When it comes to easy gluten-free meals that the whole family will love, gluten-free meatballs rank high on the list. These delicious bite-sized morsels can be either baked or fried, and gluten-free meatballs can be made with a wide variety of different meat types.
Below you’ll find a list of twenty of the best gluten-free meatball recipes to wow your friends and family.
What Is Gluten-Free?
Gluten-free means that the food is made without any added gluten. Gluten is a type of protein that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Gluten allergies range from a mild allergy that can cause stomach discomfort to a serious gluten allergy known as celiac disease.
If people with celiac disease eat gluten, it can cause damage to their small intestines over time.
Gluten-free meatball recipes aren’t necessarily healthier than meatballs with gluten. However, they can help those with an intolerance to gluten enjoy meatballs that hold together just as well as meatballs made with traditional breadcrumbs.
Common Ingredients in Gluten-Free Meatballs
Traditionally, gluten-free meatballs are bound together using breadcrumbs. Regular breadcrumbs have gluten, but there are several gluten-free substitutes that can be used as a binder in their place.
Here are some of the common ingredients you’ll find in gluten-free meatball recipes:
- Gluten-free bread/breadcrumbs:
- Potato chips
- Gluten-free corn flakes
- Rolled oats
- Gluten-free crackers
- Crushed nuts
- Gluten-free pretzels
- Crushed pork rinds
- Rice-based cereals
The main difference between traditional meatballs that include gluten and ones that don’t are the binders. Luckily, there are plenty of substitutes available that can still result in perfectly good meatballs.
How to Make Gluten-Free Meatballs From Scratch
Making gluten-free meatballs is almost an identical process to making any other kind of meatball.
Here are the steps you should take to assemble and cook them:
Step 1. Gather the ingredients
Ingredients for meatballs fall into three categories – the meat, the binder, and the seasonings. Meatballs can be bound with cheese, a raw egg, breadcrumbs, or ground nuts. Seasoning for meatballs will depend on the style of meatballs you’re making, but typically contains garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper as a base.
Step 2. Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix
Make sure that that meatball mixture is thoroughly combined, but try not to overmix in the process. You can add the spices to the meatballs gradually as you mix them to make sure that they are evenly seasoned.
Step 3. Make the meatballs
Roll each portion of meatball into a ball. A good size to aim for is around one inch across, but you can make either larger or smaller meatballs depending on what you’re using them for.
You can make slightly bigger meatballs for meatball subs, or smaller ones for Italian wedding soup.
Step 4. Cook the meatballs
Gluten-free meatballs can be either baked or fried, but searing off the meatballs is crucial to making sure that the meatballs don’t fall apart if they’re placed in a sauce after cooking. While the meatballs bake or fry, you can prepare a sauce to serve with them.
Cook the meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
When it comes to recipes, you can’t get much more simple than gluten-free meatballs. Gluten-free meatballs also freeze well, making them a practical choice for quick weeknight meals when you don’t have much time to cook.
20 Gluten-Free Meatballs to Dazzle Your Next Dinner Party
1. Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Meatballs
A great recipe for a busy weeknight when you don’t have much time to cook, these tender and flavorful slow cooker meatballs at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring owe their flavor to the dried oregano and dried basil. Slow cookers can give you dinner tonight with only the minimum preparation necessary.
2. Thirty-Minute Gluten-Free Beef Meatballs
Need a quick meal and love Italian food? – Foodal‘s thirty-minute gluten-free beef meatballs are chock full of grated parmesan and other savory flavors. If you add spaghetti sauce and some gluten-free meatball sub sandwich bread, you’ll have the fixings for an Italian meatball sub dinner in no time.
3. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Buffalo chicken meatballs from Here to Cook are made with ground chicken and almond flour to keep them both low-carb and gluten-free. With just a few ingredients and a dash of spicy buffalo sauce, you can have these deliciously different gluten-free meatballs on the table in a snap.
4. Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
Air fryers can be used to cook either raw meatballs or frozen meatballs easily. You can air fry gluten-free turkey meatballs or meatballs made of Italian sausage, but these air fryer meatballs at Joy Filled Eats are made from ground chicken.
Add some premade spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce and you’ll have a meatball dinner on the table in less than twenty minutes.
5. Chipotle Honey Glazed Meatballs
Some gluten-free meatball recipes are a little boring. But this wonderful recipe from Rachel Cooks includes a spicy and savory chipotle honey glaze that takes these cocktail meatballs to the next level.
Serve with pita pockets for an appetizer that will take your party to the next level.
6. Greek Turkey Meatballs
Having meatballs doesn’t mean you have to have spaghetti. Try some Greek meatballs at Skinny Taste with cucumber tzatziki sauce, chickpea salad, and other Greek condiments.
Greek meatballs are traditionally made with lamb, but this lighter version includes turkey meatballs instead.
