These Air Fryer Meatballs are incredibly juicy on the inside, and golden brown on the outside! They’re loaded with flavor and made with just a few ingredients!
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We love our meatballs around here — whether they’re in tomato sauce like these Spaghetti and Meatballs, as Sweet and Sour Meatballs over rice, served as an appetizer out of the crockpot (like these Pineapple Brown Sugar Meatballs!), or with a rich gravy like these Swedish Meatballs recipe, we can’t get enough!
I have been testing out everything I can think of cooking in our air fryer, and we are blown away with how good these Air Fryer Meatballs are.
If you are tired of being fed dry, flavorless meatballs, you need to try these!
They are such a great base for so many other recipes, and they’re also perfect for adding to your freezer stash (more on that below! 🙂 ).
Like we found with this Air Fryer Chicken Breast, the air fryer just does the best job at cooking meat and poultry with no risk of drying it out. The fact that it cooks hands off is just a bonus!
Reasons we love these Air Fryer Meatballs:
- They cook quickly, even more quickly than in the oven at the same temperature — mine were ready in 6-10 minutes, but that will depend on the size.
- They brown up so nicely, with no oil at all!
- They stay so super juicy on the inside, it’s kind of incredible.
- They’re easy to make! There’s no turning or flipping or fussing — just roll the mixture into balls and toss them in.
Variations and Substitutions for these meatball ingredients:
- Meat: higher fat ground meat will give juicier meatballs, it should go without saying! That being said, I’ve made these with lean ground meat and they are still delicious. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken or Italian sausage!
- Bread crumbs: I’ve found that fresh, fine bread crumbs + liquid equals moist meatballs. You can swap the fresh for dried if you’re in a pinch, but definitely don’t skip the soaking!
- Water: I kept my ingredient list as simple as possible, so I soak my bread crumbs in water. You can swap this for milk or almost any other liquid (that makes sense to use!).
- Cheese: The cheese adds incredible flavor, and freshly grated is best if you have it. You can skip it, and I do when I am making meatballs for sweet and sour sauce or another sauce that doesn’t go well with the cheesy flavor
- Seasoning: Again, if you want, you can experiment! I like meatballs simply seasoned so I can use them in a variety of ways.
How to freeze air fryer meatballs:
I love having a big bag of juicy homemade meatballs in the freezer — they are so perfect for adding to a simmering pot of sauce or quick weeknight meals!
To freeze, simply bake until cooked through and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
Place in a zip top freezer bag — making sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing completely. Label, place in the freezer and freeze up to 3 months.
To serve, you can simply throw them right from frozen into whatever sauce you have simmering. Heat through and devour.
What to serve with meatballs:
- These meatballs work perfectly in this Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs recipe.
- Serve over this Instant Pot Brown Rice with a bottle of your favorite sweet and sour or teriyaki sauce.
- Toss them with this healthier Pesto Spinach Alfredo Sauce and serve over pasta
- This Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce is one of our favorites and goes with everything!
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Air Fryer Meatballs
- 1 slice soft bread
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F according to manufacturer directions.
- Tear bread into small pieces and place in a food processor. Process until the bread is in fine crumbs and combine with water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, Parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and soaked bread until just combined — don't overmix!
- Shape into 1.5-2″ balls (I get about 20 this way, but you can get up to 30 if you shape them into 1″ balls).
- Lightly grease your air fryer basket with non stick spray and fill with meatballs, leave a 1/2″ space between them. You will likely need to do a couple of batches.
- Cook for 7-8 minutes at 400 degrees F, until a meat thermometer inserted in the largest meatball reads a minimum of 160 degrees F. If they are not done, put back in and cook 2 more minutes.
- Repeat until all meatballs are cooked and serve.
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Tried this recipe?
Tag @thereciperebel or hashtag #thereciperebel — I love to see what you’re making!Tag @thereciperebel
Definitely delish and juicy!! Wasn’t prepared to make as described. Subbed with premade bread crumbs; used season all,adobo, garlic and onion powder for Italian seasoning. Grated Parmesan out ….yes. Served over jasmine rice and broccoli. Can’t wait to make as written once prepared
Ashley Fehr says
Thanks Char! I’d love to hear what you think 🙂
If I’m using bread crumbs , how much do I use?
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Danielle, I haven’t tested them in this recipe but it’s around 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes.
Christine Kempke says
Can you use bread crumbs instead of a slice of bread?
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Christine! You can swap the fresh for dried if you’re in a pinch, but definitely don’t skip the soaking!
You mix the parmesan in with the meatballs right?
Ashley Fehr says
Yes, sorry about the confusion!