Frozen meatballs of any variety can be cooked in the air fryer in under 15 minutes. Just throw frozen meatballs in the air fryer, then toss them with your favorite pasta sauce or serve them as an easy appetizer - everyone will love them!
DIRECTIONS FOR FROZEN MEATBALLS IN AIR FRYER
This is my fail-proof method for cooking pre-cooked frozen meatballs in the air fryer.
This easy recipe works for cooking turkey meatballs in the air fryer, Italian-style meatballs, vegan meat-free meatballs, or any other style you can find in the freezer section of the grocery store.
I always have a bag or two of frozen meatballs in my freezer because they make such an easy meal with very little effort. Air fryer frozen meatballs are hot and ready in about 15 minutes, ready to add to meals or arrange on a platter as an appetizer for last-minute guests.
I use this method to make Air Fryer Meatballs with BBQ Glaze. They are perfect for football parties!
INGREDIENTS FOR AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
Frozen Meatballs - Use your favorite regular-sized frozen meatballs here. You can cook mini frozen meatballs and large frozen meatballs in the air fryer too, but the time and temp will need to be adjusted a bit.
Oil - A small amount of spray oil (I love using avocado oil spray) allows the meatballs to get brown and crisp on the outside while staying juicy in the center.
That's it! Meatballs are very easy to cook in the air fryer and don't need much to help them.
If you have any questions at all about making frozen meatballs in the air fryer, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP!
HOW TO MAKE FROZEN MEATBALLS IN AIR FRYER
- Start by removing the meatballs from their packaging. You can fit quite a few meatballs in the air fryer, but you can choose how many servings you need right now.
- Place the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket in an even layer. Spray them with a light layer of cooking oil.
- Air Fry as directed in the recipe card below until they are heated through. No need to turn them over, but you can give the basket a shake halfway through to ensure that they cook evenly.
- Serve immediately while the meatballs are hot with or without your favorite sauce.
These numbered steps match the numbered photos above and are for illustration purposes. For the complete list of ingredients and instructions for air fryer frozen meatballs, please see the recipe below.
TIPS FOR MAKING FROZEN MEATBALLS IN THE AIR FRYER
Keep them frozen. There is no need to thaw the meatballs before cooking them in the air fryer, and in fact, you shouldn't thaw them at all. Cook frozen meatballs directly from frozen.
Skip the oil if you want. The meatballs will cook perfectly well without the small amount of oil we're adding, but I find that the exterior texture and color of the meatballs when cooked are much nicer with it.
Don't cook too many. You can cook as many meatballs as will fit in your air fryer in a single layer. Don't stack them up. Doing so will keep them from cooking evenly, and make the process take much longer.
If you are making a second batch - give the air fryer a few minutes to cool down first. If the air fryer is hot when you start the meatballs, they will take less time to cook.
Adjust as needed. Every air fryer cooks foods a little bit differently, and every brand and type of meatball is a bit different, so it should make sense that you may need to adjust this method. Watch your meatballs as they are cooking. You may need to remove them from the air fryer early or add extra time to cook them fully.
Cook them fully. All meatballs, whether they are pre-cooked or uncooked when frozen, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (for pork or beef) or 165°F (for poultry).
Add sauce after cooking. It might seem like a good idea to brush the meatballs with sauce and then cook them, but in the end you'll end up with a very sticky air fryer. Add the frozen meatballs to your choice of sauce after they've been fully cooked.
For easier clean-up. Line the bottom only of the air fryer basket with parchment paper or these handy pre-cut parchment liners.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE FROZEN MEATBALLS IN THE AIR FRYER?
Regular-sized meatballs take about 15 minutes to cook fully in the air fryer. When I say regular size, I mean meatballs that are about 1 inch in diameter.
Mini meatballs take much less time in the air fryer. Start with just 5 minutes, and add 1-2 minutes at a time until they're done.
Extra-large meatballs may take up to 20 minutes to cook thoroughly. Don't forget to use that meat thermometer to be sure that they're done!
HOW MANY MEATBALLS CAN I COOK AT ONE TIME IN THE AIR FRYER?
You can cook as many as you can fit! In my Cosori air fryer with the square basket, I was able to fit an entire 1-pound bag of meatballs in a single layer, which was over 40 meatballs!
