easy baked low sodium meatballs recipe

Easy Low Sodium Meatballs Recipe (Baked, No Salt Added)

These Easy Baked Low Sodium Meatballs are the perfect appetizer or main course for those following a low sodium diet, or even for those that prefer low sodium recipes.

easy baked low sodium meatballs recipe
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This low sodium meatball recipe is an easy and delicious way to enjoy the classic meatball recipe without all the added salt- making it the best recipe for those living a low sodium lifestyle!

These all beef low sodium meatballs are made with lean ground beef, fresh onion and garlic, baked in the oven until tender and served with a homemade low sodium spaghetti sauce recipe. They’re really easy to make and perfect as a busy weeknight dinner when you are short on time!

Why You’ll Love this Low Sodium Meatballs Recipe

Low Sodium Meatballs Recipe: These meatballs are made with a focus on not having any salt added, making them a great choice for those following a low salt diet and want low sodium recipes. Each serving has less than 100 milligrams sodium per serving.

Flavor packed: Despite being low in sodium, these meatballs are anything but bland. Packed with fresh garlic, aromatic herbs, and flavorful spices, each bite is full of flavor that will satisfy your cravings without the excess salt.

Versatile and customizable: This recipe is incredibly versatile, allowing you to adjust the seasonings and spices according to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a bold and spicy flavor profile or a more subtle herb-infused taste, you can tailor these meatballs to suit your liking.

Easy to make: With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, these low sodium meatballs are easy to whip up anytime you’re craving a hearty and satisfying meal. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends when you want something delicious within minutes without the fuss.

Family-friendly: Loved by kids and adults, these meatballs are a crowd-pleaser that will have everyone coming back for seconds. Whether served as a main course with pasta and marinara sauce or as a party appetizer with toothpicks, they’re sure to be a hit at any gathering.

Ingredients to Make Low Sodium meatballs 

All you need is a few staple ingredients to make these low sodium meatballs:

Lean ground beef: All you need is 1-2 pounds lean ground beef to keep these meatballs heart-healthy. Look for a lean-to-fat ratio of around 90/10 to minimize fat content while still ensuring juicy, flavorful meatballs.

Low-sodium breadcrumbs: Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, use low-sodium breadcrumbs or make your own by processing low-sodium bread slices until finely crumbled. This adds texture and helps bind the meatballs together.

Egg & Milk: Helps bind everything together.

Finely chopped onion: Adding depth of flavor, finely chopped onion lends a subtle sweetness to the meatballs without relying on salt. Reducing the size of the onion pieces ensures they blend seamlessly into the meatball mixture.

Minced garlic: Fresh minced garlic is a must for infusing the meatballs with aromatic flavor. If you’re short on fresh garlic, you can substitute with a small amount of powdered garlic for convenience.

Spices: Fragrant spices like oregano and basil bring the traditional Italian flavor to the meatballs without relying on salt. They add warmth and complexity to the flavor profile, enhancing the overall taste experience.

How to Make Low Sodium Italian-Style Meatballs

Alright, let’s dive into the fun part which includes making meatballs right in your own kitchen!

Prepare the Meatball Mixture:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and add the finely chopped onion, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, grated Parmesan cheese (optional), and black pepper to the breadcrumb mixture.
  2. Now, add a portion of the lean ground beef to the bowl. Using your hands or a spatula, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together until they’re evenly combined.
  3. Finally, add the remaining ground beef to the mixture. Gently fold and mix until everything is well blended. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in tough meatballs.

Bake the Meatballs to Perfection:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Divide the meatball mixture into equal portions, shaping each portion into a round ball. Aim for about 12 meatballs, but adjust the size according to your preference.
  3. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each one to ensure even cooking.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown on the outside.
  5. Once cooked, remove the meatballs from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your flavorful and tender low sodium Italian-style meatballs as desired, whether with marinara sauce, over pasta, or as an appetizer.

Tips for making baked low sodium Italian-style meatballs:

Finely chop onions and garlic: For a better overall texture and presentation, finely chop your onions and garlic. This ensures they blend seamlessly into the meat mixture and helps the meatballs hold together more effectively. Consider using a grater or a sharp knife for finely chopping.

Mix gently: To avoid tough and dense meatballs, mix the ingredients gently. Start by adding a portion of the ground meat to the other ingredients and thoroughly mix. Then, add the remaining ground meat and mix just until combined. Overmixing can result in tough meatballs, so handle the mixture with care, mixing only until everything is evenly distributed.

Consider pan frying: While baking is a healthier option, you can also pan fry the meatballs for a delicious crispy exterior. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until browned on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip them over and continue cooking until browned on the other side and cooked through.

Use tongs for flipping: When cooking the meatballs on the stove, opt for tongs for flipping. Tongs provide better control and allow you to flip each meatball individually without disturbing the others in the pan. This helps ensure even browning and minimizes the risk of grease splatters.

Popular Substitutions & Additions:

  • Ground turkey or chicken: For a leaner option, substitute lean ground turkey or chicken for the beef. This variation offers a lighter alternative while still delivering delicious flavor.
  • Whole wheat breadcrumbs: Swap traditional breadcrumbs for whole wheat breadcrumbs to boost the fiber content and add a nutty flavor. This substitution enhances the nutritional profile of the meatballs without compromising on taste.
  • Fresh herbs: Experiment with different fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, or rosemary to add a burst of fresh flavor to the meatballs. Chop them finely and mix them into the meat mixture for an aromatic twist.
  • Vegetable additions: Incorporate finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini into the meatball mixture for added nutrients and flavor. These veggies not only enhance the texture but also adds fiber and antioxidants.
  • Gluten free breadcrumbs: If you follow a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers as a substitute for traditional breadcrumbs. This allows you to enjoy the meatballs without worrying about gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
  • Spicy seasoning: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the meatball mixture. This adds a spicy kick that elevates the flavor profile and adds excitement to every bite.

