BBQ Meatballs

The holidays are just around the corner and with them all of the fun and festivities of gathering with family and friends. These sticky and saucy meatballs have always been a family favorite and I know your family will love BBQ Meatballs as well.

These sweet and savory meatballs combine my homemade barbecue sauce found on Easy Gluten Free BBQ Shrimp with savory beef and pork meatballs. These are the perfect bite that will have you going back for more.


These savory and sweet Gluten and Dairy Free Sweet BBQ Meatballs have always been a family favorite. My mom used to make every year and now I have continued the tradition with a few tweaks. Not only do they never last long, they are also easy to shop for.

  • Ground Beef – Adds richness and heartiness to these meatballs.
  • Ground Pork – Adds moisture and the delicate flavor of pork. The combination of beef and pork gives depth of flavor and a tender texture.
  • Eggs – Binds the meatballs together.
  • Gluten Free Bread – Helps bind the meatballs together while keeping them from being too dense.
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • Dairy Free Heavy Cream Use to soften the bread and bring moisture to the barbecue meatballs.
  • Onion – Adds savory depth of flavor and also a little natural sweetness.
  • Bell Pepper – Adds the earthy bite of pepper without heat.
  • Olive Oil
  • Sweet BBQ Sauce – I use my homemade barbecue sauce for this recipe. Allows you to control all of the ingredients.

How to Make BBQ Meatballs

Whether you’re looking for the perfect appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal, or a delicious treat to serve all through the holiday season, this easy meatball recipe is sure to become a family tradition just like it has been in mine.

Time needed: 50 minutes

These sweet and savory meatballs come together in less than an hour.

  1. Pregame

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a broiling pan or baking sheet with nonstick baking spray and set aside.

  2. Sauté

    Heat a medium skillet over medium-low. Add the olive oil, onions, and bell pepper. Allow the mixture to cook until the onions are translucent, and the peppers are tender. Set aside.

  3. Blend

    Place the bread in a blender or food processor. Pulse until they form fine, sandy breadcrumbs.

  4. Mix

    Add all of the ingredients for the barbecue meatballs to a bowl. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated.

  5. Bake

    Use a 2″scoop to portion out your meatballs. Place them on the prepared broiling pan. Allow them to bake for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Saucy

    Remove the meatballs from the oven and place them in a casserole dish. Add your prepared barbecue sauce and toss to combine. Allow them to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Enjoy!


The best part of making your own barbecue sauce is that you can adjust the flavors to your liking. If you like things a little spicier, add a chopped jalapeno to the sauteed onions. You can also add heat to the barbecue sauce with a pinch of cayenne.

This recipe is completely Dairy Free and Gluten Free. However, you can make this same recipe with regular heavy cream and your favorite type of bread.


While making your own barbecue sauce takes these BBQ Meatballs to the next level, you can also use your favorite bottled sauce for this recipe.

Tools for Gluten and Dairy BBQ Meatballs

  • Blender/Food Processor Allows to easily make your own breadcrumbs, giving them a fine, consistent texture.
  • Broiler Pan/Baking Sheet – Skip frying meatballs. Baking the meatballs gives you that bronzed crust without all of the additional work and mess.
  • 2″ Scoop – Allows you to easily portion out even sized meatballs.

Top Tip

The texture of meatballs is as important as the flavor. When mixing your ingredients, be gentle and don’t over work the meat. This will ensure that they’re tender, light, and melt in your mouth delicious.

BBQ Meatballs

Savory meatballs are baked and then tossed in a sweet and sticky homemade barbecue sauce.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 Blender/food processor
  • 1 broiler pan/baking sheet
  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 2" scoop


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lbs ground pork
  • 3 slices bread
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 onion, diced large
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a broiling pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  • Heat a medium skillet on medium-low heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • Place the bread slices in a blender or food processor. Pulse until they form a fine sandy crumb.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl except for the barbecue sauce. Mix until just combined.
  • Use a 2" scoop to portion out the meatballs onto the prepared broiling pan.
  • Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a casserole dish and toss with the barbecue sauce. Return them to the oven for 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.
  • Enjoy!

BBQ Sauce

  • Mix all the ingredients together and cook in a small stock pot until sugar dissolves.


Tried this recipe?Mention @TheSaltyCooker or tag #thesaltycooker!

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