Our Air Fryer Meatballs are easy to make and super tasty! Serve them as an appetizer or a main dish – either way, they’re a real crowd-pleaser!

meatballs on a white plate sprinkled with chopped green pieces of parsley

Add these meatballs to your appetizer spread along with Air Fryer Honey Sriracha Cauliflower and your crowd will go wild!

Believe me when I say that cooking meatballs in the air fryer will change your life. Want more meatball recipes? Check out these Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs!

meatballs glazed with a brown-orange sauce and sprinkled with bright green herbs on a white plate

What You’ll Need

For the Meatballs:

  • Ground protein: (try ground beef, ground pork, or veggie protein like Beyond Meat)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Red onion: Dice it up beforehand
  • Fresh parsley: Chopped up beforehand
  • An egg: To help everything stick together
  • Salt and Oregano: For a bit of spice

For the glaze:

  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar
  • Dijon mustard

Mixing up the Meatballs

  1. Add your ground protein to a large bowl.
  2. Add the diced red onion, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, egg, salt, and oregano to the bowl.
  3. Combine thoroughly using your hands or a spatula, making sure that the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout.
  4. Shape the mixture into 1 to 1.5 inch balls.
  5. Place a piece of foil or parchment in the bottom of your air fryer basket and arrange the meatballs overtop.

Cooking and Glazing the Meatballs

  1. Air fry the meatballs at 380 degrees F for 8 minutes.
  2. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl and brush the glaze over the meatballs.
  3. Air fry the meatballs for another 7 minutes at 380 degrees F.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
9 meatballs sprinkled with green parsley arranged on a white plate aside a red and white striped towel

Why are my meatballs tough?

There are a couple different reasons why your meatballs may have come out too tough or chewy.

Leaving out the binder can cause too much moisture to render off while cooking, leaving the meatballs tough.

Don’t skip the breadcrumbs and eggs – you’ll need them to bind the meat together and keep it moist.

Another reason for tough meatballs is overcooking. There are several different types of air fryers on the market, and they all operate a little differently.

As with any other recipe, be sure to watch the meatballs so that they don’t overcook. You may need to adjust your cooking times by a minute or two.

Are Breadcrumbs Necessary in Meatballs?

Yep! The breadcrumbs act as a binder to hold your meatball mixture together.

Otherwise, the meatballs could fall apart and leave you with a mushy mess.

About a half cup of breadcrumbs and an egg mixed into the batter will do the trick.

If you’re gluten-free you can use gluten-free bread crumbs. For our vegan friends, you can make them with oats like this meatball recipe.

skewered meatballs with a brown glaze and fresh parsley on a bright white round plate

More Air Fryer Appetizers to Try!

We have so many air fryer recipes to choose from!

If you are having trouble figuring out which one to try next, we suggest: Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks , Air Fryer Fried Pickles and Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers. Also check out these mojo meatballs.

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5 from 11 votes

Air Fryer Meatballs

Air Fryer Meatballs are easy to make and super tasty! Serve them as an appetizer or a main dish – either way they're a real crowd pleaser!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 309kcal



For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground protein (ground beef, ground pork, veggie protein)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp oregano

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard


  • Combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl.
  • Roll the mixture into 1-1.5 inch balls.
  • Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper or foil.
  • Place the meatballs into the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry the meatballs at 380 degrees F for 8 minutes.
  • Mix the glaze ingredients together and brush over the meatballs.
  • Air fry the meatballs for another 7 minutes at 380 degrees F.
  • Remove the meatballs from the air fryer basket, then serve and enjoy!


Update: I’ve recently talked with people who have made this recipe in a Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven and also a Ninja Basket Air Fryer.
Both of these units seem to run “hotter” than most air fryers. That means you will need to LESSEN the cook time. For this recipe, the cook time was almost cut in half. I would suggest cooking for 5 minutes, adding the sauce and cooking for 1-3 more minutes.
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.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 1351mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 7mg
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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.


  1. 5 stars
    Confession time. I’m a newly single dad with a young 11 yr old son that is really my life. I have to say that I’m a Grill Meister with many years of experience.

    When it comes to everyday cooking, not so much. I’m really a total newb. Yesterday after reading the incredible recipe on the meatballs, I asked my son if he was ready for an adventure with dad trying to make dinner. He was all excited to see dad cook anything that wasn’t on a grill.

    We took the recipe, gathered all the ingredients and we were off. It was actually a lot of fun for my “special assistant” as he was helping actually form the meatballs. We followed the recipe step by step. We felt really adventurous so we decided to try and make the suggested sauce too.

    My son was smiling ear to ear when he tasted the meatballs. They were absolutely delicious.

    The generosity everyone has shown to those of us “me” with not a lot of experience and it’s greatly appreciated.

    If I could give the meatballs recipe 10 stars, I sure would. Made me look like a superstar.

    1. Tim, thank you so much! I am so glad that you are finding great things in our air fryer facebook group! Thank you SO much for coming back to the recipe and leaving a rating and a comment. It means so much to us! Your story melts my heart, I am so glad that both you and your son loved the meatballs!

  2. I plan on making the recipe this evening. Why do you need to use parchment paper? I thought the air needed to circulate.

    1. Hi Dena! You don’t have to use parchment if you don’t have any or don’t like. I like to use for this particular recipe because it helps with clean up and it helps to keep the moisture and sauce on the meatballs instead of draining away from them and drying them out 🙂 🙂 Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these with beyond meat to make them vegetarian. I served them to my meat loving friends over the weekend and they LOVED them. They didn’t even know it was veggie. I think they were distracted by the delicious glaze!

    1. That’s awesome Michelle! You know its a win when the meat eaters love it too! Thanks for coming back and letting me know!

    1. Thanks Matt! I am so glad you liked them, they are so easy! Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment/rating! It helps other readers!

    1. Hello, thanks for commenting. You can find the temp needed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, so just above where you commented 🙂 It is 380F 🙂

5 from 11 votes (1 rating without comment)

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