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overhead view of low carb meatball casserole in glass baking dish.

Keto Meatball Casserole

Our KETO MEATBALL CASSEROLE, made with homemade meatballs or storebought frozen meatballs, is the ultimate comfort food dinner! Saucy, cheesy, and easy to throw together. This is one of those family favorite dinners we make again and again.

overhead view of low carb meatball casserole in glass baking dish.

I love a good meatball, whether we’re serving them up as the main dish, a snack, or an appetizer! We make them often and I’ll never get tired of all the variations.

Have you tried out buffalo chicken meatballs or jalapeno popper meatballs? The ultimate dinner or snack!

And meatballs aren’t hard to make, which is another bonus.

But you know what? For me, the HARDEST thing about keto and low carb is all of the prep work and meal planning. I need some simple recipes that I can just pull of thin air on busy nights or days when I just don’t want to think about it all, you know?

This meatball casserole is one of those meals – I actually start with frozen meatballs most of the time (huge time saver though not 100% clean keto, if you place a focus on ingredients) and then just toss them with sauce, layer on the cheese, and bake until hot and bubbly.

You ready to dig in to this one yet?

Frozen Meatballs Vs. Homemade:

I know, without a doubt, that I’m going to get some pushback on calling this recipe keto, because of the use of frozen meatballs, but hear me out…keto is a metabolic state. Eating less than 20 net carbs a day will put you in ketosis and that’s MY version of keto, even though about 99.9% of the recipes on this blog are ‘clean’ keto. I don’t eliminate all wheat, sugar, soy, etc. and many others don’t either.

If you DO eliminate those things, that’s totally cool! You’ll just want to use my recipe for mozzarella stuffed meatballs (totally clean ingredients!) and make them from scratch. That’s totally fine and I do that sometimes too! I love that we have options here, so do what works best for you and your family!

Ingredients:

Meatballs – As I said, you can use the frozen variety or homemade. We like Rosina brand frozen meatballs with 4 net carbs per 6 meatballs. Walmart brand meatballs are 2 net carbs for 6, but we like the flavor and texture of Rosina brand better.

Marinara Sauce – We use and love Rao’s sauce for just about everything. Not only is it sugar free, it also has the best flavor of any jarred sauce that we’ve tried.

Cheese – We’re using a mixture of ricotta, cream cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Garlic – Every Italian inspired recipe must have garlic!

Parsley – We prefer freshly minced parsley to add some fresh flavor to this dish, but you could add in dried if that’s what you have on hand.

How to:

Prep the Meatballs – If you’re starting with frozen meatballs, there’s really no prep needed. Just toss the meatballs in a 9×13 baking dish and pour marinara over the sauce. Stir them up so the meatballs are coated in sauce.

If you’re making the homemade meatballs, you’ll want to mix and shape the meatballs and then bake them off, drain any grease, and then pour the marinara over the top.

You’ll spend more time making the meatballs from scratch, but the bonus is that the casserole will bake much quicker since the meatballs will be hot instead of frozen.

meatballs in marinara sauce in glass dish.

Combine the Cheese – Stir together the ricotta, cream cheese, and Parmesan with the parsley and garlic until it’s smooth and creamy. Taste the mixture and add a bit of salt if you think it needs it.

Dollop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture of the meatballs and then sprinkle more mozzarella over the top. This is a cheesy, decadent meatball casserole and I am here for it!

meatballs in baking dish topped with ricotta cheese mixture.

Bake – Cover the dish tightly with foil and pop it in the oven.

If you’re starting with frozen meatballs, you’ll want to bake this for one hour. Those meatballs need time to thoroughly heat up.

If you’re starting with homemade meatballs, you’ll want to cover and bake for 20-30 minutes.

We like to take the foil off during the last 10 minutes of baking to let the cheese on top get a little browned, but you do you.

spoon full of cheesy meatballs in glass baking dish.

Serving Ideas:

This meatball casserole is absolutely perfect served with a side salad topped with our homemade Italian dressing and some steamed veggies.

Of course, we’ve been known to pile it over some of our Instant Pot spaghetti squash. On busy nights, we use the frozen bags of steamable spaghetti squash – zero prep work, just microwave! Sometimes my kids will even boil a pot of spaghetti noodles for their portion.

You’ll obviously want to serve with our garlic bread chaffle.

More Italian inspired recipes:

low carb meatball casserole on white plate with text for Pinterest.

Follow me on social for more recipe ideas & inspiration!

overhead view of low carb meatball casserole in glass baking dish.

Keto Meatball Casserole

This cheesy meatball casserole can be made with frozen meatballs or with our homemade meatballs. If you're avoiding ingredients like wheat and soy, you'll likely want to use homemade meatballs to keep this one clean keto.

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 26 ounces frozen meatballs, see notes
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the meatballs to the baking dish and top with the marinara. Use a spoon to stir the meatballs to coat in the sauce.
  3. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, and parsley to a small mixing  bowl and stir until smooth and creamy.
  4. Dollop spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture over the meatballs.
  5. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil during the last 10 minutes to brown the top, if desired.
  7. Sprinkle with additional parsley before serving.

Notes

Nutrition information is based on using frozen meatballs with 4 net (5 total) carbs per 6 meatballs.

Frozen meatballs will likely contain wheat and/or soy. If you avoid those ingredients you may use our homemade meatballs.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 456Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 948mgCarbohydrates: 11gNet Carbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 25g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information is accurate.

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14 thoughts on “Keto Meatball Casserole”

  1. I combined this with a braised green beans Turkish style recipe, except instead of green beans I used yellow wax beans, made it feel like I had pasta with it! So delicious. Has anyone tried freezing it, not sure it would do well with the cream cheese and ricotta cheeses. But would be so nice to have this to pop in the oven after a long day at work.

    1. Karly Campbell

      Hi Debra! I’m not sure how well the cheeses would hold up or how great the meatballs would be after being cooked, frozen, cooked again, and frozen again. I’d probably do homemade meatballs if I were going to freeze it, but again – the cheese may get a bit funky. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The beans sound like a delicious option to serve with this!

  2. Yummy these are super delicious. Will print and put on my list of meals. I have used frozen meatballs plus my own for less carbs, but both are very good

  3. Janet Huffstetler

    I keep a bag of the frozen meatballs for my quick “go to” dinners, too. I have also gone with salsa, Mexican Queso Cheese, either ‘Pepper Jack or Cheddar, topped with sour cream and avocado! Great meal, too. Tried a Teriyaki, but not as successful!

    1. Karly Campbell

      Sounds delicious! We have a Mexican version on the site, but with homemade meatballs. I’ll have to try with the frozen ones to keep life even easier. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Barbara Napier

    Oh my goodness, I am totally doing this and two thoughts went through my mind… 1) you can totally do this in the crockpot for an even easier weeknite dinner and 2) putting the meatballs ON the garlic bread chaffle for a meatball ‘sub’. YES PLEASE!
    And totally agree with you on Rosina’s AND Rao’s.

    1. Karly Campbell

      Okay, you’re a genius!! Trying this in the crockpot ASAP! And that meatball sub…

    1. Karly Campbell

      You could leave it out, but it won’t be as cheesy. Alternatively, you could use a low carb cottage cheese.

        1. Karly Campbell

          Sure! It might be a bit more watery as the zucchini releases liquid, but I’m sure it will taste great.

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