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Air Fryer Meatballs (Lamb or Beef)

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Whether you make them with lamb or beef, these homemade Air Fryer Meatballs have a moist and juicy interior and a perfectly crispy exterior.

They’re ready in just 25 minutes, making them ideal for a quick weeknight meal when you crave something delicious on the table in under half an hour!

4 pieces of air fryer meatballs served with toum and Batata Harra

All you need is a few simple ingredients and a bowl to make these deliciously tender meatballs.

Double the recipe to make a big batch and freeze some for last-minute emergencies!

My favorite way to serve them is over delicious Lebanese garlic sauce Toum and with some spicy Lebanese Potatoes Batata Harra on the side.

Please continue scrolling down to find the recipe card below, which contains the complete list of ingredients with measurements, detailed recipe instructions, additional notes, and nutritional information.

Ingredients You’ll Need

labelled picture of ingredients for air fryer meatballs
  • Ground meat – The primary ingredient for meatballs is ground meat, and its fat content is as crucial as the quality of the meat. The optimal mince should contain 20% fat for wonderfully tender meatballs. Using lean meat will result in dry and tough meatballs.
  • Onion – It enhances the flavor and adds moisture to the meatballs. I prefer grating it into the mixture, but you can finely chop and sauté them if you prefer. Alternatively, you can substitute it with one big banana shallot.
  • Garlic – It is a great flavoring for meatballs and is absolutely essential. You can turn it into a paste with a mortar and pestle or grate it with a Microplane. You can also use garlic powder if that’s what you have in hand.
  • Egg – It is necessary for binding the meat, breadcrumbs, spices, and herbs. Typically, you won’t need more than one egg for every kilo of meat.
  • Bread crumbs – As they cook, breadcrumbs absorb juices from the meat, trapping them within the meatball and providing a soft juicy interior.
  • Seasoning – I use salt, freshly ground black pepper, paprika, and a bit of chili flake for my air fryer meatballs. Adjust the amount to your taste, and feel free to use your favorite spice mix.

How to Make Meatballs in Air Fryer?

Important Note

Before you start cooking, note that times may differ among air fryers. I develop my recipes using a Cosori 6.8 air fryer. If you’re using a different air fryer, view my recipes as a general guide and tweak the cooking time—add a bit more or cook slightly less as needed.

Making these tender, juicy, and so-delicious meatballs in an air fryer is a straightforward process. 

To achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:

To prepare the meatball mixture, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix thoroughly for at least 5 minutes, or until it achieves a nice, soft texture that slightly sticks to your hand. 

Shape the mixture into 14-16 equally-sized meatballs using the palm of your hands.

Quick Tip!

Dampen your palm with a bit of water to prevent the meatballs from sticking.

Arrange them in your air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they do not overlap. It’s okay if they touch each other as they will shrink in size while cooking.

If your air fryer basket isn’t large enough to accommodate all of them, do it in batches.

Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C) and cook your meatballs for 14-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), flipping them halfway through.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • You can prepare the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • They’re perfect for busy weekdays when you need something quick yet delicious on the table.
  • With air frying, you can achieve the crispy outside and juicy inside texture of meatballs without the hassle of deep frying, making cleanup easier and quicker!
  • They’re not just a tasty main course; they’re also perfect for snacking or serving as appetizers!

Expert Tips From the Chef

  • For flavorful and juicy meatballs, opt for freshly ground meat containing at least 20% fat content.
  • If you have time, allow your meatball mixture to rest for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to blend.
  • When shaping the meatballs, dampen your palm with a bit of water to prevent the meatballs from sticking to your hand.
  • Ensure that the meatballs are of similar size for even cooking.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket, do it in batches if necessary.
  • Air fryer cooking times vary, so adjust and ensure the internal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F) with a meat thermometer.

What Goes Well with Air Fryer Lamb or Beef Meatballs?

Air fryer meatballs pair well with various sides and sauces.

Consider serving them with a refreshing Persian Shirazi Salad or Easy Asparagus in Air Fryer, along with some Crispy Air Fryer Breaded Cauliflower Bites, or Mini Tater Tots in Air Fryer for a wholesome meal.

Additionally, they can be accompanied by a tangy Cacik (Turkish Yogurt Dip), marinara sauce, or Toum – Lebanese Garlic Sauce for dipping.

These versatile meatballs also work great in sandwiches or wraps with some lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments.

How to Store the Leftover Meatballs?

To store leftover meatballs, allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or resealable bag.

Refrigerate them for up to 3-4 days.

Alternatively, you can freeze the meatballs for longer storage.

Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag.

They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Reheating

When you’re ready to eat, put the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket. Make sure they’re in a single layer and not too crowded.

Air fry the meatballs for 8-10 minutes, shaking the basket or flipping them halfway through to cook evenly.

Check the meatballs’ internal temperature with a thermometer to make sure it’s 165°F (74°C) before serving.

Recipe FAQs

What type of ground meat is best for air fryer meatballs?

You can use ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or a combination of meats for your air fryer meatballs, depending on your preference. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your meatball mixture if you use lean meat.

Do I need to spray the meatballs with oil before cooking in the air fryer?

It’s not necessary to spray the meatballs with oil before cooking in the air fryer since they already contain fat from the meat mixture. The circulating air in the air fryer helps to crisp them up.

Can I cook frozen meatballs directly in the air fryer without thawing?

Yes, you can cook frozen meatballs directly in the air fryer without thawing. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly, adding a few extra minutes to ensure they cook through.

Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Please give us a five-star rating and leave a comment below.

I hope you enjoy the process of preparing these juicy and delicious Air Fryer Meatballs just as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂 

Bon appétit! 

Air Fryer Meatballs (Lamb or Beef)

Ayla Clulee
Whether you make them with lamb or beef, these homemade Air Fryer Meatballs have a moist and juicy interior and a perfectly crispy exterior.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 4 people
Calories 456 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g ground beef or lamb (minimum of 20% fat content)
  • 1 medium onion (grated)
  • 1 small egg
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 20 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the meatball mixture, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly for at least 5 minutes, or until it achieves a nice, soft texture that slightly sticks to your hand.
  • Shape the mixture into 14-16 equally-sized meatballs using the palm of your hands. Dampen your palm with a bit of water to prevent the meatballs from sticking.
  • Arrange them in your air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they do not overlap. If your air fryer basket isn't large enough to accommodate all of them, do it in batches.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 356°F (180°C) and cook your meatballs for 14-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), flipping them halfway through.

Notes

  • For flavorful and juicy meatballs, opt for freshly ground meat containing at least 20% fat content.
  • Allow your meatball mixture to rest for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to blend together.
  • When shaping the meatballs, dampen your palm with a bit of water to prevent the meatballs from sticking to your hand.
  • Ensure that the meatballs are of similar size for even cooking.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket, do it in batches if necessary.
  • Air fryer cooking times vary, so adjust and ensure the internal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F) with a meat thermometer.
Keyword appetizer, ground beef recipe, main dish, weeknight meal

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