine flour.
  • Almond Milk – Helps keep the meatballs soft and tender made from almonds. For our readers that don’t eat dairy this is a good choice.
  • Garlic – Either fresh chopped or chopped in a jar.
  • Eggs – These help bind the meatballs with no breadcrumbs to stay together.
  • Parsley – Fresh is best but dried works good too.
  • Salt – A flavor enhancer.
  • Pepper – Black pepper is good.
  • Italian Seasoning – A blend of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.

Best Meat for Meatballs

When making meatballs without breadcrumbs it’s easy to dry them out. That’s why it’s best to use a meat that has enough fat to give it a moist flavor and texture. 

If you are using ground beef there are several choices, 93/7, 90/10, 85/15 and 80/20.  It’s best to use 80/20 which means that it has 20% fat. If you can’t find the 80/20 then 85/15 would be the 2nd choice, and the other ones would make dry meatballs.

Ground pork is also a good choice because it also has a fat content of 20-25%.

Ground turkey and chicken are much drier and will therefore leave you with meatballs that are drier even though they are still considered low carb. A good fattier meat that you can add to the turkey and chicken to increase its fat content and flavor is ground sausage.

Different Variations & Substitutions

Keto Meatball Recipe without Breadcrumbs

When making keto meatballs, feel free to make some alterations or substitutions to our recipe. We will address a few things below such as:

  • Adding cheese as a binder, or just for flavor.
  • Using pork rinds as a binder instead of almond flour.
  • Using heavy cream instead of almond milk.
  • Skip the eggs. You can use chia seeds mixed with water to make a vegan egg to use in their place.
  • Adding other veggies to the meat balls such as spinach.
  • Adding some chopped fresh basil inside the meat mixture or on top of the meatballs in a cheesy, saucy casserole.
  • Use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.
  • Onions can be used instead of scallions.
  • Dried parsley can replace fresh.

Adding Cheese to the Meatballs

Cheese is a great keto ingredient to add to your meatballs. After all, who doesn’t love cheese? For a cheese lover, the more the better!!

Grated parmesan cheese is a great substitute for traditional bread crumbs to help hold the meatballs without breadcrumbs together. 

Mozzarella is the best cheese to melt on the top of your ketogenic meatballs, all that creamy, stringy goodness.

Herbs and Spices

  • Our keto meatball recipe can be made with a few simple spices, like salt, pepper and parsley.
  • You can add a few other italian favorites like garlic, basil, and oregano.
  • To add even more flavor, try Italian seasoning which adds thyme, rosemary, and marjoram.

Can I Make Meatballs Egg-Free?

If you can’t eat eggs then no worries, you can still make keto meatballs. The meatballs will stay together with the other ingredients like almond flour and almond milk.

You can make a chia egg or a flax seed egg, both good vegan choices which will replace chicken eggs.

Dairy-Free Meatballs

In our keto meatballs recipe, we made them dairy free by using almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and we didn’t use any cheese mixed inside them. Then after the meatballs are cooked, just top them off with tomato sauce.

Meatball Cooking Methods

Keto Meatballs Recipe

There are many different ways to prepare meatballs. Here are some of the most common cooking methods:

  • Baked in the oven
  • Pan-fried on the stove
  • Slow Cooker
  • On the Stove in a pot of tomato sauce
  • Air Fryer

Is it Better to Fry or Bake Meatballs?

When we make our easy keto meatball recipe, we cook them both ways, fried on the stove and baked in the oven. I definitely like them both ways, but baking them in the oven they just come out a little softer and tender. Just be careful not to over-bake them.

When you fry them they tend to be crispier on the outside. Like anything else that you fry, it requires you to stand at the stove the whole time and it tends to make a big mess to clean up.

On the other hand, when you bake no carb meatballs, you can set the timer and do something else until the timer goes off and there is minimal clean-up.

How to Make Homemade Keto Meatballs from Scratch

Now we will share with you, our step by step instructions to show you how easy it is to make the best keto meatballs.

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

STEP 2: Get 2 cookie sheets out and line them with parchment paper. Also get out 2 bowls.

STEP 3: Add the eggs to one bowl and mix them with a whisk.

STEP 4: Next add your flour, almond milk, scallions, garlic and spices and whisk together.

STEP 5: Now take the egg mixture and add it to the meat. Just blend it but do not overmix it or else you will end up with tough meatballs.

STEP 6: Form your meatballs with a 2” scoop so that they will be uniform in size on the cookie sheet. Gently roll them into a round shape. Space them evenly apart.

STEP 7: Bake them for about 10-15 minutes, and do not overcook them so that they do not dry out.

Baking Low Carb Meatballs in the oven

STEP 8: When you take them out of the oven let the meatballs rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Keto Meatballs cooked in the oven

STEP 9: Now serve them with a low carb tomato sauce on top or however you like them.

