Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs are a super quick and easy recipe! Using simple ingredients we combine them to roll these chicken zucchini meatballs before giving them a quick 10 minute cook. This air fryer chicken meatballs recipe gives you a versatile option to use as an appetizer, snack, party starter and more!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: you will be able to get everything you need to make the recipe from your local grocery store. They are year round available ingredients that will be easy to get your hands on.
- Modern cooking appliance: the air fryer makes cooking so quick and so easy! Plus the results are just as good if not better than if you were to use the stove top or oven. Learning to air fry chicken meatballs involves minimal effort.
- Budget friendly: this meatball recipe won't set you back a lot of money. You might already have some of the ingredients needed to make the recipe in the pantry also. The ground chicken mince will be the most expensive ingredient and you can purchase it when you see it on special and freeze it until you are ready to use it.
- Versatile: these chicken meatballs are very versatile and lend themselves to a number of serving ideas. You can pop them on a pizza (cut them in half 😉👍), stir them through pasta sauce, use them in a salad or pop them in a hoagie roll.
- Finger food: nothing screams 'it's party time' more than the food! These chicken meatballs will be popular across all ages of guests without any intense or usual flavors involved.
- Meatball appetizer: chips and snacks are great but they are less along the lines of 'real food'. As we both know people often come to the party looking forward to the food as their main focus 😂. A meatball appetizer is filling and satisfying and more along the 'real food' kinds.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the chicken mince meatballs recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Salt and pepper: we use salt and a little bit of black pepper to season the meatballs.
- Garlic powder: an excellent pantry staple, this also goes into the meatballs as a means to season them.
- Onion powder: as above and a complimentary pair, this saves time peeling, chopping or dicing an onion.
- Egg: the egg helps to bind the meatball mixture together. A small to medium sized one is perfect!
- Cardamom: this is a versatile dried spice in powdered form that enhances the flavor of the chicken.
- Panko breadcrumbs: these breadcrumbs are bright white, popular in Japanese cooking and excellent to use when making meatballs.
- Zucchini: this is the secret ingredient in these chicken meatballs to ensure that they are moist and juicy, not dry and rubbery.
- Chicken mince: (also known as ground chicken): this is an excellent versatile cut of meat that works across a number of recipes. It freezes exceptionally well also.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making my recipes. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by shredding the zucchini.
- Shred the zucchini (Photo 1)
- Add meatballs ingredients to a bowl (Photo 2)
- Use clean hands to combine (Photo 3)
- Portion using a mini cookie scoop (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
To make the meatballs we want to use the food processor to shred the zucchini. Once done add the chicken mince, shredded zucchini, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, cardamom, salt and pepper.
Then use clean hands to combine the mixture. Once combined, use a mini cookie scoop to portion the mixture out onto a chopping board.
Then once you have portioned it all, use the palms of your hands to roll the portions into meatballs. You can see me having done this in the photo below 😉👍.
- Roll the portions into meatballs (Photo 5)
If your air fryer requires preheating, you can turn it on now. Spray the air fryer basket or wire racks with olive oil. Then spread the raw chicken meatballs out in one flat layer.
- Place the chicken meatballs into the air fryer (Photo 6)
The best thing about the recipe is coming next and that is that the meatballs will only need 10 minutes (to 12 in some air fryers) to cook. You will be able to set the timer and blink twice and they will be cooked.
- Cook the meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes (Photo 7)
Once done, open the air fryer door or pull the basket towards you and then use kitchen tongs to transfer the air fried meatballs onto a serving platter.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Sauce is always the best pairing for meatballs. Be it is tomato sauce where the meatballs are oven baked, a pesto sauce where the meatballs are stirred through pasta or a dipping sauce where the meatballs are being served as an appetizer.
The sauce that you can see being used in the photos throughout the post is the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce. Some other good options that will work are the Herbed Yogurt Sauce, Mustard Yogurt Sauce or the Parsley Yogurt Sauce.
You can also have a look at all of my homemade sauces on the blog to pick your favorite!
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover air fried chicken meatballs in an airtight container with a lid. They can be kept in the fridge up to 3 days and are best reheated before being consumed.
How to Reheat
The microwave is your best option to reheat the meatballs. Place them on a plate with cling wrap and heat for 2 - 3 minutes until they are heated throughout.
Or you can pop them back into the air fryer. They will only take 3-4 minutes to heat through.
How to Freeze
You can make the chicken balls and freeze them then reheat and serve them as needed.
