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Air Fryer Meatballs

These juicy air fryer meatballs with Italian seasoning are the perfect bite-sized appetizers. Served with marinara sauce and savory parmesan cheese, every bite is better than the last!

Dipping air fryer meatballs into marinara.

Quick & Easy Air Fryer Meatballs

Freshly made or frozen for later, these herby air fryer meatballs are an easy appetizer option for when you’re expecting people over. They’ve got a lightly browned exterior but a super juicy center thanks to some milky ricotta and breadcrumbs. Don’t forget a bit of parmesan and garlic for extra Italian vibes. They’re just waiting to be dipped into tomatoey marinara, so grab your forks, get set, go!

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

You’ll be on “appetizer duty” for all your game day gatherings once everyone’s had a bite of these juicy, incredibly fragrant meatballs.

  • Little oil. You only need some cooking spray to prevent sticking. That’s it.
  • Fragrant. Lots of garlic, onions, and herbs give these meatballs an irresistible Italian-like fragrance.
  • Great for game day. Dip them into your favorite marinara sauce as you wait for kick-off. They’re an easy bite!
  • Juicy. Creamy ricotta and breadcrumbs in the mixture help keep these meatballs super juicy.
Ingredients for air fryer meatballs.

What You’ll Need

Fresh parsley and Italian herb mix balance out the strong beef flavor in these tender meatballs. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Yellow onion – Feel free to use white onion.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic is best, but go for garlic paste or powder if you prefer.
  • Italian breadcrumbs – Choose your favorite. They can also be plain breadcrumbs or panko.
  • Egg – Liquid eggs work too.
  • Parsley – Reduce the amount by half if you’re using dried parsley.
  • Ground beef – Make sure it’s lean so that you don’t end up with lots of excess fat in the air fryer basket.
  • Parmesan – I prefer freshly-grated cheese, not the bottled kind.
  • Ricotta – Full-fat ricotta is easier to mix in, but low-fat works as well.
  • Salt and pepper – Kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper are best.
  • Italian dried herb mix – You can also use Italian seasoning.
  • Marinara sauce – Choose your favorite.
  • Oil – It’s easier to use cooking spray, but you can also brush olive oil or vegetable oil into the basket.

How To Make Meatballs In The Air Fryer

The air fryer gets the job done with less oil and in less time than cooking them on the stove or in the oven. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Make the breadcrumb mixture. Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Mix in the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, and parsley until well combined. Add the parmesan, ricotta, salt, pepper, and Italian herb mix. Mix in the ground beef. You can use a food processor or wooden spoon to mix everything.
  • Shape them. Use an ice cream scoop to make 2″ size meatballs with the mixture. Feel free to use your hands to roll them but make sure they’re roughly the same size. Set them aside.
  • Air fry them. Preheat the air fryer to 400F. Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place the meatballs inside in a single layer, leaving about 1/4″ space between them. Cook them for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove them from the heat and set them aside. Repeat for all the meatballs.
  • Serve. Ladle marinara sauce into the serving plates and place meatballs on top. You can also serve the marinara as a dipping sauce. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Tips & Variations

Air fryer meatballs are an easy way to use up leftover veggies, bread, and bacon.

  • Fill them. Dice melty mozzarella or cheddar into 1/4″ cubes. Stick them into the center of each meatball. Roll the meatballs so that the cheese is completely covered by meat. Cook as usual for a melty center.
  • Use leftovers. Add 1/2 cup shredded carrots, zucchini, or sauteed spinach into the mixture for extra flavor. You can also swap the breadcrumbs for leftover stale bread.
  • Add crunch. Stir 1/3 cup chopped pistachios or almonds into the meat mixture for a bit of crunch in every bite.
  • Swap the protein. Use ground turkey, chicken, or pork to make these meatballs instead of beef.
  • Make them smokey. Crumble leftover breakfast bacon or sausage and add it in for some smokiness.
  • Add cold cuts. Chop up leftover prosciutto, pepperoni, or salami and mix it in to give this recipe more Italian vibes.
Plate of air fryer meatballs with dipping sauce on the side.

Ways To Serve Air Fryer Meatballs

These juicy air fryer meatballs are the perfect appetizer for game days. Serve them with my Mushroom Beef Burgers or Mushroom Swiss Burger. My Baked Zucchini Fries and Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries are great side options. Chicken tenders and wings are other family-friendly options for a meal you can enjoy as you watch the game.

Proper Storage

Always sprinkle these air fryer meatballs with 1 teaspoon water before reheating to prevent them from drying out.

  • Fridge: Place them in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep them away from direct heat and sunlight when on the counter for serving or reheating.
  • Freezer: Place the cooked meatballs on a baking sheet and spread them out. Freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container in serving-size portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 30-40 minutes.
  • To reheat them: Microwave them in 30-second intervals until warm. You can also heat them in the air fryer at 300F for 5-10 minutes.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Meatballs

This air fryer meatballs recipe with marinara dipping sauce and freshly grated parmesan is a 25-minute bite-sized appetizer.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


  • 1 small yellow onion diced or grated (I prefer grating)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian dried herb mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1- 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce
  • Avocado oil or olive oil for Air Fryer basket


  • In a large bowl add egg and whisk, add onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley. and mix to blend.
  • Add in Parmesan cheese, ricotta, salt, herb mix and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add in Ground beef and using hand blend into the mix until evenly distributed.
  • Start forming mixture into 2” round balls, you should finish with between 20-24 meatballs.
  • Heat an air fryer to 400ºF. Drizzle oil into the air fryer basket, then place as many meatballs in the basket as will fit in a single layer without touching. Air fry until the meatballs are lightly browned, cooked through, and firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • Repeat frying the remaining meatballs. Meanwhile, warm the marinara sauce if desired.
  • Serve the meatballs on a bed of marinara sauce, or serve the sauce in a bowl for dipping.
  • Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired
Course: Appetizer, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian


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