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These gluten-free low carb meatballs were inspired by my readers. Making keto meatballs Italian style has been on my list for a while now, but several reader requests for an easy low carb meatball recipe brought it to life sooner than I planned for.
They are not quite no carb meatballs, but they are pretty close… and they taste just like the real thing!
Options for Low Carb Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs
Keto meatballs are actually not so different from regular ones. Whether you’ve made one kind or the other before, the basics are the same.
You just need meat, binders, seasonings, and moisture. Just like in a meatloaf. And, I’m happy to share my tips and tricks with you!
Here are the basic binder options that could be used in a low carb meatball recipe:
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Flax seed meal (regular or golden)
- Crushed pork rinds
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Ground sunflower seeds
- Other ground nuts or nut meal
Not all of these will work the same way. Coconut flour will be very drying, for example.
I originally had this recipe made with golden flax seed meal, but now don’t recommend it. It can lead to a slightly slimy texture that can be off-putting for some people.
Instead, I recommend using a combination of Parmesan cheese and either almond flour or sunflower seed meal. The taste is identical with both, so it’s up to you. Almond flour might be a little easier to find, whereas sunflower seed meal is nut-free.
Tips for How To Make Low Carb Meatballs
The best keto meatballs are tender and juicy and taste just like real ones! Use these tips to get just that.
Soak the dry ingredients in (some kind of) milk.
To make your keto friendly meatballs tender and juicy, soak the dry ingredients in your milk of choice. Use coconut milk beverage for nut-free or unsweetened almond milk otherwise. Heavy cream also works fine.
Letting everything soak for a few minutes before adding the meat goes a long way in improving the texture of your meatballs, so don’t skip that step! Not only does it let the flavors develop, it also lets the moisture soak into the dry ingredients more thoroughly.
Adding the meat last prevents overworking it by avoiding repeated mixing, which is also helpful in improving tenderness.
Don’t over-mix the meat.
If you do, you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Add the meat last and mix only until combined.
Form the keto meatballs gently.
You don’t want to pack the meat too much, or your low carb meatballs will be dense. A small cookie scoop is great for this.
If you use your hands instead of a scoop, make sure they are cold and lightly covered in oil. This prevents sticking and ensures that the fats in the meat don’t break down prior to cooking.
Broil or pan fry for a golden top.
If you want your meatballs browned, you can lightly pan fry them or place them under the broiler. Take this into account ahead of time, taking them out of the oven a little early if you plan to broil or pan fry, so that you don’t overcook them at the end.
Low Carb Ways To Eat Meatballs
Looking for what to serve with keto meatballs? Here are a few ideas:
- Skewer them with little appetizer forks
- Include them as part of a meatball casserole
- Serve them on top of zucchini noodles or baked spaghetti squash
How To Store Keto Friendly Meatballs
This keto meatball recipe is perfect for meal prep or making ahead, because they store very well. Toss ’em in the fridge for up to a week for quick keto dinners on weeknights.
To freeze these (almost) no carb meatballs, arrange them in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. After that, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. To serve, they can go into the oven straight from the freezer.
More Low Carb Recipes To Love
Tools To Make This Low Carb Meatball Recipe:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Glass bowls – This set is perfect for keto meatballs… and a million other things.
- Small cookie scoop – Makes it quick and easy to form the low carb meatballs.
- Baking sheet – This one has a silicone non-stick surface, so you can even skip the parchment paper or foil if you want to.
Easy Keto Low Carb Meatballs Recipe - Italian Style
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- 1/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Sunflower seed meal (or almond flour if not nut-free)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3/4 tsp Sea salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/4 cup Unsweetened coconut milk beverage (can also use almond milk or heavy cream)
- 3 tbsp Onion (grated)
- 1 large Egg
- 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 lb Ground beef
- 3/4 cup Marinara sauce
More TIPS about this recipe in the post above!
VIDEO + NUTRITION INFO + RECIPE NOTES below!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (grease if using foil).
In a large bowl, stir together the grated Parmesan cheese, sunflower seed meal, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Whisk in the milk, grated onion, egg, garlic, and fresh parsley. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes.
- Mix in the ground beef using your hands, until just incorporated. (Don't over-mix to avoid tough meatballs.)
Form the mixture into 1 in (2.5 cm) balls and place on the lined baking sheet. (A small cookie scoop works well for this. If using your hands, use a gentle touch and don't pack the meatballs too tightly.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the meatballs are barely done. (If you want them more golden, you can place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.)
Top each meatball with marinara sauce. Return to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce is hot and meatballs are cooked through. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.
Nutrition info is based on using 85/15 ground beef, and may vary slightly depending on marinara sauce brand.
Serving size: 6 1" meatballs
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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