50% off Strength programs

Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Emergency Meatballs

Emergency Meatballs are always stashed away in our freezer, and they’ve saved meal time more than once!

Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Watch the cooking show episode for my Emergency Meatballs recipe:

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for fresh new cooking videos.

Why Are These Called Emergency Meatballs?

I’m a firm believer in having emergency protein, soups, or stews on hand in the deep freeze, waiting for those times when life happens and the only viable alternative is calling for pizza. In those moments, being prepared with a batch or two of Emergency Meatballs is priceless.

What makes these Emergency Meatballs special? Well, it’s sort of that they’re not special. Two pounds of meat means you’ll have leftovers, and the spices / flavor profile is neutral enough that these pair well with just about anything.

Here’s what you can do with them once you thaw them gently in some simmering bone broth:

  • Chop up and toss into an egg and veggie scramble.
  • Add to a frittata.
  • Dice and serve over a salad with some Paleo Ranch Dressing.
  • Use as the protein in your favorite soup.
  • Pair with tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti squash.
  • Take on the go for portable pre- or post-workout protein.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

Why Freezing Meatballs Ahead of Time Helped Us

Emergency Meatballs have helped us with a unique challenge: My husband has histamine intolerance, one of the implications being he can’t eat leftover cooked meat that’s left in the refrigerator. Ever.

Meat that’s cooked and frozen right away is fine. For someone who is used to batch prepping meat for a few days ahead, this turned my meal prep upside-upsidedown.

We’ve known about his intolerance for about a year, and balancing how to cook enough meat that doesn’t need to be made fresh with running to the grocery store daily proved to be challenging—that’s saying it nicely with no expletives.

I started making and freezing these Emergency Meatballs so he’s got easy protein to toss into any meal, and it took some pressure off.

What Kind of Ground Meat Can You Use in These Meatballs?

If you don’t like beef or pork, feel free to switch up the meats but try to stay away from anything too lean, like ground chicken breast or ground turkey breast. It’ll make for dry, dense meatballs.

Emergency Meatballs | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Whole30
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 594 kcal
Never be left unprepared again! Keep these gluten-free Emergency Meatballs in the freezer for those times you need protein in a hurry! Paleo & Whole30.



  • 1 lb ground beef grass-fed, if possible
  • 1 lb ground pork pastured, if possible
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with clean hands to combine. Don’t overwork the meat because it’ll end up making for tougher meatballs.
  3. Use a rounded ⅓ cup measure to portion out the meat. Gently roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 594 Calories from Fat 414
% Daily Value*
Fat 46g71%
Saturated Fat 17g85%
Cholesterol 162mg54%
Sodium 725mg30%
Potassium 662mg19%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Vitamin C 1.8mg2%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 3.4mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a rating!

Pin this Emergency Meatballs Recipe for later!

Emergency Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-Free) | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Share this post

86 Responses

  1. Oh how simple I love it! Might just have to make an emergency stash of these today 🙂

  2. How do you store them in the freezer without them getting freezer burn? Or all sticking together? I have horrible results when I try to freeze things ahead of time. Please help!

    1. You have to cook them first, then freeze. That way they won’t stick together. To keep things in the freezer w/o freezer burn, we use a vacuum sealer.

      1. Thanks! I’ll be trying your recipe and I’ll have to invest in a vacuum sealer. ?

        1. You won’t regret it 🙂 I got one for my birthday in November and use it all the time. For example:
          Buying cheese in bulk and sealing the rest (wills tay good forever)
          Resealing chip bags
          Vaccuum sealing mason jars (attachment was $10 on amazon and is amazing)
          I do freezer dump meals and vaccuum seal them.
          I buy big bags of frozen veggies and seal them in usable portions, makes them easy to grab (there’s only two of us) and no more throwing them out due to freezer burn
          I could go on and on…. It’s one of my “can’t live without” appliances, along with my Instant Pot and my Kitchenaid stand mixer lol

        2. If you don’t want to invest on a vacuum sealer, you can also freeze them in a baking sheets not touching each other and then put them in a ziploc bag. That’s what I do with the strawberries after I clean them.

