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Easy Air Fryer Meatballs

Tender and juicy air fryer meatballs are easy to make in just minutes. Enjoy a batch of these delicious homemade meatballs for a weeknight meal with pasta, in a sub or as an appetizer!

Love air fryer fryer recipes? A few other favorites include air fryer sweet potato cubes, air fryer potato skins and this easy air fry baked potato!

Air fryer meatballs in air fryer basket.
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Quick and Easy Meatball Recipe

Air fryer meatballs are a great way to enjoy my homemade meatball recipe that’s easy, saves time on clean up and has the best texture with a crispy exterior and juicy interior!

Meatballs in the air fryer are perfectly brown and seared on the outside, beautifully seasoned and juicy on the inside and quick-cooking! Serve them on a toothpick, in meatball subs, simmered in marinara sauce, or as a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick cooking and easy clean up. No slow cooking, no simmering, and no frying makes these juicy bites not only ready quickly but there is no excess grease or splatter to clean up.
  • Perfectly seared and freezer friendly. Easy air fryer meatballs turn out with a beautiful brown crust on the outside and juicy interior. Make a double batch to freeze and always have some on hand!

Recipe Ingredients

Meatball ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Ground beef: You can use just the ground beef or use 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 ground beef. Stick with 80% lean. You don’t want it extra lean otherwise it won’t provide the needed fat to keep it moist.
  • Egg, milk and breadcrumbs. Adding an egg to the meat mixture helps bind them, milk keeps them moist and Panko breadcrumbs bind and add texture.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan adds amazing flavor. You can omit if you want to make these dairy-free.
  • Seasoning: Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Fresh parsley adds fantastic flavor but dried can be used, too.

Substitutions and Variations

  • To make these easy air fryer meatballs a bit leaner and to cut back on fat, you can use 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground turkey.
  • You can also use ground Italian sausage if you prefer.
  • If using regular breadcrumbs, feel free to use Italian breadcrumbs for added seasoning.
  • To make these gluten-free, use oats in place of breadcrumbs or a gluten-free bread crumb. You can also use a food processor to pulse your oats to a smaller crumb.
  • Like spicy meatballs? Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the meat mixture.
  • Use this method to make air fryer turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs, and Swedish meatballs too.

How to Cook Air Fryer Meatballs

Showing how to make air fryer meatballs in a 4 step collage.
  • Add all ingredients to the bowl. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and seasoning. Then add in the ground beef.
  • Mix to combine. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix everything until just combined. Do not overmix!
  • Form ball-shaped portions. Scoop the mixture using a medium cookie scoop or Tablespoon and form them into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Place in a single layer in the air fryer basket leaving enough room between each one. Work in batches if necessary.
  • Air fry. Reduce the temperature to 380°F and cook for 12 minutes until browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skip the preheat. It’s not always called for in every air fryer recipe, but it definitely helps with making air fryer meatballs. Starting with high heat helps to brown the outside first and lock in moisture.
  • Avoid overmixing. I recommend using your hands for forming the air fryer meatballs to ensure you are not overworking the ground beef.
  • Work in batches. Do not overcrowd the basket. You want the heat to circulate evenly around every one of the air fryer meatballs.
  • Use a digital thermometer. This is the best way to determine when they are done. Once they’ve reached 165°F, they’re ready.
Meatballs in the air fryer basket.

Recipe FAQs

Do I need to use cooking spray?

You don’t! Ground beef (and ground pork) provides enough of its own grease to create a natural nonstick surface.

In some air fryer recipes, you’ll notice it calls for a cooking spray to help brown the outside of whatever you’re cooking, but this isn’t one of those times.

How long to cook meatballs in air fryer?

Air fryers, much like slow cookers, and conventional ovens, are not all the same. Use this recipe as a general guideline. Preheat, lower the heat, then check on them at 10 minutes. As long as the internal temperature is what it should be (165°F) then they’re ready.

Should I flip them halfway?

It’s not necessary, but by all means, you can. Especially if you want them extra crispy. You can also pause the air fryer halfway and give the basket a little shake.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Meatballs

Air fryer meatballs are so versatile! You can serve them as appetizers for game day, family gatherings, and potlucks, or as an after-school snack!

Our family loves them simmered in tomato sauce served over spaghetti with a side of easy breadsticks or cheesy garlic bread but you can use them fresh or frozen in Italian wedding soup or meatball soup.

If I’m serving them as a main meal that’s not pasta, we’ll have mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables or Italian salad on the side.

Storing Leftovers

  • Store: Store any leftover air fryer meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Cool completely, place in an airtight container then place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat to warm through.
Air fryer meatballs in the air fryer basket.

Love making air fryer recipes? Make my homemade french fries, lemon pepper wings or potato skins in your air fryer, too!

More Meatball Recipes

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Air fryer meatballs in basket.

Air Fryer Meatballs

5 from 9 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Tender and juicy air fryer meatballs are easy to make in just minutes. Enjoy a batch of these delicious homemade meatballs for a simple weeknight meal!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 5



  • 1 large egg , beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup Panko, Italian or gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese , can omit if needed
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder , or 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder , or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley , or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef (or use 1/2 pound ground pork and 1/2 pound ground beef)

Optional way to serve: 2 cups marinara sauce, Cooked noodles, Grated parmesan cheese, Basil, or Parsley


    • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, breadcrumbs, cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Using your hands, mix in the ground beef until just combined.
    • Using a medium cookie scoop or Tablespoon, portion the mixture and form into 1 1/2-inch balls.
    • In the basket of the air fryer, place the meatballs in a single layer. Reduce air fryer temperature to 380°F. Cook 12 minutes, or until browned and the center reaches 165°F on a digital thermometer. You can flip half way if you prefer them a little crispier.

    Optional Way to Serve

    • Simmer meatballs in marinara sauce for 10 minutes. Serve meatballs on their own or over spaghetti noodles. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh herb.


    • If I have pork on hand, I like to use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. It creates juicier meatballs. You can also do half ground beef and half ground turkey to cut back on fat.
    • To make these gluten free, you can use oats in place of breadcrumbs.
    Storage and freezer instructions: 
    Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store in a freezer container up to 3 months. Place in the fridge overnight to thaw and then reheat on the stove top over medium-low heat until warm. 


    Serving: 5meatballs | Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Diet: Gluten Free

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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