This delish Keto Meatballs recipe is an update of my popular low carb meatballs alla parmigiana post from way back. Easy to make and family friendly, these delicious keto Italian meatballs are packed with flavor and boast a legit meatball texture. Being smothered in marinara sauce and melty mozzarella cheese doesn’t hurt either!
The foundation of these Keto Meatballs Parmesan (or Parmigiana if you’re feeling fancy) are obviously the meatballs themselves. Juicy, tender, and full of flavor, a classic italian meatball is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, finding a decent low carb and keto Italian meatball recipe isn’t easy.
You see, it’s the bread crumbs that usually make meatballs tender – without them you can end up with a dense, chewy mouthful that more resembles a rubber hockey puck than an authentic keto italian meatball. I know because I’ve tried. So what’s a meatball loving low carber to do?
I’m very happy to report that I finally figured out a keto Italian meatball recipe that results in a meatball that anyone’s Italian grandmother (I’m totally guessing here, mine is French Canadian) would be satisfied with! They “meat” (heh heh, see what I did there?) all of the requirements of a good meatball, and won’t bust your carb budget for the day!
In fact this keto Meatball Parmesan recipe is so good that you won’t even miss the pasta and garlic bread. Ok that might be pushing it (read: a total lie), but they are really good, I promise!
Especially when you bathe them in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese!!! Yes please.
Table of Contents
- How to make the best Keto Meatballs – your questions about methods and ingredients answered ↓
- Is ground beef the best meat for making keto meatballs?
- What is the best gluten-free binder to use as a replacement for breadcrumbs?
- Can I bake these meatballs in the oven or air fryer instead of pan frying them?
- What can I serve as a side dish for meatballs instead of pasta?
- More Keto Meatball Recipes
The nice thing is, these keto meatballs parmesan are delicious plain as well, so they make a great finger-friendly lunch on the go. I like to make a bunch and freeze them in bags of 3 – 5 meatballs. If I know I’m going to be out, I can grab a bag out of the freezer and toss it into my purse or cooler bag. A couple of hours later they are thawed, and I can just reach in and eat a few of these Italian keto meatballs, even if I’m driving in my car.
It’s a great alternative to the drive thru, and minimizes your chances of grabbing something that will wreak havoc on your diet or digestive system simply because you’re starving and desperate.
Still, my favorite way to eat these keto meatballs parmesan is to bake them in my easy no cook marinara sauce with a gooey topping of mozzarella cheese on top. If you don’t have time to make your own sauce, there are plenty of decent keto friendly marinara sauces out there – Rao’s is my favorite store bought one.
It’s hearty and satisfying and perfectly keto friendly.
Since even a sugar free marinara sauce does have some carbs though, I spoon about a tablespoon over each keto meatball, which makes it easier to keep track of my nutrition stats. Any more than that gets wasted in the bottom of the pan anyway.
Same goes with the cheese – you can shred it and dump it on, but most of it will melt into a puddle anyway, so I just slice it and put a piece on top of each meatball. Then I bake it until bubbly. You can also microwave it if you’re short on time, you just won’t get the nice brown color on the cheese.
The secret to the tenderness of these keto meatballs parmesan is the parmesan cheese, almond flour and water added to the mix. The almond flour bulks up the meatball, the cheese adds flavor and more fat, and the water creates steam when heated, which puffs them up and keeps them tender and juicy.
But don’t take my word for it, give them a try and see for yourself! And do be sure to let me know how they come out – especially if you are someone’s Italian grandmother!! ;)
How to make the best Keto Meatballs – your questions about methods and ingredients answered ↓
Is ground beef the best meat for making keto meatballs?
Ground beef is the most common ground meat used in meatballs, but for the best flavor and texture, I prefer a mix of ground beef and ground pork. If you are only using ground beef, be sure to use an 80/20 lean to fat ratio for best results.
You can also make keto meatballs with ground turkey, but I find them to be a bit dry and the taste isn’t as good in my opinion either. Adding a few tablespoons of grated vegetable like zucchini or mushrooms to the mixture can improve both the flavor and the moisture content when making keto meatballs with ground turkey. You can also add a teaspoon or two of heavy cream to the mixture to increase the fat content if using ground turkey.
What is the best gluten-free binder to use as a replacement for breadcrumbs?
In this recipe I use almond flour to bulk up and lighten these keto meatballs, but you can also use crushed pork rinds with good results – and as an added bonus it will decrease the amount of net carbs by a few grams per serving. I recommend making this substitution if you are making keto meatballs with a nut allergy.
Can I bake these meatballs in the oven or air fryer instead of pan frying them?
Yes! You can bake these keto meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the oven with excellent results. They will be a little drier and not as crunchy and brown on the outside, but cleanup is easy and when baking them as a meatball casserole with sauce and cheese you won’t even notice the difference. You can also make these meatballs in the air fryer by simply following the instructions for your model with any meatball or burger recipe – mine takes about 10 minutes.
What can I serve as a side dish for meatballs instead of pasta?
If your family isn’t eating keto or gluten free, then you can serve this with pasta for them and spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or even konjac noodles or palmini noodles for yourself. It’s so filling as a casserole that I’ve even eaten these low carb meatballs without a side dish. I’m also not above enjoying them over a pile of cheesy cauliflower polenta – and while it may sound weird to do that with a sauce containing tomatoes, it’s surprisingly tasty and satisfying.
More Keto Meatball Recipes
- General Tso’s Meatballs
- Beef Stroganoff Meatballs
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Instant Pot Italian Meatballs
- Jamaican Jerk Meatballs