Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

This quick and easy Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs recipe makes a batch of perfect chicken meatballs with crisp, golden surfaces and juicy, flavorful centers in your air fryer or Ninja Foodi. Perfect as an appetizer with toothpicks & dipping sauces or as a protein-packed meal with sauces and sides.

chicken meatballs with sauce and pasta

Can you cook chicken meatballs in the air fryer? Yes, chicken meatballs can easily be cooked in an air fryer or Ninja Foodi in 20 minutes or less! These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make simpr ground chicken meatballs, and how to cook them perfectly in your air fryer.

The simplicity of these chicken meatballs leaves plenty of room for customizing with different spices, seasonings, and sauces. You can make them mini for the perfect bite-sized party snack or showcase them in savory sauces and pasta dishes.

Did I mention these juicy chicken meatballs are made without milk or dairy and are easy to adjust for keto, paleo, and Whole30? These air fryer chicken meatballs do it all. Enjoy!

Why Air Fry Chicken Meatballs?

  • Meatballs are a quick healthy appetizer, high-protein main course, and perfect for meal prep!
  • The ingredients are super simple (you may already have them on hand).
  • These are great to make and freeze for later.
  • Easy to customize the flavor & modify with your dietary lifestyle (keto, paleo, & Whole30!).

🍗 Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Ground chicken – You can use 100% ground chicken breast or a mixture of ground breasts and thighs. Feel free to use ground turkey and ground pork following the same technique.
  • Egg – The egg binds everything together while adding moisture.
  • Cooking oil – Avocado oil or olive oil for added fat to keep the meatballs moist.
  • Breadcrumbs – Use either seasoned or panko breadcrumbs. They can be regular or gluten-free. You can also use homemade bread crumbs.
  • Spices & seasonings – Nothing extravagant. Simply salt, garlic powder, and black pepper, so they pair with all of the sauces!

🥣 How To Make Chicken Meatballs In The Air Fryer

1️⃣ Preheat. Set your air fryer to 375F and let it preheat while you make the meatballs for 3-5 minutes.

2️⃣ Combine ingredients. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Then, add the ground chicken, bread crumbs, oil, and dry seasonings. Using your (washed!) hands, mix the ingredients thoroughly, but without overmixing!

3️⃣ Roll into balls. Roll the mixture into balls using 1-1½ tablespoons of the mixture per ball. Then, carefully place the chicken meatballs in a single layer inside your air fryer basket, leaving space in between each.

4️⃣ Air fry chicken meatballs. Set the air fryer to cook for 15 minutes at 375F. At the 7-8 minute mark, flip the meatballs using tongs, then cook for the remaining time. For extra crisped surfaces, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter or on top of pasta with sauce and enjoy!

👩🏻‍🍳Chef’s Tips

  • If the ground chicken is too wet, the meatballs may not hold together. If there’s too much moisture, you can squeeze the ground meat through cheesecloth before combining it with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Be sure not to overwork the meatball mixture. This step can make or break your meatballs.
  • Use the same amount of meat mixture per meatball, so they’re the same size and cook evenly.
  • Don’t forget to preheat your air fryer. It helps create the perfect golden crunch.
  • Arrange the meatballs in one layer leaving room in between each. The hot air needs to circulate around every surface.
  • To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the middle of a meatball to check that the internal temperature is 165F.

🍝 Variations

Dry seasoning – For each pound of ground chicken, use at least 1 tablespoon of dry seasoning blend. Try air fryer chicken meatballs with:

Spicy meatballs – Turn up the heat with 1-2 tablespoons of finely diced jalapenos or habanero peppers. Add fiery dry spices like smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.

Chicken zucchini meatballs – Drain shredded zucchini well to combine with the meat mixture. It keeps the meatballs moist while sneaking in a serving of veggies.

Keto, paleo, or Whole30 – Make these modifications:

  • Keto – Once you add the breadcrumbs, the carb count starts to add up. Instead, use equal parts ground pork rinds!
  • Paleo & Whole30 – Swap the breadcrumbs for almond flour.

Serving – Once you’ve air-fried your chicken meatballs, serve them dry with dipping sauces on the side or heated in sauces like:

  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Swedish Meatball
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Buffalo Sauce

Chicken parmesan – Layer cooked meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and freshly grated parmesan in a baking dish and bake in a 375F preheated oven until the sauce and cheeses are hot and bubbly.

🧊 Storing & Freezing

Storing: Let cool and transfer the meatballs to a shallow air-tight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, preheat your air fryer to 350F and cook, tossing the basket once or twice, for 4-5 minutes.

Freezing: Make an extra bath or two to freeze for later. Let cool, then set chicken meatballs on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Then, transfer the frozen balls to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for for 3 months. Frozen chicken meatballs can be thawed and reheated directly in a sauce the next time you use them.

FAQ

How do you keep chicken meatballs moist?

First and foremost, ground chicken is super lean, so adding healthy high-fat oil is essential. Additionally, it’s important not to overwork the meat mixture. Mix for no longer than 5-10 seconds, then start forming it into balls.

How long do you cook chicken meatballs?

The precise time will depend on the size of your meatballs. Begin checking for doneness around 10 minutes, and add more time as needed.

1 inch Meatballs: 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes
2 inch Meatballs: 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes
Frozen Meatballs: 375 for 10-12 minute intervals until cooked through. 

What temperature do you cook meatballs in an air fryer?

How long to air fry chicken meatballs will vary by air fryer, but 375F is a good temp to start at. After 7-8 minutes, if it seems like the outsides are cooking too quickly, lower the heat to 350 and cook until the internal temp reaches 165F.

Can I cook frozen chicken meatballs in the air fryer?

Absolutely, and there’s no thawing needed. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray, then air fry the frozen meatballs in 10-12 minute intervals, shaking the basket in between until heated through. For detailed instructions, check out this frozen meatballs guide.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Bacon-Wrapped Brussel Sprouts
Air Fryer Turkey Breast

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chicken meatballs with sauce and pasta

Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

Make chicken meatballs from scratch. Then, cook them to perfection in your air fryer! This quick and easy recipe makes a batch of beautifully browned, juicy chicken meatballs to serve as an appetizer or cook in sauce as the main course.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 177kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • cup breadcrumbs seasoned or panko (regular or gluten-free)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Set the air fryer to 375F and let preheat for 3-5 minutes while making the meatballs.
  • Add the egg to a large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Then, add the ground chicken, bread crumbs, oil, and dry seasonings. Using your hands, mix the ingredients thoroughly, without overmixing.
  • Roll the mixture into balls using 1-1½ tablespoons each. Then, carefully place the chicken meatballs in a single layer at the bottom of the preheated basket, leaving space in between each.
  • Set the air fryer to cook for 15 minutes. at 375F. At the 7-8 minute mark, flip the meatballs using tongs and cook for the remaining time.
  • For extra crisped surfaces, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove with tongs and serve hot.

Notes

  • Keto – Once you add the breadcrumbs, the carb count starts to add up. Instead, use equal parts ground pork rinds!
  • Paleo & Whole30 – Swap the breadcrumbs for almond flour.

Nutrition

Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

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