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Air Fryer Sundried Tomato Pesto Chicken Meatballs | (Low Carb, High Protein)

Super simple low carb chicken meatballs made in the air fryer. Full of basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese these healthy chicken meatballs are made with no breadcrumbs or carby binders, just clean, easy to find ingredients. High protein meatballs are a perfect choice for healthy keto, Gluten free, and low carb Mediterranean diets.

Sundried tomato pesto chicken meatballs stacked on a white plate.

These high protein chicken meatballs have 10g of protein and only 1g of net carbs each!

This recipe is part of my 30 minute keto meal series as well as my ever growing list of keto meal prep and work lunch ideas (over 60 recipes perfect for meal prepping!)

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost or effort to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through the link and make a purchase.

Why This Recipe is Great

  • Easy to make and cook thanks to the air fryer. 
  • Made with healthy ground chicken, and whole ingredients, perfect for clean keto, and gluten free diets. 
  • This recipe is family friendly and is a great low sugar, healthy recipe for Baby led weaning and toddlers. (Our toddler loves these meatballs!)
  • Versatile and freezer friendly, this recipe pairs with a variety of sides, and makes a great high protein meal prep, freezer meal, or keto work lunch idea.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

 These easy chicken meatballs can be served as a delicious appetizer, or paired with your favorite sides for a quick and healthy meal.

For the carb conscious, serve these meatballs with cauliflower mash, zoodles (zucchini zoodles), fried cabbage, crunchy coleslaw (Try my Dill Pickle Slaw, or my Creamy Greek Slaw), air fried vegetables, or a side salad. 

This recipe works well served with pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, as a topping on pizza, or on soft bread as a protein packed meatball sandwich.

Is this Healthy Recipe Family and Toddler Friendly?

These chicken meatballs were a life saver while introducing solids to our little one and our toddler still loves them! Be sure to make them the appropriate size and adjust the seasoning as needed. I highly recommend following the Solid Starts app just to be safe. 

Tips for Making Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs

To keep the carbs low, these gluten free meatballs are made without breadcrumbs, or wheat of any kind. Instead these meatballs use grated parmesan cheese and egg to help bind them together. 

  • Working with cold ground chicken will help keep the meatballs together before cooking. 
  • If the mixture is too loose and wet to form meatballs add additional parmesan cheese or almond flour to bind the mixture together.
  • Pack the mixture together in your hands like you are making a snowball, lightly toss the ball between your hands to pack it together. You will have to pack it a bit tighter than you would a normal meatball.
Uncooked chicken meatballs on a wooden board ready to go into the air fryer.

Can I cook these chicken meatballs without an air fryer?

Although the air fryer makes these very simple to make and gives them a beautifully golden brown crust, you can also make these in the oven or on the stove. 

To make these low carb meatballs in the oven:

  • Line a baking sheet with cooking foil for easy clean up and place a baking rack on the tray to elevate the meatballs, this helps them cook evenly and gives them a beautiful golden brown colour. 
  • Lightly grease the baking rack and place the formed meatballs on the rack. 
  • Bake at 425°F [220°C] for around 20 minutes until the meatballs are golden brown and cooked through. 

To pan fry chicken meatballs on the stove-top:

  • Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium heat. 
  • Arrange the meatballs in an even layer in the pan. Avoid overcrowding and work in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the pan will make it harder to sear the meatballs.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through.

Leftovers, Storage, Meal Prep, and Make Ahead

These meatballs make excellent leftovers, and are great for meal prepping or a high protein packed lunch for work. 

Storing leftovers – Allow the cooked meatballs to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge. Use within 5 days. 

Reheating – Reheat in the microwave, air fryer, oven, or stove top, until just warmed through. Avoid over cooking by checking the temperature frequently.

Can I freeze homemade chicken meatballs?

This keto meatball recipe is freezer friendly! You can freeze both raw and cooked meatballs. 

