This Easy Air Fryer BBQ Beef Meatballs recipe is prepared with ground beef or turkey using fresh or frozen meat. These are ready in no time and don’t take long to cook. These are perfect for weeknight dinners!
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This post was originally published in December 2018. It has since been updated.
What Type of Beef to Use
I like to use ground beef or ground chuck beef. Lean beef is preferred because as the meatballs cook, they will release a good amount of fat.
80% lean will release a lot more than 93% lean, but you can still use it. You will have to drain the excess fat before adding BBQ sauce.
How to Keep Them From Falling Apart
Eggs and breadcrumbs are used to provide structure. You also don’t want to overwork and over-mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs. I like to use my hands because it’s a lot easier to be gentle with your hands than using a spatula or spoon.
You want to mix the meat mixture until the ingredients are combined. If you over-mix the mixture, the meatballs will fall apart.
How to Season and Add Flavor
I love to use my Homemade BBQ Rub in this recipe. You can use any rub you like or any seasonings you wish.
What Type of BBQ Sauce to Use
How to Cook Meatballs in an Air Fryer
- Combine onions, garlic, shredded cheese, egg, almond meal, and seasonings in large bowl.
- Use clean hands and combine the ingredients and form one large ball.
- Use a spoon to form about 10 smaller meatballs.
- Place the meatballs in the air fryer. Air Fry.
- Remove the meatballs from the air fryer and drizzle them in BBQ sauce.
How Long to Cook the Meatballs/How to Test if They Are Done
I let my meatballs cook for about 13-15 minutes. The key is to use a meat thermometer. The meatballs are ready when the internal temperature reachs 165 degrees F. Check out this post for a great Meat Temperature Guide.
Air Fryer Temperature
Load the meatballs into the air fryer and cook on 360 degrees.
Can You Substitute Turkey
You can use ground turkey if you wish with no adjustment to cook time.
How to Store/How Long They Last in the Fridge
You can store them tightly sealed and covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Frozen meatballs will need 15-16 minutes of cook time. Always use a meat thermometer to test doneness.
You can freeze these tightly sealed for up to 4 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight or you can reheat them in the air fryer frozen for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees.
Side Dishes to Pair With this Recipe
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Southern Baked Beans
Southern Potato Salad
Southern Soul Food Baked Mac and Cheese
Easy Spaghetti Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
Popular Air Fryer Recipes
Looking for more keto recipes? Check out my listing of The Best Air Fryer Keto Dinner Recipes.
This recipe works great with my Homemade BBQ Seasoning and Rub.
Easy Air Fryer BBQ Beef Meatballs
- Add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, cheddar, egg, worcestershire sauce, and seasonings to a large bowl.
- Using clean hands, combine the ingredients and form one large ball.
- Use a spoon and form 10 smaller meatballs.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil to prevent sticking or use air fryer parchment paper. Load the meatballs into the air fryer. Do not stack. Cook in batches if needed.
- Cook the meatballs for 8 minutes on 360 degrees.
- Open the air fryer and flip the meatballs.
- Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Remove the meatballs from the air fryer and drizzle in BBQ sauce.
- A lot of time lean ground beef is preferred when making meatballs because as they cook, they will release a good amount of fat. 80% lean will release a lot more than 93% lean, but you can still use it. You will have to drain the excess fat after the meatballs have slow-cooked for 2 hours on High or 4 hours on Low. Be careful when doing this because you don’t want to disturb the meatballs. At this point, they aren’t fully cooked, so you risk them falling apart.
- Eggs and breadcrumbs are used to provide structure. You also don’t want to overwork and over-mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs. I like to use my hands because it’s a lot easier to be gentle with your hands than using a spatula or spoon. If you overmix, the meatballs will fall apart.
- You can use ground turkey if you wish with no adjustment to cook time.
- Frozen meatballs will need 15-16 minutes of cook time. Always use a meat thermometer to test doneness.
- If you want low carb meatballs, use 1/2 cup of almond meal. This is different than almond flour. Almond flour is made from blanched almonds and typically have the skins removed and is ground more finely than almond meal. It’s commonly used in baked goods and bread recipes. Almond meal typically still contains the skins and is more coarse. Almond meal works better for recipes that require breading. You can use almond flour in this recipe, but the results will differ. You can read more about The Differences Between Almond Flour and Almond Meal here.
- Macros assume Primal Kitchen sugar free BBQ sauce and Lakanto Golden monkfruit sweetener. Feel free to use the macro calculator of your choice to calculate your macros using the branded ingredients you choose to use in the recipe.