Best Ever Low Carb Meatballs

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Eating keto doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorites, and my Low Carb Meatballs are proof!! Made with extra lean ground beef, garlic, onion, and Parmesan cheese, there are no breadcrumbs to be found. Served with marinara sauce, I’m not using any pasta either for a truly low carb meatball recipe!

titled: Best Ever Low Carb Meatballs


Low Carb Meatballs

I love a good meatball recipe, as you can probably tell from my large collection!

Choose between teriyaki meatballs, Swedish meatballs, copycat Olive Garden meatballs, spicy meatballs with jalapenos… or at least 20 other recipes!!

And if you’re eating low carb and looking for a keto-friendly meatballs recipe, I’ve got great news for you: I just came up with the best low carb meatballs ever. 

I’m using extra lean ground beef and not a single breadcrumb… bye-bye carb heavy meatballs!

I know a lot of keto recipes are often made with turkey, but I’m sticking with beef for mine.

Nothing against turkey meatballs (I’ve got a kid-approved recipe for those too), but I wanted to keep the same beef-y flavor I know and love.

Plus, I serve this low carb meatball recipe with sauce and no pasta — I’ve also tried them with zoodles and I have to say it was soo tasty.

I didn’t miss the carbs at all… which is saying something because you guys know I’m the queen of pasta!! 

ingredients for low carb meatball recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Lean Ground Beef – Many low carb meatballs call for turkey, but I’m opting for lean ground beef instead!

    That way, you’ll still get all of the flavor of classic meatballs without a whole lot of fat. I used 88%.
  • Parmesan Cheese – To add directly into the meatball mixture! I like Parmesan best, and I always grate it myself from a big block.

    The pre-grated stuff often features an anti-clumping agent that messes with the texture and flavor.
  • Garlic & Onion – These small but mighty aromatics add so much complex savory flavor to the mix. Instead of chopping or mincing, grate them both for the best texture!
  • Eggs – Work as a binder to hold everything together. You’ll notice I don’t use any breadcrumbs at all in this dish… the eggs work just fine on their own!
  • Marinara Sauce – You can use store-bought (Rao’s is my go-to) or make it yourself with my easy 5-minute pasta sauce recipe.
  • Herbs and Seasonings – Fresh chopped rosemary, chopped parsley, and chopped basil are all needed to add bright, herby flavor, plus some salt and pepper to taste.
ground beef, seasoning, eggs, and cheese added to a large mixing bowl

Helpful Tips for Making the Perfect Low Carb Meatball Recipe

  • Choose lean meat.

Remember to opt for the leanest ground beef you can find — it should be around 90%.

My local supermarket has an 88% blend, but I’ve also tried this recipe with 85% and 93%, and they came out great with all of the above!

As a note, you may notice a bit of grease that collects on the bottom of the meatballs as they cook. Make sure to drain that before adding them to the sauce!

  • Missing the breadcrumbs?

As mentioned, I’m not using any breadcrumbs in my low carb meatballs recipe to keep things as low carb as possible.

I find that the eggs bind everything together really well, and the extra Parmesan cheese in the meat mixture adds extra texture and flavor.

If you’re missing the breadcrumbs, you can always use ground pork rinds or almond flour instead!

  • Fresh herbs add a ton of flavor.

I’m using fresh rosemary, parsley, and basil in the meatball mixture instead of dried herbs. Why? Because fresh boasts a herby vibrance that you just don’t get with dried! 

Make sure to chop them up as finely as possible when you’re prepping your ingredients so they are evenly distributed throughout the meatball mixture. 

If you want to add even more herbs, you could try thyme or oregano too!

  • Carnivore with Herbs variation.

You can also adapt my low carb meatball recipe for the Carnivore with Herbs diet.

Simply use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and ¼ cup of heavy cream in place of the marinara sauce. 

You could also substitute 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning in place of the fresh herbs.

With a bit of tweaking, it totally works!

low carb meatball recipe ingredients mixed in a bowl being scooped out

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Make the sauce (if using homemade)
  • Grate the Parmesan cheese, onion, and garlic

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Baking Sheets lined with Parchment Paper – Used for anything from cookies to roasting, a good baking pan will last for years.
  • Cheese Grater – Fresh cheese makes this recipe even better! Skip the bagged shreds and buy a block to grate yourself. You can also use it to grate the onion and garlic.
  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • 2 Tablespoon Scoop – Great for meatballs, cookies, ice cream, and portioning out leftovers. I’ve had this set for years and use them all the time.
formed low carb meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet

Serving Suggestions 

Smother low carb meatballs with your sauce of choice hot and fresh from the oven.

Enjoy them as is or with some zoodles with vegetables or another keto noodle for a full, low carb meal! 

Some other low carb ideas include crispy cauliflower or cauliflower mash, roasted vegetables, a big garden salad, coleslaw, or grilled vegetables.

Basically, choose your favorite veggie and you’ll be in business!

You could even create a low carb meatball sandwich if you use low carb, keto-friendly bread!

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. My low carb meatballs recipe will keep for about 3-4 days when properly stored. 

To reheat, use your microwave for single servings, or warm with a bit of sauce on the stovetop over medium.

They also freeze beautifully! Flash freeze for 30 minutes on a baking sheet, then place in a freezer-safe bag.

They’ll be good in the freezer for around 2-3 months. Remember to let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Low Carb Meatballs Recipe FAQ

What can you use to keep meatballs from falling apart?

I’m using 2 eggs as the binder in my low carb meatballs recipe to keep things, well, low carb! Traditional recipes often call for breadcrumbs, but those aren’t very keto-friendly which is why I left them out. 

Remember that you can always add some ground pork rinds or almond flour if you’re missing the texture of the breadcrumbs. 

Do you cook meatballs before putting them in the sauce?

Yep! I bake my meatballs at 375°F for about 20 minutes before adding them to the sauce. I prefer to bake them instead of boiling them because it maintains all of those delicious flavors. 

What are some low carb sauces to pair with low carb meatballs?

I swear by my homemade marinara sauce or Rao’s store-bought sauce! Some other tasty options include homemade pesto, Alfredo sauce made with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, or a simple garlic butter sauce. 

If you’re looking for dips, ranch made with Greek yogurt or a spicy mayo would be delicious!

plate full of stacked low carb meatballs

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low carb meatball recipe on a fork

closeup of a low carb meatball on a fork

Best Ever Low Carb Meatballs

Donna Elick
My Low Carb Meatballs are packed with flavor and minimal carbs! No breadcrumbs, no pasta, just keto-friendly meatballs with sauce.
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 30 meatballs


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, I used 88%
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup marinara, I use homemade or Rao’s
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.
  • Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, portion out meat and place on baking sheet. After all meatballs have been scooped onto the tray, roll into balls and place back onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.
  • Remove and transfer to sauce or serve immediately.

Donna’s Notes

To adapt this for carnivore with herbs, you can use 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ¼ cup heavy cream in place of the marinara. You can also use 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning in place of the fresh herbs.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 55cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 141mg | Sugar: 0.1g | Fiber: 0.1g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Best Ever Low Carb Meatballs - PIN

Originally published May 2024

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