Air Fryer Meatballs

5 from 36 votes

These easy Air Fryer Meatballs are ready in a jiffy with easy instructions and basic ingredients to serve for dinner or as an appetizer.

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If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at making meatballs, then now is the time to give it a shot with this ridiculously easy Air Fryer Meatball recipe. Grab a bowl and mix ground beef with just a handful of ingredients before forming it into little beefy balls of goodness. Using the air fryer is a quick way to get crispy, tender meatballs that cook up in half the time than baking in the oven!

Air Fryer Meatballs after cooked in basket garnished with fresh parsley.

Table of Contents

  1. Why you’ll love these Air Fryer beef meatballs
  2. Ingredients to make air fryer meatballs
  3. How to make air fried meatballs
  4. Tips for making the best meatballs in the air fryer
  5. Popular substitutions & additions
  6. What to serve with your air fryer meatball recipe
  7. How to store & reheat air fryer beef meatballs
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. More air fryer recipes:
  10. Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

Whip up a batch of homemade meatballs for those busy weeknights when you need something quick to make. There’s no wrong way to eat a meatball so go with the classics, like serving over pasta or in a sub, or try them a different way, such as in a salad or with various dinner sides. With such an easy recipe, you’ll serve these with everything!

Why you’ll love these Air Fryer beef meatballs

  • Mixed in one bowl. Incorporate everything in a bowl, form into balls, and air fry. That’s it! 
  • Ready in under 20 minutes. Once you’ve formed the meat into golf ball-sized balls, they cook in the air fryer for about 10 minutes. That means you can have dinner on the table in no time.
  • Tasty bite-sized appetizer. Who can resist a meatball with marinara for dipping? It’s one of those recipes you don’t realize you want until they’re right there in front of you. Try my cheese-stuffed meatballs to add more options to your finger food spread.
  • Perfect make-ahead recipe: Meatballs freeze well, so you can make these whenever you like. Once you form the meatballs, line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and store up 3 months. There’s no need to defrost before cooking, just pop them right into a preheated air fryer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Ingredients to make air fryer meatballs

  • Ground beef: Choose lean ground chuck for the ideal meat-to-fat ratio that will stay moist and juicy and hold its shape during cooking.
  • Egg: Eggs help the mixture bind together into a firm meatball that holds its form while cooking
  • Breadcrumbs: I usually make homemade breadcrumbs to keep stored in the pantry as they stay fresh for up to 6 months, but you can use storebought panko or regular breadcrumbs. If the crumbs are too large, gently process them in a food processor or blender to get a fine crumb.
  • Milk: Adding a liquid like milk adds moisture and ensures that the meatballs stay soft and not tough. Non-dairy milk will also work here.
  • Parsley: Fresh chopped parsley elevates the herby flavor in this recipe and is my preference, but if all you have is dried, that will also work. Use half the amount the recipe calls for if using dried. 
  • Garlic: Use a garlic press to make this step that much easier! 
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
Ingredients for recipe in individual bowls and before prepped: marinara sauce, an egg, garlic cloves, breadcrumbs, seasonings, milk, and fresh parsley.

How to make air fried meatballs

Meatballs are easy to make, and you’ll love the change-up of cooking them in the air fryer. You get the same result as oven baked with the convenience of countertop convection – bite-sized juicy ground beef encased in its own crispy, meaty shell.

  1. After beating the egg in a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, milk, parsley, garlic, and seasoning.
  2. Then, add in the ground beef.
  3. Use your hands to combine the meat mixture until evenly distributed.
  4. Form into even-sized meatballs.
  5. Transfer the meatballs to the air fryer and arrange them in a single layer. You may need to cook in two batches.
  6. Cook until the meatballs are browned, shaking the basket halfway through. Let them rest before serving.
6 image collage making recipe in a bowl and cooking in the air fryer.

