Keto Meatballs

These keto meatballs are just as good as any classic Italian style meatballs and perfect to feed a family! A secret ingredient keeps the meatballs extra juicy and soft while keeping them low carb! 

keto meatballs

Keto Meatballs

Some of my favorite keto main dishes are all based around beef. There’s nothing better than a classic meatloaf or a fan favorite beef and broccoli. These keto meatballs, though, are on another level. 

Why this keto meatball recipe will be a family favorite-

  • Extra soft and juicy. These keto meatballs 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!
  • SO easy. No crazy or hard-to-find ingredients needed- You probably have everything in your refrigerator and pantry right this minute. 
  • Dinner in 20 minutes. Looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that takes less than 20 minutes from prep to plate? This is it. 
  • Versatile. Perfect over your favorite low carb pasta, zucchini noodles, or simply over steamed vegetables. 

The texture of these meatballs is soft and juicy in the middle and perfectly tender on the outside. They are meaty and perfectly flavored, complemented by the low carb marinara sauce. 

What everyone adores about this recipe is just how perfect they are to prepare in a big batch in advance, so you’ll always have a serving in the freezer ready to thaw!

What you’ll need to make these meatballs

Here is everything you need-

keto meatballs ingredients

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. 
  • Keto bread crumbs– Crushed pork rinds are a fabulous keto substitute for breadcrumbs. All you need to do is crush up some pork rinds (usually found in the potato chip or snack aisle of a supermarket!). 
  • Salt and pepper– To taste. 

For the keto 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– Only a little bit. The meatballs will be well flavored. 

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

How do you make keto meatballs?

Mix all the meatball ingredients together then shape them into small bite sized balls. 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 and 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.

Now, 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

FAQ and tips to make the best meatballs

What is the secret to good meatballs? 

Everyone claims to know the secret to a good meatball, but I know the main one- Use two kinds of ground meat. Not only does it balance out the flavors but different cuts of meat have different amounts of fat (no matter how lean they are). Using a combination of pork (fattier than beef) and beef (the most flavorful meat) will ensure extra juicy and flavorful meatballs! 

Is it better to fry or bake meatballs?

Frying meatballs is far better than baking meatballs. They are a surefire way to ensure the meatballs don’t dry out and remain tender yet super juicy in the middle.

If you do want to bake your meatballs, place them on a lined tray and bake them, covered, at 180C/350F for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through. If you want a more tender exterior, remove the foil and bake for a further five minutes uncovered. 

What is the ideal temperature for 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). 

Should I put breadcrumbs in meatballs?

Breadcrumbs are a must for any good meatball. While traditional breadcrumbs are not keto friendly, using keto bread crumbs is a fantastic alternative that provides almost identical results… if not better ones! 

Storing, freezing, and reheating low carb meatballs

  • 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

What to do eat with keto meatballs? 

keto meatballs

Keto Meatballs (Extra juicy!)

These keto meatballs are quick, easy, and perfect to feed a family! A secret ingredient keeps them extra juicy while keeping them low carb!
5 from 16 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 275kcal
Author: Arman


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

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb tomato sauce passata
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 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: 1serving | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 977mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 4g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 3mg | NET CARBS: 3g
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    6 thoughts on “Keto Meatballs

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

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