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Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

Air fryer turkey meatballs are juicy, saucy and so flavorful. Ready in 20 minutes, these ground turkey meatballs are cooked in the air fryer are healthy and made without breadcrumbs and no eggs. These chipotle turkey meatballs are quickly going to become one of your go-to weeknight recipes.

If you love making meals in the air fryer, you should try these Air Fryer Chicken Burgers or Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Air fryer basket filled with turkey meatballs, bowl of sauce on the side.
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Why you are going to love making spiced turkey meatballs

  • Packed with flavor – the honey chipotle sauce that is used in the meatballs and on top as a sauce is smoky, sweet, and a little spicy. It creates the most flavorful meatballs. Trust me, these are not boring or bland!
  • Simple ingredients – these gluten free turkey meatballs are made without any breadcrumbs or eggs and are made with mostly pantry ingredients (minus the ground turkey).
  • Versatile – want to change up the flavors? Use a different sauce and you have a whole new flavor turkey meatballs to cook in the air fryer! The method stays the same, check out some suggestions below.
Ingredients to make air fryer turkey meatballs on a marble countertop.

Ingredients

Chipotle honey sauce ingredients

  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – these little peppers add spice and a smokiness to the sauce. You only need 2-3 of these peppers from the jar. If you don’t love spicy food, only use 2.
  • Honey – honey helps to mellow out the heat from the peppers and also helps to balance out the sauce. If you don’t have honey, you could use maple syrup.
  • Olive oil – olive oil helps to create a thick and creamy sauce and also helps to mellow out the spice from the peppers.
  • Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar cuts through the sweetness of the honey and the spiciness from the peppers. You could also use lime juice.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, ground cumin – these spices help to elevate the flavors, the garlic powder gives umami and a subtle garlic flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. The cumin gives a little more smokiness to the sauce.

Spiced Turkey Meatball ingredients

  • Ground turkey – to help the turkey meatballs stay moist, I use 85% ground turkey (which  has 15% fat). However, if you are trying to lighten up the recipe, you could use a 93% blend and it would still work out well. Just be sure to keep an eye on these and take them out as soon as they reach 165F or they will dry out quickly.
  • Almond flour – almond flour is used to bind the meatballs instead of breadcrumbs. If you don’t have almond flour or have to be nut free, you can use your favorite gluten free breadcrumb (not panko though).
  • Chipotle honey sauce – this sauce gives the meatballs so much flavor. However if you want to change the flavor of the meatballs, just use a different sauce here.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, dried chives, cumin – these spices help to ensure that every bite is packed with flavor. If you don’t have dried chives, you can omit that from the recipe.

How to make air fryer turkey meatballs

Make the honey chipotle sauce in the blender.

In a bowl combine the almond flour, a few tablespoons of honey chipotle sauce (leave the rest for topping the meatballs with) and the spices. Stir well to combine.

Combine the ground turkey with the sauce mixture (don’t overwork). Form into meatballs (I recommend using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop).

Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or avocado oil spray (be sure there are not any other ingredients, as they can degrade the coating on your basket). Place meatballs directly in the air fryer basket in a single layer.

Cook at 375F for 14 minutes. After 8 minutes, pause the air fryer and carefully flip the meatballs using silicone tipped tongs. Be gentle with the meatballs, they will be very tender and delicate at this time. Finish cooking for the remaining 6 minutes. Let cool 2-3 minutes before removing from the basket.

When you are ready to serve, spoon additional honey chipotle sauce over the meatballs or use it as a dip for the meatballs.

Top tips

  • For the most tender meatballs, don’t overwork the meat. That is why I recommend you combine the sauce, spices and almond flour together before adding the ground turkey, that way you just have to work the already mixed ingredients in with the ground turkey
  • When forming the meatballs, don’t pack them too tight or they won’t cook evenly.
  • Don’t stack the meatballs, be sure they are in a single layer in the air fryer. If you run out of room, you will need to cook them in separate batches. Stacking will create undercooked meat.
  • If you want to double the recipe, cook the meatballs in 2 batches in the air fryer or bake in the oven instead.
  • For even easier clean up – line the air fryer with parchment paper liner made for air fryers (it will have holes cut in it to help the air circulate through the air fryer).
  • Because of the honey in the sauce, these turkey meatballs tend to brown up very quickly when cooking in the air fryer. I don’t recommend cooking them at a higher heat to cook quicker, they will burn.
  • Note: All air fryers cook a little differently, so you may need to add or subtract a minute or two from the cooking time.
Chipotle honey sauce poured over air fryer turkey meatballs on a plate.

Other flavors you could try

If you want to change the flavor of this air fryer turkey meatballs recipe you can replace the honey chipotle sauce with:

  • Pesto – replace the honey chipotle sauce with pesto and instead of cumin, use italian seasoning
  • Chimichurri – replace the chipotle sauce with chimichurri sauce
  • Buffalo sauce – replace the chipotle sauce with buffalo sauce (hot sauce  + olive oil) and omit the cumin and add 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Teriyaki sauce– replace the honey chipotle sauce with teriyaki sauce and omit the cumin.
  • Italian – omit honey chipotle sauce. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning (omit cumin). Dip in marinara sauce.

Best way to serve spicy turkey meatballs

Air fryer turkey meatball on a fork dipped in honey chipotle sauce.

Common questions

Can you cook chipotle turkey meatballs in the oven

Yes. Follow the directions as written on how to make the meatballs. Instead of putting them in the air fryer, put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes.

Can you double the recipe for meal prep?

