This recipe for meatballs made in the air fryer has been life-changing for me! It saves on time and effort but doesn’t lose any of the flavor I am used to.
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Meatballs in the air fryer?! Doesn’t sound very traditional, right? I swear to you, this is the very best way that I have ever made meatballs. And, I have made them by every method I could think of.
For years, I fried them just like my Italian mother and grandmothers did. This method takes up the most time. You have to stand there and move the meatballs around until they are evenly cooked on all sides. I always hated the grease splatters, but frying produced the best flavor.
I tried the fry-bake method. I would brown the meatballs just enough so the outside was nicely crisp, and then bake them in the oven to finish cooking the insides. This seemed like extra work to me. I might as well just fry them all the way through in the first place.
I wanted an easy way to enjoy meatballs without spending a lot of time standing at the frying pan…so I started putting them into my sauce raw. They would cook slowly over hours in my pot of Sunday sauce, but there was no flavor.
I switched to the baking-only method after that. At least I knew they were cooked all the way through, and it was an easier clean up than frying. While it was certainly easy, I was still missing out on the flavor.
Then, I got an air fryer and my whole world changed. I am having so much fun making my favorite recipes in a fraction of the time, without sacrificing any of the taste. One day, I made my regular meatloaf recipe in the air fryer and it was delicious. It got me wondering if meatballs would work as well, so I had to give it a try.
For the record, THIS is my world-changing air fryer. It’s made my life so much easier. I have yet to make or reheat something that didn’t turn out fabulous. Things cook quickly. They crisp as if they were fried, but without all the grease. And best of all, clean up is a breeze. Most times, this air fryer just needs to be wiped down after use. For messier dishes, the tray can be tossed in the dishwasher.
Air Fried Meatballs
- Use 80/20 (or 75/25) ground beef instead of lean ground beef for the best taste. A beef, pork, veal mixture also provides a great result. The more fat, the more flavor.
- Use your hands when mixing all the ingredients together. Trust me on this one, my Gram said to do it this way and she was right. You don’t want to over mix.
- To avoid having the meat mixture stick to your hands while rolling your meatballs, put some cold water or even a bit of olive oil on your hands first.
- Don’t overcrowd the meatballs in the air fryer tray (or pan if you are frying). This might mean cooking in two batches, but it will be worth it.
- Don’t just pour some sauce over the meatballs and serve them. Let them simmer for a time in your sauce for the best flavor.
Authentic Italian meatballs made in the air fryer is quick and easy without sacrificing any of the flavor.
Don’t miss my other air fryer recipes:
Did you give these air fried meatballs a try? Let me know in the comments below!
Air Fryer Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp garlic powder or minced
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Pre-heat air fryer to 360°.
- Crack eggs in large bowl, whisk.
- Combine meat, cheese, breadcrumbs, seasonings and milk to bowl; mix well using hands.
- Form mixture into balls, about 2 inches in diameter.
- Place in air fryer tray. Cook for 18 minutes, shaking the basket half way through cook time.