Are you ready for a simple and quick meatball appetizer made in the air fryer? Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs with BBQ glaze is the recipe you've been looking for.
AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS RECIPE
I often need a super quick snack or appetizer to take to a get-together or feed some last-minute guests. If you have a bag of frozen meatballs and a bottle of barbecue sauce, you can make these air fryer frozen meatballs in less than 15 minutes!
These meatballs can be served on a platter with toothpicks as a party appetizer at a football party, cocktail party, or a casual game night.
Air fryer frozen meatballs are also great tossed into a crockpot to keep warm for potlucks or meals.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE MAKING AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
- Kid-Friendly - little hands love dipping these into ketchup or ranch!
- Perfectly cooked - the air fryer makes meatballs that are juicy inside and crispy on the outside.
- Quick and Easy - Air fryer frozen meatballs are ready in under 10 minutes.
- Budget-friendly - Stock up on frozen meatballs next time you see a sale! It's super convenient to have a bag on hand for an easy weeknight meal or impromptu gathering.
- Versatile - Use these as an appetizer, a snack, or a meal.
We've made air fryer meatballs from scratch before. That recipe is delicious and pretty simple. This recipe for frozen meatballs in the air fryer is even easier!
Perfect for a crowd, or just a snack for yourself or your family, you'll be asked to make these again and again.
INGREDIENTS IN AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
Frozen Meatballs - You can use any type of meatballs you enjoy! Try turkey meatballs, vegan meatballs, Italian style, or Swedish style. They all taste great with BBQ sauce. This recipe is specifically for frozen, fully-cooked meatballs.
BBQ Sauce - I like a sweet and tangy sauce on my meatballs, but again, use whatever you like. There are hundreds of delicious varieties of barbecue sauce out there for meatballs.
Spray Oil - Use your favorite oil in a spray bottle when air frying. Aerosol oil sprays can damage the finish on your air fryer basket, so be sure to avoid spraying oil directly onto the basket. I suggest using parchment paper liners.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
- Decide which brand or style of frozen meatballs you want to make in the air fryer.
- Portion out the number of meatballs you'd like to air fry.
- Put the meatballs into the air fryer basket or tray. Spritz the meatballs with oil so that they will brown up nicely. Cook as directed in the recipe below.
- Open the air fryer to stir or shake the meatballs as they cook. Check on them a couple of times, you may need to extend the cook time if your meatballs are larger.
- Remove the meatballs from the air fryer and place them into a bowl. Top with BBQ sauce. Stir to coat.
- Portion out your meatballs onto serving plates and enjoy!
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe below.
EXPERT AIR FRYER TIPS FOR FROZEN MEATBALLS
- Don't crowd the basket - It's always best to give your food breathing room in the air fryer basket. Since the air fryer cooks by circulating hot air, you want that air to be able to surround each individual meatball.
- Add a bit of oil - While it's not completely necessary, I find that a small amount of oil sprayed onto the meatballs makes the outsides nice and crispy. You can leave it out if you prefer.
- Give it a shake - You don't need to be too precise with this step. Just gently shake the air fryer basket to move the meatballs around at least once during the cooking time.
- Avoid Overcooking - Overcooked frozen meatballs can be dry. Watch for the exterior to be slightly browned, and check that they are heated through by using a kitchen thermometer.
HOW TO STORE AIR FRYER MEATBALLS
If you're not eating them right away, store your cooked air fryer frozen meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
For the best texture, I do suggest air frying the meatballs right before you plan to serve them.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
Serve these BBQ air fryer meatballs as a meal with some french fries and a salad.
These would also be yummy as a sandwich with a little cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion or even as meatball lasagna!
If you don't want to mess with a good thing, just put some toothpicks in your meatballs and enjoy them without even needing to clean a fork.
Instead of using these glazed meatballs as an appetizer, serve them with pasta for a classic spaghetti and meatballs dinner.
HOW LONG TO COOK FROZEN MEATBALLS IN AIR FRYER?
Our Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs recipe calls for cooking the meatballs in the air fryer for 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F/180°C. In my testing of different brands of meatballs and different air fryers, I've found this to be a pretty reliable amount of time.
As with any air fryer recipe, the time may be different depending on your air fryer style, size, brand, or style. They all cook a little bit differently!
We suggest monitoring your meatballs while they cook. Open the air fryer after about 6 minutes to shake them around. Then check them again at 12 minutes.
If they are done, great! If not, but them back in for 2-3 minutes at a time until they are browned up and heated all the way through.
DO I THAW FROZEN MEATBALLS BEFORE AIR FRYING?
There is no need to thaw frozen meatballs before cooking them in the air fryer, and it's actually not recommended. Cooking frozen meatballs directly from frozen is the best, fastest, and safest way to do so.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO COOK FROZEN MEATBALLS?
