These gluten-free meatballs are a great weeknight dinner or make-ahead meal. Try these with pasta, marinara sauce, or on gluten-free meatball sandwiches. These gluten-free meatballs are also dairy-free with an egg-free option.
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Meatballs are some of the best comfort food. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you may be looking for a tried and true recipe that suits your dietary needs and also tastes delicious. This recipe is for you!
Meatballs aren’t something I used to make much of before I became a mom. When I used to make pasta, I’d use ground beef and mix it in with pasta sauce and all that dinner.
After becoming a mom, I soon realized that sometimes even if a meal has all the same ingredients, presentation can matter more than what you’re actually eating itself. For instance, eating pasta with sauce and ground beef is essentially the same ingredients as pasta with sauce and meatballs.
But in the eyes of a kid, one is far more fun than the other. And one is about 10 times more likely to get a “yay!” after telling them what’s on the menu for dinner that night than the other.
In my years as a mom, I’ve come to love meatballs. Yes, they’re slightly more work and a little more time to prepare, but they’re worth it, because I know my son will always get excited to eat dinner, and because I know he actually WILL eat dinner when they’re served.
In our house, everything that’s homemade is made to be gluten, dairy, and egg-free. So even though it suits my dietary needs, it also has to taste good for the other members of my family.
Before I get to sharing the recipe, I want to share a little bit about how I’ve made these seemingly gluten, dairy, and egg-filled meatballs into a recipe that perfectly suits my diet (and hopefully yours) and still gets rave reviews from my husband and son who can still eat those foods.
Are meatballs gluten-free?
Meatballs are generally made with bread crumbs made from bread using wheat flour. Usually meatballs from the grocery store or homemade meatballs aren’t gluten-free, unless specifically made to be that way.
Are meatballs dairy-free?
Most meatballs are made using cheese, so I’ve made a recipe that omits the cheese but is still loaded with tons of flavor that you won’t even miss it.
Are meatballs egg-free?
Many meatballs use an egg as a binding ingredient, so the meatballs don’t fall apart. I’ve tested my meatball recipe time and time again, and have never had an issue with crumbly meatballs before. While the egg might be useful as a binder in most recipes, I haven’t found it to be 100% necessary. You can omit the egg if you wish or you can do what I do and use a flax egg to be the binding ingredient.
How to make meatballs gluten free
In order to make meatballs gluten-free, you’ll want to swap out the bread crumbs that are made using wheat flour for gluten-free bread crumbs. You can also use gluten-free oats or crackers in place of breadcrumbs.
Read on: Gluten-free Breadcrumbs recipe
How to make gluten-free meatballs dairy-free
Many traditional meatball recipes contain cheese, but it’s easy to make meatballs dairy-free by simply omitting the cheese from the recipe. You can add herbs and seasonings to the meatballs to give it more flavor, but the cheese is completely optional in my opinion.
If you can’t live without a cheesy flavor in your meatballs, you might consider adding some nutritional yeast to the recipe.
How to make gluten-free meatballs egg-free
To make your gluten-free meatballs egg-free, you can simply omit the egg from a recipe or swap it out for a flax egg.
To make a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp ground flax seeds plus 3 tablespoons of warm water. You can let that set on the counter for about 5 minutes and it will start to create a gel consistency that is a great egg replacer.
Baked gluten-free meatballs
One of the best parts of these gluten-free meatballs is that they’re very hands off. You can bake them in the oven while you’re preparing the rest of your meal, and the cleanup is very minimal.
I have made this recipe both on a baking sheet and in a muffin tin to keep the meatballs separate from one another on the pan, and they both work great.
How to make gluten-free meatballs
This recipe couldn’t be more simple! Let’s go through the step-by-step process of making these gluten-free meatballs.
Prepare the oven and baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by pouring one tablespoon olive oil on the sheet and spreading around with your hands to coat the pan with your hands.
Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, gluten-free rolled oats or gluten-free bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, one egg or flax egg (see note above on how to make that), salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated.
Roll out the meatballs.
Start with the beef mixture in a big mound in your bowl. Using your hands, score the beef into quarters. You can divide the quarters into their own smaller mounds and repeat with scoring into a second set of quarters, leaving you with 16 meatballs.
The idea here is to have roughly evenly sized meatballs, so you can do this however you want. If you want 16 meatballs, score into quarters twice. If you want more, score into quarters once, then divide each quarter in half, and aim to get three meatballs from each section.
Roll the mixture into 16 to 24 meatballs, depending on how big you like them, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Coat the meatballs in olive oil.
Pour one tablespoon of olive oil on your hands, and working one at a time, roll each of the meatballs between your hands to coat them in the oil. Place them back on the baking sheet, evenly spaced on the sheet.
Bake the meatballs.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, so they don’t stick to the baking sheet and so they cook all the way through.
Serve and enjoy.
Remove the meatballs from the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving. Then serve them with gluten-free pasta, pasta sauce, dairy-free pesto, dairy-free alfredo sauce, or in a gluten-free meatball sandwich.
How to serve these gluten-free meatballs
You can enjoy these gluten-free meatballs in a number of different ways. In my house, we like to have them with pasta and marinara sauce. We also enjoy them with just a little bit of pasta sauce to dip them in as the main dish and a side of veggies.
There are plenty of ways you can serve and enjoy them, so try one of these:
- With gluten-free spaghetti or other pasta
- On gluten-free meatball sandwiches or subs (use Schar bread)
- With marinara sauce, dairy-free pesto, or dairy-free alfredo sauce
- Make these meatballs into a mini version for a gluten and dairy-free lunch idea
Make ahead gluten-free meatballs
If you like to get ahead and meal prep with make-ahead meals, this gluten-free meatball recipe is perfect for you.
You can simply prepare and bake these meatballs as outlined in the recipe, then allow to cool completely. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer them to the baking sheet. Freeze for at least 3 hours, then you can transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze for a quick and easy dinner whenever you need it.
To reheat, microwave a few meatballs on high for about 90 seconds. Or place them in a skillet on your stovetop with some marinara sauce and bring up to a simmer to cook through before serving.
- 1 lb ground beef
- ⅔ cup gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats or gluten-free bread crumbs
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 egg or 1 flax egg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a baking sheet by pouring 1 tbsp olive oil on the sheet and spreading around with your hands to coat the pan with your hands.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for meatballs, except the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Roll the mixture into 16 to 24 meatballs, depending on how big you like them, then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Pour remaining 1 tbsp olive oil on your hands and roll all the meatballs, one at a time, between your hands to coat them. Place them back on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
If you’ve been looking for a delicious and simple gluten-free meatball recipe that’s also dairy-free, egg-free, can be made ahead, and freezer-friendly, I hope you’ve found your solution! These meatballs are perfect for kids and adults too. Enjoy them for dinner this week!