Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

Air fryer meatballs are easy to throw together when weeknights are a bit hectic. Just mix, roll, and cook to perfection in under 20 minutes!

We’ve all been there - you take ground beef out of the freezer with the intention of making a full meal, only to have life throw you a curveball or two.

Don’t stress! Grab a few items from your fridge and pantry, toss them in a bowl with the meat, and mix up a batch of these air fryer meatballs.

This recipe yields about 20 total but can easily be scaled up or down depending on how many mouths you need to feed.

Homemade meatballs are a favorite around here, so I have plenty of recipes to choose from. There’s even a cheesy bomb version that is a meal all on its own!

Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs with toothpicks for serving

Air Fryer Meatballs - Tips and Tricks

  • Choose a fattier blend. I recommend using an 80/20 blend so there’s plenty of flavor and moisture. If you want something leaner, ground chicken or turkey would make a great substitute for the beef. 
  • Keep it cold. Unlike other meats, ground beef should be handled and cooked straight from the fridge. Otherwise, the mixture won’t stick and the rounds will break apart. 
  • Want some spice? Add a little cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes with the other spices for a touch of heat.
  • Use a light touch. The more you stir or work the meat with your hand, the more likely it is to be tough and dry. Mix the ingredients just until combined and evenly distributed.
  • Don’t crowd the basket! Leave some space when placing the meatballs in the air fryer so none of them are touching each other. This ensures that they will be browned on all sides.
air fryer meatballs ingredients

Serving Suggestions

These are delicious on their own with a side salad or some veggies. Slice up a few to toss on a pizza or load up a hoagie roll for a tender meatball sub.

You can also spoon a few homemade meatballs over rice or pasta with your favorite sauce - marinara, barbecue, or sweet and sour would be delicious!

air fryer meatballs ingredients in a bowl

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Air Fryer - Different brands and sizes will require different cooking times, so be familiar with your model and make adjustments as needed.
  • Mixing Bowl - I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Tongs - Quickly and easily flip the meatballs in the air fryer so they can get back to cooking!

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

How do I prevent homemade meatballs from sticking to my hands?

Wet your hands before forming the rounds and dip them in a bowl of water throughout the process. This helps create a smooth outer surface as well!

homemade meatballs rolled on a tray

Which breadcrumbs should I use?

Either regular or panko are fine, depending on your texture preferences. Just be sure to grab a plain variety without any added spices.

Can I freeze air fryer meatballs?

Absolutely! They’ll stay fresh for about two months and can be reheated straight from the freezer.

Allow them to cool, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Pop the tray in the freezer for about an hour and transfer the rounds to a ziploc bag once solid.


meatballs in air fryer

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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air fryer meatballs closeup on one meatball

Yield: about 20 meatballs
Author: Donna Elick
Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs

Air fryer meatballs are easy to throw together when weeknights are a bit hectic. Just mix, roll, and cook to perfection in under 20 minutes!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 8 MinTotal time: 18 Min


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine the hamburger meat, egg, worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, milk, minced onion, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, and cheese.
  3. Using a spatula or your hands, mix all of the ingredients together well.
  4. Shape the meat into balls that are about two inches around.
  5. You can place the meatballs directly into the basket or you can line the basket with a little parchment paper and then place the meatballs on top. Place them in a single layer.
  6. I was able to fit about 9 meatballs in at a time. You don’t want them to touch because you want them to cook evenly on all sides.
  7. Cook them for about 6-8 minutes, turning them over once halfway through cooking time.
  8. They’re ready when they’ve browned nicely on the outside and are cooked throughout!
  9. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.
  10. You can use the meatballs as is, topped with sauce, on top of pizza, pasta, or even as a meatball sub!

Homemade Air Fryer Meatballs close up

Originally published August 2021

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  1. I don’t see any cheese in the recipe but you can see it in the photos. How much shredded cheese do you add?

    1. Thank you for catching that. It was written as Parmesan cheese. I updated it for the Colby jack that was used. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.


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