Chicken meatballs in the air fryer are perfect food party appetizers that you can make in only 25 minutes. They have a nice golden color, a crispy texture on the outside, and a juicy and tender texture on the inside. Using a simple meat mixture, a few simple spices, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese, you will get an unbelievable dish in the end. You should give it a try!
Today, we’re diving into the world of Chicken Meatballs in the air fryer. And the best part? We will make them from scratch! Yes, you read that right – we’re going to be air-frying these juicy little orbs of flavor, and you’ll love every single bite.
Can you already imagine the aroma of tender ground chicken mixed with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, single cream, and an array of spices wafting through your kitchen?
I can almost hear your stomach rumbling in anticipation! This recipe is not just about creating a scrumptious dish, but also sharing a lovely moment of togetherness.
Quick Note: The chicken meatballs can always be a lifesaver when you need to prepare something tasty, easy, and quick. You can make a larger portion, and freeze them. When is needed, you need only to defrost and cook a delicious lunch or dinner in just minutes.
Are you excited? I know I am! Let’s jump into this flavorful escapade and show your air fryer who’s boss.
If you love these chicken meatballs and you’re looking for other appetizers, you should also take a look at homemade air fryer chicken patties, air fryer stuffed mushrooms, or even Zucchini Chips in Air Fryer.
Why Making the Meatbals in the Air Fryer?
Of course, you can make these meatballs both on the stove and in the oven, but if you want a really delicious result, then I can’t recommend you enough to make those chicken meatballs in the air fryer.
The variant prepared in the air fryer is a lot crispier on the outside and juicy on the inside due to the hot air that circulates quickly in the air fryer.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- This is a kid-friendly recipe. As these meatballs are finger-food, your kids will adore eating them with their fingers.
- You can make meatballs by using any type of meat that you prefer.
- The recipe is very versatile. You can use different spices and get different tastes every time.
- It is a freezer-friendly recipe. You can make the meatballs ahead, freeze them, and use them as a component in many dishes such as soups, sauces, or even meatball pasta.
🏆 Expert Tips? What to Pay Attention on?
- Use high-quality minced meat. If you have a meat grinder, prepare the meat yourself at home, or ask the butcher to prepare it from the pieces of meat you have chosen.
- If you want to get juicier meatballs, combine dietary meat with fatter meat in a proportion of 1 to 1.
- Use a cookie scoop, a meatballer, or just a tablespoon to make sure that all the meatballs are the same size.
- You can make the mixture from several types of meat such as a mix between chicken and pork, pork and beef, chicken and beef, or even turkey and chicken.
- If you need to cook a larger quantity of meatballs, cook them in several batches to avoid overcrowd the air fryer basket and make sure that the hot air can easily circulate between all the meatballs. By leaving some space between the meatballs, you can cook the meatballs without flipping them on another side.
- If the meat mixture is too wet or sticky, you can refrigerate the chicken mixture for 20-30 minutes. This will firm up the mixture.
- The cooking time is based on Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT and for the meatballs that are 1 tablespoon in size. If you have a smaller air fryer, or you made the meatballs smaller/bigger, please adjust the cooking time for the best results.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Ground Meat. I used a 50/50 mix of minced chicken breast and chicken thighs. Also, you can use only thighs or just chicken breast. If you use only the thighs, the meatballs will be juicier, but fatter. If you use only chicken breast, the meat will be more dietary, but the meatballs also will be drier. Because of that, we are using a mix between those two.
- Breadcrumbs. I used store-bought breadcrumbs because I had already a package in the kitchen. If you have some bread leftovers, you can make your homemade breadcrumbs. Also, you can use into the meat mixture even a few slices of fresh bread.
- Cheese. I used parmesan cheese because I wanted to give the meatballs an Italian flavor. Of course, you can use and any other type of cheeses. For the best results, use cheeses that have an intense aroma so the taste of the meatballs will be richer. If you are allergic to dairy, you could omit the cheese altogether from this recipe.
- Cream. I used the cream, but if you want to lower the fat level of the final product, you can replace the cream with light cream or even milk. If you are allergic to lactose, you could replace cream with sparkling water.
- Spices. I used a mix of salt, pepper, and rosemary to maintain the theme of Italian cuisine. But of course, you can use another mix of spices that you prefer. This meatball recipe is very versatile so this means that it allows you to use whatever spices that you prefer from whatever corner of the world. Feel free to make it your own.
The full list of ingredients and the amount of them can be found at the bottom of the page in the recipe card.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
You can serve the chicken meatballs as finger food at parties, or a few ideas will be to serve them near air fryer green beans, potato wedges, spicy broccoli in the air fryer, or even air fryer eggplant with parmesan and mozzarella.
