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Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

$5.90 Recipe/$1.48 Serving

Air fryer chicken meatballs are tender, juicy and taste like pizza! These flavorful chicken meatballs are packed with flavor, ready in 15 minutes and are a great quick lunch or dinner recipe. These healthy air fryer meatballs are made with pantry staples and perfect for weeknight meals or as a party appetizer.

Air fryer basket filled with chicken meatballs, blue napkin and bowl of marinara on the side.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Quick and easy – these healthy Whole30 chicken meatballs are made in the air fryer in under 15 minutes, start to finish, making them perfect for lunch or dinner.
  • Flavorful – these healthy chicken meatballs in the air fryer are packed with flavor, they taste like pizza and are perfect to serve with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes or cauliflower.
  • Easy to find ingredients – these meatballs use ingredients that you can find in most grocery stores. Check the substitutions if you can’t find one of the ingredients.
  • Healthy and delicious – made with simple, healthy ingredients these air fryer chicken meatballs are Whole30, gluten free, paleo and low carb friendly.
Ingredients to make air fryer chicken meatballs.
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Ingredients

  • Ground chicken – ground chicken provides a great base for these meatballs. Ground chicken is a little more neutral tasting than ground turkey. You could also use ground bison or lean ground beef.
  • Tomato paste – tomato paste adds umami to the meatballs and helps to create that pizza flavor.
  • Balsamic vinegar – the balsamic vinegar adds a depth of flavor to the meatballs and starts to caramelize when cooked. Tip: be sure you use a balsamic vinegar you really like, as it really helps to create the flavor in the air fryer meatballs.
  • Almond flour – almond flour helps to bind the meatballs. The almond flour replaces the breadcrumbs in the recipe.
  • Spices: Italian seasoning and salt – these spices are easy to find and help add so much flavor to the meatballs.

How to make air fryer chicken meatballs

Check out a step by step story on how to make air fryer chicken meatballs.

Add the ground chicken, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, almond flour, spices to a bowl.

Glass bowl filled with ground chicken and ingredients to make meatballs.

Combine the ingredients but don’t overwork them (if possible).

Ground chicken mixture after mixing up the meatball ingredients.

Measure out the ground chicken mixture into 1-1.5 tablespoons to make into meatballs. Be sure to loosely press the meatballs together, don’t apply to much pressure.

Put the meatballs into the air fryer basket.

Raw chicken meatballs in the air fryer basket.

Turn on the air fryer to 390F for 12-13 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the meatballs and allow them to cook 2-3 minutes more.

Tongs holding a chicken meatball over the air fryer basket.
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Top tips

  • When mixing the meatballs try not to overwork the mixture, as that can make the meatballs tough.
  • Roll the meatballs loosely or use a 1 tablespoon scoop to form them. Using too much force to form the meatballs can also make them tough.
  • There is no need to preheat your air fryer in advance.
  • Each air fryer is slightly different, and may take more or less time to fully cook the air fryer meatballs. Once you make these air fryer chicken meatballs, you will have a better idea of how long they will take to cook in your air fryer.
  • Be sure to check the internal temperature (165F) to ensure they are done.
  • You can serve these with marinara or dip them in your favorite italian dip (like pesto or pesto hummus).
Hand holding a chicken meatball that has been dipped in marinara sauce.

What else can you add?

Spice: Add red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce to the meat mixture before mixing.

Garlic flavor: Add 2-3 cloves of finely minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder (the garlic powder will blend into the mixture more evenly). To keep these low FODMAP friendly, you could also add 1 tablespoon roasted garlic olive oil.

Fresh herbs: Add 2-3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh basil.

What to serve with these healthy chicken meatballs

Common questions

Can you cook air fryer chicken meatballs in marinara sauce?

Yes! After cooking the meatballs in the air fryer, you can put them in the marinara sauce and let them simmer on the stove for a few minutes.

Can you make these chicken meatballs in the oven

Yes, you can also make these healthy chicken meatballs in the oven by cooking them at 400F for 20-25 minutes until they reach 165F internal temperature.

