Easy Air Fryer Meatballs From Scratch

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Meatballs are a versatile dish served as an appetiser with pasta, or even used as a filling for sandwiches.

Traditionally, meatballs are fried in oil or baked in the oven, but air frying offers a healthier and more efficient cooking method.

air fryer meatballs in tomato sauce


Makes approx 16 meatballs depending on size.

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 454g lean ground / minced beef
  • 20g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 80g seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten

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How Do I Cook Meatballs In The Air Fryer?

raw meatballs

In a large mixing bowl, add the minced beef, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, minced garlic, beaten egg, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.

Once the mixture is combined, take a small portion of it and roll it between your palms to form a meatball. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used, and you have a batch of perfectly shaped meatballs.

Preheat your air fryer to 180C / 360F for 6 minutes.

Use a suitable liner or line with greaseproof paper/foil to make the cleaning process easier.

Lightly spray with cooking spray to prevent the meatballs from sticking.

Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket, making sure to leave some space between each one for proper air circulation.

How Long To Cook Meatballs In The Air Fryer?

Air fry the meatballs for 10 minutes at 180C / 360F. Shake the basket after 5 mins.

Check with a meat thermometer that the internal temperature has reached 74C / 165F.

You may have to cook in batches depending on the size of your air fryer basket.

How To Air Fry Meatballs Frozen

Whether you purchase them from the supermarket or prepare and freeze a batch of homemade meatballs, having them ready in your freezer is a game-changer.

  1. Set the air fryer to a temperature of 190C/380F.
  2. Air fry the frozen beef meatballs for approximately 12-15 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking process. This ensures even browning and cooking.
  3. To check for doneness, slice one meatball in half to make sure there are no pink or raw sections in the middle. If necessary, adjust the cooking time by a few minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Or check the internal temperature is 74C/165F.

Remember, these are approximate cooking times, so it’s always best to keep an eye on the meatballs and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Meatball Variations

While classic Air Fryer Beef Meatballs are delicious, there’s no harm in adding a personal touch and experimenting with different flavours.

For a Mediterranean twist, add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of dried oregano.

Or, for an Asian-inspired flavour, mix in minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and a dash of sesame oil.

The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Air Fryer Meatball Serving Suggestions

Here are a few serving suggestions:

  1. Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs: Serve these tender beef meatballs with a generous portion of spaghetti and your favourite tomato sauce. Top it off with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Or you can cheat and use a jar of shop-bought sauce.
  2. Meatball Sub Sandwich: Toast a long sub roll, coat it with tomato sauce, and load it up with meatballs. Add some melted cheese and fried onions.
  3. Meatball Appetisers: Skewer these meatballs with toothpicks and serve them as appetisers at your next party. Pair them with a tangy dipping sauce, such as barbecue, sweet and sour sauce or creamy garlic aioli, the choice is yours.
meatball sub

Storing Air Fryer Beef Meatballs

Cooked meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Be sure to place them in an airtight container to maintain their freshness.

Reheat thoroughly at 200C / 400F for 6-7 minutes.

Check the internal temperature has reached 74C/165F.

How To Freeze Air Fryer Meatballs

Air Fryer meatballs freeze exceptionally well.

Freeze before cooking or after cooking the choice is yours.

After cooking, completely cool the meatballs and place in a freezer-safe container or zip-top freezer bag.

They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat thoroughly at 200C / 400F for 6-7 minutes.

Check the internal temperature has reached 74C/165F

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use other types of minced meat instead of beef?

Feel free to experiment with minced turkey, chicken, or even a combination of meats.

Is it necessary to preheat the air fryer before cooking meatballs?

Preheating the air fryer is not always necessary, especially if your model heats up quickly. However, if your air fryer requires preheating, it’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure even cooking and optimal results.

Can I make smaller meatballs for bite-sized appetisers?

Adjusting the size of the meatballs is entirely up to you. Smaller meatballs are perfect for bite-sized appetisers and can be cooked in a shorter amount of time. Remember to adjust the cooking time and make sure they are cooked through.

What are some alternative cooking methods for meatballs?

If you don’t have an air fryer, there are alternative cooking methods. You can bake them in a preheated oven at 380°F (190°C) for approximately 15-20 minutes or cook them in a frying pan over medium heat, turning occasionally until cooked through. They must reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

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