Skip The Crock Pot For Faster Paleo Italian Meatballs

I’ve got this really great slow-cooker recipe for paleo Italian meatballs in marinara sauce I was craving one day – but didn’t want to wait the 4 to 6 hours it would take to finish up in the crock pot.

So, I took a little shortcut. I left my slow cooker in the cupboard, and whipped out my big cast-iron skillet instead.

I was certain I could turn my crock pot Italian meatball recipe into a stovetop meal. Sure enough, it turned out fantastic – and took a lot less time.

Then I posted the photo of my one-skillet Italian meatball meal on my Instagram page for fun, and everyone started asking for the recipe. [av_sidebar widget_area=’Lockerdome’ av_uid=’av-qlwldb’]

So for my Instagram followers, and all my other impatient paleo peeps who don’t want to wait hours for their Italian meatballs to cook, here’s the quicker version. It only takes about 45 minutes from skillet to plate.

I used basically the same ingredients that are in my slow cooker paleo meatball recipe now. The only change was the meatballs…this time I made them with an equal mix of ground beef and ground Italian pork – wow, so good! (It’s in the recipe below.)

I still love the crock pot version – it’s so easy! But sometimes you just want it faster…this simple one-skillet paleo meatball recipe is definitely the way to go!


Skip The Crock Pot For Faster Paleo Italian Meatballs

Skip The Crock Pot For Faster Paleo Italian Meatballs


  • 3/4 lbs of grass-fed ground beef
  • 3/4 lbs of ground Italian pork
  • 1 large onion, diced small (sautéed - set aside one half for the sauce)
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic (sautéed - set aside one half for the sauce)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Marinara Sauce
  • (1) 28-oz can of San Marzano plum tomatoes with sauce
  • (1) 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • The other half of the sautéed onions and garlic (see meatball ingredients above)
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp of sea salt
  • A healthy pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In a skillet, sauté the diced large onion in 2 tbs of olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add salt and the 4 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for one more minute.
  3. Remove from heat. Set aside sautéed onions and garlic.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, add the ground beef, sausage, egg, almond flour, parsley, pinch of red pepper flakes, and one-half of the sautéed onions and garlic mixture.
  5. Lightly mix together by hand and gently form the meatballs – each about the size of a golf ball. Set aside.
  6. In a large, deep skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the meatballs over medium heat. DO NOT COOK THROUGH – the meatballs will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove browned meatballs from skillet and set aside. ALTERNATE METHOD: Place meatballs on a baking tray and bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Set aside and add in Step #10 below.
  7. In the same deep skillet, prepare the Marinara sauce. Add the San Marzano tomatoes along with the remaining half of the sautéed onion and garlic mixture. Break apart the tomatoes in the skillet with a wooden spoon.
  8. Next add the other sauce ingredients to the skillet: oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  9. Stir sauce over medium heat until bubbly, then reduce to simmer.
  10. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer until meatballs are cooked through – about 45 minutes. ALTERNATE METHOD: If you oven-baked your meatballs instead, add them to the sauce right away and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  11. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve over noodles, cauliflower rice, or enjoy by themselves!


Join the Conversation

  1. The best meatballs I ever made , super delicious sauce , very important to use the San Marzano tomatoes.
    Used spicy sausage meat instead of ground pork .
    Thank you very much !

    1. Wow! Thanks Oliver :) I totally agree about the San Marzano Tomatoes!

  2. Looks great. What would a non-pork eater use instead? Just double the beef? Veal? Lamb?
    Thank you!

    1. Sure, Any of your favorite meats will work well. I add pork for a little added fat content, so if your using leaner meats keep that in mind.

      1. Thank you! Will keep in mind the lean aspect.

    1. You can use any skillet you like as long as it’s large! ?

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