Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Ashley Ward
Today, I’m going to share with you a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that has saved my life on countless busy weeknights: frozen meatballs in air fryer!
As a busy mom, I’m always on the hunt for simple yet tasty meals to prepare. And this easy air fryer recipe is a game-changer. Trust me, your air fryer is about to become your new best friend!
Why do I use the air fryer to make frozen meatballs?
Let me tell you why I love air-frying my frozen meatballs:
- Time-saving: No need to thaw the meatballs or preheat the oven. Just pop them in the air fryer, and you’re good to go.
- Even cooking: The air fryer circulates hot air around the meatballs, ensuring even cooking and browning without the need for flipping.
- Healthier: Air frying requires little to no oil, making it a healthier alternative to deep-frying.
- Crispy and juicy: The air fryer perfectly crisps the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender.
Now, let’s dive into the recipe!
What is needed to cook frozen meatballs in air fryer?
You only need a few ingredients for this air fryer frozen meatballs recipe.
- 1 bag of frozen meatballs (around 25-30 meatballs)
- Your favorite dipping sauce (optional)
- Cooking spray (optional)
Note: I am using Rosina Italian Beef Meatballs, you may use any brand of precooked frozen meatballs you like.
Here are some different brands of frozen meatballs that you can easily find at your local grocery store:
- Cooked Perfect: The Cooked Perfect brand provides various frozen precooked meatball choices such as Italian Style, Homestyle, and even options that are plant-based. These meatballs are composed of high-quality ingredients and are highly recommended by many household chefs.
- Johnsonville: Johnsonville is another popular brand known for its variety of sausage products, and they also offer a selection of frozen meatballs. Their meatball options include Classic Italian Style, Homestyle, and Three Cheese Italian Style.
- Farm Rich: Farm Rich is a well-known name when it comes to frozen food and appetizers, and their Homestyle Meatballs are no different. Prepared using premium ingredients and an array of seasonings, they’re a delectable choice for any meatball recipe.
- Aidells: Aidells presents meatballs with exclusive components and tastes, including their Chicken & Apple Meatballs and their Spicy Mango & Jalapeno Chicken Meatballs. These choices are ideal for individuals who favor poultry-based meatballs or desire a distinct meatball encounter.
- Air fryer
- Tongs or a spatula
- A plate lined with paper towels (to absorb any excess grease)
How to make frozen meatballs in AIR FRYER?
Air fryer frozen meatballs are easy to make, just follow these simple steps:
Before we begin, let’s preheat the air fryer. Set the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and allow it to preheat for 3-5 minutes. This step ensures that your meatballs will cook evenly and achieve that crispy exterior we all love.
While the air fryer is preheating, take out the meatballs from the bag. There’s no need to thaw them; you can cook them straight from the freezer.
Once the air fryer has preheated, it’s time to arrange the meatballs in the basket. If you’re using cooking spray, give the basket a light spritz to prevent sticking.
Place the frozen meatballs in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching or overcrowding. You might need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
Now that the meatballs are in the air fryer, set the timer for 10 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to gently shake the basket halfway through the cooking to ensure even cooking.
After 10 minutes, check the meatballs for doneness. They should be golden brown and crispy on the outside. If they need more time, cook them for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure they are fully cooked. Larger meatballs may take longer to cook.
Once the meatballs are cooked to your liking, carefully remove them from the air fryer basket using tongs or a spatula, and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess grease.
Serve your air-fried frozen meatballs with your favorite dipping sauce, or add them to pasta, subs, or salads. The possibilities are endless!
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure your air fryer meatballs turn out perfect every time:
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket: Overcrowding the basket will prevent the meatballs from cooking evenly and may result in some sticking together. Ensure there’s enough space for the hot air to circulate around each meatball.
- Adjust cooking time for different sizes: The cooking time of your meatballs may require adjustment depending on their size. If they are smaller, they may cook quicker, but larger ones may need additional minutes. Monitor them closely and consider using a meat thermometer to verify if they are cooked through.
