It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a good meatball. These tasty morsels are fun to eat and can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta and sandwiches to soups and standalone appetizers. Many meatball recipes, however, include bread crumbs, which isn’t good for those who are gluten-free or on a low-carb diet.
Bread crumbs can help absorb moisture, keeping the meatball from drying out while helping hold them together, which is why so many people like to use them in their recipes. However, you don’t need to utilize bread crumbs in order to produce a tender, delicious meatball. Read on for some of the best “crumbless” meatball recipes you can find.
1. Italian Meatballs
This classic Italian meatball goes perfectly with a tangy red sauce, so you can use them in a traditional spaghetti dish or line the tasty orbs up on a hearty meatball hoagie. Using a blend of high-quality beef and pork helps to balance the flavor, but you might consider adding veal and cutting this into thirds for an even more decadent dish.
These meatballs are elevated with fresh garlic, onion, and parsley – make sure to grate the garlic and onion, as you want them more for flavor than for texture. You can bake these in the oven or pan-fry them in a little bit of oil. We prefer the pan-frying method because it creates caramelization, giving the meatballs a nice outer crust that plays nicely with the tender interior.
Get the full recipe and directions here.
2. Garlic Parmesan Turkey Meatballs
Turkey meatballs are a wonderful alternative for those who don’t eat red meat or who simply want something a little lighter. With a lower fat content, ground turkey is easier to digest but is still incredibly versatile, as evidenced by just how tasty these meatballs are! To hold these together, you’ll use parmesan cheese instead of bread crumbs, which will add a whole extra layer of flavor and texture once these meatballs are cooked.
Oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic round out the meatball (no pun intended), making this similar to many Italian recipes. These are delicious on their own and can be served as an appetizer with a side of red sauce or BBQ sauce, but you can also use them with your favorite low-carb pasta, such as zucchini noodles.
Get the full recipe and directions at All She Cooks.
3. All-Star Pork Meatballs
Although you can get some delectable meatballs by blending different kinds of meat, sometimes a pure meatball can be just as satisfying. These pork meatballs offer a mild flavor that pairs well with sweet sauces and sides. Onion and corn flakes help to absorb some moisture, while a beaten egg keeps these balls from falling apart. Ketchup, brown sugar, and dry mustard complete the recipe. While you may be wary of using ketchup in a meatball sauce, we find that it provides just the right blend of umami and sweetness to stand up to the flavor of the pork. While the recipe calls for baking these meatballs, you can always fry them in a pan lightly coated in order to get a nice crispy exterior.
Get the full recipe and directions at Spark People.
4. Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Meatballs
These easy, traditional meatballs are made in the slow cooker, allowing you to walk away while they absorb all the flavors of the rich, tangy marinara. When you bake or pan-fry meatballs, you risk drying them out if you overdo it, but that is rarely a problem with the low and slow approach of the slow cooker.
The blend of beef and pork always works well, providing contrasting flavors and plenty of fat to keep the meatballs juicy and moist. If you have a pre-made Italian seasoning blend, this is the time to use it, otherwise, a mix of dried oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, and marjoram will do just fine. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices based on how you plan on serving these!
Get the full recipe and directions at Honey I’m Home DIY.
5. Honey Garlic Gluten-Free Meatballs
The richness of these pure beef meatballs is balanced by the pungent garlic and sweet honey that come together to make a delightful product that can be used in a variety of dishes. Baby carrots are added to the sauce for some extra sweetness, and as an added bonus they are quite a nice treat to pair with your meatballs when you serve them. In lieu of bread crumbs, you’ll use eggs and oats to help these spheres maintain their structural integrity.
If you want to add a little kick for some sweet heat, consider minced jalapeno or crushed red pepper. We find that the honey really works well with those. These meatballs cook in the sauce, but if you’d like a nice textural crust, you might want to brown them in a separate pan before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients.
Get the full recipe and directions at Give Recipe.
6. Air Fryer Keto Meatballs
The air fryer has been a godsend for many busy home cooks, as it makes preparing whole meals a breeze. These simple meatballs come together in less than an hour, but they have the flavor of a dish that has spent all day simmering on the stovetop! There’s no need for bread crumbs, as you’ll use parmesan and mozzarella cheese, heavy whipping cream, and an egg to help hold these together. The only prep you’ll really have to do is to mince a clove of garlic, so you can throw these meatballs together no matter how busy you are!
Get the full recipe and directions at Taste of Home.
7. Gluten-Free Swedish Meatballs Recipe with Gravy
Swedish meatballs are one of the most well-known versions of the dish, so we had to include at least one recipe for them! If you’ve never had a Swedish meatball, you’ll be surprised by just how nicely the nutmeg and allspice work with these bite-sized beef morsels. For a more traditional Swedish meatball, consider using a 50/50 blend of pork and beef, but either way, these are sure to be a winner at any dinner party. You’ll brown these meatballs in a pan before adding them to the rich, creamy gravy. Serve them right out of a bowl as an appetizer or spoon them over noodles or rice to create a fantastic dinner.
Get the full recipe and directions at Thriving Gluten-Free.
Meatballs are a beloved dish in cuisines across the world, and it’s easy to see why. If you’ve been missing out on meatballs due to certain dietary restrictions, these recipes without bread crumbs should be right up your alley!
If you like this post, we think you’ll really like our Alison Roman Meatballs post.