Whether you are serving these Italian Slow Cooker Meatballs as an appetizer, in a pasta dish, or as the main star of the meal, they are sure to impress. All the delicious flavors of a classic Italian meatball, while still being low carb and whole30 compliant.
Converting to stovetop
If you don't want to use a slow cooker, or don't have the time to let these keto meatballs cook all day, you can easily convert this recipe to stovetop. Simply heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat and sear the meatballs on all sides until they are golden brown. From there, transfer the meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet and finish in the oven at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Making Keto Meatballs
Traditional Italian meatball recipes typically have cheese, breadcrumbs, and even milk in the recipe. The breadcrumbs are typically soaked in the milk and then added to the meat mixture. But to make these meatballs, low carb, gluten free, and even Whole30 compliant, I used crushed pork rinds as a binder. Not only do they work as the perfect substitution for the breadcrumbs, but they add awesome flavor. Even if you are not a fan of pork rinds, they are excellent in this recipe. If you still want to swap them out with a different low carb binder, be sure to check out the list of substitutions and swaps below.
Substitutions and Swaps
- Using pre-made meatballs - Don't have time to make the keto meatball recipe? No problem, you can use pre-made fresh or frozen meatballs from the grocery store. But, please note that the pre-made store-bought versions will likely not be gluten free or low in carbs as they will likely contain bread.
- Using a store-bought sauce - If you don't want to make make your own sauce, you can use a store-bought jarred sauce. Just made sure to read the ingredient labels and choose a sauce that only has vegetables, healthy oils, seasonings and spices as the ingredients.
- Substitutions for pork rinds - If you are not a fan of pork rinds, you can sub blanched almond flour, grated parmesan cheese, ground golden flaxseed, or any combination of those.
- Making this a dairy free meatball recipe - to make this a dairy free, whole30 meatball recipe, simply omit the parmesan cheese from the meatball mixture
- Mix and match your meats - There are a lot of different meat options for these slow cooker meatballs - ground beef, pork, veal, lamb, chicken, or turkey. You can mix and match any combination of these. I get all of my grass-fed, grass finished beef, heritage pork, organic chicken and sustainable seafood here.
Storage and Prep
These slow cooker meatballs make for excellent meal prep. Whether you do weekly meal planning, or are looking to stock the freezer with a few months worth of pre-cooked meals, this Whole30 meatball recipe fits the bill perfectly. Even better yet, make a double batch of the meatballs and freeze them in batches - half uncooked, and half cooked, sauced and ready to go. Then you have a heat and eat ready meal, as well as a pre-prepped protein for those hectic nights when you need to get in and out of the kitchen quickly. Store cooked meatball leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you have time, I highly recommend not skipping the step of pan-searing the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. It really gives them more depth of flavor.
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Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
- Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 30 Meatballs 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 4 cups Pesto Marinara Sauce, Three Cheese Marinara Sauce, or Hearty Meat Sauce
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef (I get all my meat here)
- 1 ½ pounds ground pork
- 1 cup crushed pork rinds (I use this brand)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (I use this brand) code peace for 15% off
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (coconut aminos for Whole30)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ small onion, grated
- 3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese (omit for Whole30)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Heat slow cooker on low setting. Add the sauce to the slow cooker and cover.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a large mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Form the mixture into 30 evenly sized meatballs (about 2 inches).
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs, in batches, until they are evenly browned all over. (Alternatively, you can add the uncooked meatballs directly to the sauce in the slow cooker.)
- Add the meatballs to the sauce in the slow cooker and let cook for 6 hours.
net carbs per serving: 3.1g
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Category: Beef Recipes
- Method: Slow Cooked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 5 meatballs
- Calories: 675
- Fat: 49.9g
- Carbohydrates: 3.6g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 47.4g
Keywords: keto meatballs, whole30 recipes, slow cooker meatballs, low carb slow cooker recipes, whole30 meatballs, ground beef recipes
Made these tonight!My husband and so really loved this recipe !
Thank you so much!
We rarely eat ground beef or pork. Can I use ground turkey instead?
Kyndra Holley says
I don't see why that wouldn't work. You may want to reduce the tomato paste and worcestershire sauce a bit through since ground turkey is quite a bit softer.