Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe
These juicy and tender homemade meatballs are full of flavor and made in under 15 minutes in the air fryer. If you want a customizable and healthier option for meatballs, learn all about it in this post.
Meatball Ingredients & Variations
For this recipe, we used ground turkey for a healthier and leaner alternative than other types of meat. But you can add and adjust different seasonings in your meatballs based on your preferences. Here are some of my favorite ingredients:
- Meat: turkey, pork, beef, meat alternatives
- Italian seasonings: oregano, basil, thyme, parsley
- Cheese: parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella
- Other seasonings: garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce
- Spice: paprika, cayenne, red pepper flakes
- Binders: eggs, breadcrumbs (plain or Italian), panko
How to Form the Meatballs
Dishers are the way to go for meatballs! These keep your hands a little cleaner and form even-sized and shaped meatballs. And let’s be honest, it’s also fun for those of us who are freaked out by getting our hands dirty.
We used a #50 disher, which measures out to be 1 ¼ tablespoon or meatballs that are 1 ½ inch thick. One tip is to spray the inside of the disher with a little avocado oil before scooping so it helps release the meatball easily onto the parchment paper or surface.
If you don’t have a disher, you can always use measuring spoons, regular spoons, or estimate the size with your hands. Roll the ball of meat between the palm of your hands and set it on the parchment paper. This recipe makes up to 30-32 meatballs.
How Long Should You Air Fry Meatballs?
The cooking time for these 1 ½ inch thick meatballs is about 10 minutes at 350 °F in the air fryer. The USDA states that the internal temperature needs to be at least 160 °F for ground beef and pork, and 165 °F for ground chicken and turkey in order to be considered safe to eat.
If your meatballs are smaller, then reduce to six minutes and check the internal temperature before serving or continuing cooking. If your meatballs are larger, start at 10 minutes and check the internal temperature.
Should You Sear Meatballs Before Baking?
Homemade meatballs don’t require searing before baking or air frying. What’s great about using an air fryer is that you get a golden brown sear on the edges of the meatballs in under 15 minutes–it’s fast and easy! Our favorite way of serving these meatballs are with a healthy BBQ sauce topping and roasted broccoli and cauliflower. For more air fryer recipes, try out air fryer asparagus, air fryer cauliflower, and zucchini chips in the air fryer.
Why Are My Meatballs Falling Apart?
If your meatballs are falling apart before or after cooking, it means you most likely need more binders in your recipe. Binders are ingredients like breadcrumbs and eggs that help keep the meat and ingredients together during the cooking process.
Sometimes the ground meat can be a little on the wet side and you need to add more binder. Try adding two tablespoons of breadcrumbs to your meat at a time and mix gently. You don’t want to overmix your meat because it will become too rubbery after cooking.
If they hold up in a ball after forming them with a scoop or your hands, then you’re good to go. You can also test one meatball in the air fryer just to make sure it holds up after cooking so you can still adjust the rest of the meat mixture if there’s still an issue.
Are Frozen Meatballs Good in the Air Fryer?
If you’ve got leftover meatballs you can keep them in the fridge for up to three to four days. You can also freeze cooked meatballs in an airtight container for up to one month. Frozen meatballs are just as good as fresh ones and save you a lot of time in the future! All you need to do is pop them back into the air fryer straight from the freezer at 350 °F for 10-15 minutes, stopping halfway and mixing them.
Air Fryer Meatballs
- Mixing bowl
- air fryer
- Parchment paper, optional
- #50 scoop (optional) or tablespoon or spoon
- 1 lb ground turkey
- ½ c yellow onion chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese optional
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ c Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- avocado oil spray optional
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients and use your hands or a spatula to mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350 °F.
- Place the parchment paper on top of the counter or cutting board.
- Use a #50 scoop (or tablespoon or spoon) to measure out the ground meat mixture and use the palm of your hands to roll it into a 1 ½ inch ball. Place each ball onto the parchment paper. Continue until you have about 30-32 meatballs or until you have no meat mixture left.
- Spray the air fryer chamber and line the meatballs evenly inside. (This should fit about half of the meatballs).
- Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes. Use a thermometer to make sure the meatballs measure at least 165 °F internally.
- Cook the rest of the meatballs and then serve immediately.