What to serve with your low sodium meatballs

  • Low Sodium Spaghetti Sauce Recipe: Pair the meatballs with a homemade low sodium spaghetti sauce for a flavorful and healthy option. Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and herbs such as basil and oregano for a delicious sauce that complements the meatballs perfectly.
  • Whole wheat pasta: Serve the meatballs over whole wheat spaghetti, penne, or linguine for a classic and satisfying meal. Top with marinara sauce or a light tomato sauce for added flavor.
  • Zucchini noodles: For a lighter alternative to pasta, try serving the meatballs with zucchini noodles (zoodles). Spiralize fresh zucchini and sauté lightly in olive oil until tender. Top with the meatballs and your favorite sauce.
  • Quinoa or brown rice: Pair the meatballs with cooked quinoa or brown rice for a nutritious and filling meal. Season the grains with herbs and spices for extra flavor.
  • Mixed greens salad: Serve the meatballs alongside a crisp mixed greens salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. Add fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers for added freshness and color.
  • Roasted vegetables: Accompany the meatballs with a variety of roasted vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Season the vegetables with herbs and olive oil before roasting for added flavor.

How to Store & Reheat Low Sodium Meatballs:

Once cooked, these low sodium meatballs can be easily stored for later enjoyment.

Storage: Place the meatballs in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Reheating Options

Here are a few different ways you can reheat leftover meatballs:

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake until heated through, typically about 10-15 minutes.
  • Stovetop: Alternatively, reheat the meatballs in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Flip them occasionally to ensure even heating until they’re warmed through.
  • Microwave: While convenient, using the microwave may risk drying out the meatballs. If using this method, cover the meatballs with a damp paper towel and heat them in short intervals until warmed to your liking.

How Long Will Cooked Meatballs Last in the Fridge?

Cooked low sodium meatballs will maintain their quality in the refrigerator for up to five days. Ensure they’re stored in an airtight container to preserve freshness.

Can I Freeze These Low Sodium Meatballs?

Absolutely! You can either freeze the meatballs before or after cooking them.

To Freeze Before Cooking:

  1. Prepare the meatballs through step three of the recipe.
  2. Arrange the shaped meatballs on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, ensuring they’re not touching.
  3. Flash freeze the meatballs for about an hour until they’re firm.
  4. Transfer the partially frozen meatballs to a freezer bag or container, removing as much air as possible.
  5. Label the container with the date and store it in the freezer for up to three months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are meatballs high in sodium? 

Meatballs can be high in sodium, depending on the recipe and ingredients used. Traditional meatball recipes often include ingredients like salt, processed breadcrumbs, and high-sodium condiments, which can contribute to elevated sodium levels. However, by making some simple swaps and adjustments, you can create delicious low sodium meatballs without sacrificing flavor.

How do you reduce salt in meatballs?

Choose low sodium ingredients: Opt for low sodium breadcrumbs, sauces, and seasonings to reduce the overall sodium content of your meatballs. Use fresh herbs and spices and skip the salt. Instead of adding salt directly to the meatball mixture, rely on flavorful ingredients like Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar to add complexity to the dish.

What do you put in meatballs so they don’t fall apart? 

Use a binder: Incorporate ingredients like breadcrumbs, eggs, or cooked grains (such as rice or quinoa) into the meatball mixture to help bind everything together. Don’t overmix: Mix the ingredients gently and just until combined. Overmixing can lead to tough meatballs that are more likely to fall apart. Chill the mixture: After shaping the meatballs, refrigerate them for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking. Chilling helps the meatballs hold their shape during cooking.

What can you use instead of breadcrumbs in meatballs?

Rolled oats, crushed crackers, cooked rice or quinoa, ground nuts or seeds, or grated cheese. These options help provide flavor and act as a binder.

These low sodium meatballs are a delicious, easy-to-make dish that will be a hit with your family and friends. The recipe is very similar to Italian meatballs without all the added sodium making them perfect for a low sodium diet. This recipe can also be easily adapted to create your own unique version of the dish. Be sure to try serving them with my delicious low sodium spaghetti sauce recipe!

low sodium ground beef in baking pan

More Low Sodium Recipes to Try:

If you try this easy baked low sodium meatballs recipe or any other recipe on The MomNutritionist, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! And if you took some pictures, share it on Instagram so I can repost on Stories!

low sodium italian meatball recipe

Low Sodium Meatballs

This low sodium meatballs recipe is a delicious and heart-healthy twist on classic meatballs. Made with lean ground beef, flavorful herbs, and low-sodium breadcrumbs, these meatballs are both nutritious and satisfying.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 181 kcal


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with olive oil cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the lean ground beef, low-sodium breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, chopped fresh parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, and black pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Take small portions of the meat mixture and roll them into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one.
  • Once all the meatballs are formed and arranged on the baking sheet, lightly spray them with olive oil cooking spray. This will help them brown nicely in the oven.
  • Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown on the outside. You can check for doneness by cutting one meatball in half to ensure there is no pink in the center.
  • Once cooked, remove the meatballs from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your low sodium Italian-style meatballs with your favorite marinara sauce, over pasta, or as a tasty appetizer.


Tip: Make a double batch of these low sodium meatballs to take to work or pack in school lunches!


Serving: 4servingsCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 26gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 94mgPotassium: 446mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 238IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 3mg
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