These Air Fryer BBQ Meatballs are juicy, full of flavor and the BEST meatballs ever! They're ready in 10 minutes and make an easy dinner, a delicious appetizer, or a snack!
They take a fraction of the cooking time than cooking meatballs on the stovetop or in the oven. Also, I love love that I don't have to clean up oil splatters from my cooktop after cooking meatballs. Cleaning up my air fryer is easier than that. Less messy and more convenient.
These barbecue meatballs are so juicy and perfectly cooked in the Air fryer. They're slathered in plenty of barbecue sauce and so darn delicious! The secret to getting the delicious barbecue flavor both inside and out? Add barbecue sauce to the meat mix.
These meatballs are full of protein and are a family favorite. They're loved by both kids and adults alike. I'm always short on meatballs for spaghetti because these just fly off the plate.
Whether you're throwing a backyard party, hosting a game night, making a quick dinner, or just craving some finger-licking goodness, these meatballs are a definite crowd-pleaser. And here's the best part: they're ridiculously easy to make!
- Why We Love This Recipe:
- Ingredients and Notes
- How To Cook Air Fryer BBQ Meatballs
- Expert Tips
- What Air Fryer to Use?
- Side Dishes For Air Fryer BBQ Meatballs
- How to Store And Reheat Meatballs
- How to Reheat Frozen Meatballs In the Air Fryer
- How To Make Keto BBQ Meatballs In Air Fryer
- More Air Fryer Recipes You'll Love:
Why We Love This Recipe:
- Ready in 10 minutes with simple ingredients.
- Perfectly seasoned, juicy, saucy and so delicious.
- Less messy and more convenient than cooking on the stovetop or the oven.
- These meatballs make a perfect appetizer, a quick snack, or an easy meal.
Ingredients and Notes
- Ground Beef - I tested the meatballs with lean ground beef. You can use ground beef with a higher fat content as fat = flavor and moisture.
- Breadcrumbs - plain breadcrumbs work better here. I wouldn't use panko here as they lack flavor. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs if necessary.
- Egg - acts as a binder.
- Spices - I use this spice mix but feel free to add a bbq spice mix or your own.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
- Red chili powder/Cayenne pepper
- Italian seasoning
- BBQ sauce - I use Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. Use your favorite sauce!
How To Cook Air Fryer BBQ Meatballs
⁕Scroll below for the printable recipe card and ingredient measurements.
Making bbq meatballs in the air fryer is so simple and easy. Preheat the Air fryer to 390 degrees F for a few minutes while you mix and shape the meatballs.
Step 1: In a small bowl, mix the onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Into a large bowl, add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, spice mix, egg, and barbecue sauce. Adding barbecue to the meat mix is the trick to great bbq flavor both inside and out. It also makes the meatballs moist and juicy without any extra fat or oil.
Step 2: Mix everything together until well combined. Don't overmix. For best results, keep the mixing to the bare minimum. You can also use a food processor and pulse till combined.
Step 3: Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and form into balls. You can also use a cookie scoop to get the perfect size. Wet your palm with water or oil to make it easier to roll. I made 16 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking tray or sheet.
Step 4: Once preheated, transfer the meatballs into the air fryer basket. Place them in a single layer with enough space around them for airflow.
Step 5: Air fry meatballs for 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through until golden brown. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer and the number of meatballs. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer and it should be around 165˚F.
Step 6: Remove the air-fried meatballs to a large bowl and add enough barbecue sauce to coat them. You can return the meatballs and air fry for a few minutes until they get caramelized and crispy if you prefer.
- Preheat Air fryer for faster cooking.
- Line the Air fryer basket with parchment paper for easy cleanup or use a cooking spray to spray the basket.
- Add bbq sauce to the meat mix for flavor and for juicy air fryer meatballs without any oil.
- Don't overcrowd the Air fryer basket. Place meatballs in a single layer. Cook in batches if needed.
- Check for doneness using an instant-read meat thermometer. The meatballs should be done when the internal temperature is 165˚F.
- Air fry the meatballs for a few more minutes after coating them with bbq sauce.
What Air Fryer to Use?
I use a Cosori 5.8 quart basket type which is perfect for our family of 5. Clean-up is easy too!
- Beef - lamb or turkey can be substituted. Or you could use a mix of different meats.
- Spices - Add your favorite spices or a bbq spice mix. Substitute the chili powder with smoked paprika for less heat.
- Barbecue sauce - I use Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. You can use the following brands too.
- Kraft BBQ sauce
- Bulls Eye BBQ sauce
- Primal BBQ sauce for a keto/low-carb/sugar-free option
How to Store And Reheat Meatballs
If there are any leftover meatballs, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
To reheat meatballs in the Air fryer, air fry them for a few minutes at 375˚F until warm. Or you can reheat them in a skillet with barbecue sauce.
To freeze the homemade meatballs, pack them in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 3 months.
How to Reheat Frozen Meatballs In the Air Fryer
The best way to reheat frozen meatballs is to air fry them. They'll taste fresh and flavorful like fresh meatballs.
You can reheat meatballs straight from frozen. No need to thaw at all. This makes it so easy when you need a plate of meatballs super quick.
To reheat a bag of frozen meatballs, air fry them at 390˚F for 4 to 5 minutes until they're warm on the inside and crispy on the outside.
How To Make Keto BBQ Meatballs In Air Fryer
If you are looking for a low carb, keto meatballs I got you covered. You can use the same recipe with some substitutions.
Substitute almond meal for breadcrumbs. Use keto BBQ sauce, or make your own homemade bbq sauce with a sweetener.
More Air Fryer Recipes You'll Love:
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Air Fryer BBQ Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano/Italian seasoning
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- Preheat Air fryer to 390 degrees F.
- Mix garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
- Into a large bowl add ground beef, spices, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoon bbq sauce, and mix until combined. Don't overmix.
- Take about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture and shape it into a ball. Place them on a baking sheet. This makes about 16 meatballs.
- You can line the Air fryer basket with parchemnt paper or spray it with cooking oil and place the meatballs on it.
- Working in batches, air fry meatballs for 10 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway. You can use a meat thermometer and check for an internal temperature of 165˚F.
- Remove the air-fried meatballs to a large bowl and add enough barbecue sauce to coat them. You can then reheat these meatballs for a few minutes to caramelize them if you prefer.
- Store - in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
- Freeze - place the meatballs in a parchment-lined sheet and freeze. Put the frozen meatballs in a freezer bag and freeze them for 3 months.
- To cook from frozen - Air fry them at 390˚F for 4 to 5 minutes until cooked through.