Reduced Fat Beef Meatballs
Beef, Main Courses - meat, Pork

Amazingly Flavorful Low Fat Meatballs

If I were considerably younger I might consider calling these “Amaze-balls”, but I am far too old to be able to say that and not sound foolish. But, these meatballs are amazingly moist and flavorful and adaptable to a variety of cuisines. And they happen to be lower in fat.

Amzing Lowfat Meatballs
The recipe is based on one in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, but I lightened it up a bit for my lifestyle. If you want to use 15% or higher fat meat, be my guest. I have made these twice now with 10% fat beef and fat free dairy and they were awesome both times. This time I made it with both pork and beef because I actually had some ground pork on hand. But, they are just as delicious with only beef.

I have tried meatballs before with 10% fat beef. Some might be okay the first night if you undercook them, but reheating is definitely not an option. These are great the second day, or even freezing and reheating them for a second meal later on.

The tricks are “the secret ingredients”:

  • panko crumbs soaked in yogurt and milk for moisture and a slight tanginess.
  • gelatin for texture
  • parmesan cheese for “umami” (the “fifth taste” of meaty/savory)

I make a big batch with the spices as in the recipe below, just parsley and ground pepper, because I like to use it for Italian one night and Asian another. I added suggestions for spicing it up if you plan to use it for just one cuisine.

We had them last night with pasta sauce and angel hair so that’s what is in the photos. We may have meatball subs later in the week. My husband loves to put teriyaki sauce on them and have them over rice.

Today for lunch I had them with some veggie sticks and dipped them in Tzatziki sauce. Oh yum! And in case you need a quick and delicious Tzatziki sauce recipe check out this recipe from Mommy’s Kitchen.

Low Fat Meatballs

Prep time10 minutes
Cook time20 minutes
Total time30 minutes
Meal type Beef, Meat Dishes, Pasta, Pork
From book Cook's Illustrated Cookbook
Moist and flavorful meatballs without all of the fat. Italian, Asian or Swedish meatballs.


  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cups fat free plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1lb ground beef (7-10% fat)
  • 1lb ground pork (or you can use 2 pounds beef)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley (finely minced - or 2 tablespoons dry)
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 4 pieces bacon (cooked and crumbled very fine)


You can add extra spices depending on your use. For Italian add oregano and maybe a little pepper flakes. For Asian I add ginger. And for Swedish add a little ground allspice.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine panko, yogurt and milk. Let sit about 5-10 minutes until it forms a smooth paste.
panko and yogurt
In a small bowl add 3 tablespoons water and sprinkle gelatin on top to bloom.
bloom gelatin
Add gelatin and all remaining ingredients to the yogurt/breadcrumb mixture. Thoroughly combine mixture with hands.
meatball ingredients
Using a small cookie scoop (or tablespoon or by hand) form meatballs and place on wire racks leaving at least 1/2 inch apart.
meatballs ready for oven
Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big the meatballs are. Flip over halfway. Do not overcook!

Until next time, happy eating.



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