7. Keto Swedish Meatballs
Swedish meatballs are a Scandinavian favorite, and these keto gluten-free meatballs from A Full Living are no exception. This recipe uses almond flour in place of gluten flour along with ground pork, minced onion, and other seasonings for a meatball feast worthy of IKEA.
8. Meaty Vegan Meatballs
If you’re going gluten-free in an attempt to lighten your diet, these meaty vegan meatballs at Connoisseurus Veg are the perfect recipe to try. The meatballs are formed from rolled oats, black beans, and chopped walnuts along with other spices and cooked on a prepared baking sheet.
The black bean-based meatball mixture is a delicious choice for a dairy-free option at your next get-together.
9. Meatball Parmesan Bake
Meatball bakes are a fun set-it-and-forget-it meal that can be baked in the oven while you prepare side dishes like salad and garlic bread. Little Home in the Making‘s meatball parmesan bake includes grated cheese and frozen meatballs or cooked meatballs for a savory dinner that can go on the table in minutes.
Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top for a tangy finishing touch.
10. Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
If you’re looking for dairy-free meatballs, look no further than these Asian-inspired turkey meatballs at Erin Eats Whole. These Asian meatballs use ground turkey mixture in a large bowl with a savory peanut sauce for a spicy main dish that is sure to impress.
11. Easy Paleo Meatball Soup
Just because you’re having meatballs for dinner doesn’t mean that you have to make spaghetti. Try this easy paleo meatball soup at Amee’s Savory Dish for a meatball mixture that is full of warm savory flavors like garlic and freshly ground black pepper.
This dairy-free version of gluten-free meatballs is a healthy way to warm yourself up on a cold winter’s night.
12. Easy Lasagna Meatball Soup
For another gluten-free meatball-based soup, check out this easy lasagna meatball soup from My Kosher. With a tomato sauce base and a pound of chopped meat such as ground turkey or ground Italian sausage, this soup gets even better the next day after the ingredients have a chance to meld together in the fridge overnight.
13. Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken Meatballs
Meatball recipes don’t have to be boring or include Italian flavors. Here’s a very different meatball recipe from A Hint of Rosemary that includes classic Thai flavors such as coconut milk and curry with ground chicken meatballs for a flavorful weeknight meal swimming in a savory broth.
14. Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs
One of the biggest advantages of going with meatballs for dinner is that many of the recipes are simple to execute, and this gluten-free recipe at Life’s Little Sweets is as easy as they come. Bread crumbs are replaced with rolled oats for a gluten-free take on the traditional turkey meatball, and these bite-sized treats can be cooked in any sauce you like.
15. Sage Turkey Cranberry Meatball with Gravy
If you want some gluten-free turkey meatballs with Thanksgiving flair, try out these sage turkey cranberry meatballs with gravy at Vibrantly G-Free. By pairing classic Thanksgiving flavors with ground turkey and instant mashed potato flakes in place of gluten-free breadcrumbs, you’ll have a dish so good nobody will miss the baked turkey.
16. Turkey Feta Chive Meatballs with Broccoli and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce
Here’s another gluten-free meatball recipe that depends on bold flavors and a delicious sauce to help pull everything together. Make these turkey feta chive meatballs at Laura Lea Balanced with a creamy sundried tomato sauce and some freshly cooked broccoli for a healthy meal that tastes like an indulgence.
17. Smoked Meatballs
Just because you’re making meatballs doesn’t mean you have to make them indoors. These smoked meatballs at A Grill for All Seasons are made with ground pork and bacon before being placed in the smoker for a savory, smoky flavor you can’t get any other way.
18. Firecracker Rice Bowls with Sesame Meatballs
For a healthy meal in a hurry, rice bowls are a fast way to get dinner on the table without sacrificing flavor and culinary inspiration. They’re also a practical way to use up any leftover vegetables that need to be cooked in your fridge.
These firecracker rice bowls at Only Gluten-Free Recipes are topped with meatballs flavored with sesame oil and other traditional Asian flavors.
19. Honey Ginger Asian Meatballs
Looking for a gluten-free meatball recipe for batch cooking and meal prep? Check out these honey ginger Asian meatballs at Thriving Gluten-Free.
Excellent for cooking in large batches, these meatballs seasoned with sweet honey, coconut, ginger, and garlic can be made ahead and frozen for a quick weeknight meal whenever you need one.
20. Vietnamese Meatballs with Baguettes
While meatballs are commonly associated with Italian cooking, they’re also a popular staple in many other cuisines around the world, including Vietnam. Still Blog has gluten-free Vietnamese meatballs made with ground pork and seasoned with classic Vietnamese flavors.
Serve these meatballs with baguettes and fresh pickled condiments for a juicy banh mi sandwich that will have you coming back for seconds.