Frying Meatballs:

Another way to make your keto meatballs is by frying them. 

STEP 1: Follow the same prep instructions for putting your keto meatballs together. But instead of baking them you are going to get your favorite frying pan, if you have a cast iron one or a dutch oven those are best because they can fry your meatballs but also can go in the oven afterward.

Raw meatballs on a baking tray

STEP 2: Pour some olive or avocado oil in a frying pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan so that the meatballs don’t stick. Turn the burner on a medium heat.

STEP 3: Gently place the meatballs into the pan so that the hot oil does not splash you.

Frying Meatballs on the stove

STEP 4: Cook them on all sides, but avoid overcooking them so that they do not get hard or crispy, because you still want them to be as tender as you can.

STEP 5: Once they are cooked, drain off any excess grease by placing them on a paper towl.

Meatballs on a plate with paper towels

STEP 6: Put them back in the frying pan and cover them with tomato sauce and lots of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven at 350-375 degrees until the cheese on top of the meatball casserole melts.

Keto Meatballs in a pan with mozzarella cheese

FAQs & Best Tips

You may have some questions about how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs so we want to share some helpful tips with you to make them come out yummy every time!

  • Make sure to use some parchment paper underneath your meatballs so that they do not stick to the pan.
  • Use beef with more fat in it. We prefer 80/20, because if the meat doesn’t have enough fat your meatballs will be dry. Plus the fat gives the meatballs more flavor.
  • You can also use a combination of beef, sausage, and pork.
  • If you can’t eat any of these meats you can use ground turkey or chicken but do not overcook them so that they don’t dry out.
  • If you freeze the keto meatballs without any sauce on them, there is no need to thaw them out. Instead just put them in a pot of tomato sauce and they will heat up nicely in the sauce and will stay tender.
  • You could also make a casserole out of frozen meatballs with some sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. Bake them in the oven and look forward to the cheesy goodness.

How to Make Tender Meatballs

Keto Meatballs with no Breadcrumbs

No one likes tough meatballs, so here are a few tips so that your meatballs will be tender:

  • Start with a meat that has more fat than less. My choice is 80/20 ground beef.
  • Using eggs, and some sort of milk will add to the tenderness of the meatballs.
  • Do not overmix the meat. Just mix the meat until everything is combined. Overworked meat becomes tough.
  • Gently form the meatballs without rolling them so tightly that they become tough.
  • Make the meatballs evenly sized. Otherwise some will be so big that they won’t cook in the middle or too small that they overcook. Use a small scoop, like an ice cream scoop, to get the meatballs the same size.

How to Keep Meatballs from Falling Apart

The main problem is making sure to find a low carb binder. The last thing you need is for your beautiful meatballs to fall apart. Here are a couple of ideas to keep that from happening:

  • Use one egg per pound of meat. This is the perfect ratio for the right consistency. If you don’t use any eggs it’s more likely they will fall apart.
  • If you use too many eggs they will be too soggy and not hold together.
  • Make sure the meat is cold when you work with it, because if it is not the fat will start to break down. The fat staying intact will help the meatballs stay together better.
  • We’ve found that once the meatballs are formed, it’s good to stick them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before cooking them.

How Many Meatballs Does this Recipe Make?

Our recipe makes approximately 64 keto-friendly meatballs, but that will depend on exactly how big you make them. You can adjust that if you want them to be smaller or bigger.

What to Serve with Low Carb Meatballs?

Meatballs with no Breadcrumbs
  • Of course when you think of meatballs, they go together with spaghetti….it’s a matched set like salt and pepper. If you are eating low carb then try meatballs with miracle noodles which have virtually no carbs or our keto pasta noodles and you will hardly tell the difference.
  • For an even healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs try pairing them with zucchini noodles.
  • The second thing that I think of with meatballs is a grinder, hero, sub or whatever you call it where you live. Meatballs and sauce on a roll and then baked in the oven till the bread is crispy and if you put mozzarella on top, it’s melted. Try putting them on cloud bread, keto hamburger rolls, keto almond flour tortillas, or keto dinner rolls.
  • Eat them with any cooked veggie of your choice like broccoli, zucchini, green beans,…..etc
  • Sautee up vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and peppers which all make a good topping for meatballs.
  • Enjoy some keto meatballs on top of or on the side of a tossed salad.
  • Make the keto meatballs tiny and place them inside your soup, like Italian Wedding soup.
  • Lastly, you can always eat them by themselves with or without sauce. They are THAT good!

Sauce Options

  • The most common sauce that you think of when making keto meatballs is tomato sauce. We have a recipe on our site for low carb spaghetti sauce because other jarred sauces are loaded with sugar.
  • They also go well with Fresh Basil Pesto.
  • Sugar-free Asian Sauce
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Buffalo Sauce

Make Ahead Meatballs

One thing  that’s great about meatballs is you can make them ahead of time so they are ready when you want to eat them.