These meatballs are perfect to be used for a picnic, or as to-go food. Even in their initial state, the chicken meatballs are perfect to take with you along with some fresh diced vegetables. Also, you can use them in different wraps, or as a component part in various soups.
For a complete dish, I can recommend using meatballs as a component in various sauces. For example, if you plan the meatballs next to some pasta, use a tomato sauce (marinara). If you want to serve them next to mashed potato, serve them in a cream sauce, and why not cooked in a sweet and sour sauce near a plate of rice?
What Air Fryer Model Was Used for This Recipe?
This recipe was tested in the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT. Keep in mind that if you use a smaller air fryer, the meatballs will cook even faster. For the best results, I recommend using a meat thermometer check the inner temperature of the meat and adjust the timings if it’s needed.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
If you can, I recommend you make your own minced meat at home. This way you are sure of the quality of the meat and you can adjust the proportions depending on your needs. I used a mixture of 1: 1 chicken thighs with chicken breast.
Step 1. Making the meatball mixture.
After you have the minced meat ready, take a large bowl in which it will be convenient for you to mix all the ingredients. Pour in the bowl the minced meat, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, cream, and spices. Mix the whole composition well.
After you have ready the meat mixture, preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
Step 2. Form the meatballs.
While the air fryer is preheating, form the meatballs of equal size.
Pro Tip: In order to make sure that all the meatballs are of the same size, use a cookie scoop, a meatballer, or just a tablespoon.
After you form the chicken meatballs and the air fryer has preheated enough, coat lightly the air fryer basket with olive oil and arrange the meatballs in a single layer on the air fryer basket.
Quick Note: It’s important not to overcrowd the air fryer basket if you want a uniform cook on all sides. If you need to prepare a bigger quantity, consider cooking the meatballs in a few batches if you want to get the best results.
Step 3. Cook the Meatballs.
Cook them at 400°F for 15 minutes. In the end, the chicken meatballs should have a rich golden color and a crust on the outside.
Quick Note: All the air fryers are different and because they have different power, air fryer basket sizes, and heating methods, the cooking timing may be different from one model to another. If you want to go safe, start with 7 minutes and go from there. Adjust the timing as is needed. I cooked mine in the Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT and it took 15 minutes to cook them perfectly.
If you are not convinced that your meatballs are cooked enough, use a meat thermometer and check their inner temperature. It should reach 165°F.
Step 4. Serve the Meatballs.
You can serve them as finger food snacks.
If you want to eat them as a main course, serve them with a marinara sauce and sprinkle some finely chopped parsley over them.
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage and Reheating:
Can I Prepare the Meatballs Ahead?
You can prepare the meat mix the day before.
How long you can keep them in the fridge?
Wait until the chicken meatballs will cool down, put them in an air-tight container and you can keep them in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Can You Freeze the Chicken Meatballs?
Yes! This recipe is one of those that I can highly encourage you to make a bigger portion, freeze it, and take it off from the fridge when you need to cook something quickly.
How to Reheat the Meatballs?
If the meatballs are cooked and they are from the freezer, you can reheat them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Keep in mind that if you will reheat them in the microwave, they will not be as crispy as they were in the beginning.
If you want to get the same crispy texture as in the beginning, preheat them in the preheated air fryer for 3-5 minutes. If the chicken meatballs are from the freezer increase the timer to 6-9 minutes.
🤔Answering Your Questions:
How to Avoid Chicken Meatballs Becoming Dry?
First of all, you should make sure that you didn’t overcook the chicken meatballs. Because the air fryers are not all the same, you can’t find the exact timings for the best results of a crispy texture on the outside, a tender and juicy texture on the inside. Keep an eye on the meatballs and check with a meat thermometer at what stage the chicken meatballs are. Another reason why the chicken meatballs are dry may be that you excluded or you didn’t add enough fat into the meat mixture. If you want the best results between juiciness and fat level, go with a mix of 50% chicken breast and 50% of chicken thighs.
Can You Cook the Meatballs From Frozen?
Yes. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Once the air fryer is preheated to 400°F, sprinkle the air fryer basket with olive oil and place the frozen meatballs in a single layer and cook them for about 15-20 minutes.
When to Know That Chicken Meatballs Are Cooked Enough?
You need to cook the meatballs until their inner temperatures will reach 165°F.
📋 Recipe Card:
Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.28 oz Minced Chicken, 1 cup Breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon Rosemary, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper, ½ teaspoon Salt, 1 cup Cream
- Form the meatballs of equal size.
- Preheat the air fryer and arrange the meatballs in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
- Cook the chicken meatballs in the air fryer for about 15 minutes at 400°F.
- Optionally, you can serve them with a marinara sauce.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- To make meatballs of equal size, I used a large spoon.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket.
- Use a mix between chicken breast and chicken thighs for juicier meat.