Making frozen meatballs in the air fryer gives them a crisp exterior while the inside is tender and juicy. You can air fry them in less time than it takes to bake them in the oven or pan-fry them.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the disclosure.
Air Fryer Frozen Foods
I have to say that homemade meatballs are the best. They’re made from scratch using fresh ingredients like ground beef, breadcrumbs, spices, and herbs. But the downside is that they require time and effort to make.
Frozen meatballs are fully cooked and a convenient alternative. They’re a great option if you’re looking for an easy meal or appetizer.
I always keep a bag of frozen meatballs in my freezer in case I need an easy dinner idea.
I like to use the air fryer to cook frozen precooked meatballs rather than using other cooking methods because they turn out perfectly cooked in such a short time.
Tips for Cooking Frozen Meatballs in the Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer before putting the meatballs in the air fryer basket.
Don’t thaw them before air frying them. For best results, cook meatballs while they’re still frozen.
The air fryer time can vary based on the model. The first time you make this air fryer meatballs recipe, monitor the meatballs and check on them 2 minutes before the cooking time is up. Adjust the recipe as needed.
Avoid stacking the meatballs. Place the frozen meatballs inside the basket in a single layer and don’t crowd them. This allows the hot air to circulate and cook food evenly. If you need to cook a larger quantity, do it in a second batch.
Shake the air fryer basket or turn the meatballs halfway through the cooking time, or even twice during the cooking process.
According to the USDA, precooked frozen meatballs must be cooked to 165 degrees to be safe to consume. Use an instant read thermometer to measure the meatball at its center.
🍴 SERVING SUGGESTIONS FOR AIR FRYER FROZEN MEATBALLS
- Easy snack: Stir marinara sauce and meatballs in a medium pan, heat through, and serve each meatball with a toothpick.
- Sweet and sour sauce appetizer: Mix equal amounts of grape jelly and chili sauce (American style) in a saucepan. Heat the two ingredients until bubbling, add the meatballs, simmer, and place each meatball on a serving platter with a toothpick. Barbecue sauce also works.
- Spaghetti and meatballs: For an easy weeknight meal, mix the meatballs with your favorite jar pasta sauce and serve on top of spaghetti noodles. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Meatball sub sandwich: Stir the meatballs and some marinara sauce in a saucepan and heat through. Serve in a sub roll or hoagie bun. Add mozzarella cheese on top and broil or air fry to melt the cheese.
You shouldn’t need to use oil in this recipe. I haven’t had any issues with sticking.
Cook them for about 12 minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit, shaking the basket halfway through. For even better results, shake the basket twice during the cooking process: at 4 minutes and at 8 minutes. The actual cook time will vary depending on the size of the meatballs. Larger meatballs may take a bit longer to get heated all the way through.
You can use the same timing and temperature to make turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs, or even Ikea Swedish meatballs. Check the internal temperature of the meatballs and when they reach 165 degrees F, they’re good to go.
I used Cooked Perfect brand Italian style meatballs. You can use different brands of meatballs or a generic grocery store brand. You might need to adjust the cooking time. Just keep an eye on them while they’re cooking.
This recipe was tested using a Cosori basket style air fryer. Air frying times may vary for your specific air fryer model.
Air fry them for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
Store leftover meatballs in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They can be reheated by air frying them for 2 to 3 minutes at 350 degrees F.
How to Make Frozen Meatballs in an Air Fryer
- Keep meatballs frozen until ready to use
- Preheat air fryer
- Once the air fryer is preheated, put the meatballs into the air fryer basket
- Cook the frozen meatballs and use tongs to turn the meatballs or shake the basket halfway through.
- Transfer meatballs to a serving platter
- Serve with your favorite sauce such as marinara, bbq sauce, or jelly chili sauce (see tips).
See recipe details below
Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs Recipe
- 24 frozen meatballs frozen (precooked or raw), but separated *
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees for 4 minutes.
- Add the frozen meatballs to the air fryer basket without overcrowding.
- Program the air fryer to 380 degrees F for 11 to 13 minutes, turning the meatballs twice during cooking, at 4 minutes and 8 minutes into cooking.
- When the cooking time is up, open the air fryer and check to make sure the meatballs are cooked through. Measure the internal temperature of a meatball in the middle of the basket and make sure it's at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Air fry for another 1-2 minutes if needed.
- Add your favorite sauce to a medium bowl and coat the meatballs in the sauce before serving.
- Meatballs are cooked through when a digital meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.
- Nutritional information for meatballs without any sauce.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
Thank you for visiting Paint the Kitchen Red. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please don’t use any content without prior written permission. If you’ve made this recipe and would like to share it with your friends, please link back to this recipe. Thank you!
I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
Did you know that the best way to support your favorite bloggers is to comment and rate recipes, and share on social media? If you loved this recipe, please comment and give it a five ⭐ rating in the comment section below. If you’re a pinner, pin this post using the Pin buttons at the top and bottom of this post and in the recipe card above. Thank you for your support!