You can prepare and form the balls and store them in the refrigerator for a day or even overnight. That will make dinner prep a little quicker when you come home from work because all you will have to do is bake them and serve.

You can even bake the prepared meatballs and then refrigerate them until the next day when you want to make dinner. Then just pour your desired sauce and cheese over them and heat them up.

How to Store Meatballs

Low Carb Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

Meatballs are easy to store in the refrigerator. To keep them fresh, store them in an airtight container for as many as 4-5 days. If you don’t think you are going to eat them within a few days, then freeze them.

If you have limited space in your refrigerator or don’t have any airtight plastic containers, then put them in a ziploc bag and zip it closed tightly.

How to Reheat

Reheating our keto friendly meatballs is a very easy thing to do.

  • Microwave – Just stick them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, loosely covered.
  • Oven – Place them in an oven-safe dish and pop them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • On the Stove – Drop the meatballs into a pot of tomato sauce and simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes on low so that you don’t burn them.

Can You Freeze Meatballs?

Yes. You can freeze ketogenic meatballs either raw or cooked and it’s an easy thing to do.

Just stick them in an airtight plastic container, either with sauce or plain. Then for double protection place the container into a ziploc bag and freeze for 3-4 months.

When you take them out of the freezer there is no need to thaw them out. Just stick them in a pot of sauce on the stove to heat them up. Or you can put them in a baking pan with some sauce and mozzarella cheese and heat them in the oven….yummy.

Keto Meatballs with tomato sauce

Tools to Use

  • Mixing bowls – 2 bowls.
  • 2” scoop – To form the meatballs in uniform size.
  • Parchment paper – To line the cookie sheets.
  • Cookie sheet – To bake your meatballs.
  • Baking dish – If you bake them in the oven with sauce and cheese after they are cooked.
  • Frying pan – If you decide to fry them instead of baking them use a cast-iron frying pan that can be put in the oven.

Other Diets This Recipe is Good For

  • Paleo – A good choice for paleo.
  • Gluten-free – No traditional bread or breadcrumbs in these meatballs. 
  • Dairy-free – Using almond milk makes these yummy meatballs dairy-free.
  • Sugar-free – There is no sugar in our keto meatballs.

Nutrition

Beef is a good choice when making meatballs, and it is what most people use. Here are a few benefits for using it:

  • High in protein
  • Low in carbs
  • A good choice for several vitamins such as Calcium, vitamin A, Potassium, Iron.

 

1 medium-sized keto meatball has:

  • 57 calories
  • 3.6 g fat
  • 0.3 net carbs
  • 3.47 g protein

Other Similar Recipes

Looking for some other low carb breakfast ideas? Check out some of these: 

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs in the oven feature

They all are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will be a hit with your family and friends!

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Low Carb Keto Meatballs

Keto Meatballs | How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs


  • Author: Leigh Oskwarek
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Yield: 64 Medium-sized Meatballs (1 Meatball Per Serving) 1x
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Description

These keto meatballs are tender and juicy which makes them so yummy. They are easy to make and you would never know that they are low carb meatballs without breadcrumbs. They are great even without any sauce on them and of course who doesn’t love meatballs with tomato sauce and lots of creamy mozzarella cheese on top? They are a favorite in my house and they will likewise be a favorite on your dinner table too.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 lbs Ground beef, 80/20
  • 3 Scallions
  • ¾ cup Almond flour
  • ¾ cup Almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped, fresh or jarred
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Parsley, fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper, black
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

Instructions

 

Frying Meatballs:

Notes

0.3 NET CARBS Per Meatball.

Only blend the ingredients together, but DO NOT overmix it because the more you mix it, the tougher your meatballs will be.

Do not over bake the meatballs. Instead, if anything, under bake them because when you take them out of the oven they will continue to cook as they rest.

Make them in equal size so that they cook evenly. Use a 2” scoop for each meatball.

Keep in mind that if our meatballs are not cooked enough you can always put them in the oven for a little while longer, but if you overcook them you can never go backwards and make them less cooked.

Storing: Meatballs are very easy to store in the refrigerator. If you keep them in an air-tight container they will stay fresh for about 5 days. If you are not going to eat them in a few days then freeze them.

If you don’t have enough room in the refrigerator for a large container, then store the meatballs in a ziploc bag, which will take up less room in the fridge.

Reheating: To reheat the keto meatballs is very easy to do. They can be heated in a pot of sauce, or in the oven with some sauce and cheese on them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Freezing: The keto meatballs freeze real well, either when they are cooked or raw before they are cooked. In either case, freeze them the same way. Put them in an airtight container, then put the container in a ziploc bag for extra protection. They will stay fresh for 3-4 months.

  • Category: Main Courses
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

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