These easy air fryer meatballs are perfectly seasoned, with a delectable crispy exterior, making them the best addition to your next bowl of spaghetti!
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Making meatballs from scratch is a delicious way to get a homemade meal on the table in no time! Air frying them takes it one step further, adding an extra crunch on the outside that can’t be beaten. Plus, air fryers are super easy to use and require less oil than frying up your meatballs in a skillet.
Air fryer meatballs for the win!
This recipe makes meatballs sans marinara sauce, so you can use them any way you like, whether it’s pairing the cooked meatballs with an Italian dish like Creamy Tomato and Basil Penne Pasta, using them in an appetizer like Cocktail Meatballs or Quick & Easy Meatball Sliders, or making Meatball Stroganoff.
Easy Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe
The combination of lean ground beef, ground pork, Italian herbs, spices, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs makes for a juicy yet flavorful meatball that is still low in fat. Seriously, you’ve never had meatballs this good!
Kids love air fryer Italian meatballs because of the crunchy exterior and classic flavor, and parents will love them for their quick, easy-to-cook method that makes clean up a breeze. (No oil spatters all over the stovetop! Hurray!)
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Lean ground beef
- Ground pork – We love making our meatballs with ground pork, but you can use all beef if you prefer.
- Egg – Here’s the best way to crack an egg!
- Italian breadcrumbs
- Parmesan cheese – This adds some extra savory flavor to your air fryer meatballs.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Green onions – Green onions add a mild onion flavor without the crunchy texture of chopped raw onions.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- For an Italian twist, add fresh minced garlic cloves or garlic powder and oregano.
- To make spicy meatballs, add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the mix.
- Swap the ground meat with plant-based ground or ground turkey for a lighter version of this recipe.
How to Make Air Fryer Meatballs
- Prepare: Preheat your air fryer to 375ºF.
- Make the meatball mixture: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix together gently with a spatula or your hands.
- Form the meatballs: Gently roll the meat mixture into 1- to 1 ½-inch balls. Place them on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet.
- Air fry: Coat the inside of the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray, then arrange the meatballs in a single layer, leaving space between them for airflow. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer pink in the middle; if you’re using a meat thermometer, they should reach 165ºF. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it may be necessary to cook these in batches.
Mix the meatball mixture just until all the ingredients are combined, as over-mixing will cause the meatballs to be tough.
How to Store Leftover Air Fryer Meatballs
If you have leftover air fryer meatballs, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat them in the air fryer at 350ºF for about 4 minutes, or in the microwave or a 350º oven.
These air fryer meatballs are delicious served over mashed potatoes or egg noodles, piled onto a hoagie roll with marinara and mozzarella, or served with your favorite pasta dish. You can even make them into Swedish meatballs!
If you’re heating up pre-made or leftover meatballs in an air fryer, it should take about 4 minutes, although this depends on the size of the meatballs.
It really depends on your preference and how much time you have. Baking is healthier as it requires less oil than frying, but frying creates a crispy exterior that everyone loves. We say split the difference and use an air fryer, which is healthier like baking, but has the crispy exterior of frying on the stovetop!
The secret to good meatballs is all in the ingredients! Start with a quality, lean ground beef or pork and mix in flavorful ingredients like herbs, spices, and cheese to give it lots of flavor. Adding some breadcrumbs helps bind the mixture together and keeps them from falling apart during cooking. Lastly, don’t over-mix the ingredients as this can make them tough.
Yes, raw meatballs can be cooked in the air fryer. Just be sure to coat the basket in oil or cooking spray to keep them from sticking and you’ll be good to go!
Air Fryer Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons green onions chopped
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat an air fryer to 375 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix together gently with a spatula or your hands. Mix just until incorporated, as overmixing will cause the meatballs to be tougher.
- Gently form into 1” to 1 ½” size balls. Place on a parchment lined plate or sheet pan until ready to start cooking.
- Coat the inside of the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray, then arrange the meatballs inside, leaving a space between to allow for airflow.
- Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and no longer pink in the middle. If using a meat thermometer, they should reach 165 F when cooked through. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it may be necessary to cook these in batches.