Allow them to thaw completely before reheating.
Frozen meatballs can be kept for up to 3 months.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use regular breadcrumbs in place of the panko bread crumbs if you want to (equivalent amount).
- I don't recommend omitting the zucchini from this recipe. As I developed the recipe I made the meatballs repeatedly. The best outcome across my recipe testing was this version that included the shredded zucchini.
- A substitute for the zucchini, however, is the use (shredded also) of 1 medium peeled carrot.
- As an alternative to ground chicken meatballs, you can use turkey mince (ground turkey).
- You can use 1 teaspoon of dried chives in place of the cardamom if you wish to.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- If you can't find the panko breadcrumbs with the flours and oils, head to the Asian foods aisle of the supermarket. They will have a couple of brands on the shelves there.
- We don't need to squeeze the water out of the zucchini for this recipe. We actually want it in the recipe to ensure that the meatballs are moist and not dried out.
- Chicken meatballs with zucchini are healthy and a great alternative to a cheese based meatball. I trialled parmesan cheese and varying the amounts of breadcrumbs when I was testing this recipe and again found that the chicken and zucchini combination returned the best results. Pork and beef (higher fat content meats) you can go without the zucchini but for chicken (lean protein), you need it 👌.
- It is a good idea to spray either the air fryer basket or the wire racks (depending on which type you have) with olive oil. This will prevent the meatballs from sticking to the air fryer.
- If you have the door style air fryer with wire racks, don't be worried that the meat will fall through the holes. The base of the meatballs will end up with a slight visible criss cross pattern however, they will cook quickly enough that the meatballs will hold their shape and form.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put raw chicken in the air fryer?
Yes, absolutely you can. Chicken cooks exceptionally well in the air fryer and there is no need to brown or sear it 1st. Simply place the raw chicken into the air fryer and it will cook in no time.
How do you keep meatballs from sticking to the air fryer?
Spraying either the air fryer basket or the air fryer wire shelves with olive oil is the best way to ensure that the meatballs will not stick as they cook. This is a better method to use than parchment paper as that prohibits the air flowing through the appliance.
What cooking spray is best for air fryer?
Olive oil is fine to use when air frying. Or you can choose another neutral oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil.
How long to cook chicken meatballs in air fryer?
The meatballs will take 10 to 12 minutes to cook in the air fryer.
😍 More Easy Meatball Recipes
Meatballs are quick, easy, versatile and very tasty. Here is some more recipes to make them offering variety through taste, texture and different proteins:
- Kottbullar (Swedish Meatballs)
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs
- Meatball Tray Bake
- Meatball Pesto Pasta
- Honey Sriracha Meatballs
- Meatballs Alfredo
- Meatball Bolognese
It is time to get air frying my friend! You can also find all of my air fryer recipes in the one spot.
Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
- 1 medium zucchini tip and tail trimmed
- 500 grams/1 pound chicken mince (ground chicken)
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cardamon Note 1
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium egg free range
- parsley finely chopped
- horseradish yogurt sauce
- Set the air fryer temperature to: 180°C / 350-375°F Note 2
- Zucchini: trim the top and tail of the zucchini and then feed it through the food processor to shred it.
- Chicken meatballs: add the chicken mince, shredded zucchini, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and egg to a medium mixing bowl and then use clean hands to combine. Once combined use a mini cookie scoop and a chopping board to portion the meat mixture. Then use the palms of your hands to roll the portions into meatballs.
- Air Fryer: spray the basket or wire racks of the air fryer with olive oil. Then place the rolled meatballs onto the racks (or in the basket) in a flat layer. Cook the meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes.
- To serve: use an oven mitt to open the air fryer door or basket and use kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked meatballs to a serving platter. Provide the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce (optional) and garnish with a little bit of finely chopped parsley.
- Note 1 - Cardamon: this is a dried spice in powdered form that will be in the herbs and spices section of the supermarket.
- Note 2 - Regarding Air Fryer Buttons: I don't use any of the set buttons on the air fryer. For example 'chips', 'chicken' or wedges'. I use the appliance like it is an oven and set the cook temperature to what I want it to be. In this case, I don't preheat the air fryer and I use this temperature setting: 180°C / 350-375°F .v
- Note 3 - Horseradish Yogurt Sauce: recipe is here.
- Serving size: using a mini cookie scoop this recipe will make 24 chicken meatballs. The kcal information is per 1 meatball.