These juicy air fryer meatballs are full of tender ground beef, Italian seasonings, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese The best part is that they take 10 minutes to make. Enjoy them in a meal with spaghetti or on meatball subs or serve them as an appetizer.
And if you're a fan of meatballs, try these greek chicken meatballs, or throw these air fryer meatballs in this Italian meatball soup.
Don't you love a simple recipe that seems like you slaved in the kitchen over them? Authentic, juicy, and tender meatballs always seemed intimidating until I started to make my own.
And recently I discovered putting my meatballs in the air fryer and it's my new favorite way to make them in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
The air fryer always makes meals easy because it cooks food in a shorter amount of time and eliminates the need for oil while achieving a crispy fried-like finished recipe. Here is our favorite air fryer.
These easy air fryer meatballs are very similar to our Gluten-free meatballs in terms of ingredients, but we're making them a bit smaller and cooking them in the air fryer.
Why You'll Love Air Fryer Meatballs
- Serve them as a main meal or appetizer. We love to serve these for game day parties (they're always a crowd pleaser!)
- Air frying gives them a crispy, golden brown outside, and tender inside.
- Bold Italian flavor thanks to garlic, shallots, and Italian seasonings.
- They're easy to meal prep, flash-freeze, and reheat (speaking from experience!).
- Kid-friendly, especially when served with pasta (carbs) and parmesan cheese.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients to make these juicy meatballs. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Beef: use lean ground beef for this recipe. We love to use beef as an appetizer ingredient like in these beef tenderloin roll-ups.
- Bread crumbs: classic Italian breadcrumbs are always great, but you can use Panko bread crumbs, or gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
- Shallot: these are small, mild onions we love to use in dinners like in this Lemon Chicken Orzo. They're smaller, so you'll use the whole thing rather than half of a larger onion. However, half of a large yellow or white onion will work.
- Garlic: fresh garlic is bold and pungent.
- Seasoning: combine a mixture of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt.
- Parmesan cheese: this adds flavor and richness, and also helps bind the meatballs together. Swap this for nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option.
- Fresh parsley: don't skip this ingredient because it adds fresh flavor and the green color makes them look just as delicious as they taste.
- Egg: to bind the beef meatballs and prevent them from falling apart. Use a room temperature egg to help it blend into the meatball mixture better.
- Olive oil: this adds more fat and moisture to the meatballs. I love using quality olive oil, but you could swap this for milk to add moisture.
How to Make Air Fryer Meatballs
The full instructions are below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. These homemade meatballs are really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for a couple of minutes. Similar to preheating the oven, this helps food coook more evenly.
Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix the mixture together, until the egg and seasoning appear to be evenly distributed. You could also add everything to a food processor and pulse a few times to combine, just be careful not to over-mix or the meatballs can end up tough.
Use a large cookie scoop to form the meat mixture into approximately 15 (2-ounce) meatballs, packing them tightly. Do your best to make them all the same size so they cook evenly.
Carefully spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray (preferably olive oil or coconut oil spray) and place the uncooked meatballs in an even layer, without them touching. You may need to work in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
Drizzle the meatballs with a little more olive oil and air fry at 400°F for 9-11 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
You can put raw or frozen meatballs in the air fryer. Roll the meatballs then air fry at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.
Cooking meatballs at a higher temperature, 400 degrees, is better because it creates a crispy outside quickly that locks in the juices and they take less time to cook.
Meatballs, like all ground beef, should be cooked to 165°F. Learn more about the internal temperature of beef and determine doneness for all of the popular cuts of beef. It will help you feel confident in the kitchen without a recipe!
If I'm not air frying meatballs, I prefer to bake meatballs, but sear them in oil first. You get the best of both worlds by getting a crispy golden outside from searing in oil and then they cook evenly all the way through in the oven. It's the same method we use for these gluten-free meatballs.
Tips to Make the Best Recipe
- Use olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray because vegetable oil spray can damage the air fryer and cause it to chip.
- Roll the meatballs into the same size using an ice cream scoop so they cook evenly.
- Use a meat thermometer to determine when the meatballs are done. The cook time can vary based on your air fryer and the size of the meatballs. The internal temperature of meatballs should be 165 degrees f. Learn more about the internal temp of beef for any cut of beef or recipe.
How to Serve Air Fryer Meatballs
Serve them as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauces like marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, or basil pesto.
Make them a meal with our favorite side dishes like air fryer asparagus, air fryer smashed potatoes or cheesy scalloped potatoes.
Put them on an Italian roll with marinara and provolone for the ultimate meatballs sub.
Serve them with fresh spaghetti, your favorite pasta sauce and parmesan for the ultimate spaghetti and meatballs meal.
Tools for This Recipe
Here are some basic kitchen tools we used for this recipe (may contain affiliate links).
- Air fryer: this ninja foodi 2-basket air fryer is our favorite because it allows you to make a large batch of the same thing in two separate bins or cook an entire meal using the separate baskets for separate recipes.
- Instant-read thermometer: this is my number one recommended tool when it comes to determining beef doneness. The cooking time can vary based on your air fryer and the size of the meatballs.
- Large cookie scoop: this ensures each meatball is the same size so they cook evenly. They're not just for cookies! This 3 tablespoon cookie scoop is the same one we use to scoop the batter of blueberry banana muffins and gluten-free chicken and dumplings.
Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you don't plan to eat them within that time frame, flash freeze them on a baking sheet then transfer them to a zip-top bag or airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat frozen meatballs in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes, or until heated all the way through. You can also reheat refrigerated meatballs in the air fryer or oven until warm through the center.
Meal prep tip: make a double batch and freeze them then air fry the meatballs directly from frozen for a quick lunch or dinner for a busy weeknight.
This post is sponsored by The Ohio Beef Council. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to brands like them who believe in our recipes, so we can keep sharing them free of charge.
Visit www.OhioBeef.org, and follow the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for beef nutrition facts, cooking tips, and recipes and to meet Ohio’s beef farming families. Use #OhioBeef to share photos of the delicious beef dishes you’re incorporating into your appetizer menu.
If you make these homemade air fryer meatballs, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air fryer bacon wrapped chicken breast
Air Fryer Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef (we used 93% lean)
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs gluten-free if needed
- 1 shallot minced (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (Note 2)
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg
- Marinara sauce for serving
- Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Add the beef to a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, minced shallot, garlic, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt, parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley to a large bowl and mix until incorporated.
- Add the ground beef and egg and use a wooden spoon or clean hands to fully incorporate the beef and eggs with the seasoning and herbs.
- Use a large cookie scoop to form the mixture into approximately 15 (2-ounce) meatballs, packing them tightly. Do your best to make them all the same size so they cook evenly.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray (preferably olive oil or coconut oil spray) and place the meatballs in a single layer, without them touching. Work in two batches if your air fryer is small.
- Drizzle the meatballs with a little more olive oil and air fry at 400°F for 9-11 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve them warm with parmesan cheese and marinara sauce, on top of pasta, inside a sub, etc.
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