Learn how to make air fryer meatballs that are tender, juicy, and healthy. Ready in a just 10 minutes, these make a fast and satisfying dinner!
Air frying is a foolproof way to cook healthier and delicious meals in a fraction of the time.
Like our turkey meatballs, they turn out perfectly moist and juicy!
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Quick and easy. Like air fryer hamburgers, they cook in a fraction of the time using simple ingredients and instructions. I often make this on busy weeknights as they cook in less than 10 minutes.
- Healthier. Thanks to the air fryer, these meatballs don’t need ANY oil, but don’t fret: they turn out just as juicy as you’d expect them to!
- Easy clean up. If you regularly cook meatballs on the stovetop, you know what a mess it makes…not with an air fryer, though!
- Perfectly cooked. The air fryer creates a perfect balance of a crispy, seared exterior and a juicy, tender interior.
If you regularly make meatballs, you’ll be familiar with the similar ingredients. Here is what you’ll need:
- Ground beef. Choose ground beef with some fat, like 90/10 or 85/15. I don’t recommend using extra lean or fat-free ground beef, as no matter what else you add the mixture, it always dries out!
- Breadcrumbs. Regular breadcrumbs are fine, but I find panko breadcrumbs to hold in so much more flavor.
- Parmesan cheese. Always use freshly grated parmesan cheese, as it cooks much better with the meat than the pre-shredded kind. It also has a much better flavor too.
- Italian seasoning. A mix of different herbs, such as oregano and basil. If you plan on serving these meatballs in a tomato-based sauce (our homemade sugo or pomodoro sauces are family favorites!), do not skimp on this!
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Garlic powder. I’ve tried these meatballs with both fresh garlic and garlic seasoning, and the powder works best for the air frying. If I was baking or pan-frying these, then I’d use the fresh kind.
- Eggs. Room temperature.
- Milk or water. For the extra moisture needed. I like using milk because it’s just so much more flavorful.
How to cook meatballs in the air fryer
These air fryer meatballs will be ready to enjoy in just four simple steps:
Step 1- Preheat the air fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 190C/375F.
Step 2- Prepare the meatballs
Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well.
Step 3- Shape
Now, wet your hands to roll out and prepare 24-28 meatballs.
Step 4- Cook the meatballs
Grease the air fryer basket and place a single layer of meatballs. Let them cook for 10-12 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
Step 5- Rest and serve
Let them cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Make the meatballs all roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket; leave plenty of room for air to circulate the meatballs. This will help them cook evenly and prevent them from steaming instead of frying.
- To avoid overcooking, use a meat thermometer to ensure the meatballs have reached a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F. This is a MUCH easier way to check than having to cut the meatballs in half every time.
The beauty of any good meatball recipe is that it is easy to customize! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Add diced vegetables. Finely diced vegetables like onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini can add flavor and moisture to your meatballs. They are also a sneaky way to pack in extra veggies too!
Use flavored breadcrumbs. To intensify the Italian flavors, I sometimes use Italian-flavored breadcrumbs which make such a difference.
To store. Put leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To freeze. In freezer freezer-safe container, meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating. Reheat them in the air fryer or microwave until warm enough to serve.
More air fryer recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
When referring to cooked meatballs, they only need 5 minutes in the air fryer at 190C/375F. Give them a shake halfway through so all sides heat up nicely.
If they are thawed before adding them to the air fryer, they will cook in 12-15 minutes at 190C/375F. When frozen meatballs are added to the air fryer, you must wait a few more minutes to enjoy them.
Yes! If you are using pre-made and frozen meatballs, you can add them directly to the air fryer and cook as instructed. The only difference is to adjust the cooking time to compensate.
Air Fryer Meatballs
- Preheat the air fryer to 190C/375F.
- In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well.
- Using lightly wet hands, shape the mixture into 24 meatballs.
- Grease the air fryer basket and place a single layer of meatballs on the base.
- Air fry for 10-12 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- Let the meatballs rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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