What’s Inside: These Paleo meatballs are egg-free, gluten-free, Whole30-approved, and AIP-friendly! Just form the balls, bake them in the oven with your favorite sauce, and serve. This is the perfect appetizer on its own or busy weeknight meal when paired with sides like ghee-roasted Brussels sprouts or spaghetti squash.
Can You Really Make Paleo Meatballs Without Eggs or Breadcrumbs?
Missing Grandma’s moist on the inside, crispy on the outsidemeatballs? You CAN easily make them Paleo, AIP-friendly, and gluten-free, which means omitting eggs and breadcrumbs.
And for good reason! These two ingredients serve as the binding agents in these meat-centric meals, and without them (or a fit substitute), the result can be a lifeless, dry ball of meat. No thanks!
But what if I told you I knew the way to achieve a tender, firm, delectable, AIP-friendly, Paleo, Whole30-approved, gluten-free meatball that will please everyone?
The trick to making these fork-tender, gluten-free, egg-free meatballs is my secret weapon — arrowroot starch.
What Exactly Is Arrowroot Starch?
If you’ve been on the Paleo diet or AIP diet for a while, you’re likely familiar with this staple ingredient. (It’s a consistent find in my pantry.) But if this is a new food for you, fear not.
Arrowroot starch — also called arrowroot flour or arrowroot powder is made from, you guessed it arrowroot. But what exactly is arrowroot?
Arrowroot is a white, flavorless powder used to thicken sauces, soups, gravies, and even fruit pie fillings that’s comprised of starches extracted from various tropical tubers, including the arrowroot plant.
Arrowroot is easily digestible.
Arrowroot starch is similar in use to cornstarch in function and purpose, and has twice the thickening power of traditional wheat flour.
Arrowroot is neutral in flavor and adds a glossy finish to the foods and dishes it’s cooked with or in.
Arrowroot starch is naturally gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, AIP-friendly, and Whole30-compliant.
Lastly, arrowroot has an extraordinarily long shelf life — up to three to four years!
Arrowroot powder is sold at most grocery stores, and you can also order it online here or here (my personal fave to save some $$).
Ground Meat: This recipe calls for 1 lb. ground beef, but you could easily substitute that for any ground meat of choice, like turkey, chicken, pork, or a combination. The fattier the meat (like beef or pork) will be a bit moister and it’s traditional to use those two or mixing them together for that reason. It also makes for a softer meatball, but thanks to how we’re cooking them by searing and baking with a cooking liquid– even using ground poultry will give you a moist center.
Sea Salt and Black Pepper: To taste, plus more for garnishing, if desired (omit pepper for AIP).
Garlic Powder: To taste (You could start with 1 teaspoon)
Arrowroot Starch: Just 2 tablespoons of this tasteless binding agent will do the trick for a slightly crisp exterior and well-formed ball.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For browning your meatballs to achieve a nice crust before baking in the oven.
Chopped Basil and/or Parsley: To garnish before serving.
How To Make Meatballs Without Eggs
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Season your ground meat with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Then, portion it out to create 6-8 evenly sized meatballs.
Sprinkle the arrowroot flour on a clean surface, and lightly roll each meatball into it. (Don’t mix into the meat with the spices.)
Set prepped meatballs aside on a plate.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil to completely cover the surface area of the pan and prevent meatballs from sticking.
Add prepared meatballs to the skillet and brown on one side. After 3-4 minutes, roll them over once to brown on the next side for 2 more minutes.
Pour in your sauce or broth, being careful not to cover your meatballs and instead surround them.
Place your skillet in the oven to finish via baking for 8-10 minutes.
Check the internal temperature of the meatballs using a meat thermometer to confirm doneness, and serve when ready. Enjoy!
How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Egg-Free Meatballs
To Store: Place cooked meatballs in an airtight container or Ziplock bag and store in your refrigerator for up to three days. Store sauce and sides separately and assemble when ready to eat.
To Freeze: Store cooked meatballs in a freezer-safe airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to three months in the freezer.
To Reheat: Allow frozen meatballs to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat by zapping in the microwave at 30-second intervals until warmed through, warm in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until warmed through (flipping occasionally), or warm in the oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or so (until — you guessed it — warmed through). Serve with desired sauce, broth, and/or sides.
More Recipes To Try
If you enjoyed these Egg-Free Meatballs, then you’ll love these Paleo recipes:
join the conversation
Enjoyed these alongside some spaghetti and it was a hit all around the table! So hearty and robust; easily, a new family favorite dish!
I assembled these egg-free meatballs and they were amazing! So delicious. This recipe’s a keeper.
My kids absolutely love these! Thanks.
Ran out of eggs and was so happy to find this recipe! Came out perfect and delicious 🙂
Ah perfect timing, then!
This is seriously amazing!! I love how tasty and delicious this is!!
I’ve never tried arrowroot as a binder, but I can’t wait to source some and give this recipe a try!
Tried these meatballs and they’re amazing. Can’t even tell that it’s missing eggs and breadcrumbs. Thanks for sharing.
awesome, so glad to hear it!
Thank you so much for sharing this. Great tips for someone who is new to cooking
I was so intimidated to make meatballs (squeamish former-vegetarian here!) but I put some gloves on and made these and wow, they’re so simple and delicious! Dredging them in arrowroot flour is GENIUS. I can’t wait to make these again and play around with different flavors. Thanks for the great recipe Alison!
Ahh, thank you so much for trying and sharing, Alanna! I’m so stoked you enjoyed them and that they were worth the effort. Arrowroot is so clutch, adds a little crisp to the edges as well. xo
It turned out so good!! It’s great that it comes ready to eat in just about 15 minutes!
Love that these tasty meatballs are egg AND gluten-free. Perfect for my niece when she comes to stay!
Right?! simple is better anyway… 🙂
These meatballs are every bit as delicious as you said they’d be! Going to be a new favorite in my house.
YAY-I’m so glad to hear it!
Arrowroot is new to me, but it sounds like an ingredient that is handy to have in the kitchen. Thanks for the great information.
I’ve never liked putting egg in my meatballs but wasn’t sure if it would work without it. You have shown me the ways! Thank you!