- Use a meat thermometer: To ensure your meatballs are heated through, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 165°F (74°C).
- Try different flavors: Frozen meatballs come in various flavors, like Italian-style, Swedish, or even plant-based. Feel free to experiment with different types to find your favorite!
- Customize with sauces: Serve your meatballs with a variety of dipping sauces to suit your taste buds. Marinara, barbecue, honey mustard, or teriyaki sauce are all excellent choices.
Air fryer frozen meatballs are incredibly versatile, and there are so many delicious ways to serve them! Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Pasta: Toss the meatballs in marinara sauce and serve them over your favorite pasta, like spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne. Don’t forget to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top!
- Meatball subs: Place the meatballs in a toasted sub roll, smother them in marinara sauce, and top with melted mozzarella cheese for an irresistible meatball sub.
- Swedish meatballs: Prepare a creamy Swedish meatball sauce using beef broth, heavy cream, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. Then, mix in your air-fried meatballs and serve over egg noodles or with a side of mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
- Appetizer: Skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and serve them as a tasty appetizer at your next party or game night. Offer a variety of dipping sauces for guests to choose from.
- Salads: For a lighter meal, add the meatballs to a fresh salad with your favorite greens, veggies, and dressing.
- Pizza: Top your homemade or store-bought pizza dough with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your air-fried meatballs, then bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Rice bowls: Serve the meatballs over a bed of rice or quinoa, and add some sautéed veggies for a filling and balanced meal. Drizzle your favorite sauce on top for an extra burst of flavor.
- Stuffed peppers: Hollow out bell peppers and stuff them with a mixture of cooked rice, marinara sauce, and air-fried meatballs. Top with shredded cheese and bake until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted.
- Sliders: Place the meatballs on mini burger buns, and top them with BBQ sauce and cheese for adorable and delicious meatball sliders, perfect for parties or a fun family dinner.
- Tacos or wraps: Tuck your meatballs into soft tortillas or wraps, along with your favorite taco or wrap fillings like shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and avocado. Drizzle with a flavorful sauce for an unconventional but delightful taco or wrap experience.
Air fryer frozen meatballs are versatile and easy to cook. With minimal effort and countless serving options, they’re the perfect solution for an easy weeknight meal or last-minute gatherings.
So go ahead, give this recipe a try, and watch as your air fryer works its magic to create the most scrumptious meatballs you’ve ever tasted.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need to thaw frozen meatballs before cooking them in the air fryer?
No. You can directly cook them from their frozen state, thereby saving time and achieving a crispy outside and succulent inside.
Can I cook different types of frozen meatballs in the air fryer?
Yes, it is possible to prepare different varieties of frozen meatballs such as Italian, Swedish, plant-based, or poultry-based meatballs in an air fryer.
How do I reheat leftover meatballs?
To reheat leftover air-fried meatballs, simply place them back in the air fryer basket and heat at 350°F (175°C) for 3-5 minutes or until they’re warmed through.
Frozen Meatballs in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer
- paper towels
- 1 bag frozen meatballs
- Before we begin, let's preheat the air fryer. Set the temperature to 400°F (200°C) and allow it to preheat for 3-5 minutes.
- While the air fryer is preheating, take out the meatballs from the bag. There's no need to thaw them; you can cook them straight from the freezer.
- Once the air fryer has preheated, it's time to arrange the meatballs in the basket. If you're using cooking spray, give the basket a light spritz to prevent sticking. Place the frozen meatballs in a single layer.
- Now that the meatballs are in the air fryer, set the timer for 10 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to gently shake the basket halfway through the cooking to ensure even cooking.After 10 minutes, check the meatballs for doneness. They should be golden brown and crispy on the outside. If they need more time, cook them for an additional 2-3 minutes to make sure they are fully cooked. Larger meatballs may take longer to cook.
- Once the meatballs are cooked to your liking, carefully remove them from the air fryer basket.
- Serve your air-fried frozen meatballs with your favorite dipping sauce, or add them to pasta, subs, or salads.