Can you make these Whole30 chicken meatballs in advance?

Yes, you can prepare them in advance and cook them in the air fryer when you are ready. Be sure to cover the meatballs so they are in an airtight environment while they rest in the fridge, up to 2 days.

Chicken meatballs cooked in the air fryer basket.

Can you freeze meatballs

Yes! After cooking, allow them to cool off completely. Freeze them in a single layer (I like to put parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan) and freeze solid. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.

To reheat from frozen:

  • Stovetop: To reheat, you can drop the frozen meatballs in marinara and heat until warmed through.
  • Microwave: You can reheat in the microwave 2-3 minutes from frozen.   
  • Air fryer: Put them in a 350F air fryer for about 10 minutes until heated through.

Can you make these with ground turkey?

Yes! You can certainly use ground turkey to make these meatballs, although ground chicken is a bit more neutral in flavor than ground turkey.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: Freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, move to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. See tips above for how to defrost.

White plate filled with chicken meatballs cooked in the air fryer, bowl of marinara on the plate.

Substitutions

  • Ground chicken – you can also use ground turkey, lean ground beef or ground bison in place of the ground chicken.
  • Tomato paste – you can use 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) in place of the tomato paste if you don’t have tomato paste on hand.
  • Balsamic vinegar – you can substitute the balsamic vinegar with white balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. The flavor will be slightly different with these substitutions though.
  • Almond flour – you can use ground sunflower seeds for a nut free version of this recipe. You can also use breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of oat flour or 2-3 tablespoons of gluten free flour.
  • Spices – If you don’t have italian seasoning on hand, check out these simple substitution ideas.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

10 Minute Italian Chicken

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken

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Air fryer basket with chicken meatballs after cooking.

Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

$5.90 Recipe/$1.48 Serving
Air fryer chicken meatballs are tender, juicy and ready in just 15 minutes! These healthy meatballs are so easy to make and taste like pizza! They are great for a quick and easy lunch or dinner and can even be serve as appetizers at your next party! Even your picky eaters are going to love these chicken meatballs in the air fryer.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: air fryer chicken meatballs, chicken meatballs air fryer, healthy chicken meatballs, whole30 chicken meatballs
Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add all the ingredients.
  • Combine the ingredients well, but try not to overmix, as that can make the meatballs tough.
  • Make the meatballs, using 1-1.5 tablespoons of the ground chicken mixture. Lightly press until they form a ball, no need to press down hard when forming the meatballs.
  • Add the meatballs to the air fryer basket.
  • Turn the air fryer on, 390F for 13 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes of cooking, pause the air fryer and carefully flip the meatballs. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165F (or more).

Notes

To make chicken meatballs in the oven:
Bake in a 400F for 20-25 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes. Be sure to check the internal temperature. 
Top tips
  • When mixing the meatballs try not to overwork the meatball mixture, as that can make the meatballs tough.
  • Roll the meatballs loosely or use a 1 tablespoon scoop. Using too much force to form the meatballs can also make them tough.
  • There is no need to preheat your air fryer in advance.
  • Be sure to check the internal temperature of the meatballs 165F when done cooking to ensure they are done.
  • You can make the meatball mixture in advance, up to 2 days, just be sure it’s kept in an airtight container in the fridge. 
Storing leftovers:
  • Fridge: Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. 
  • Freezer: After cooking, all the chicken meatballs to cool off completely. Freeze them in a single layer (I like to put parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan) and freeze solid. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
How to reheat from frozen:
  • Stovetop: To reheat, you can drop the frozen meatballs in marinara and heat until warmed through.
  • Microwave: You can reheat in the microwave 2-3 minutes from frozen.   
  • Air fryer: Put them in a 350F air fryer for about 10 minutes until heated through.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
201
Fat
 
12
g
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
Fiber
 
1
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
21
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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Recipe Rating




Ravi

Monday 28th of March 2022

Omg!!! These look very delicious. I would love to try these meatballs.