Keto Meatballs


5 from 342 votes
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These keto meatballs are extra juicy and soft and are perfect to feed a family! Ready in minutes, serve it over keto pasta for a comforting low carb dinner recipe. 

keto meatballs.

Looking for a quick and easy keto dinner? Nothing tastes as good as meatballs.

Sure, we could make some chicken parmesan or a salmon, but there is something nostalgic and comforting about these.

Are meatballs ok for keto?

Traditional meatballs are usually bound with bread crumbs, which makes them unsuitable for a keto diet. Luckily, with a few smart swaps, you can enjoy them that taste just like the classic. 

Why this keto meatball recipe will be a family favorite-

  • The best texture. These are are better than any meatball out there because they are extra soft and juicy. Even those who don’t follow a keto diet use this very recipe as their go-to.
  • Easy prep. There are no hard-to-find ingredients needed. You probably have everything in your refrigerator and pantry right this minute. 
  • Ready in 20 minutes. From prep to plate, this entire dish takes barely any time.  
  • Versatile. enjoy it over your favorite low carb pasta, zucchini noodles, or simply over steamed vegetables. 

What I love about this recipe is just how well they keep. Make a batch as part of a meal prep or freeze leftovers to enjoy at a later date.

keto meatballs recipe.

Ingredients needed

There are no fancy, specialty, or hard-to-find ingredients to make this recipe. It uses pantry staples and supermarket basics. Here is what you’ll need:

For the meatballs

  • Ground beef. Use 80/20 ground beef (80% lean, 20% fat). Every good meatball needs to have a little fat, which helps them from drying out and keeps them extra juicy. 
  • Ground pork. Pork is traditionally a little fattier than other meats, and swapping out half the beef with pork will yield extra juicy meatballs. If you don’t want to use pork, double the ground beef.
  • Egg. To bind everything together. 
  • Onion. Finely chopped.
  • Garlic. Freshly minced garlic, skip the jarred variety! 
  • Parmesan cheese. You must use freshly grated or refrigerated parmesan cheese. Avoid using the shelf staple kind, as they are super processed and will actually hold their shape in the meatballs. 
  • Bread crumb substitute. There are several options, including crushed up pork rinds or homemade keto bread crumbs.
  • Salt and pepper. To taste. 

For the marinara sauce

  • Olive oil. A good quality olive oil makes all the difference and is a must for Italian style meatballs. 
  • Onions and garlic. Finely chopped, to add extra flavor. 
  • Tomato sauce. Also referred to as passata or unsweetened pasta sauce. This is NOT tomato ketchup! 
  • Italian seasonings. A must for any good meatballs recipe. 
  • Salt and pepper. To taste. 

Alternatively, you can skip the marinara sauce and use homemade keto spaghetti sauce

How to make keto meatballs

This really is a very simple recipe, and the hands on time is barely there. I mean, the skillet does all the hard work for you!

Step 1- Make the meatballs

Start by mixing all the meatball ingredients together, then shape them into small bite sized balls.

Step 2- Cook the meatballs

Next, place olive oil into a non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook until no longer brown. Remove the meatballs from the pan.

Step 3- Make the marinara sauce

Now, prepare the marinara sauce. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, before adding the remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, to thicken.

Step 4- Combine

Finally, add the meatballs back to the marinara sauce mixture and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, turning regularly. Remove the meatballs from the heat and serve immediately over your favorite keto pasta or gnocchi.

how to make keto meatballs.

Dietary and flavor variations

The beauty of these meatballs is how easy they are to customize to change up the flavor. Here are some other ways we’ve tried them:

  • Ground meat– You can use either ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or ground turkey.
  • Vegetables– Finely shred some zucchini or grate some carrot. 
  • Cheese– mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese.
  • Sauce– Swap out the classic marinara sauce for alfredo sauce or a cheese sauce

Storage instructions

Wondering what is the best way to store leftovers? Here are best practices for meatball storage:

  • To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. 
  • To freeze: Place meatballs in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Meatballs must be thawed completely before reheating. 
  • Reheating: Either microwave the meatballs for 1-2 minutes or reheat in a non-stick pan until warm and the sauce is bubbling.
low carb meatballs.

More ground beef recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake these?

If you’d like to bake meatballs instead of frying them, you can bake them at 180C/350F for 15-17 minutes, or until the juices run.

What is the secret to good meatballs? 

Using two kinds of ground meat (pork and beef) ensures the meatballs are juicy and tender every single time. Using just one kind of ground meat risks the meatballs being dry and crumbly.

What is the ideal temperature for cooked meatballs? 

You can tell when your meatballs are cooked if they have an internal temperature of 165F. You’d likely see your meatballs more on the well-done side, thanks to the double cooking process (on their own and in their sauce). 

What can be used instead of bread crumbs? 

If you don’t have keto bread crumbs on hand, you can either use almond flour or toast up some keto bread. Once toasted, add it to a food processor or blender and pulse until a crumb consistency.

keto meatballs recipe.

