Easy gluten free meatballs

Easy gluten free meatballs

Meatballs are so versatile and so easy to make gluten free. This recipe is also egg free, which is handy if you’re allergic. Or if you’ve just run out of eggs! This recipe is an adaptation of one I saw on Taste.com for regular non-gf meatballs. The main difference is the ratio of breadcrumbs, I find most gluten-free breadcrumbs to be far more dry. Because of this you end up needing less breadcrumbs to achieve the same consistency.

Gluten free meatballs in every dish

The options really are endless for using gluten free or regular meatballs. Here’s a few ideas.

Meatball subs – just like that famous sandwich shop you can load up a baguette with cheese, meatballs and marinara sauce for a tasty lunchtime treat.

Spaghetti and meatballs – there’s a reason this dish is a classic. If you’re juggling multiple pans on the hob / stove then cooking the meatballs in the oven is the perfect way to make things a little easier.

Meatballs and mash – you could go for Swedish meatballs just like at IKEA. Pair your meatballs with creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. You can buy lingonberry jam at your local IKEA. You can also make it with fresh (or frozen) lingonberries. Just simmer a portion of berries in a small amount of water until they burst. No need to add sugar, the tangy taste is perfect with the meatballs.

Leftover meatballs – most recently my husband used leftover meatballs in a gingery noodle soup! I had already taken out some cooked chicken to defrost when I noticed the meatballs in the fridge. It actually worked really well.

Ingredients

There’s just a few ingredients to this gluten free meatballs recipe but it is important to use the right ingredients for the best results. See my notes below.

Mince meat

I’ve used beef for this recipe but you could easily substitute another mince meat or better yet, a combination. Pork and beef is a great flavour combo, and pork on it’s own will work well. Turkey and chicken can be used too but keep in mind both have lower fat percentages than beef or pork. More on this below.

Fat percentage. Mince meat has fat, that’s a fact. Store bought meatballs have even more fat. At my local supermarket I can get 450g of meatballs with a whopping 18% fat for just a dollar more I can buy 500g of mince meat at 10% fat.

Buying plain mince meat is healthier and more product for your buck!

I would recommend aiming for 10% fat if your budget allows, if it doesn’t that’s fine get the 17% fat mince meat. You’ll notice during the cooking process more fat will come out. 

I wouldn’t recommend 5% fat meat (such as lean beef, lean chicken or turkey) for this recipe as it could make it too dry and the meatballs too hard.  

Breadcrumbs

Gluten free breadcrumbs are readily available in most supermarkets. Store bought breadcrumbs are much more dry than what you could use at home, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of substituting.

For this recipe I used Lifestyle Bakery’s gluten free breadcrumbs. They’re available in IGA and Coles stores across Australia. Woolworths also makes a very similar breadcrumb product.

Cooking method

Ever since I first cooked meatballs in the oven I haven’t looked back. I started doing it while living in the UK. I can’t recall if the store-bought meatballs had instructions for oven cooking or I just did it on a whim.

The outcome was great, evenly cooked meatballs and no oily smell in the house from pan frying. It’s also a great way of freeing up space while you’re managing a boiling pasta and preparing a sauce. I have two cooking methods of the meatballs, oven cook and pan fry.

Oven cook

  • Place the meatballs on a baking tray, ensuring they are evenly spread out. Cook in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Once the time is up take the meatballs from the oven. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving. If you like, cut one meatball in half to double check it’s cooked all the way through.

Frying pan

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked inside. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.
Gluten free meatballs on a plate.
Oven cooking still gives browned crispy edges

Tips and storage

Sticky mix. If your meatball mix is too stick to work with try wetting your hands before shaping. This will help prevent the mix from sticking to your skin.

Storage. These gluten free meatballs will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for three to four days. Make sure you reheat them that they are piping hot.

These meatballs are also great for freezing! Create a double batch and freeze portions of cooked meatballs ready for a quick lunch or a fast weeknight dinner.

Serving size. This recipe can make as many or as few meatballs as you like, depending on the size. 500g of meat is typical of about four servings. This would make a serving size of four meatballs per person. 

Basic Gluten Free Meatballs

Meatballs are so versatile, dress them up or down with your favourite spices to jump to and from different cuisines. This recipe gives you the basic ratio of mince to dried breadcrumbs and the perfect cooking time for the oven.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Party Food
Cuisine Australian, Italian
Servings 15 meatballs

Equipment

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 Baking tray

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g mince beef / ground beef Ideally 10% fat, see notes
  • 50 g dry breadcrumbs See notes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs optional
  • Salt to season

Instructions
 

  • If using the oven cook method, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Put the bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the mixed herbs (if using). Stir it to distribute the herbs.
  • Add the mince meat to the breadcrumbs and begin to mix it. I find using my hand is the easiest and quickest method.
  • Work the mince for about three or four minutes. It might seem too dry at first but the breadcrumbs will soften and mix in to the meat.
  • Taking a small portion at a time, make the meatballs. I made 15 from this mix, so each meatball weighs approximately 35g (a bit over an ounce, 1.2oz).
  • You are now ready to cook. Choose either oven method or pan fry.

Oven cook

  • Place the meatballs on a baking tray, ensuring they are evenly spread out. Cook in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Once the time is up take the meatballs from the oven. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.
    If you like, cut one meatball in half to double check it's cooked all the way through.

Frying pan

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked inside. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

Notes

Fat percentage. Mince meat has fat, that’s a fact. Store bought meatballs have even more fat. At my local supermarket I can get 450g of meatballs with a whopping 18% fat for just a dollar more I can buy 500g of mince meat at 10% fat. Buying plain mince meat is healthier and more product for your buck!
I would recommend aiming for 10% fat if your budget allows, if it doesn’t that’s fine get the 17% fat mince meat. You’ll notice during the cooking process more fat will come out. 
I wouldn’t recommend 5% fat meat for this recipe as it could make it too dry and the meatballs too hard. 
Gluten free breadcrumbs are readily available in most supermarkets. Store bought breadcrumbs are much more dry than what you could make at home, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of substituting. If using ‘fresh’ breadcrumbs, start with 30g and go from there.
Sticky mix. If your meatball mix is too stick to work with try wetting your hands before shaping. This will help prevent the mix from sticking to your skin. 
Serving size. This recipe can make as many or as few meatballs as you like, depending on the size. 500g of meat is typical of about four servings. This would make a serving size of four meatballs per person. 
Keyword meatballs

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