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Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs (Healthy Recipe)

This quick and easy recipe bakes a batch of Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs without sacrificing taste and texture. Instead, you’ll use almond flour to bind your choice of ground meat, Parmesan, and spices into tender & juicy gluten-free meatballs.

Meatballs without breadcrumbs in a white bowl garnished with chopped parsley.

Can you make meatballs with no breadcrumbs? Absolutely, and this gluten-free meatball recipe will show you exactly how it’s done. Gluten-free almond flour plays the role of breadcrumbs, and it’s nearly impossible to notice the difference.

In 30 minutes or less, you’ll make a large batch of bite-size, seasoned, tender meatballs from scratch.

These homemade meatballs are juicy and plump. You can serve them plain or coated in various sauces and glazes.

The best part? These delicious meatballs freeze wonderfully, so you can bake a batch to enjoy now and a bunch to freeze and enjoy later. Then, when you’re ready to make your frozen batch, they can be thawed and reheated directly in the sauce of your choosing.

As for healthy meatball recipes, this one is the best.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This easy meatball recipe has a short list of simple ingredients you might already have on hand.
  • These healthy meatballs are made with naturally gluten-free almond flour instead of breadcrumbs.
  • The meatballs are baked, so there’s no need to stand over the stove.
  • The recipe can be made dairy-free with a minor modification.
  • They’re the perfect meatballs to make with any meatball sauce.

Overhead shot of meatballs without breadcrumbs in a bowl. The meatballs are garnished with parsley.

Ingredients

  • Almond flour (or almond meal) – Almond flour is the best option for making moist meatballs without breadcrumbs that won’t fall apart.
  • Parmesan cheese – Use finely grated cheese from a nice block of Parmesan for the best flavor.
  • Spices & seasonings – Garlic powder enhances the savory flavors, while smoked paprika adds a touch of warmth.
  • Salt & black pepper – Use kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper if you have it.
  • Eggs – Act as a binder, holding the meatball mixture together and helping the meatballs keep their shape.
  • Ground meat – I prefer turkey meatballs, but you can also use any ground meat or a combination like ground chicken and beef or ground turkey and beef.
  • Fresh parsley – Adds a pop of fresh flavor.

How To Make Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs

Step 1. Combine the dry ingredients.

Mix the almond flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt in a medium bowl.

Two images side by side. Image on the left: a glass bowl with almond flour, parmesan, and spices. The image on the right: the almond flour mixture and a wisk in a glass bowl.

Step 2. Make the meatball mixture.

In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until smooth, then add the ground meat, chopped parsley, and the almond flour mixture. Using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon, mix until just combined.

Two images side by side. The image on the left: beaten eggs in a glass bowl and a fork. The image on the right: almond mixture, ground meat, parsely, and eggs in a glass bowl.

Step 3. Form the meatballs.

Shape the meat mixture into meatballs using about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each. Then, bake in a 375F preheated oven until no longer pink inside.

Two images side by side. The image on the left: meatball mixture in a glass bowl. The image on the right is meatballs on a baking sheet covered with parchement paper.

Step 4. Serve.

Let the cooked meatballs rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. If storing, let them cool to room temperature.

Two images side by side. The image on the left: baked meatballs on a baking sheet. The image on the right: baked meatballs in a glass container.

Recipe Tips

Do not overmix! Combine the meatball mixture thoroughly but without overworking it.

Keep your hands wet as you form the meat into balls. This helps keep the meat from sticking to your hands.

You can also set the mixture in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to work with.

The exact time it takes for the meatballs to finish baking will depend on the meat. If you make these with turkey or chicken, the internal temperature should be 165F, and if you’re using beef, it should be 160F.

Close up shot of baked meatballs on a baking sheet.

Variations & Serving Ideas

Add sausage – Replace half of the ground turkey, chicken, or beef with savory ground sausage. The high-fat content in ground sausage helps keep the meatballs from drying out.

Make them dairy-free – To make these meatballs without any dairy, swap the Parmesan for nutritional yeast to achieve a similar rich nutty flavor.

The simplicity of these no breadcrumb meatballs makes them the perfect canvas for an array of flavors.

Here are a few ways to serve them:

  • Spaghetti & meatballs – Heat the meatballs in your favorite spaghetti sauce and serve with pasta.
  • Italian meatballs – Add 1/2 tablespoon of Italian seasoning to the meat mixture and cook the meatballs in your favorite tomato sauce or homemade or store-bought Marinara sauce.
  • Grape jelly BBQ balls – Heat the meatballs in a large pot with equal parts grape jelly and BBQ sauce until the mixture becomes a thick, sticky glaze.
  • Swedish meatballs – Gently simmer in rich and creamy Swedish meatball sauce.

Storing & Freezing

  • Storing: Let the meatballs cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Likewise, these meatballs can be frozen for two months. Let cool, place the meatballs on a baking sheet, and set them in the freezer for an hour or until solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag and keep them frozen until you’re ready to reheat them.

Side view of meatballs in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need to add eggs to meatballs?

Eggs play an important role as the binding agent in meatballs that keeps them from falling apart as they cook.

Why do you need to add almond flour to this meatball recipe?

You’ll need almond flour for this meatball recipe since we aren’t using any breadcrumbs. Coarse almond flour absorbs the meat juices as they’re released during the cooking process, keeping the moisture trapped in the meatball and preventing them from drying out.

What’s the difference between almond flour and almond meal?

Almond flour and almond meal are both made from ground almonds, but the almond meal is made from ground unpeeled almonds, while almond flour is made from blanched almonds.

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Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs (Healthy Recipe)

Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs (Healthy Recipe)

Yield: 35-40 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Make a big batch of juicy meatballs your whole family will love! These tasty meatballs can be served on their own or with your favorite sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 1/2 salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pounds ground meat ( I prefer ground turkey or mix of 1 pound ground chicken and 1 pound ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the almond flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs using a fork. Add the ground meat, parsley, and almond flour mixture. Mix all the ingredients until combined.
  4. Shape the mixture into meatballs using about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Make sure to cook the meatballs to the safe minimum internal temperature for the type of meat you are using.
  6. Let the cooked meatballs rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Notes

When shaping the meatballs, wet your hands in cold water after making two to three meatballs. This will prevent the meat from sticking to your hands.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 5 meatballs
Amount Per Serving Calories 478Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 153mgSodium 273mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 39g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

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