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Air Fryer Meatballs

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Air Fryer Meatballs are moist and flavorful.  They are made with ground chicken or turkey, spices and finished off with a spicy red sauce. These meatballs are quick and easy made in the air fryer and work great as a meal or an appetizer at a party! 

Air Fryer Meatballs on a plate.

AIR FRYER MEATBALLS 

Now that a lot of people are seeing family and friends more there are going to be a lot of summer get-togethers.

Today’s Air Fryer Meatballs make the perfect dish to serve as an appetizer or as a quick weeknight meal like in these meatball subs

You might know by now my love for air fryer recipes.

I make so many things in it from this Air Fryer Cod to these Air Fryer Mediterranean Chicken Thighs to Air Fryer Twice Baked Potatoes to Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

The options are endless with an air fryer – you can make so many things in it! 

In addition to my air fryer I also love making these delicious meatballs for my family. 

My kids always devour them whether it is these Mediterranean Baked Turkey Meatballs, Greek Meatballs or these Pork Meatballs

You are going to love this quick meatball recipe – they have a bit of kick to them from the sauce so we call them firecracker meatballs in our house! 

If spice isn’t your thing you can pair them with your favorite sauce like this Creamy Dill Sauce or Marinara Sauce.

Air Fryer Meatballs on a plate.

WHAT IS AIR FRY COOKING?

A lot of people might be wondering how an air fryer works.

It is similar to an amped-up countertop convection oven. Its compact space promotes even faster cooking.

The top of the unit holds a heating mechanism and a fan.

Hot air rushes down and around the food which is placed in a basket.

The rapid air circulation helps crisp up food.

A lot of people compare it to deep frying food but much, much healthier!

It also requires very little clean-up and most of the time the basket in the air fryer can be dishwashed.

If you are into quick weeknight meals then an air fryer is for you!

Air Fryer Meatballs on a platter.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN AIR FRYER MEATBALLS RECIPE?

FOR HOMEMADE MEATBALLS: 

GROUND CHICKEN OR TURKEY : While I tend to use ground chicken or ground turkey for the meat mixture, you could also use lean ground beef or ground pork. 

OLIVE OIL : I use olive oil but any oil will work. The oil will help the meatballs stay moist. 

GARLIC CLOVES: The garlic is added for extra flavor. You can omit if you would like! 

PARMESAN CHEESE : The cheese also adds flavor. 

A LARGE EGG : The eggs help to bind the meatballs together.  

PANKO BREADCRUMBS: The bread crumbs also help to bind the meatballs together. You can use regular breadcrumbs if you want. 

SMOKED PAPRIKA : The smoked paprika is added to the meatballs for a touch of rich flavor. 

CHIVES AND PARSLEY

ONION POWDER 

ITALIAN SEASONING : This is optional but would be a good addition.

Air Fryer Meatballs on a spoon.

FOR THE FIRECRACKER SAUCE: 

I think that the best part of these meatballs is the sauce! 

HOT SAUCE : I like to use Franks hot sauce, but sriracha is fine

BROWN SUGAR: I used light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar works fine.

SOY SAUCE: When I use soy sauce I tend to stick with low sodium to control the salt but you can also use regular. 

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Apple cider vinegar gives this sauce a nice bit of acidity

GARLIC POWDER & RED PEPPER FLAKES 

Air Fryer Meatballs up close photo.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AIR FRYER MEATBALLS?

If you don’t have an air fryer you can of course bake these in the oven on a baking sheet. Follow this recipe here

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, beaten eggs, smoked paprika, chives and onion powder and mix well.

Add the ground chicken, panko and parmesan cheese, and combine but do NOT overmix.

Air Fryer Meatballs ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Make meatballs using 3 tablespoons per meatball.

Place in the air fryer basket in a single layer.

They will shrink slightly when cooked. {You may need to cook the meatballs in batches}.

Air Fryer Meatballs in a dish.

Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray and place the basket into the airfryer.

Set the airfryer for 400° for 10 minutes.

Turn the meatballs and spray again. Fry for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Check one for doneness using a meat thermometer. You want an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Air Fryer Meatballs in an air fryer.

Remove one meatball at a time and dip in the Firecracker sauce, making sure to coat all sides well.

Place back in the basket. Repeat until all have been coated. Fry for 2 more minutes. Don’t overcook or it will result in tough meatballs.

Remove and dip in the sauce {another great sauce option is tomato sauce}.

Air Fryer Meatballs in the air fryer.

In a small saucepan, combine the hot sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt.

Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce thickens and gets sticky.

The sauce will thicken more as it cools, so don’t over thicken.

If sauce gets too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time till the right consistency.

Add the red pepper flakes when sauce has thickened and stir in to combine.

Air Fryer Meatballs in an air fryer.

TIPS FOR MAKING AIR FRYER MEATBALLS

  • Don’t over mix the meatball mixture or they will get tough and dry. 

  • Each meatball should be about 3 Tablespoons.

  • One of my favorite things with this recipe is the sauce. You can double the sauce recipe if you want extra for dipping.

  • These can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for an easy dinner. Cook right before serving.

  • Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray when they are in the basket, then when you flip them, spray again.

  • You can make a double batch of meatballs and freeze half for later. It is always nice to have options in your freezer for busy nights. 

Air Fryer Meatballs with forks.

SOME OF MY BEST MEATBALL RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE: 

EASY BAKED RIGATONI WITH CHICKEN MEATBALLS 

BEEF KAFTA MEATBALLS

SLOW COOKER MEDITERRANEAN BEEF MEATBALLS

KIBBEH MEATBALLS WITH SPICED YOGURT 

ALBONDIGAS EN CHIPOTLE

Air Fryer Meatballs with logo.

Air Fryer Meatballs on a plate.

Air Fryer Meatballs

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

FOR THE FIRECRACKER SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce {like Franks, Sriracha}
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

Instructions

    FOR THE MEATBALLS:

    1. In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, beaten eggs, smoked paprika, chives and onion powder and mix well.
    2. Add the ground chicken, panko and parmesan cheese, and combine but do NOT overmix.
    3. Make meatballs using 3 tablespoons per meatball. Place in the air fryer basket. The meatballs can be put pretty close, but not squished in. They will shrink slightly when cooked. {You may need to cook the meatballs in batches}.
    4. Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray and place the basket into the airfryer.
    5. Set the airfryer for 400° for 10 minutes. Turn the meatballs and spray again. Fry for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Check one for doneness.
    6. Remove one meatball at a time and dip in the Firecracker sauce, making sure to coat all sides well. Place back in the basket. Repeat until all have been coated. Fry for 2 more minutes.
    7. Remove and serve with the sauce.


    FOR THE FIRECRACKER SAUCE:

    1. In a small saucepan, combine the hot sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt.
    2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce thickens and gets sticky.
    3. The sauce will thicken more as it cools, so don’t over thicken.
    4. If sauce gets too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time till the right consistency.
    5. Add the red pepper flakes when sauce has thickened and stir in to combine.

Notes

Don’t over mix the meatballs or they will get tough and dry.


Double the sauce recipe if you want extra for dipping.


These can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cook right before serving.


Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray when they are in the basket, then when you flip them, spray again.

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