Low Carb Meatball Casserole

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My low carb Meatball Casserole is perfectly keto-friendly after a few, simple adjustments! I skip the breadcrumbs to keep things low carb and use extra lean ground beef too. Serve this keto meatball casserole with your favorite zoodles or other veggies for a satisfying and wholesome meal that the whole family can enjoy!

titled: Low Carb Meatball Casserole


Meatball Casserole

I’ve been playing around with low carb recipes, and this meatball casserole just happens to be low carb and keto-friendly without even trying! 

Okay, maybe not without even trying. 

I put a lot of thought into this meatball casserole recipe — I skipped the breadcrumbs because, you know, low carb.

I also carefully chose what kind of ground beef to use, plus I opted for a low carb marinara sauce too.

The results were so flavorful and tasty that even I was surprised at how good it came out!! Who said eating low carb has to be boring?!

Here at the Slow Roasted Italian, you know I don’t do anything halfway, including making unique, delicious, and healthy recipes for you to feed your family.

You’ll never guess this meatball casserole is low carb… in the best way ever!!

ingredients for meatball casserole recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground Beef – I’m using lean ground beef here — anywhere from 85% to 90% lean works well.
  • Onion & Garlic – I lovingly refer to these important aromatics as my “flavor makers” because, well, they add so much flavor to whatever recipe I add them to! 

I like to grate them for this meatball casserole recipe for the best texture.

  • Marinara Sauce – I use either homemade or Rao’s for the meatball mixture and in the casserole dish. 

My preference is usually homemade, but if you do want to go the store-bought route, Rao’s is the best-tasting brand I’ve tried. Plus, it has very few carbs per serving!

  • Cheese – Start with freshly grated Parmesan cheese in the meatball mixture, then you’ll need more plus some mozzarella to assemble the casserole.

    No pre-grated stuff for both cheeses, please — they just don’t melt well!

Finish it all off with some extra ricotta cheese in the baking dish for extra creamy and cheesy results. 

  • Egg – Works as a binder for the meatballs! If you want to make this recipe egg-free, opt for a flaxseed egg instead.
  • Spices & Seasonings – I add fresh chopped rosemary, parsley, and basil, plus salt and pepper to the meat mixture.

    Then, you’ll need some more fresh parsley and basil, finely chopped, as a garnish.
meatball mixture for keto meatball casserole

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Keto-Friendly Meatball Casserole

  • Choose lean ground beef.

This meatball casserole is all about keeping things light, lean, and low carb — start it all off by selecting ground beef between 85% to 95% lean. 

Not only are lean meats lower in fat, but they’re also actually lower in carbs as well! If you really want to be careful, try to find one that’s grass-fed to boot.

  • Don’t overmix the meatballs.

This is the key to tender meatball casserole every time!

After you’ve added the ground beef, garlic, onion, marinara, Parmesan, and seasonings to a bowl, mix well with a wooden spoon — or your hands. Be careful to mix just until all of the ingredients are combined.

The more you work the meat mixture, the tougher the end results will be. Be gentle!

  • Don’t use pre-shredded cheeses.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve heard me say this at least a couple dozen times!

I never use pre-shredded or pre-grated cheese anymore, and I suggest you do the same.

The bagged stuff is made with a special coating that helps the shreds stay separated. That coating also prevents the cheese from melting properly. 

Do yourself a favor and buy a big block of Parmesan and mozzarella to shred yourself for this recipe.

It’s also a lot more cost-effective, especially if your family loves cheeses as much as mine does.

  • Don’t skip the seasonings in the meatball mixture.

You don’t need much to make low carb meatball casserole, but it all starts with a perfectly flavored meatball!

Garlic and onion add much in terms of flavor, and I also add a trifecta of fresh herbs: rosemary, parsley, and basil add their own herby flair… plus a pop of color!

You can feel free to play around with your seasonings too, if you’d like. Cayenne or red pepper flakes are great if you like spicy food, or add some cumin and smoked paprika for a more earthy taste.

baked meatballs in a cast iron skillet

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Grate the onion and garlic
  • Shred the cheeses
  • Chop the fresh herbs

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Large Bowl – This one is my go-to!
  • 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.
  • Large Skillet – My favorite oven-safe, cast iron skillet.
  • 9×13 Baking Dish – This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
spooning marinara sauce over keto meatballs

Serving Suggestions 

I like to serve my meatball casserole with my favorite keto-friendly noodles! Zoodles (zucchini noodles) or another spiralized vegetable are always tasty.

Otherwise, I’ll load them up on a keto-friendly roll to make low carb meatball subs.

Cauliflower is another popular keto-friendly option, and I’ll never say no to a big garden salad.

Vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus are all delicious… and low carb! 

adding shredded cheese on top of cooked meatball casserole in cast iron skillet

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Meatball Casserole

Store completely cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will keep for up to 3-4 days. 

Use your microwave to reheat single servings in 30-second bursts, or your oven to reheat larger portions.

Place in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil — 20-25 minutes at 350°F is all you’ll need.

You can also freeze keto meatball casserole. Place in an airtight container or wrap the baking dish in several layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Meatball Casserole Recipe FAQ

Can I use frozen meatballs for meatball casserole?

You can technically use any type of meatball for this casserole, but I prefer to make them from scratch. When I make them myself, I know exactly what’s in them! You just never know with the store-bought stuff… especially when eating keto. 

I’ve personally crafted the meatballs so they’re as low carb as can be. You just don’t get that guarantee with store-bought frozen meatballs!

What can I eat with meatballs other than pasta?

Pasta may be the most well-known, but there are tons of side dish options for meatballs! As mentioned to keep things low carb you can stick to your favorite zoodles or vegetables. 

A garden salad or cauliflower mash are a few favorites. Otherwise, choose a low carb bun or bread option and make yourself a sandwich for lunch!

Does egg help hold meatballs together?

Yes, the egg in my meatball casserole recipe acts as a binder to hold all of the other ingredients together. Most other recipes also add breadcrumbs, but I left those out of mine to keep this keto-friendly. 

If you don’t want to use an egg, a flaxseed egg or some almond flour or crushed pork rinds would work.

plate of meatball casserole

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low carb meatball casserole recipe on a spoon

spoon of low carb meatball casserole

Low Carb Meatball Casserole

Donna Elick
My low carb Meatball Casserole is full of yummy Italian flavors and fewer carbs than other recipes! Easy to make with simple ingredients.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Oven
Servings 4 -6



  • 1 pound lean ground beef, 85% to 90%
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, (SEE NOTES)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons marinara, (I use homemade or Rao’s)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups keto marinara sauce, (I use Rao’s)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Fresh Italian parsley, freshly chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients (beef, cheese, garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons marinara, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and the egg).
  • Mix well, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.
  • Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, portion out meat and place into a large oven safe skillet (I used a 12” cast iron skillet). After all of the meatballs have been scooped into the skillet, roll into balls and place back into the skillet.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and no longer pink in the center.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and drain any fat.
  • Add the marinara sauce to the casserole dish around the meatballs. Rearrange the meatballs in the skillet so they are not touching. Spoon a little sauce over each meatball and sprinkle mozzarella over each one. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the meatballs in the skillet.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned.
  • Garnish with fresh basil or parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

Do not use pre shredded cheeses; they do not melt well.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 360cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 896mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 375mg | Iron: 4mg

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!
Low Carb Meatball Casserole - PIN

Originally published May 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved this recipe! The meatballs were so tender and the flavors were incredible. So easy to make too!

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