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Healthy Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs or Eggs

There are three reasons you might want to make meatballs without breadcrumbs:

  1. You want low carb meatballs.
  2. You need to make gluten free meatballs
  3. You simply ran out of breadcrumbs and don’t feel like running to the store.

Either way, I’ve got you covered with this healthy meatball recipe!

 Spaghetti and healthy meatballs plated

These meatballs use lean ground beef and don’t require any breadcrumbs OR eggs, making them incredibly easy to throw together.

Even if you’re not low-carb or keto, these healthy Italian meatballs will hit the spot.

We’ll be making 12 meatballs, each with only 75 calories, 4g fat, virtually no carbs, and 8.5g of protein!


Why do most meatball recipes use breadcrumbs?

If you look up a standard meatball recipe, it’s going to call for breadcrumbs and egg.

But when you eat meatballs, you don’t really taste any bread, so what’s the point?

Breadcrumbs are used in meatballs to prevent them from drying out. The breadcrumbs soak up moisture inside of the meatball and hold onto it, leading to light and tender meatballs.

However, you can easily leave the breadcrumbs out and still achieve a perfectly tender meatball. Overall, the final consistency is a bit drier without breadcrumbs, but it still works great!

For someone looking to make a keto meatball, you might find that almond flour or coconut flour works in replacement of bread crumbs, but I do not find it necessary to find a substitution.

You can very easily omit breadcrumbs altogether, which I’m about to show you here.


How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs or eggs

Since we’re not using any breadcrumbs, we can also omit the egg in this recipe.

Eggs act as a binder in meatballs to hold the meat, breadcrumbs, and spices together, but since we’re not using any breadcrumbs, we can leave the egg out!

Eggs help achieve a light & fluffy meatball, so you can certainly add it into this recipe if that’s your preference. When you follow this recipe as-is, the meatballs will be on the dense side, but still plenty juicy and flavorful.

I chose to use learn, 90/10 ground beef to make these meatballs. You can follow the same recipe but swap out ground turkey to make turkey meatballs, or ground chicken to make chicken meatballs (like my Sweet Chili Chicken Meatballs).

All you have to do is take all of the ingredients and add them to a large bowl.

Then, use your hands to mix everything up well until it all comes together into a meatball mixture.

Break off small pieces of the meat mixture, about the size of a golf ball, and roll them in your palms to form the meatballs.

To keep these meatballs nice and juicy, I chose to cook them in the air fryer. By using the air fryer, it helps the lean meat to stay nice and juicy without drying out.

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can very easily make baked meatballs as well. Simply line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, then add your meatballs. These can be baked at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

To air fry, simply add the meatballs to the air fryer basket, leaving enough space in between them to fully cook. Let them air fry at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

If you prefer your meatballs without any sauce, you can top them with some parsley and parmesan cheese and enjoy them as-is.

The healthy meatballs are packed with flavor thanks to the seasoning and cheese we added, so you may very well enjoy them plain.

In fact, you can serve these meatballs up as an appetizer along with dipping sauces to allow your friends & family to coat them however they’d like.

But if you really want to elevate these as a main dish, toss them in your favorite tomato sauce or marinara sauce and serve over your favorite pasta.

I almost always eat Banza chickpea pasta (it’s what I make my go-to mac & cheese recipe with) and it was the perfect pairing for these healthy meatballs.

If you want to make the ultimate low-carb meal, you can serve these over zucchini noodles as well.


Need some more dinner inspiration?

These healthy meatballs make a great main dish, but if you’re looking for some other ideas, here are a few other recipes on my blog that you’re going to love:


Spaghetti with healthy meatballs

Healthy Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs or Eggs

Yield: 12 Meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The lean beef meatballs don't require any breadcrumbs OR eggs, but they're still packed with flavor. Whether you're out of breadcrumbs or simply looking for a carb-free alternative to regular meatballs, this recipe delivers.


  • 1 Pound 90/10 Ground Beef (can use any ground meat)
  • 2 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup (28g) Lite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I use Trader Joe's brand)
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce of Choice
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Parsley


  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Use your hands to mix everything up really well until it all comes together. You can play with the ratios if preferred (for example, if you love garlic, you can add more into the meatball mixture) but I wouldn't add any additional tomato sauce and it might make your mixture too loose.
  3. Preheat your air fryer for a few minutes at 400 degrees F. If you would rather bake these meatballs in the oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Break off golf ball-sized pieces of your mixture, roll them into a ball, then add to your air fryer basket (or onto a baking sheet if baking in the oven). Continue until the entire mixture has been used, which was exactly 12 meatballs for me.
  5. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, carefully flipping the meatballs halfway through. If baking, bake these meatballs at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  6. Remove and let cool for a couple of minutes, then serve with your favorite sauce or pasta!


  • Since these healthy meatballs do not contain any egg and are made from lean meat, they're going to feel a bit dense compared to regular meatballs. They're still plenty juicy, but don't expect them to just fall apart like full-fat meatballs tend to.
  • I was worried that 90/10 ground sirloin would be too dry, but it worked great. That being said, 85/15 beef would work amazingly well.
  • These can be made with any ground meat by following the same instructions. However, it's worth noting that other meat may be very loose without a binder, noteably ground chicken or ground turkey. I left the egg out for my Sweet Chili Chicken Meatballs, but they definitely needed breadcrumbs to help keep them together.
  • The photo you see here is 3 of these meatballs mixed up with Trader Joe's Bolognese sauce (highly recommended) and served over some Banza chickpea pasta!
  • If you want to meal prep these meatballs, they can be saved as frozen meatballs. I recommend stopping them in the air fryer around 8 minutes instead of 10, that way they won't dry out when reheated.
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 Meatball
Amount Per Serving Calories 75Total Fat 4gCarbohydrates 0.5gProtein 8.5g

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About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More

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