Keto Meatballs In 10 Minutes | Juicy And Tender

5 from 342 votes
These keto meatballs are extra juicy and soft and are perfect to feed a family! Ready in minutes, serve it over keto pasta for a comforting low carb dinner! 
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 11 minutes


For the meatballs

  • 1/2 lb ground beef 80/20
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 1/2 cup keto bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the keto marinara sauce


  • In a large mixing bowl, add all the meatball ingredients and use your hands to mix well. Roll out tablespoons of the meat mixture into meatballs and place them onto a plate.
  • Add the olive oil to a non-stick pan and place over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning regularly until browned and mostly cooked (not 100% cooked). Remove from the pan and place onto a plate.
  • Prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil into the frying pan and place it over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a simmer. Once it begins to simmer, reduce to low heat. 
  • Add the meatballs into the saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning every so often.
  • Remove the meatballs and sauce from the heat and serve over low carb pasta or your favorite low carb vegetables.



TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week. 
TO FREEZE: Place meatballs in a shallow container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Meatballs must be thawed completely before reheating. 
TO REHEAT: Either microwave the meatballs for 1-2 minutes or reheat in a non-stick pan until warm and the sauce is bubbling.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 19gFat: 19gSodium: 977mgPotassium: 529mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 456IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 146mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 3g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Even my PICKY hubby loved these!! This is one fantastic recipe! Will make these weekly, for sure. Thank you so much for this!!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I added a bit of extra spices to the meatballs (complete seasoning, Worcestershire and liquid smoke), but the sauce didn’t need need a thing. This is probably the only sauce recipe I’ve made, that I didn’t need to doctor up. The meatballs probably didn’t need anything else either, but I like a lot of flavor. I will definitely use this as a staple. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I don’t normally make meatballs because my previous recipes have been rather bland and dry. Well today everything changed. This recipe is full of flavour and easy to make. The cheese is just perfect. I am looking forward to making this recipe again.

  4. 5 stars
    These are great meatballs! Adding some pork to the beef makes them tender and flavorful. I used some onion powder because I didn’t have an onion on hand, and for the breadcrumbs, I just used plain ground pork rinds. Even without sauce, they were so tasty. This recipe is a keeper!

  5. 5 stars
    These meatballs came out delicious. I did add the parsley and cayenne pepper that Callmechaz recommended. Thank you all

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was fantastic! My meatballs always turned out bland, but these were so flavorful. Thanks for the wonderful recipes! I think in one day I printed off over 15, and we have loved every one of them!

  7. My Italian Grandmother and Mother would have LOVED these. They made the best, authentic meatballs on the planet–always fried, by the way. These are ALMOST identical, but of course I now substitute crushed pork rinds for bread. One essential missing ingredient–chopped FRESH parsley in the mix. I accidently left it out one time. Never again. Noticed it in the first bite! About 1 tablespoon in this 1/2 lb. recipe should suffice. Try it. You will be surprised.

    Oh, and I always add pinch of powdered Cayan. Not enough to create heat. Just enough to add zest! (Don’t tell Grandma I made ANY changes LOL)

  8. 5 stars
    I made these meatballs (not the sauce) and they are excellent. Definitely will be my “go-to” for keto meatballs now. I will make the sauce when I have the ingredients on hand. The thing I LOVE about this recipe, is that I find it to be the perfect base for my creative ways.

    Here are a few things that I did, in case anyone else is wondering “Could I…”?

    One, I didn’t have ground pork on hand, so I used about half 80/20 ground beef and half 73% fat ground beef. It worked very well.

    Two, The second time I made these, I added an add’l egg, because they fell apart on me a bit too much the first time.

    Three, I made two sizes: the size in the recipe and also an extra large 3″ size, stuffed with 1″ cube of halloumi. Another time with very sharp cheddar. Super delicious.

    Four, I air fried mine. Easy peasy.

    Five, I used a tweaked jarred marinara because it’s what I had on hand and I actually just brushed the marinara on my small ones so they wouldn’t be drippy. My marinara was quite potent, that’s why I did that and also, I didn’t want my meatballs to dry out while in the fridge. The large ones, I brushed on the marinara to keep them moist in the fridge and when I heated them up, I put add’l marinara on them and my roasted zucchini side.

    Six, I made mine spicy with cayenne pepper and habanero hot sauce. We’re heat freaks. I also replaced some of the salt with my favorite seasoning salts.

    Seven, I doubled the recipe.

    Despite my “tweaks”, I’m sure anyone would love these as written, thank you so much!

    BTW….luckily, I made an initial lunch for my husband with the first batch of small meatballs, because the rest of them…I ate cold from the fridge and couldn’t resist them, so I never had enough for the make-ahead dinner that I’d intended!

  9. 5 stars
    My husband has never, ever liked my meatballs because I make them without the breadcrumbs. I made these yesterday. He NEVER gives compliments. He said “Please make these again”. I shared this recipe with my mom who is dealing with cancer and on a strict keto diet. She and my dad loved them. I will make these weekly now. To die for.