Easy Gluten-Free Meatballs Recipe
If you’re looking for an easy gluten-free meatball recipe as your jumping-off point into more complicated recipes, look no further than this easy gluten-free meatball recipe from Gluten-Free Palate.
You can swap out the seasoning and binders in this meatball recipe as you like and still end up with good results.
- Ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, veal, or vegetarian ground)
- Crushed gluten-free crackers, almond meal, rice, or oatmeal
- Parmesan cheese
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley)
- Whole egg, lightly beaten
Instructions for Gluten-Free Meatballs
Mix the ground meat, starch-based binder, cheese, seasonings, and the beaten egg together, loosely combining it by hand.
Form the meatballs by rolling the meatball mixture in the palm of your hands until round. Try to keep the meatballs to one consistent size so that they cook evenly.
Cook the meatballs in a skillet, air fryer, or oven until the internal temperature of the meatballs is 165 degrees and the exterior of the meatballs is golden brown.
At this point, the meatballs can be sauced and allowed to simmer, or you can make a dipping sauce to go on the side.
Meatballs can be frozen raw or after browning to be used at a later time. To freeze your meatballs for later, freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and store them in freezer storage bags.
Gluten-Free Meatballs FAQ
How Do You Keep Gluten-Free Meatballs From Falling Apart?
One of the biggest challenges in making gluten-free meatballs is keeping the meatballs from falling apart. Luckily, there are several cooking techniques you can use that will help keep your meatballs together even if you leave them to simmer in a sauce.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your gluten-free meatballs from falling apart:
- Mix your meatballs by hand. Massaging the meat into a consistent mixture before making the meatballs can help the proteins in the meatball bind together and prevent the meatballs from disintegrating. The meatball mixture should have a slightly sticky texture when it’s ready to form into balls.
- Add a binder, but not too much. Gluten-free breadcrumbs and other gluten-free binders are necessary for retaining moisture in your meatballs and holding the meatballs together.
However, too much binder can cause the meatballs to crumble instead. Rolling the meatballs in gluten-free flour also helps keep them from falling apart.
- Add an egg. For non-vegan meatballs, a lightly beaten egg can help act as a binder and keep the meatballs together.
- Brown the meatballs before cooking. Searing the meatballs in a high-temperature skillet gives them a crust that prevents them from crumbling in a sauce.
- Give the meatballs space in the pan. Crowding the meatballs can cause them to break up as you turn them. Shaking them in the pan rather than trying to flip them with a spatula can also help keep them together while browning them on every side.
If you have difficulty keeping meatballs together when frying them in a skillet, try using an air fryer or an oven instead. This will allow you to cook the meatballs through without having to move them before they’re partially set.
Why Are My Meatballs Sticky?
Some gluten-free meatballs can be sticky once they are combined with binders and eggs. Salt is also an ingredient that can cause the meat to become more sticky in texture as it breaks down the protein in the meat.
This can make gluten-free meatballs difficult to form if they have the consistency of a sticky meat paste.
If you’re having problems with your gluten-free meatballs being too sticky to work with, here are a few tips to make the process easier:
Tip 1. Coat your hands with olive oil
Oiling your hands before you begin to combine the meatball ingredients can help keep the ingredients from sticking to your skin.
Tip 2. Wet your hands with cold water
Getting your hands damp before you begin to work with a meatball mixture allows the mixture to slide off your hands.
Tip 3. Wear gloves
If you don’t like the sensation of meatball mixture sticking to your hands when you make gluten-free meatballs, using disposable plastic gloves can keep your hands clean and also make it easier to form the meatballs without them sticking to your fingers.
Is It Better to Bake or Fry Meatballs?
Some people prefer to bake meatballs, while other people prefer to fry them. The biggest difference between the two cooking techniques is that frying the meatballs is faster while baking the meatballs can save a few excess calories.
How Do You Tell If Baked Meatballs Are Done?
The safest way to tell when baked meatballs are done is to use a refractive thermometer or a stick meat thermometer to determine the interior temperature of the meatballs. Once the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the meatballs are fully cooked and safe to eat.
Who Sells Gluten-Free Meatballs?
If you don’t want to make your own gluten-free meatballs from scratch when you make gluten-free meatball recipes, you always have the option to go with a commercially-prepared gluten-free meatball. These meatballs are usually sold frozen and can be thawed as needed for gluten-free recipes.
Here are just a few of the businesses that sell premade gluten-free meatballs:
Frozen gluten-free meatballs are a useful meal shortcut to keep on hand. These meatballs can be used in a wide range of recipes and can be thawed quickly compared to other forms of meat.
Gluten-free meatballs are a fun way to add more low-carb, gluten-free foods to your weekly meal rotation. This recipe guide gives you plenty of useful and delicious options for your next family meatball feast.