Tips for making the best meatballs in the air fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer. This isn’t always necessary, but when cooking anything raw, it’s usually good practice to preheat the air fryer, just like the oven or a skillet, to ensure that your food cooks evenly.
  2. Avoid overmixing. Mixing too much can result in a tough meatball, which should be mixed until only just combined.
  3. Spread the meatballs out in the air fryer basket. This will help them crisp on the outside without getting too much moisture on the outer surface.
  4. Go by internal temp, not time. Air fryers can vary, so check your meatballs by temperature. They should be 160°F in the center, which may before more or less than the recommended 8-10 minutes for this recipe. New to the air fryer world and looking to get one? The Instant Vortex is hands down the best air fryer I’ve used!
  • Add parmesan cheese. Feel free to add up to ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese to the mix. They get golden in the air fryer and add a little salty flavor.
  • Substitute the breadcrumbs. You can use panko breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, or almond flour to bind the meatballs and give them structure.
  • Add ground lamb. If you want a unique flavored meatball, try halving the beef and substituting it with ground lamb or turkey. 
  • Add finely diced veggies. Dice onions and bell pepper into small pieces and mix into the meatballs. The smaller, the better to ensure they bind well with the meatball mixture.
Plate of meatballs garnished with fresh parsley with a small bowl of marinara for dipping.

What to serve with your air fryer meatball recipe

How to store & reheat air fryer beef meatballs

To store: Keep leftover meatballs in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator.

To reheat: Add them to a preheated 250°F air fryer and heat for about 5 minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, heat it in a skillet, oven, or microwave.

How long will cooked meatballs last in the fridge?

Leftover meatballs will last in the fridge for up to 4 days when stored properly.

Can I freeze beef meatballs?

Meatballs are fantastic for freezing! Precooked meatballs can freeze for up to a month and uncooked for up to 3 months.

To freeze uncooked meatballs: Once you form the meatballs, line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and store up 3 months.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to oil the air fryer basket before cooking?

It’s unnecessary to oil the air fryer basket before cooking meatballs because beef is already fatty, and the air fryer basket is nonstick. If you want to ensure they don’t stick, gently toss the meatballs in a bowl with oil to coat them first.

Why are my meatballs dry?

The meatballs may be dry because not enough liquid was added, the amount of breadcrumbs added was too much, or the meat-to-fat ratio is different than suggested.

How do I know when the meatballs are done?

Meatballs are done when cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer reads 160°F when inserted in the center.

Dipping a meatball on a toothpick into marinara sauce with more meatballs on plate.

Make this quick and easy air fryer meatball recipe in a jiffy with easy-to-follow instructions and basic ingredients all mixed up in one bowl, formed into balls, and air fried to juicy perfection. The sky’s the limit when it comes to serving these for dinner or as an appetizer at a gathering. Enjoy the classic combination of meatballs and spaghetti or a meatball sub with homemade marinara and melty cheese. Or try something new, like meatballs tossed in yogurt sauce over pasta or on top of a salad!

More air fryer recipes:

If you try this feel good Air Fryer Meatballs recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

Air Fryer Meatballs

These easy Air Fryer Meatballs are ready in a jiffy with easy instructions and basic ingredients to serve for dinner or as an appetizer.
5 from 36 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 298
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat an air fryer to 400ºF.
  • Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the panko breadcrumbs, egg, milk, parsley, garlic and the seasoning and stir to combine. Add the ground beef and mix again to combine. Form into 16 meatballs and set on a plate.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the air fryer and arrange in a single layer. You may need to cook in two batches. Cook until the meatballs are browned and the internal temperature of the beef reaches 160°F, shaking the basket halfway through, 8-10 minutes total.
  • Allow the meatballs to rest for 5 minutes before serving with marinara sauce, if desired.

Notes

*Nutrition label for meatballs only.
To store: Keep leftover meatballs in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
To reheat: Add them to a preheated 250°F air fryer and heat for about 5 minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, heat it in a skillet, oven, or microwave.
To freeze uncooked meatballs: Once you form the meatballs, line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper and freeze until solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and store up 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 441mg, Potassium: 400mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Appetizer, Entree

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Comments

  1. Loved this. Thanks. I didn’t use milk; I used beer for the liquid. Homemade bread crumbs and lots of fresh parsley. 🥇