I love the Cosori because it seems to have so much more room. If you have a smaller air fryer, it may not fit as many.
CAN I MAKE MEATLESS FROZEN MEATBALLS IN THE AIR FRYER?
Yes! This method works for meatless, vegan frozen meatballs too. I enjoy the frozen meat-free meatballs from Gardein and Quorn and have successfully cooked both of them in my air fryer.
You may find that this type of meatball needs a few fewer minutes in the air fryer, depending on how dense it is. Again, keep an eye on your frozen meatballs in the air fryer just in case you need to pull them out early.
HOW TO SERVE AIR FRYER MEATBALLS
Air Fryer meatballs can be dressed up in so many different delicious ways!
As an appetizer, serve air-fried frozen meatballs with dipping sauces like marinara sauce, buffalo sauce, or bbq sauce. You can also coat the meatballs in sauce and keep them warm in a small crockpot if you like.
For lunch, make easy meatball subs (aka meatball bombers) by adding cooked meatballs, marinara sauce, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses to toasted sandwich rolls.
Turn frozen meatballs in the air fryer into a simple dinner by pairing them with mashed potatoes or rice and your favorite veggie sides.
Of course, you can always use your air fryer meatballs to make spaghetti and meatballs or serve them with any of your favorite pasta dishes.
You could even get a bit more creative and try making Swedish meatballs.
Sliced meatballs are an excellent way to get extra protein into soups and salads! You can include them when you are meal prepping lunches too. My kids like leftover cooked meatballs in their lunchboxes with ketchup or BBQ sauce for dipping.
Air Fryer Frozen meatballs are extremely versatile - I would love to hear how you like to make them!
CAN I MAKE RAW FROZEN MEATBALLS IN THE AIR FRYER?
Frozen meatballs that aren't pre-cooked are hard to find, but you may see them in your grocery store. Or, you might have homemade meatballs in the freezer that you'd like to air fry.
Use this method to air fry raw frozen meatballs, but be extra certain that you test them with a meat thermometer to ensure that they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
CAN I AIR FRY MEATBALLS IN A NINJA FOODI?
Yes, this method for making frozen meatballs will work in any air fryer, including oven-style air fryers and the Ninja Foodi Multicooker. The Foodi tends to run a bit hotter than other air fryers, so you might need to reduce the cooking time by a minute or two.
If you have a Ninja Foodi, make sure you check out our whole section of Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Recipes!
HOW TO REHEAT MEATBALLS IN THE AIR FRYER
I reheat everything in the air fryer now! Cooked meatballs can be reheated in the air fryer at 325°F/165°C for 3-4 minutes, just until they are heated through.
This recipe was made in a Cosori Air Fryer with a Basket. The recipe should work in other air fryers.
Keep in mind that each air fryer runs differently, it is important to check your food often.
MORE EASY AIR FRYER RECIPES
The air fryer and frozen foods are a match made in heaven! If you need to know how to cook that bag of frozen whatever in your freezer, I bet I can tell you how. Try some of these easy frozen foods in the air fryer next:
Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Air Fryer - This is a question I get all the time, and I'm here to tell you that YES, you can cook frozen chicken breasts in the air fryer, and it's super simple!
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries - You can cook any brand of frozen sweet potato fries in the air fryer, but my favorite are Alexia sweet potato fries. Yum!
Frozen Popcorn Shrimp in the Air Fryer - These adorable little shrimp only take a few minutes to cook up and are a perfect snack.
Air Fryer Corn Dogs- These are a kid favorite and always a hit at dinner. Don't forget the ketchup!
Frozen Meatballs in Air Fryer
- 1 package frozen meatballs any type
- cooking oil or oil spray
- Remove your frozen meatballs from their outer packaging.
- Place the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket in an even layer. Spray the meatballs with cooking oil.
- Air Fry at 350°F/180°C for 12-15 minutes, until the meatballs are heated through.
- Serve immediately.
- Do not thaw the meatballs before air frying. Cook straight from frozen.
- This method works for meatballs that are about an inch wide. Larger meatballs will require additional cooking time.
- All meatballs, whether they are pre-cooked or uncooked when frozen, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (pork or beef) or 165°F (poultry).
- 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 air frying 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.
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.