Of course, I think that using the air fryer is the best way to cook frozen meatballs! This method is fast, easy, and fail-proof.
CAN I AIR FRY FROZEN MINI MEATBALLS?
You sure can! Mini meatballs will cook in the air fryer the exact same way, but will likely need less time in the air fryer to cook through.
HOW MANY MEATBALLS CAN I COOK IN THE AIR FRYER?
This is going to depend on the size of your air fryer basket. You should not cook more meatballs than you can fit in a single layer in the basket. This will ensure that there is plenty of room for hot air to circulate around your food.
If you want to cook more meatballs than you can fit in the air fryer basket, simply cook in multiple batches.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN FROZEN FOOD IS COOKED?
It's important to follow some food safety rules when cooking frozen food in the air fryer.
First, be sure to check the packaging to find out if your meatballs are raw, partially cooked, or fully cooked. Most frozen packaged meatballs are fully cooked, but you should never assume.
Second, use a food thermometer to ensure that the frozen food is cooked all the way. The USDA recommends that all ready-to-eat or fully cooked frozen foods be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
OTHER SAUCES FOR AIR FRYER MEATBALLS
A BBQ sauce glaze is an easy coating for air fryer frozen meatballs, but there are lots of other great options that will give you super tasty meatball appetizers. Try any of these, or use your own homemade seasonings and sauces.
- Tomato Sauce - Marinara, or your favorite spaghetti sauce.
- Asian Sauces - You can find bottled General Tso's, Sweet Chili, or Teriyaki sauces at the store and they are super tasty with frozen meatballs.
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs - The classic appetizer recipe uses a bottle of Heinz chili sauce and a jar of grape jelly.
- Sweedish meatballs - Combine a can of cream of mushroom soup with a half cup of beef broth and a ¼ cup of sour cream. Simmer to heat it through and add in the meatballs once they are cooked.
- Gravy - Meatballs with gravy is a super simple meal served over noodles or rice!
You can also enjoy your air fryer frozen meatballs without any sauce at all. Kids might like to dip their meatballs in ketchup, or you can slice the meatballs to add to salads or meal prep lunches for the week.
MORE AIR FRYER APPETIZER RECIPES
I'm a huge fan of snacky foods and appetizers, and we have many to choose from here!
I like to make up a big batch of these air fryer mozzarella sticks and freeze them to cook when the mood strikes.
Air fryer pizza rolls are a hit with kids and teens and cook up so perfectly in the air fryer.
You can whip up these seasoned air fryer pretzels in just a few minutes.
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Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs
- 1 package Frozen Meatballs 10-20 ounces
- Spray Oil
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce use your favorite type
- Decide which brand of frozen meatballs you want to make in the air fryer.
- Portion out the quantity of meatballs you’d like to air fry.
- Put the meatballs into the air fryer basket or tray. Spritz the meatballs with some oil. Air Fry at 350F/177C for 12-15 minutes.
- Open the air fryer to stir or shake the meatballs as they cook. Watch/check on the meatballs, you may need to extend the cook time.
- Remove the meatballs from the air fryer and place into a bowl. Top the with BBQ sauce (of your choice) stir to coat the meatballs.
- Portion out your meatballs onto serving plates and enjoy!
- Pro Tip: This recipe can be made in the air fryer unit with a basket or the air fryer oven. If you are using the air fryer oven, use the middle rack and select the "Air Fry" function.
- Pro Tip: Check your food as it cooks. Each air fryer runs a bit differently. Sometimes airfying is a trial and error process. Check your food as it cooks to learn your air fryer better! When cooking a new recipe or food items be sure to check your food often to help avoid over/under cooking.
- Several factors affect how the meatballs cook (brand, size, type of meat), so watch them closely.
- Ingredients in different brands of meatballs can affect the way that they brown.
- You may need to add extra time if your meatballs are large, or if you are cooking a larger amount.
- Avoid adding more meatballs to the air fryer than will fit in a single layer.
- Spray oil helps the meatballs to become browned and beautiful. For vegan meatballs, you'll definitely need this, but for pork or beef you may not, since there is a good amount of fat already in the meat.
- The nutrition facts for this recipe are dependent on the brands of meatballs and bbq sauce that you choose.
Air Fryers can vary greatly. Please take the time to learn your specific air fryer. You may need to adjust times and temperatures based upon your air fryer. All though this website attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, the information should only be considered an estimate. Varying factors such as different product types, different brands, etc. can change nutritional information. It is your responsibility as a consumer to read all labels to make sure the ingredients fit your dietary needs as well as calculate your own nutritional information as a double check.