We’re obsessed with making and eating this air fryer meatballs recipe that we won’t make then any other way. This easy and fantastic 15 minute air fried meatballs recipe is our go-to recipe that you’ll want to make throughout the week. If you’re needing a quick snack, meal or even appetizer this is the best way to make meatballs for your family.

air fryer meatballs recipe in basket

Best Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

If you’re wanting to make a fresh homemade batch of ground beef meatballs, it really doesn’t get any easier than air frying them. Consider making an air fried meatballs batch. We’ve made this when we had last minute friends come over for dinner and it was always a hit. Everyone is always shocked at how juicy these meatballs are by air frying. It’s such a great conversation piece because we’ve sold them on the recipe and in buying an air fryer!

air fryer meatballs with sauce on plate

Video: Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

What Style of Ground Meat for Air Fried Meatballs?

It all depends on what you enjoy eating! Honestly, there’s so many good options and it really just depends on what your favorite meat is. Our recipe is for simple ground beef. But there’s so many other different combinations of ground meat you can use. Here’s some ideas:

  • 50/50 ground beef and pork: Some folks like to use a mix of meats like ground beef and ground pork together. This balance of fat and flavors is a popular combination.
  • Buy pre-made ground sausage meat: You can use raw Italian sausage that’s in the casings and just remove the meat from the casings. From there you shape the into meatballs.
  • Buying bulk sausage: Or you can buy Italian sausage in bulk at your local butcher market and make italian sausage meatballs.
  • Healthier options: For a leaner meat you can use ground chicken or ground turkey. Turkey meatballs are delicious and definitely a healthier version.
  • How about using lamb? Buy some ground lamb for lamb meatballs. They will be delicious!
  • Plant based or vegan meatball options: Vegan meat products like Beyond meat or Impossible meat are great options for vegetarians or vegans. Many worcestershire sauces are not vegan. Make sure to use a vegan worcestershire sauce or substitute a vegan alternative like soy sauce or tamari.

Tips for Making Air Fryer Meatballs Tender & Delicious

  • Different Bread crumbs: Adding some dried bread crumbs really makes the air fried meatballs juicy. You can use panko, regular bread crumbs or italian bread crumbs. You can also use crushed crackers. It’s a great way to use up old crackers.
  • Don’t press to firmly when shaping meatballs: When forming the meatballs don’t press on the too firmly. This will make the mixture too dense and less soft and crumbly. Be gentle but don’t pack the meat too tight.
  • Eggs for tenderness and juicy texture. The egg is what makes them juicy in the center.
  • Avoid dry meatballs: A light spray of oil on the outside of the meatballs will keep them from drying out during air frying.
  • Giving space between meatballs during cooking: Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. You want just a single layer inside the basket. For a smaller air fryer or if you are making a larger batch, cook in batches if needed.
  • Remember to turn the meatballs halfway through when you cook meatballs so that they air fry evenly on all sides.
  • Ways to serve: This meatball recipe is perfect as an appetizer or add some sauce and serves with pasta (everyone loves spaghetti & meatball), on rice, or as a meatball sandwich or sub.
  • All air fried meatballs recipe details are in the recipe box below.
air fryer meatballs with parsley garnish

Air Fryer Meatballs

Don’t overcrowd the meatballs in the air fryer basket/tray. You’ll want to cook them in a single layer so they cook evenly. If you are making a larger batch, or have a small air fryer, air fry in batches so they can cook in a single, even layer. For vegan meatballs, use a plant based ground “meat” and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce or other vegan Worcestershire substitution (like soy sauce, tamari, etc.)
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. (454 g) ground meat , beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, or plant based “ground meat”
  • 1/4 cup (27 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) mustard powder , optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt , or taste
  • lots fresh ground black pepper , to taste
  • oil spray

Equipment

Instructions 

  • Preheat air fryer at 380°F/193°C for about 5 minutes.
    Preheat Air Fryer
  • In large bowl, mix together all the meatball ingredients (ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic salt, optional mustard powder, salt, and black pepper).
    air fryer meatballs mixing in bowl
  • To keep the ground meat from sticking to your hands, lightly oil your hands first. Shape into 12 evenly sized meatballs about the size of a heaping 1/8 cup (a medium cookie scoop also works great for forming the meatballs).
    forming meatballs
  • Add a light layer of oil spray or brush oil on the basket/tray of the air fryer. Add the meatballs into an even layer. Spray the meatballs with oil to lightly coat.
    oil spray on raw meatballs in air fryer basket
  • Air Fry at 380°F/193°C for 8 minutes, then turn the meatballs. Spray meatballs with additional oil if they look dry.
    best recipe box air frier turning meatballs
  • Continue to Air Fry at 380°F/193°C for another 2-4 minutes or until cooked through and to your preference. To serve, use toothpicks or skewers to poke into the cooked meatballs for appetizers. Or you can add pasta sauce and serve on pasta, rice, or make a meatballs sandwich.
    finished and cooked meatballs with garnish

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 127mg, Sodium: 619mg, Potassium: 368mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 70IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 3mg

Air Fryer Low Carb or Keto Meatballs

If you’re on a low carb or keto diet, there’s definitely some substitutions you can make to have these air fried meatballs keto friendly. Instead of using regular breadcrumbs, replace it with almond flour or crushed pork rinds. The almond flour or crushed pork rinds is a great keto friendly alternative for bread crumbs. It doesn’t dilute the flavors either.

How to freeze leftovers and Meal Prep Tips

The best part about these is that they’re super easy to prepare ahead of time. Also, these meatballs are perfect for freezing and meal prepping. After you’ve cooked them or if you have leftover meatballs, make sure to let them cool completely first. Then store them in airtight containers, a freezer-safe container or bags for up to 3 months. Before serving, take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the night before to thaw completely. After they’re thawed, you can reheat them in the microwave, skillet, air fryer or oven.

Why were the meatballs dry?

Did you add some oil spray or light brush of oil to the meatballs before cooking? This really helps keep the meatballs juicier. Also, after you turn or flip the meatballs, add a light layer of oil.

air fryer meatballs with parsley garnish

How Serve the Meatballs? Delicious Ideas for eating and serving.

  • We love serving these as the perfect appetizers! You can serve them as they are with some toothpicks.
  • All types of sauce toppings: Add your favorite sauce on top for juicer meatballs like marinara sauce, alfredo sauce of any type of hot sauce.
  • Make it a hearty meal: Serve with pasta, rice or noodles. Kids will love these meatballs with pasta.
  • Meatballs sandwiches are great! Or make meatball sliders out of these.
  • If you love saucy meatballs, just add extra marinara sauce and cheese on top.
  • If you love parmesan cheese, add a sprinkle on top for more flavor. Add some mozzarella cheese on top and let them melt on the meatballs. YUM!
  • We love meatball pizza! Add them sliced as a pizza topping. Or you can just halve them for pizza.
  • Make lamb meatballs for a greek inspired gyro. Using these air fryer lamb meatballs is perfect and quick for a gyro.

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