Yes! You can easily double the recipe to make a large batch to enjoy all week or to freeze the second batch.

However, I would recommend that you cook the double batch in the oven or in two separate batches in the air fryer. I lean toward recommending the oven though because it will be quicker to use the oven.

Can you freeze cooked turkey meatballs

Yes, these air fryer turkey meatballs freeze well. Here are the steps:

  • First allow the meatballs to cool completely in the fridge. Once cooled, transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper and put in the freezer to freeze solid (this helps prevent them from sticking together).
  • Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
    • Defrost overnight in the fridge or quick defrost in the microwave (cook at 50% for 30 second increments for 1-2 minutes) then cook for 4-5 minutes in air fryer at 375F or reheat in the microwave on high for 1:30-2 minutes.
    • If reheating from frozen cook in air fryer at 350F for 6-9 minutes.
Chipotle turkey meatballs in air fryer basket, chipotle peppers and sauce on the side.

Can you freeze uncooked turkey meatballs

Yes, if you want to freeze these to cook later, follow the instructions as written to make the meatballs.

  • Place parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet or plate, then portion out the meatballs (I like to use a cookie scoop).
  • Place the raw meatballs in the freezer and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer to a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Freeze the remaining chipotle honey sauce in a separate container.
  • When you are ready to cook the meatballs, place them in an air fryer basket that has been coated with olive oil or avocado oil. Cook at 375F for 16-18 minutes from frozen.

How to make turkey meatballs more flavorful

This recipe is packed with flavor thanks to the chipotle honey sauce. The key to making something so bland like turkey flavorful is sauces and spices. If you don’t want the chipotle honey flavor, try pesto, chimichurri, buffalo, teriyaki or italian (see my suggestions above).

Can you make the air fryer meatballs with anything other than turkey

If you don’t have ground turkey, I would recommend ground chicken. Lean ground beef could also work, but I think the ground chicken would give you the closest flavor.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: Store leftover chipotle turkey meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you will be reheating in the air fryer, wait to add the extra honey chipotle sauce (if possible) until right before enjoying.

Reheating instructions

  • In the air fryer at 375F for 3-5 minutes until warmed through.
  • In the microwave on high for 1:30-2 minutes.
  • In the oven at 350F for 10 minutes.

Freezer: Freeze cooked meatballs in a single layer then transfer to freezer safe container (see tips above). Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost and follow reheating instructions above or cook from frozen in air fryer at 350F for 6-9 minutes.

Honey chipotle sauce drizzled over air fry turkey meatballs on a plate.

If you love meatballs, you should try

Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs

Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

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White plate with green beans, rice and air fryer turkey meatballs.

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

Air fryer turkey meatballs are easy to make, ready in 20 minutes and packed with flavor. These spiced ground turkey meatballs have a chipotle honey sauce for dipping and are perfect for weeknight dinners or as an appetizer. Gluten free, egg free, dairy free and paleo friendly.
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Course: Appetizer, dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer ground turkey meatballs, air fryer turkey meatballs, chipotle turkey meatballs, spiced turkey meatballs
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Honey Chipotle Sauce

Ground Turkey Meatballs

Instructions

  • Start by making the sauce, combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend on high until smooth about 1 minute.
  • In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, 3 tablespoons of the sauce, chives, salt and garlic powder. Stir well.
  • Add the ground turkey to the bowl and stir until well combined (try not to overmix though).
  • Use a tablespoon scoop or a spoon to portion out the meatballs. You should get 14-15 meatballs.
  • Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or avocado oil. Add the turkey meatballs to the basket, making sure they don't overlap.
    Turn air fryer on 375F for 14 minutes. After 8 minutes, pause the air fryer and carefully flip the meatballs with silicone lined tongs. Continue to cook the remaining 6 minutes.
  • Once meatballs are done cooking, let them cool 3-5 minutes before enjoying.
  • Top with the extra honey chipotle sauce (to your liking).

Equipment

Notes

Top tips
  • Try not to overwork the meat or the meatballs will be tough. 
  • When forming the meatballs, don’t pack them too tight or they won’t cook evenly.
  • Don’t stack the meatballs, be sure they are in a single layer in the air fryer. If you run out of room, you will need to cook them in separate batches. 
  • To double the recipe, cook the meatballs in 2 batches in the air fryer or bake in the oven instead.
  • For even easier clean up – line the air fryer with parchment paper liner made for air fryers (it will have holes cut in it to help the air circulate through the air fryer).
  • Because of the honey in the sauce, these turkey meatballs tend to brown up very quickly when cooking in the air fryer. I don’t recommend cooking them at a higher heat to cook quicker, they will burn.
  • Note: All air fryers cook a little differently, so you may need to add or subtract a minute or two from the cooking time.
Other flavors you could try
  • Pesto – replace the honey chipotle sauce with pesto and instead of cumin, use italian seasoning
  • Chimichurri – replace the chipotle sauce with chimichurri sauce
  • Buffalo sauce – replace the chipotle sauce with buffalo sauce (hot sauce  + olive oil) and omit the cumin and add 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Teriyaki sauce- replace the honey chipotle sauce with teriyaki sauce and omit the cumin.
  • Italian – omit honey chipotle sauce. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning (omit cumin). Dip in marinara sauce.
How to bake chipotle turkey meatballs in oven
Follow the directions as written on how to make the meatballs. Instead of putting them in the air fryer, put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
274
Fat
 
13
g
Carbohydrates
 
13
g
Fiber
 
2
g
Sugar
 
9
g
Protein
 
29
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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