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These juicy Air Fryer Meatballs are so easy to make and are packed with tons of flavor. Baked, not fried, they are perfect for fast dinners and cook in only 10 minutes! No air fryer? You’ll also find oven-baking methods in the post.

a plate with spaghetti topped with air fryer meatballs
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You’re in for a real treat with these fast and delicious small batch meatballs! They’re perfectly browned on the outside, and juicy on the inside, and ready in just a few minutes. All without any oil or messy frying.

Love meatballs as much as we do? You’ll also want to try these Greek Turkey Meatballs and Sweet Chili Sauce Meatballs.


  • Feel free to use ground turkey, chicken, or pork. If using turkey, I’d increase the cheese by 1 tbsp to account for the leaner meat.
  • Leave out the breadcrumbs to make these gluten-free or low-carb meatballs. Replace with finely grated Parmesan or pecorino romano.
  • Sneak in 1/3 cup of finely grated carrot or frozen pumpkin to increase the veggie factor.

What to Serve With Air Fryer Meatballs

They’re great on top of Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Butter Rice, Instant Pot Jasmine Rice, or a pile of perfectly cooked noodles topped with Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce.

Need a lower carb option? We love making zucchini noodles with our beloved spiralizer.

You can also slice up cooked meatballs very thinly and use them in this Ravioli Lasagna.

3 photos showing step by step on how to make meatballs in air fryer

How to Freeze Meatballs

Place uncooked meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Remove frozen meatballs from the baking sheet and transfer them to freezer storage for up to three months. We love these reusable freezer bags.

To cook: place frozen meatballs in the air fryer and cook for 12 minutes, or until the internal temp is 160F.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Mince the onion and garlic as finely as possible (or use a food processor). The cooking time for these meatballs is so short that the onion will not be fully cooked if you use larger chunks. And if your kids are picky like mine, everyone is happier if they don’t see them in the mixture.
  • Avoid overmixing as it can lead to dry/tough meatballs.
  • Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to produce meatballs that are the same size. This allows for even cooking.
  • Check internal temp with a quick-read thermometer to guarantee they’re done. Ground beef is fully cooked at 160F.

a skillet with meatballs and tomato sauce

My lovely friend who shared this family recipe with me is also the mastermind behind our Instant Pot Beef Tips!

5 from 3 ratings

The Best Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
a plate with spaghetti topped with air fryer meatballs
These juicy air fryer meatballs are so easy to make and are packed with tons of flavor. Baked, not fried, they are perfect for fast dinners and cook in only 10 minutes!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic {finely minced}
  • 1/4 cup onion {finely minced}
  • 1/2 tsp salt {optional}
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley {or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar {finely grated}
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs {plain or Italian}


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
    1 lb ground beef, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp dried parsley, 1 egg, 1 cup sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Form mixture into 16 1-inch meatballs.
  • Line an air fryer basket with foil, air fryer parchment, or brush with olive oil.
  • Bake in air fryer at 380 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 160 F.


  1. Optional: flip meatballs halfway through cooking.
  2. If your meatballs are browning too quickly, you can place a piece of foil over the top and weigh it down with a trivet or small wire rack.
Oven-baking Instructions:
Bake on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes at 400 F or until the internal temp reaches 160F.


Serving: 4meatballsCalories: 479kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 30gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 410mgPotassium: 390mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 342IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 261mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!
a fork holding a meatball over a plate of noodles

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. Delicious! We made these with the oven instructions for a recent dinner with family. They were a huge hit! We will definitely be making them again soon.5 stars

  2. Hey Sarah, love these tips for making great Beef Meatballs, can’t wait to try at home this wonderful recipe!

    Thank you for amazing site and recipes Sarah! Looking forward to seeing more recipes in the future!5 stars

    1. Each air fryer (like every oven) is slightly different, especially if the size of the meatballs vary. It is why I recommend checking with a meat thermometer as a safety check.

    1. Yes, you absolutely could! The cheese is there for flavor and moisture. I would add some finely grated carrots (maybe ~1/3 cup) and 1-2 tsp of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.