The Best Keto Meatballs – Gluten-free without Breadcrumbs

Here’s the recipe for my family’s favorite keto meatballs made gluten-free without breadcrumbs.  They’re juicy and delicious, and completely low-carb. These keto meatballs are easy enough to make for a quick keto dinner recipe.

low-carb meatballs in keto tomato sauce with basil

The Best Keto Meatballs

This recipe for keto meatballs is incredibly delicious and super easy. These meatballs are juicy, tender, and completely low-carb.

Keto meatballs are quick to make, too.  So, don’t be afraid of making this keto meatball recipe for a healthy weeknight dinner.

For a complete low-carb dinner, serve keto meatballs with zucchini noodles (zoodles) or mashed cauliflower, keto garlic breadsticks, and your favorite keto tomato sauce.

ingredients for keto meatballs made with almond flour and no breadcrumbs

Ingredients in Keto Meatballs

After a lot of experimentation, I’ve arrived at a list of ingredients that will give you tender and juicy meatballs — all without using breadcrumbs of any kind! The secret to the tenderness of these meatballs is parmesan cheese, grated onion, almond flour and heavy cream added to the mix.

Ground Meat:  Most traditional meatball recipes combine a mix ground meat (ground beef, ground pork, veal, or Italian sausage).  I like to use a blend of ground beef and mild Italian sausage in this particular recipe.  But, you can definitely make these meatballs using only ground beef if you prefer!

Almond Flour:  Most meatball recipes include a “panade”, which is a mixture of bread crumbs and liquid that adds moisture to the ground meat.   To make this meatball recipe keto, we swap out the bread crumbs for a low-carb alternative: almond flour.

Heavy Cream:  A little heavy cream adds a bit of extra fat and moisture to these meatballs, helping to keep them tender and juicy.

Grated Onion: For flavor and moisture, I like to add grated veggies to these meatballs.  Onion is a great choice.  Or, you can even add grated zucchini to meatballs.

baked keto meatballs are gluten free and low carb

How to Make Keto Meatballs

The recipe below doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need is a large mixing bowl to assemble your meat mixture, and either a large skillet or a baking sheet to cook the meatballs.

Pan-fried vs. Baked Meatballs

You have options when it comes to cooking your meatballs.  They can be baked, broiled, simmered in sauce, or pan-fried.

For the most browning and the flavorful exterior crust, you can pan-fry meatballs.  To do this, heat about 1/4-inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

You can also bake meatballs in the oven. I like this method because it’s more hands-off — you don’t have to stand over a hot pan and constantly turn meatballs.  The downside with this method is that it doesn’t promote much browning. To do this, bake the meatballs for about 25 minutes at 400°F.

So, my favorite method is to bake the meatballs and run them under the broiler for the last 5 minutes for a good compromise of ease + flavor.  To do this, bake the meatballs for 20 minutes at 400°F, and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes.  You’ll know that the meatballs are done when they are cooked through, the outsides are browned, and they register 165°F in the middle on a thermometer.

keto ground beef and pork meatballs in tomato sauce with basil

Tips for the Best Keto Meatballs

Here are a few tips on making and cooking meatballs to guarantee a tasty dinner every time you make them!

  1. Choosing the meat: While you can make meatballs out of any ground meat, fattier cuts of beef, lamb, and pork will yield more tender meatballs. If you use leaner meats like ground turkey, be careful not to overcook the meatballs or they can become tough. For even better flavor, use a blend of different kinds of ground meats — including Italian sausage.
  2. Add moisture to the mix: Eggs, grated veggies, and binders like almond flour mixed with heavy cream all help with keeping meatballs tender and moist.  
  3. Use a gentle hand:  Be careful not to over-compact the meat mixture when you are mixing and forming the meatballs. Use cold hands to gently and quickly form the meatballs. Or better yet, use a large cookie scoop to make uniformly-sized meatballs.  (Just don’t pack the mixture in too tightly!)
  4. Bake or pan-fry, but don’t overcook:  Whether you want to bake or pan-fry your meatballs, just be careful not to overcook them.  The protein in the meat will shrink as it cooks, and you don’t want to end up squeezing out all the moisture.


pan of keto meatballs in low-carb tomato sauce

What to Serve with Keto Meatballs

These meatballs are perfect topped with a spoon of low-sugar tomato sauce and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella cheese melted on top.

They are delicious plain as well, in case you want to pack them in your lunch as finger food.

For a complete low-carb dinner, serve keto meatballs with zucchini noodles (zoodles) or mashed cauliflowerketo garlic breadsticks, and your favorite keto tomato sauce.

Storing and Freezing Keto Meatballs

These keto meatballs store in the fridge or the freezer really well — so they’re perfect for keto meal prepping or making ahead of time.  I like to make a big batch and save them for later meals or packed lunches.

You can store leftover meatballs, either on their own or in keto tomato sauce, in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You won’t be sorry to have leftover meatballs in the fridge, that’s for sure.

To freeze these meatballs, arrange them in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined plate or baking sheet, and freeze them until solid. After that, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. You can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven.

The Best Keto Meatballs - Gluten-free without Breadcrumbs

The Best Keto Meatballs - Gluten-free without Breadcrumbs

Yield: 15-20 meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Here's the recipe for my family's favorite keto meatballs made gluten-free without breadcrumbs.  They're juicy and delicious, and completely low-carb. These keto meatballs are easy enough to make for a quick keto dinner recipe.



  • 1 lb ground beef (or beef/pork mixture, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated onion
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsely, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

To serve

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the onion, almond flour, parmesan cheese, heavy cream, egg, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add the ground meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands or a spatula to thoroughly mix the egg mixture into the ground meat.
  3. Optionally, cook a small test piece, taste for the correct seasoning level, correct seasoning if needed.
  4. Form the meat into meatballs. Gently roll egg-size balls with your hands, or use a large cookie scoop to portion the meatballs.
  5. Evenly space the meatballs on a greased baking sheet set in the middle of the oven. Bake the meatballs for about 25 minutes. Optionally, broil for the last 5 minutes to brown the meatballs. Cook until the meatballs register 165°F on a thermometer.
  6. Serve with tomato sauce, and garnish with fresh basil.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 959mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 29g

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Carb count will vary with different ingredients and brands. It should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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keto meatballs made without breadcrumbs in tomato sauce

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