These cheese-stuffed Air Fryer Meatballs are a quick, easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love. The flavorful meatballs turn out perfect when cooked in the air fryer with a crisp outside and tender, savory center.
There are few things in this world as satisfying as a delicious, hearty meatball. And when that meatball is cooked in the air fryer, it becomes even more irresistible.
With this easy recipe, you can make a batch of perfect meatballs in no time at all – and they're sure to become your new favorite way to cook them.
The best part about air fryer meatballs is that they retain extra moisture and are extremely juicy. The pork rind breading is optional, but it gives them an extra crispy crust that takes them to the next level.
Plus, they pair perfectly with marinara sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
You can use any ground meat you like for this recipe – ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, etc. I usually use a combination of ground beef and pork because it results in the juiciest, most tasty meatballs. But feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
These meatballs are delicious, served with your favorite sauce, on a meatball sub, or just on their own as a quick weeknight meal. They're also great for meal prep – just store them in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat as needed.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the meatballs
- Lean ground beef
- Lean ground pork
- Large egg
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Dried Italian spices mix
- Black pepper
- Chilli flakes
- Parsley, chopped
For stuffing & breading (optional)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Pork rinds
- Grated parmesan
How to Make Air Fryer Meatballs
Prepare. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork and beef meat.
Add the other meatballs ingredients and combine the ingredients with your hands, and roll into 1-inch balls (about 12)
Assemble. Flatten each meatball on the palm of your hand and place a piece of cheese in the center. Fold the sides of the meatballs to cover the cheese, pressing to make a ball. Make sure there are no open seals. Reserve in the fridge for 10 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the Air Fryer to 400 F.
Mix the breading ingredients in a medium or large bowl.
Roll the meatballs one by one in the breading mixture.
Cook. Place meatballs in the Air Fryer basket in a single layer, spray with a little cooking oil, and cook for 12 minutes.
Finish. Remove and serve with grated parmesan, more chopped parsley or tomato sauce.
Tips for Success
Here's how to make sure your Air Fryer Meatballs turn out perfect!
- Lean meat. Lean ground meat works best in this recipe to keep it low fat.
- Serve with sauce. Serve your meatballs with marinara or tomato sauce over pasta or just as it is as an appetizer.
- Breading is optional. The breading is for extra crunch, but you can skip it if you wish.
- Use a meat thermometer. Be sure to check the internal temperature of your meatballs to make sure they are done. The temperature in the thickest part of the meatball should reach at least 165 degrees F.
- Cookie scoop. Use a cookie scoop or an ice cream soup to make the meatballs all the same size easily.
Substitutions and Variations
If you do not have all of the ingredients on hand or you'd like to switch this recipe up a bit, here are some substitutions and variations you can try:
Ground meat. You can use ground turkey, chicken, or pork in this recipe.
Cheese. Use any type of cheese that melts well, such as cheddar, provolone, or Swiss.
Breading. If you don't have pork rinds on hand, you can use bread crumbs or crushed cereal flakes.
Herbs and spices. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices in this recipe. Some other options include oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, thyme, or paprika.
Flavorful sauces. Meatballs are typically served with marinara or pasta sauce. However, there are many other flavorful sauces you could try. Some options include Alfredo, BBQ, ranch, or even a sweet and sour sauce.
Easy Sides for Pairing with Air Fryer Meatballs
If you want to keep things super simple, pair your Air Fryer Meatballs with pasta or roasted broccoli. If you're up for putting in a little more effort, here are some easy side dishes that will go well with the flavors in this recipe:
- Garlic Parmesan Asparagus
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Grilled Zucchini
- Homemade Breadsticks
- Garden Salad
- Garlic Bread
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can store your leftover cooked meatballs in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply place the meatballs in the air fryer at 400 F for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
Yes! You can freeze your Air Fryer Meatballs for up to 3 months.
To freeze, simply place the meatballs on a baking sheet and flash freeze for 1 hour. Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to an airtight container or ziplock bag.
When you're ready to eat, thaw the frozen meatballs overnight and follow the heating instructions above.
The best way to keep meatballs from sticking in the air fryer is to spray them with cooking spray before cooking. You can also line the air fryer basket with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Yes, you can cook meatballs from frozen in the air fryer. Simply place the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Yes, you can put raw meatballs in an air fryer. Just make sure they are all the same size, so they cook evenly.
The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your meatballs and the size of your air fryer. I recommend cooking them for 12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
More Air Fryer Recipes
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Air Fryer Meatballs
- ½ pound lean ground pork
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 (8-ounce) mozzarella ball, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¾ cup ground pork rinds or Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, combine the pork and beef meat.
- Add the other meatballs ingredients and combine the ingredients with your hands and roll into 1 inch balls (about 12).
- Flatten each meatball on the palm of your hand and place a piece of cheese in the center. Fold the sides of the meatballs to cover the cheese, pressing to make a ball. Make sure there are no open seals. Reserve in the fridge for 10 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- Mix the breading ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Roll the meatballs one by one in the breading mixture.
- Place the balls in the air fryer basket, spray with a little cooking oil and cook for 12 minutes.
- Remove and serve with grated parmesan, more chopped parsley and your favorite marinara sauce over pasta.
- Yield: 12 large meatballs or 24 small meatballs. The nutrition was calculated based on a serving of 3 large meatballs using an online nutritional calculator.
- Storage: You can store your leftover cooked meatballs in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply place the meatballs in the air fryer at 400 F for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat them in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
- Freezing: To freeze, simply place the meatballs on a baking sheet and flash freeze for 1 hour. Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to an airtight container or ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.