Keto Meatballs

5 from 33 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 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 meatballs.

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-

  • 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!
  • There are no hard-to-find ingredients needed. You probably have everything in your refrigerator and pantry right this minute. 
  • Looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that takes less than 20 minutes from prep to plate? This is it. 
  • It’s so versatile, so enjoy it over your favorite low carb pasta, zucchini noodles, or simply over steamed vegetables. 

What I love about these meatballs is that they are a fabulous ground beef recipe. It’s affordable and filling, and leftovers freeze beautifully! 

keto meatballs recipe.

Ingredients needed

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 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- To taste. 

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

keto meatballs ingredients

How to make keto meatballs

Start by mixing 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.

Next, 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.

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. 

Dietary and flavor variations

The beauty of these meatballs is how easy they are to customize to change up the flavor!

  • 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

Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions

  • 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 meatballs?

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 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). 

keto meatballs recipe.

Keto Meatballs (Juicy and tender)

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. 
5 from 33 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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

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.

Nutrition

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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    Comments

    11 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!

    3. 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)

    4. 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!

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

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