          1. Great tip! That method is called flash freezing 🙂 When I freeze raw liver for the cat, I do the same thing.

        3. To get as much air out of the bag as possible, you can use a straw at the corner of the bag to suck out as much air as possible.

        4. You can get a lot of air out of a plastic storage bag using a straw, just suck the air out….. If you don’t want to deal with a sealer

    2. Without a vacuum sealer, freezer burn is somewhat unavoidable. We don’t have one. As far as preventing the food sticking together, there are a few different ways to handle that issue. First, is to freeze each item (portion) into a small baggie (and try to get out as much air as possible when closing the baggie, which will help but not eliminate freezer burn). It sometimes also helps if you wrap in plastic wrap as tightly as possible first (again, helps with freezer burn but won’t entirely eliminate it). Another option would be to lay the individual items on a flat baking pan and then freeze for a day or overnight. Just long enough to be initially frozen. Then you could put more than one portion into a bag or container. To cut down on freezer burn, again, you would want to wrap as tight as possible with plastic wrap. When I am freezing things that are not conducive to wrapping with plastic wrap (like squash or banana pancakes), I will separate out each one with a small piece of parchment paper. Best of luck!

      1. Before we invested in a vacuum sealer we used to fill the sink (or a big bowl) with water and put the item in a ziplock baggie. Place the baggie in the water up to the ziplock section, this forces the air out, then seal. For veggies you can actually add a small amount of water inside the baggie before submerging. Worked great but my husband loves gadgets so we got the sealer.

    3. cook them but do not “over” cook them. lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then place all the frozen meatballs into zip lock bags or vacuum seal. Freezing them first on the cookie sheet helps them from freezing together.

    4. Try cooking them before freezing or put them on a baking sheet par freeze them then put them in a freezer bag & freeze.

    5. I freeze them on a plate then I transfer them in to a Ziploc bag. They won’t stick this way. Enjoy..

  3. Just made these and used a pound of grass fed lamb in lieu of pork. So simple and so flavorful. I did have to cook them a little longer than suggested but other than that, this recipe is a winner!

  4. hi Steph.
    We don’t eat pork, so can I just add extra coconut oil to doubled g/fground beef?

  5. I like to make hamburger soup. I cook the ground meat, , let it cool, then put it in a big zip lock bag with all the other ingredients and freeze. When I have a busy day it goes in the slow cooker in the morning. Or if I have no supper and it’s 5 o’clock I can cook it on the stove slowly.

  6. I almost always have meatballs in the freezer, but it’s a great idea to make them more generic!
    Speaking of freezing, I made a big batch of your Simple Tortillas and froze them. They froze well and I can take out one or two in the morning to pack with my lunch! 🙂

  7. Made these yesterday and had them with some rice and sriracha sauce – magnificent! Going to make another batch for the freezer this week, really handy for a quick protein hit.

  8. Just put mine in the oven. I’m just going to freeze them….maybe will try one!
    After all they are for emergencies. Next time I think I’ll make them smaller and double the recipe, so I can use them as appetizers. Thanks for the great ideas!

  9. These meatballs are the greatest! Thank you! Everything I make of yours I simply just fall in love with and I tell everyone to make it….lol! You’re doing a great job. Keep it up Steph!

  10. I just made these and served them with mushroom marinara sauce over spaghetti squash. So good! They added the perfect flavor to the meal.

  11. I just made these meatballs tonight. I cooked half of recipe and added it to spaghetti squash. It was enough for two people with hearty appetites. The other half was frozen as patties. Thanks for posting such an easy, practical, and delicious recipe.

  12. I used grassfed ground lamb that was on sale at HEB and ground beef from Costco. I did not have ground onion powder so I used a little bit of fresh minced onion. Turned out great!

  13. Thanks for this recipe and idea- I’m trying to stockpile my freezer and will be making this soon!

    Question- What is the purpose of egg and breadcrumbs that traditional meatball recipes use. Do you notice a difference in taste without these ingredients?

    1. Hi Amy…they’re usually used as a binder (egg) or filler (breadcrumbs). Tastes just fine without it 🙂

  14. These were delicious!!! They remind me of my Grandmother’s meatballs. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Yes, you can use whatever meat you want. However, I would not use 99% fat free ground turkey because they’ll turn out tough and dry.

