Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

Using an air fryer for making meatballs is a game changer. It’s fast and easy to use and it saves energy. Whether you are making meatballs for spaghetti, subs, or on their own, these quick and easy Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs are sure to be a hit.

air fryer meatballs in a pot of marinara sauce, topped with fresh parsley


Air Fryers seem to be in almost every kitchen these days, and ours is no exception. Although we spend most of our time outside using the BBQs, we have an air fryer for those days we need to quickly make something or the weather is just not cooperating.

Why Cook Meatballs In An Air Fryer

These meatballs cook faster in the air fryer than it takes to make in an oven or on the stovetop. You don’t have to wait for the oven to heat up, since an air fryer takes only 3-4 minutes on average to preheat. Air Fryers also use less energy than a stove or oven, so you can save money on utility costs as well.

The meatballs are cooked in about 10 minutes, depending on the air fryer. With this recipe, you can have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.

Does The Air Fryer Have To Be Preheated For Cooking Meatballs?

Although preheating is not necessary when using an air fryer, I like to preheat it for 2-4 minutes before cooking anything. It helps to get the temperature up to the right cooking temperature before adding food. This also ensures even cooking.

If you choose not to preheat your air fryer, this recipe will take 2-3 minutes longer to cook through. That’s the time it takes to get to the proper temperature, usually.

How To Keep Meatballs From Sticking

There are a couple of ways to prevent the meatballs from sticking to the basket of your air fryer.

  1. Use a small piece of parchment paper to cover your basket. Poke a few holes in the parchment with a toothpick or skewer to allow the natural oils or fat to seep through.
  2. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or lightly brush olive oil on the basket. Don’t use too much because air fryers are meant to cook with very little oil or none at all.

Ingredients For Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

There are ten ingredients in total in this recipe:

  • Ground Beef: We like to use lean ground beef so that the meatballs don’t shrink a lot. You can use extra lean but the meatballs will not be as juicy.
  • Bread Crumbs: This is needed as the binder for the meatballs. It’s what holds the meat together. Our choice is Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
  • Eggs: These also act as a binder to help hold the meat together. Eggs are more like the glue that keeps the meat from falling apart.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds an aromatic flavour to these meatballs.
  • Spices and Herbs: onion powder, oregano, basil, and thyme add to the aromatic flavour of the garlic.
  • Salt and Pepper: No dish is complete without a seasoning of salt and pepper.

What Tools Are Needed For Air Fryer Meatballs

The key to even cooking when it comes to these meatballs is making sure the meatballs are all the same size. To do this we use a food scale and a cookie scoop.

A medium-sized cookie scoop, lightly oiled, works well to scoop the meat mixture. It holds about 2 tablespoons of meat which is a good size for this recipe.

A food scale can be more accurate when it comes to the size of the meatballs. I weigh them out to 56 grams.

Serving Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

When it comes to serving these meatballs, you can use this recipe for any dish that calls for meatballs. We serve these with spaghetti and marinara sauce. They can also be served on buns with sauce and cheese to create homemade meatball subs.

This recipe is great for doubling or tripling for the big game whether that’s an NFL, NHL, or NBA game. We like to serve these meatballs for regular season or playoff games.

Storing Leftover Meatballs

Any leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer for 4-5 minutes or until heated through.

These can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating in the air fryer.

Can These Be Made Ahead?

This recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. This is the method we use on weekends like Super Bowl Sunday when we are making a lot of food for the game.

We also make large batches of these meatballs and freeze them for later use. We store them precooked and raw, in the freezer for up to 3 months. When we know we are going to freeze precooked meatballs, we like to undercook them by about 2-3 minutes. They are cooked through, just not fully. This way they don’t overcook when reheating them. Then we just pop them in the air fryer and cook from frozen. The cooking time needs to be adjusted when cooking from frozen, usually 3-5 minutes longer.

When these meatballs are fully cooked before freezing, they can be added to a sauce directly and thawed in the sauce. One good way to do this is using a crock pot or slow cooker. The meatballs will thaw while the sauce cooks.

air fryer meatballs in a pot of marinara sauce, topped with fresh parsley

Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Meat, Snack
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 12 meatballs


  • Air Fryer
  • Food Scale to weigh meatballs


  • pounds ground beef
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Mix until well blended
  • Using a scoop and a food scale, measure out meatballs to about 2 tablespoons (56 grams)
  • Place meatballs on the air fryer basket
  • Preheat air fryer to 390℉ for 3-4 minutes
  • Cook meatballs in air fryer for 9-10 minutes or until cooked through,(internal temperature 165℉)
  • Serve
Keyword air fryer, appetizer, meatballs

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