An easy to make meatball that’s juicy, flavorful and keto too! Use this guide to create the perfect meatball for a keto diet, but work for many other meal plans as well!
I’ve been focusing a lot on recipes that are simple to create, feel like comfort food, are great for meal prep, but don’t sacrifice on flavor. To me, meatballs are the perfect answer to hitting all of those descriptors because you can mass produce, easily freeze for later, and diversify your flavor profile quite easily (like with these Low Carb Butter Chicken Meatballs).
With ease and a focus on creating keto recipes that don’t break your budget or steal up all your time, I cannot rave enough about this meatball recipe. Using a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, a variety of spices, and a few tips on keeping these tender and juicy (even after being frozen and then reheated).
Keep your carb count low and your comfort high with this easy to make recipe. Follow the recipe at the bottom of the page and read on for several helpful tips and tricks to creating one of my favorite meatball recipes.
- Large Bowl
- Baking Sheet
I think for most people, meatballs are not a new concept. It’s like meatloaves tastier cousin in my opinion. Both meatloaf and meatballs however, follow a similar frame work to keep the meat tender and juicy on the inside but also feature that signature crispy crust on the outside. keep reading for a full breakdown of some helpful cooking tips to make the most out of this keto low carb meatball recipe.
How do I prevent my meatballs from being dry?
There are a few key components to making a tender, juicy meatball (I hate eating super chewy, dried out or overcooked ground beef). Believe it or not it’s all really simple to.
- Use a higher fat ground beef or a ground beef/ ground pork combination. Fat ALWAYS means flavor and will aid in helping the meat not dry out as quickly.
- Adding binding agents that also absorb moisture. In a keto meatball Eggs and a splash of heavy cream also aid in the breadcrumbs to hold some of that moisture during cooking, creating a tender meatball.
- Mix with a fork or with your hands only! I’ve seen people dumb their meatball mixture into a stand mixer to avoid getting their hands dirty. I get it, no one is dying to squeeze their fingers into a big bowl of raw meat and eggs (also the sound always makes me slightly uncomfortable too). Throw on some food safe gloves if you’re really worried, but stick to your hands for the best outcome!
- Keep the meatballs small. A smaller meatball means faster baking or frying time and they’re less likely to dry out and getting overcooked.
What is a low carb or gluten free substitute for bread crumbs?
The best zero carb option that’s also gluten free, are crushed pork rinds (aka pork panko). I prefer keto meatballs with pork rinds to almond flour because it keeps the net carbs in these meatballs very low and I find the texture is better overall.
That being said, almond flour is not a bad option. A little will go a long way! The low carb flour however you should avoid is coconut flour. Coconut flour’s properties actually lend to higher moisture absorption and could actually dry your meatballs out instead of keeping them juicy.
Finally, you could also add some Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese to help bind your meatballs as well in place of the above mentioned options. Parmesan is a but higher in carbs however, so keep that in mind. Additionally, use a fresh grated cheese when you can to eliminate additives.
How do I make meatballs keto?
Well, if you read above on how to swap out the breadcrumbs for lower carb options then your’re basically there! Meatballs are naturally already keto based on their make up. Even though you may be sacrificing the carbs in this recipe, be sure to not sacrifice on flavor.
I’ve experimented with meatballs in a variety of ways. I’ve added wine, fresh parsley or oregano. I’ve baked, pan fried, and broiled too. Out of all of these methods, I prefer sticking to seasoning the meat liberally with dried spices and herbs only and broiling them in the oven.
Start by combining all the ingredients int one large mixing bowl. I mentioned above that the best way to make a good meatball is solely by hand. Mix the meat and spice mixture well until all the ingredients are fully combined and look well blended.
I use a small spoon and make roughly a one inch size meatball (smaller works best here for broiling). Roll all the meatballs out and place them onto a greased or parchment covered baking sheet (helps with clean up, trust me). I use two pounds of meat to make these and get around 60-70 meatballs typically.
How do I broil meatballs?
I prefer broiling to a classic pan fry because it uses very high heat (like a pan would) to create that outer sear, but reduces the mess (no one wants meatball grease all over the place or on their skin). I find that when I cook the meatballs with this method they come out perfect every time and bake in under 15 minutes.
How to use meatballs for different keto friendly meals?
You have several options for including these meatballs into different recipes and still keep it keto. Use the list here to help you with some additional dinner inspiration!
- Eat them on their own! To be honest, whenever these come out of the oven, I can’t stop snacking on them. It’s like the meatball equivalent to popcorn chicken.
- Serve with marinara sauce (Rao’s is a low carb option) and melted cheese for a quick and easy comfort food recipe! You can also pair with spaghetti squash or zoodles if you’re missing spaghetti!
- Serve them up with an easy gravy over some cauliflower mash
Can I freeze these?
YES! I highly encourage when you make a large batch, to freeze them. Place them in a container or plastic freezer safe bag and they’re good to go for up to 3 months (for freshness).
I like to toss the bag in the fridge to defrost or throw them in a slow cooker with low carb spaghetti sauce to slowly reheat and have dinner ready when I’m all cooked out for the day!
I hope you find this recipe as helpful to meal prep and as delicious to your taste buds as I do. Looking to save this for later? Save it to your Pinterest or bookmark it for later. If you make this recipe I would love to hear about it. Take an extra moment to rate (feedback helps me) and leave a comment below (this also helps others looking to make a recipe too) about your experience.
Looking for other easy keto friendly meal prep recipes? Try these:
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- 1 lb. Ground Pork
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup Crushed Pork Rinds
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1.5 tsp Onion Powder
- 1.5 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp. Dried Parsley
- 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if extra spice is desired)
- In a bowl, combine the beef and the pork. Add in the seasonings and crushed pork rinds. Then add in the two eggs and heavy cream.
- Mix well with your hands until the mixture is well blended.
- Preheat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up. Use a tablespoon to make 1" size meatballs. I highly recommend a smaller meatball so they don't dry out but still get a nice crispier crust (see blog post notes above). Roll them all out and place them next to each other (I got around 56 meatballs).
- Bake for 12-15 minutes in the broiler until the internal temperature reaches 165. Let them cool and store in a container, use them in soups or pastas, or eat them as is.
Freeze the meatballs in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 732mgCarbohydrates: 2gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 33g