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How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in an Air Fryer

Cooking frozen meatballs in an air fryer is an easy thing to do. In fact, once you make them, you’ll find yourself adding meatballs to your weekly grocery list.

bowl of air fried frozen meatballs surrounded by sauces

Whether you start out with frozen meatballs in a bag or homemade meatballs that you froze, using your air fryer saves time.

One of the things I like about cooking meatballs in my air fryer is that it cuts cooking time, even when you add your favorite sauce. 

Whether you use spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or basic tomato sauce the crunchy exterior seals the juices in the center of the meatball. 

This makes a delicious meal even better. The best part about cooking meatballs in the air fryer is that you’ll wind up with the juiciest interior surrounded by a nice crunch.

Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs

Sometimes I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, creating something new or perfecting ƒsomething I already cook. However, there are days when I have a lot to do. 

Those are the days when I don’t have to cut cooking time. And that’s when I look for an easy way to get supper on the table quickly.

There are a lot of different types of frozen meatballs. I’ve seen turkey meatballs, larger meatballs made from ground beef or ground pork, and the kind I have here.

meatballs with toothpicks as appetizers

Different meatball brands have different options, so choose the ones you like. It doesn’t matter because you can cook any of them in your air fryer.

Since I keep my diet gluten-free, I chose these meatballs. They tend to run small which is fine. They cook more quickly, and if I’m super hungry, I simply add more meatballs.


When you cook  any type of meatballs, all you need are the meatballs and your air fryer. Most meatballs have a little fat in them, but you can use extra oil if you want.

bag of frozen meatballs

I sometimes use olive oil or avocado oil cooking spray. I prefer not to use an aerosol spray in my air fryer because it’s more difficult to clean later.

If you want to use extra fat, choose your favorite oil. It really doesn’t matter which one you use.

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in Your Air Fryer

You can preheat your air fryer if you like, but I’ve found that in this case, it isn’t necessary. 

Place the frozen meatballs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Don’t thaw them first.

frozen meatballs in a single layer in an air fryer basket

Also, don’t pile them up on each other because they need the air to circulate around them to get the full air fryer experience.

The cook time depends on the size of the meatballs. The larger the meatball the longer you’ll need to cook them. 

The ones I have are smaller meatballs, so they take very little time. I cooked these on 380 degrees fahrenheit for 7 minutes. After 4 minutes, I turned them over tor the final 3 minutes.

cooked meatballs in a bowl

If you have larger meatballs, cook them for an extra two or three additional minutes. You can check them with a meat thermometer.

Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meatball. It should get up to 160˚ F. I like my instant read thermometer because it makes the job quick and easy.

I’ve included a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for your convenience. 

How to Serve Air Fried Frozen Meatballs

Whether you’re saving time on the main dish for weeknight meals or cooking them as appetizers, there are dozens of ways to serve them.

I’ve added them to spaghetti sauce and served them over noodles for a quick dinner. Another way we like them is over steamed spaghetti squash for a low carb option.

You can add bbq sauce or this homemade marinara and some parmesan cheese and put it on your favorite roll for a meatball sandwich. That’s a delicious way to enjoy them.

Leftover meatballs are good with almost anything else you put them with. I like them over rice or with a side of French fries.

air fried frozen meatballs with 3 different sauces

Whether you prefer Mexican, Southwest, or Italian flavors, you can enjoy air fried frozen meatballs within a matter of minutes, from start to finish.

One of my favorite appetizers is sweet and sour meatballs. After air frying the meatballs, you have a choice of putting them in a dish with the sweet and sour sauce or serving them separately so everyone can dip their own.

My preference is to serve them separately. There’s something fun and special about picking up the meatballs with toothpicks and dipping them into this delicious sauce.

How to Make Homemade Meatballs

If you want to make your own meatballs to freeze for later, it’s extremely easy. Here’s what I do:

In a large bowl, combine a pound of ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, or a combination with an egg and a half cup of flour. I use almond flour, but you can use all-purpose flour.

Add salt and Italian seasoning. Mix well.

Use a cookie scoop or pinch off small bits of the mixture and form them into meatballs.

If you want to freeze the raw meatballs, place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put the pan in the freezer until the meatballs are frozen. Now transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag until you’re ready to use them.

Or you can cook them before freezing them. I’ve pan-fried them, cooked them in the oven, and air fried them. They need to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees fahrenheit.

It doesn’t matter how you cook them. After they cool, put them in the freezer on a baking sheet until frozen. Then transfer them to a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them.

frozen meatballs in an air fryer and cooked meatballs in a bowl

More Delicious Air Fryer Recipes

I’ve been experimenting with my air fryer ever since I got it. To my delight, I’ve discovered that I can cook almost anything in it.

Here are some of our favorite air fryer recipes:

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks – Fun, fast, easy, and not as messy, this is the best way to barbecue chicken.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Once you make your grilled cheese sandwiches in an air fryer, you’ll never want to go back.

Waffle Fries – Pour the waffle fries into the air fryer basket, turn it on, and enjoy your waffle fries in a matter of minutes.

Air Fryer Pickles – This recipe from Taste of Home is a real winner! Your family and guests will love this delicious snack!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños – Anyone who enjoys spicy food will love this delicious treat!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders – I’ve made these and used them as appetizers and the main dish of a fun meal. They’re delicious!

Yield: 2 servings

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in an Air Fryer

air fried frozen meatballs in a bowl

When you want a hearty appetizer or something easy to cook for dinner, use your air fryer to cook some delicious frozen meatballs!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 10 meatballs
  • cooking oil spray (optional)


  1. If you want to spray your air fryer basket with oil, do that first.
  2. Pour the meatballs into your air fryer basket and turn the machine to the air fryer setting.
  3. Set the timer for 8 minutes at 380 degrees F. Start cooking.
  4. Halfway through the time, remove the basket and shake it to turn the meatballs for even cooking.
  5. Check to make sure the meatballs are done. If so, enjoy. If not, cook for another couple of minutes or until their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees at their thickest point.


Serve with your favorite sauce, such as marinara, sweet and sour, teriyaki, or honey mustard.

These meatballs are delicious with marinara sauce over noodles or with sweet and sour sauce over rice.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 240Total Fat 38gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 94mgSodium 374mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 20g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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