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How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

How to Make Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

Last Updated on 20th July 2023 by

If you look up most meatball recipes, they will tell you to include breadcrumbs in your recipe. Did you know that you can make meatballs that are completely breadcrumb free and that taste delicious?

If you want to know how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs, then keep on reading. I will show you my method for making meatballs without the use of any breadcrumbs.

Why would you want to leave out breadcrumbs though? There are a few possibilities. You might not have any breadcrumbs on hand and may just want to do without them.

Why go to the grocery for one item when you can make the food another way using a different recipe and making use of what you have on hand? So, it could just be a matter of convenience.

Then, another reason why you might want to know how to make homemade meatballs without breadcrumbs is because you have a gluten allergy, or you are making them for someone who has a gluten allergy, like a family member or a friend. You can do that and leave the gluten out entirely, making a bread-free meatball.

How to Make Easy Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

Yes, we are going to start with an easy recipe that I think just about anyone should be able to handle. There are some meatball recipes that are very intimidating, and we want to steer clear of those for right now. Let’s start with something easy enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to make it.

Meatball recipes use breadcrumbs as a binder, in other words, that is what holds the meatball together and keeps it from falling into bits like ground beef. Without the breadcrumbs, you will need some sort of binder to keep the meatballs holding together as balls. That is where eggs come in. They make an excellent binder and a great substitute for breadcrumbs. Other binders work fine too, like cheese.

Breadcrumbs are also used as a way to give your meatballs more bulk, making more food without having as much meat, essentially making your food go further. If you replace them with a different ingredients, then you can still stretch your food and your budget. 

Meatballs in the oven usually take 40 mins plus at 400F.  Be sure to read our guide to cooking meatballs in the oven here.

If you are not concerned about saving money and just want to take the breadcrumbs out, then you can end up with meatier meatballs that are more flavourful because they have no bread in them. I will show you my method for breadcrumb-less meatballs that uses the oven for cooking. 

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How to make meatballs without breadcrumbs in the oven?


  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • ¼ tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of garlic power
  • ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of onion powder

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp of soy


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet.
  • Mix together all of your ingredients by hand in a large bowl.
  • Roll the mixture into meatballs. You should be able to make about 20 from this batch of ingredients.
  • Place your meatballs onto the baking sheet and give them enough space so that they do not touch each other.
  • Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes.

To make the sauce:

  • Use a saucepan and mix together all of the sauce ingredients.
  • Heat your sauce on medium heat for about five minutes. If the sauce comes out too thick, you can add a little water to thin it out.
  • Then, toss your cooked meatballs into the sauce and serve right away.

As you can see, no eggs were needed for this recipe. The meatballs stay together quite well, but you can add eggs to the recipe if you like to make it hold together even better. This method for how to make meatballs without eggs and breadcrumbs is quite simple.

\Once you put the meatballs in the oven, you don’t have to worry about them. You don’t need to watch them closely or turn them over partway through. There is little chance that they will burn or not cook evenly.

Now you know how to make meatballs without breadcrumbs or eggs. If you want a completely gluten free dish, though, you will need to replace the soy sauce in the meatball sauce recipe for a gluten free alternative. That is fairly easy to find in most groceries in the gluten free section.

How to Make Turkey Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

You can use exactly the same recipe to make turkey meatballs rather than beef ones. Just replace the ground beef with ground turkey and you can follow the recipe precisely. You get the same results, and you will use the same cooking time. These meatballs will taste a bit different and will likely be leaner and a bit healthier.

This method for how to make meatballs for spaghetti without breadcrumbs works for any kind of ground turkey or any kind of ground beef. Whether you have lean beef or some other type of ground beef, you can use the same recipe and get delicious meatballs each time.

Tips for Making Meatballs without Breadcrumbs

If you find that the meatballs are falling apart a little bit, either while you make them or as you eat them, just add an egg or two to the mixture. You don’t have to change anything else about them. That will definitely be necessary if you are making vegetarian meatballs.

The meatless imitation meat is going to be more crumbly than regular beef or turkey. It really benefits from a binder to hold it all together, and eggs are an excellent binder for this recipe.

What do you do if your meatballs turn out too dry and tough? You can add a bit of water to them by sprinkling water over them and then warm then in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The water will help to steam them and rehydrate them. Alternatively, soak a couple of paper towels with water and cover the meatballs. Warm them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make them soft and moist again.


Why might I want to make meatballs without breadcrumbs?

There could be several reasons for wanting to make meatballs without breadcrumbs. You might have dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Alternatively, you may be following a low-carb or keto diet where you aim to minimize intake of grains and processed foods. Or maybe you simply ran out of breadcrumbs and need an alternative.

What can I use as a substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs?

There are plenty of substitutes for breadcrumbs in meatballs. Some options include oats, crushed crackers, ground nuts, or grated vegetables like zucchini or carrots. If you’re looking for a grain-free or low-carb option, you could use almond flour or ground flaxseed. You could also simply increase the amount of meat and egg to help bind the meatballs together.

Will the texture and taste of meatballs change if I don’t use breadcrumbs?

Yes, the texture and taste of meatballs can change slightly depending on what you use as a substitute for breadcrumbs. For instance, using a vegetable may make the meatballs a bit moister, while using a nut-based substitute can add a unique flavor. However, these changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing and can add a fun twist to your recipe!

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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