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BBQ Meatballs

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A family classic, these oven baked BBQ Meatballs are a tried and true favorite that your family will love.

Do you have a recipe that you make over and over again? A recipe that makes everyone, literally everyone, around the table happy?

a bowl of bbq meatballs in a white bowl and with a red and white napkin

BBQ Meatballs is that recipe in our family. It’s actually my Mother-in-law’s recipe and with her permission I’m sharing it with you because I believe it is just too good not to share!

This BBQ meatballs recipe is simple to make and I promise you everyone will enjoy them!

*This post has been updated with new photos and more detailed instructions.


I have converted the original family recipe to a gluten and dairy free recipe for our family. You can easily swap out a few ingredients if you do not have a gluten or dairy intolerance. I will provide modifications for you.

  • Ground Beef I use Butcher Box and it’s THE best grass-fed ground beef delivered straight to your doorstep.
  • Gluten Free Oats – if you are not gluten sensitive you can use regular oats.
  • Nut milk- you can use any nut milk. I typically make my own cashew milk so I use that but you can also use evaporated milk if you can tolerate dairy.
  • Liquid Smoke this makes the entire recipe so you don’t want to skip this ingredient for sure!
  • Egg- the egg helps bind the meatballs together
  • Salt- Redmond’s is my favorite salt and provides additional health benefits with added minerals.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Ketchup
  • Dried onion

How to make this recipe

You will mix the ground beef, oats, milk, egg, salt, garlic powder, and chili powder in a bowl and mix well with your hands.

Once fully combined, roll into balls and place into a 9×13 greased pan. I typically use avocado oil spray when baking or cooking since it is a healthier cooking oil.

Combine ketchup, dried onion, brown sugar, and liquid smoke in a separate bowl until mixed well.

glass bowl filled with ingredients to make the sauce for bbq meatballs

Drizzle the prepared bbq sauce over the meatballs evenly.

BBQ meatballs after the sauce has been put on them in a glass baking dish

Place 9×13 dish in the preheated oven and bake until meatballs are fully cooked.

What goes well with meatballs?

baking dish filled with bbq meatballs with a red and white napkin underneath

Can I freeze BBQ meatballs?

These meatballs freeze well making it a great recipe to prep ahead of time, or make a double patch to save time later.

There are a few options if you decide you want to freeze them.

Option One

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the raw, rolled meatballs onto the baking sheet.
  • Place them in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until they are fully frozen.
  • Once frozen transfer to a ziplock freezer bag or airtight container and label with the date and recipe name.

Option Two

  • You can freeze them in a glass 9×13 baking dish and then remove them from the freezer when you are ready to eat.
  • Be sure to allow your glass to thaw as well, don’t take the glass directly from the freezer to the oven or it could break!

Tip: If I am making them from a frozen state, I pull them out of the freezer and arrange them in a 9×13 baking dish, mix up the sauce then drizzle over the meatballs and bake. If they are not thawed you will want to cook for an additional 10 minutes or so, just until the meat is fully cooked.

baking dish full of bbq meatballs with red and white napkin underneath the pan

How can you tell if meatballs are cooked?

Ground beef is fully cooked at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You can either use a meat thermometer for accuracy or I usually just make sure the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink in color.

Once the pink is gone from the center your meatballs should be ready to go. You don’t want to overcook this recipe because the meat will become tough.

a plate with 3 bbq meatballs on a white plate with a dish of bbq sauce and then a bowl filled with bbq meatballs behind it


This recipe is written as gluten and dairy-free, but you can modify it to use evaporated milk and regular oats if you’d like to make them with gluten and dairy.

This is a great recipe to prepare ahead of time and freeze for meal prep.

This recipe can be eaten as leftovers if kept in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

When mixing the meatballs it’s important not to over-mix or it could make the meatballs fall apart more easily.

BBQ Meatballs

A family favorite, this BBQ Meatballs recipe is easy to make and loaded with flavor!
Print Recipe
a bowl of bbq meatballs in a white bowl and with a red and white napkin
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:55 minutes



  • 2 lbs ground beef thawed and uncooked
  • 5 oz nut milk
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBS dried onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine ground beef, oats, milk, egg, salt, garlic powder and chili powder in a bowl. Mix using hands or a wooden spoon.
  • Roll into balls and place in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Prepare sauce by combining ketchup, brown sugar, dried onion, garlic powder and liquid smoke until sugar is mixed well.
  • Evenly distribute sauce over meatballs.
  • Bake at 350° for approximately 40 minutes. Check to make sure meatballs are done by cutting one in half to see if it's pink, or use a meat thermometer and it should read 160° F.


  • You can use regular oats instead of gluten free oats if you aren’t sensitive to gluten
  • You can use evaporated milk instead of nut milk if you aren’t sensitive to dairy
  • Do not skip out on the Liquid Smoke.  I believe it’s what makes these the BEST meatballs.
  • You can freeze these by doubling the batch and freezing one immediately.  Sauce can be prepared prior to freezing or on the day of cooking.


Serving: 4meatballs | Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 891mg | Potassium: 661mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 344IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 486kcal
Author: Amy

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  1. 5 stars
    Made your perfect BBQ Meatballs last night. No way could they taste any better! So yummy, helped get me out of my cooking slump, and plenty left for eating them again tonight. Love you and all your “stuff”.

    1. Thank you so much, Janet! I am so glad you enjoyed them and have some leftover as well!! I so appreciate you coming back to leave the recipe a rating and comment!

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