  15. These were great! The whole family loved them. Needed a change for day 15 of the Whole 30. Thank you!!!

  16. I made these but instead of onion powder I cut up a small red onion and mixed it in. After I cooked them I sautéed some zucchini, summer squash, red onion, and green bell pepper in olive oil and mixed them all in a gluten free siracha marinara sauce. It was amazing! I ended up just putting them in small glass containers to have for lunch or dinner for the next few days!

  17. I made these this evening, and they were delicious! I usually tweak recipes, so I added an egg, used 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 pork sausage, added chopped onion and bell pepper, 1 tsp. ground pepper, 1 tsp. paprika & 2 tsp. Italian seasoning. I also baked them for about 30 minutes. I kept checking them to see if they were done. Thanks for posting this.

  18. I just gave these a try last night. They are super quick, but so good! There’s already a batch in my freezer. 🙂
    By the way, I used just beef, and they turned out amazing!

  19. I have these in the oven right now and they smell so good! I didn’t make any changes this time, but may play with different flavors in the future. Also, the meatballs are huge! I might make them smaller next time.

  20. I’ve made this recipe exactly as described twice and both times the flavor was great but came out a little rubbery. What am I doing wrong?? Would love some suggestions!

    1. Probably using meat that’s very lean. I would suggest not using very lean ground meat. You’ll have better results if you stick to 90% or fattier. Also, if you overmix the meat, it will get tough. Try not to overmix.

  21. This is one of the best meatball recipes I’ve tried, thank you so much! I love how simple the ingredients are, and the flavor is so delicious! Husband approved too!

  22. I made these with a slight modification last night for dinner and stocking up in the freezer. I couldn’t get to the store so I used grass-fed beef and ground turkey in my recipe and also added about 2/3 of a cup of cooked bulgar to bind them together and for tenderness (yes, I get that they weren’t Paleo) and kept everything else as written on the recipe. The meatballs turned out delicious and were perfect for my soup recipe! This will be my go-to recipe in the future, thanks

  23. You totally saved my Whole30 with this super quick recipe! Day 16 and I almost gave up after a very bad day at work. Thank you.

  24. Just made these tonight to eat later this week – how do I reheat them? Microwave or mix with marinara on the stove?

  25. My kids love these! I added in some shredded zucchini as filler to make them go farther. We have a lot of mouths to feed in our house! Next time I think I will try mixing in some spaghetti squash.

  26. This has been my go-to meatball recipe for almost two years. I served these to a group of students who were interviewing for a grad school program and they couldn’t stop talking about them. In fact, they talked about them so much during the day of interviews that the program’s admin assistant asked for the recipe. Needless to say, she loves them too!

    1. Ahhhh that made my WHOLE week to hear that, Morgan. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing the good news with me!

  27. These were awesome! Perfect for the Whole30 diet and the BEST meatballs my husband and I have ever had! This is now in my recipe box above the stove 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  28. I made this last night and it was fantastic! I just added a little cayenne and minced onions. I will definitely make this again! Thank you!

  29. Can your husband eat pork? I get so sick with my histamine intolerance eating it. Pork is actually very high in histamine. I am going to use beef on its own for your recipe. which I am really looking forward to preparing and cooking.

    1. He can but back then when we was really struggling with it all meats it had to be fresh (especially ground ones) and we had to freeze any leftovers. All ground meats are high in histamine.

  30. I make these ALL the time, but tonight i am making two batches to eat after I give birth in a month. 4 pounds of meatballs on the way!

  31. I made these last night, and they came out great! As someone who gets nervous when cooking for others, the recipe was easy to follow and delicious!

  32. I’ve been making these for years, it’s a really easy adaptable recipe. And for the folks who are wondering how to freeze them without a vacuum sealer, you can also submerge them in a sauce, like a cheap jar of spaghetti sauce. Even if you rinse them off before you eat them, that will keep them from being freezer burned.

  33. This is literally the best healthy recipe I’ve ever made–EVER!!!! I made these two weeks in a row, that’s how good they are. My fiance loves them, too! A+++!

Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.


Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For athletic women 40+ who want to get stronger, build muscle, boost energy, and perform better. Implement evidence-backed strategies to fuel, train, and recover smarter with the support & accountability you need.

free workout program