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Frozen Meatballs in the Air Fryer {Tender & Juicy!}

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Learn how to cook frozen meatballs in the air fryer with this simple hack! It’s the fastest way to tender and juicy meatballs.

Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs

There’s no dinner quite as satisfying as pasta with meatballs. Or perhaps a protein-loaded wrap made with these flavor bombs.

Unfortunately, they can be time-consuming and aren’t always feasible, especially on weeknights.

See Also: Air Fryer Meatballs Scratch, Air Fryer Greek Meatballs

But don’t worry, Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs are here to save the day!

Cooking frozen meatballs in the air fryer is a culinary game-changer. Instead of baking them for 30 minutes, you’ll only need half that time to transform them from frozen to juicy-licious in this novel kitchen appliance.

The best part is that they come in various flavors and protein options—pork, beef, chicken, turkey, or mixed. Here’s a tip: you can find delish choices at Costco, BJ’s, and Trader Joe’s.

Now, let’s get frying!

Cooked frozen meatballs in the air fryer, served in a mini cast iron pan.

Level Up Your Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs!

Ingredients for air fryer frozen meatballs.

You can find the exact measurements of the recipe ingredients and customize the serving size in the recipe card after the detailed step-by-step instructions section.

Apart from being a fantastic complement to your spaghetti, frozen meatballs also make for an amazing appetizer with just a few ingredients.

  • Frozen meatballs (beef)
  • Marinara sauce
  • Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese

We also recommend fresh basil! Fresh herbs really punch up the flavor of any dish, in addition to being beautiful on the plate.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in the Air Fryer?

Air frying frozen meatballs couldn’t be easier! In about 20 minutes or less, your meatballs will go from frozen to perfectly golden and crisp, just in time for dinner!

Step 1: Get your frozen meatballs ready.

Frozen meatballs in a glass mixing bowl

No need to thaw. Simply remove the meatballs from the packaging in preparation for cooking.

Step 2: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C).

Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, set your desired temperature then let it cook for 5 minutes without food.

🚨 Important: Reduce the cooking temperature to 380°F (193°C) if you’re using a 4-quart air fryer or smaller. They are hotter due to the heating element being closer to the food.

Step 3: Air fry frozen meatballs for 14-16 minutes.

Cooking frozen meatballs in the air fryer

When the air fryer is preheated, add the meatballs in a single layer and air fry until golden and heated-through, about 14-16 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking.

💡 Pro Tip: Meatballs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Step 4: Serve your air fried frozen meatballs warm. Enjoy!

Close-up shot of air-fried frozen meatballs.

Well done! You’ve taken your frozen meatballs to the next level!

Give it 3-5 minutes of resting time to lock in all those juices. Then, carefully transfer them to a plate and serve with marinara sauce, cheese, and herbs!

While serving meatballs over pasta is the classic way to enjoy them,  that’s not the ONLY way to enjoy them!

First, they’re delicious all on their own. Depending on the meatballs you buy, they could be a great low-carb food, covered in sauce or totally plain.

 Another great way to serve air fried frozen meatballs is on a sandwich! Meatball subs are delicious and fun. Simply put the meatballs on a long roll, cover with sauce, sprinkle with cheese and serve! 

No matter how you eat them, you’re sure to enjoy your air-fried frozen meatballs!

Frozen Meatballs Cooking Time & Temperature

A typical frozen meatball with a diameter of 1¼ inches will take approximately 14-16 minutes to cook in the air fryer at 400°F (204°C), flipped halfway.

However, there will be differences in the recommended internal temperature for each kind of meat.

Poultry products like ground chicken or turkey and plant-based proteins like those sold by Impossible Foods & Beyond Meat, should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Pork and ground beef, on the other hand, should reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Let’s talk about size. Mini frozen meatballs (¾-inch in diameter) will cook in approximately 10-12 minutes, while larger meatballs (1¾-inch in diameter) will require a cooking time of around 16-18 minutes.

Please note that cooking times may vary depending on your air fryer.

A 4-quart air fryer may be hotter than a 6-quart air fryer due to the proximity of the heating element to the food. For best results, it is recommended to start with the lower end of the suggested cooking time range.

Here’s the suggested cooking time and temperature for fresh meatballs.

Freezing & Storage

Freezing: We don’t recommend refreezing air-fried frozen meatballs as they may become too dry upon reheating.

Fridge: Once the meatballs have cooled completely, add to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheating

To reheat meatballs in the air fryer, preheat it to 360°F (182°C) and cook your leftover meatballs for 5-6 minutes, ensuring the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can air fry frozen meatballs. Regular-sized meatballs typically take around 14-16 minutes to cook in the air fryer. However, please note that cooking time may vary depending on the size of your meatballs and the type of air fryer you are using.

For regular sized meatballs about the size of a golf ball, it will take approximately 14-16 minutes to cook in the air fryer at 400°F (204°C). Adjust accordingly depending on the size of your meatballs.

To air fry frozen meatballs, start by preheating your air fryer to 400°F (204°C). Then, place the meatballs in the air fryer and cook them for 14-16 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Remember to adjust the cooking time as needed based on the size of your meatballs.

cooking time15 minutes
total cooking time15 minutes

Frozen Meatballs in the Air Fryer {Tender & Juicy!}

courseAppetizer, Dinner, Main Course
cuisineAmerican, Italian
Learn how to cook frozen meatballs in the air fryer with this simple hack! It’s the fastest way to tender and juicy meatballs. Fry it to believe it! 👌
Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs
5 from 1 vote

This ingredients checklist is interactive; you can use it as your grocery list.

Ingredients
 

  • ½ pound frozen meatballs beef (16 pieces)

Optional

  • Marinara sauce
  • Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Get your frozen meatballs ready.
    Frozen meatballs in a glass mixing bowl
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (204°C). Please see the note if your air fryer is 4 quarts or smaller.
    Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).
  • Air fry frozen meatballs for 14-16 minutes, flipping halfway through. For even cooking, it is ideal to space the meatballs out in the air fryer. Cook them until they turn golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). If you're air frying frozen chicken or turkey meatballs, the recommended internal temperature is 165°F (74°C).
    Cooking frozen meatballs in the air fryer
  • Serve and enjoy your air fryer frozen meatballs! They make a great protein-packed snack or can be added to your meatball spaghetti for a delicious meal.
    Close-up shot of air-fried frozen meatballs.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • For 4-quart air fryers and smaller, reduce the cooking temperature to 380°F (193°C). They generate more heat because of the heating element’s proximity to the food.
  • If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, set your desired temperature and let it cook without food for 4-5 minutes.
  • Ground pork and beef should reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption.
  • Poultry products and plant-based meat should be cooked through to 165°F (74°C).
  • For juicier and more tender frozen meatballs, it’s recommended to cook them at the highest temperature 400°F (204°C). Cooking at high heat reduces the cooking time, resulting in less moisture evaporation and helping to retain the juiciness of the meatballs.
  • I used a 6-quart Instant Pot Vortex Plus to test the air fryer frozen meatballs. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer, the size of your meatballs and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
  • Suggested Cooking Times: Regular-size frozen meatballs (1¼-inch in diameter) will require a cooking time of 14-16 minutes. Mini frozen meatballs that are ¾ inch in diameter will take approximately 10-12 minutes, allowing for the desired level of browning. Conversely, extra-large frozen meatballs will take around 16-18 minutes to cook thoroughly.

Nutrition

Calories: 596kcal | Protein: 38g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 651mg | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: air fryer frozen meatballs, frozen meatballs in air fryer

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