To freeze raw meatballs:

  • Form the meatballs as you regularly would. 
  • Place the raw meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet, make sure they are not touching one another.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 6 hours until the meatballs are frozen solid. 
  • Transfer the frozen meatballs to a resealable freezer bag, or container and store in the freezer for up to 5 months. 
  • Thaw in the fridge overnight or cook straight from frozen as a quick thaw-and-serve low carb meal. If cooking from frozen, be sure to add some additional cooking time and check that they are fully cooked before eating. 

The freeze cooked, leftover meatballs:

  • Allow the cooked meatballs to cool and place in a freezer safe bag or container. 
  • Freeze and store for up to 3 months. 
  • Thaw in the fridge or reheat in the oven or air fryer straight from the freezer as a quick thaw-and-serve meal, appetizer, or snack.
A chicken pesto meatball sliced in half.

Recipe card

Sundried Tomato and Pesto Chicken Meatballs (Air Fryer, Low Carb, Gluten Free)

Sundried tomato and pesto chicken meatballs stacked on a plate.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs
Calories 418 kcal
Net Carbs 4.2 g
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Sundried tomato and pesto chicken meatballs in the air fryer! Super simple to make, these meatballs are on the table quick. Made with no breadcrumbs or starchy binders, these healthy ground chicken meatballs are keto, gluten free, and high in protein. Great for low carb meal prepping, work lunches, weeknight dinners, this family friendly recipe is toddler tested, and great for baby led weaning.

IMPORTANT – There are often Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!

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Equipment

  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • air fryer

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup pesto homemade or store bought
  • cup sundried tomatoes oil packed, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 medium shallot or 1 small onion, finely diced
  • teaspoons salt add more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or oil from sundried tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. To make the meatball mixture, add the ground chicken, parmesan cheese, eggs, pesto, sundried tomatoes, garlic paste, diced shallot, salt, and pepper, to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until everything is well mixed. See notes on adjusting the seasoning and texture. Allow the mixture to rest for 5-10 minutes before forming the meatballs.
    2 lb ground chicken or turkey, ½ cup parmesan cheese, 2 large eggs, ⅓ cup pesto, ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons garlic paste, 1 medium shallot, 1½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Form the meatballs. Grab a scoop or spoonful of the meatball mixture and form, pack, and roll into a meat ball about 1-2 inches [2.5 to 5 cm] in diameter. Repeat for the remaining mixture. You should end up with 20-24 meatballs depending on how large or small you made them.
  • Cook the meatballs in the air fryer. Space the meatballs evenly in the basket of your air fryer. Avoid overcrowding, and make sure to leave some space in between each one for them. Brush each meatball lightly with olive oil or leftover oil from the sundried tomatoes for extra flavour. Cook at 375°F [190℃] for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and golden brown.
    3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Serve alongside a salad, coleslaw, cauliflower rice, or as a simple air fried appetizer
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Notes

Pesto substitutions: Store-bought or homemade pesto can be used for this recipe. Both green and red pesto work well. instead of pesto, finely minced herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme can be used instead. 
Sundried tomatoes: Sundried tomatoes come either dry or oil packed. Use oil packed for this recipe. The oil can be used to brush the meatballs for extra flavour.
Testing the seasoning: Before forming and cooking the meatballs its important to test the seasoning. Grab a small amount of the meatballs mixture (about 1-2 teaspoons) and pan fry or air fry until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Adjusting the texture: If the meatball mixture is goopy and wet, add additional parmesan cheese or almond flour until its firm enough to form into meatballs. If the mixture is too dry, add additional egg or olive oil to the mixture to loosen it up. 

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballsCalories: 418kcalCarbohydrates: 5.3gProtein: 41.3gFat: 26.6gSaturated Fat: 7.3gSodium: 850mgPotassium: 1097mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 5.5mgCalcium: 113mgIron: 1mgSugar Alcohols: 0.04gNet Carbs: 4.2g

Nutritional information is calculated using the recipe calculator and verified database available from Cronometer. Although every reasonable effort is made to provide accurate information this estimate is provided as courteously and convenience only. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe.

Try the free recipe calculator at Cronometer
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Keywords: air fryer keto, healthy keto recipes, keto chicken meatballs
Keto pest chicken meatball with a bite out of it on a fork.

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