Home » All Recipes » Appetizers & Snacks » Air Fryer Italian Meatballs

Air Fryer Italian Meatballs

These garlicky and spicy air fryer meatballs with sweet onions and savory parmesan are packed with herby Italian flair. Freshly made or frozen for later, they’re an easy appetizer for weeknights or gatherings.

Juicy air fryer meatballs with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese on top.

Easy Air Fryer Meatballs

If you love Italian appetizers, these effortless air fryer meatballs are for you. They’re soft and juicy on the inside, loaded with fresh parsley and spicy red pepper flakes in each bite. Tender onions and parmesan cheese also balance out the flavors with something sweet and savory. Ready in 20 minutes and served with tomato sauce, they’re an easy recipe any crowd will enjoy.

Why Make Meatballs In The Air Fryer?

They’re a quick bite you can serve at dinner parties, cookouts, or regular weeknights.

  • Crowd-pleaser. Everyone loves juicy, Italian-style meatballs they can dip into sweet tomato sauce.
  • Beginner-friendly. You don’t need to be an experienced cook, just shape the meatballs and pop them into the air fryer.
  • Freezer-friendly. Keep some in the freezer for last-minute gatherings and dinner parties.
  • Quick. You only need 20 minutes to make this easy, bite-sized appetizer!
Ingredients for air fryer meatballs.

Recipe Ingredients

Fragrant garlic, sweet onions, and fresh parsley create a simple, herby flavor profile. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Eggs – Liquid eggs are great for this.
  • Milk – I prefer whole milk, heavy cream, or 2% milk.
  • Onion – White or yellow onion work.
  • Garlic – Feel free to use garlic powder, garlic paste, or fresh garlic.
  • Italian breadcrumbs – Regular breadcrumbs or panko work too. You can also use crushed croutons or salted crackers.
  • Parsley – Avoid wilted parsley because it can make the meatballs bitter.
  • Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated cheese is better than bottled cheese, but use whichever you have on hand.
  • Salt and pepper – I prefer kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.
  • Red pepper flakes – Cayenne pepper is a good swap. Skip it if you’re not a fan of heat.
  • Ground beef – Make sure it’s lean.

How To Make Air Fryer Italian Meatballs

Set a timer on your phone for perfectly golden meatballs every time. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card.

  • Prepare the meat mixture. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Shape them. Use your hands to roll the mixture into 1″-sized balls. Wet your hands or grease them with cooking spray to prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers.
  • Arrange them. Place the meatballs in the air fryer basket in a single layer. You may have to cook in batches. Drizzle with olive oil and gently shake the basket until completely coated. You can also spray them with cooking spray.
  • Cook them. Air fry the meatballs at 390F for 8 minutes. Shake the basket and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove them from the air fryer, serve, and enjoy!
Air fryer meatballs with tomato sauce on the side.

Tips & Variations

Take these Italian air fryer meatballs to the next level with crunchy pistachios and a melty mozzarella center.

  • Swap the protein. Use ground chicken, turkey, or pork instead of beef for an easy variation.
  • Add crunch. Stir 1/4-1/2 cup chopped pistachios, walnuts, or almonds into the mixture for some nutty crunch.
  • Make them spicy. Add more red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili oil to taste into the mixture for a kick of heat.
  • Add dipping sauces. Serve the meatballs with tomato sauce, Feta Aioli, or a creamy spinach-ricotta dip for extra flavor.
  • Go for a melty center. Stick a 1/4-1/2″ piece of diced mozzarella or cheddar into the center of each meatball for some cheesy goodness.
  • Add veggies. Mix 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, or cauliflower into the meat mixture to make the meatballs heartier and juicier.
Meatball with tomato sauce on a fork.

Serving Suggestions

These juicy air fryer meatballs are an easy appetizer option for your favorite Italian-inspired dinners. Serve them with my Instant Pot Artichoke, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Eggplant Parmesan as sides. For main dish ideas, try my Baked Parmesan Chicken Breasts, Pistachio Crusted Salmon, or Monte Cristo Chicken. If you prefer pasta, go for my Cheese Ravioli with Butter Sauce.

Proper Storage

Store the air fryer meatballs in serving-size portions for easy thawing or reheating.

  • Fridge: Place them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Store the meatballs in freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual.
  • To reheat it: Microwave them in 30-second increments until warm. The air fryer at 300F for 3-4 minutes works too.

More Air Fryer Recipes To Try

Landscape photo of air fryer meatballs.

Air Fryer Italian Meatballs

This herby air fryer meatballs recipe with Italian seasoning and garlic is an easy 20-minute appetizer for weeknights and gatherings.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 16 meatballs


  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 small yellow onion peeled and diced preferably grated
  • 1 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef


  • In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Add meat; mix lightly but thoroughly. With wet hands, shape into 1-in. balls. You should end up with 20 meatballs.
  • Place meatballs inside an air fryer and drizzle olive oil over top, gently shake to roll meatballs so they are lightly coated with olive oil. You may need to do this in batches based on the size of your airfryer. You want all meatballs in a single layer.
  • Air fry at 390° for 10 minutes, shake the basket at the 8 minute mark to roll your meatballs. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.
  • Serve warm with pasta and sauce,or enjoy on their own.
Course: Appetizer, Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian


Let Us Know What You Think!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top