These easy air fryer turkey meatballs are delicious, healthy, and ready in about 20 minutes. Serve them as they are or include them in other recipes.
Do you fancy some meatballs for a quick dinner tonight? Try our delicate, super quick, flavorful air fryer turkey meatballs; they are bound to please your whole family. Why?
- The main reason: They’re meatballs! And everybody loves meatballs.
- Healthier, lower-fat, lower-calorie alternative to pork or beef meatballs.
- Super quick to make: I manage to make them in about 20 minutes despite having to grate the onion.
- Versatile: You can serve them as an appetizer (with a dip, for instance) or make a typical mashed potato and meatballs dinner. Or you can coat them with a sauce and Glazed Asian Turkey Meatballs, serve them with spaghetti and Hearty Marinara Sauce, and so on.
This air fryer turkey meatball recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.
- Lean ground turkey. Alternatively, you can make the recipe with ground chicken, ground pork, or ground beef.
- Breadcrumbs: I often use Panko breadcrumbs, but you can use regular ones instead.
- Egg: To bind the ingredients together.
- Parmesan cheese: For a lightly cheesy flavor and for binding the ingredients together.
- Herbs: I adore chopped fresh or frozen dill in meatballs. However, if you don’t like it or don’t have it, you can replace it with other fresh or frozen herbs like parsley, chives, oregano, etc. Or you can sub the fresh herbs with 1 teaspoon of dried herbs like oregano or thyme.
- Flavors: I use onion, garlic, sweet and smoked paprika, fine sea salt (or Kosher), and black pepper.
- Cooking spray to coat the air fryer basket and the turkey balls.
How to air fry turkey meatballs?
- Grate the onion and the garlic on the fine grater (See Expert Tips). Place them in a medium bowl.
- Turkey mixture: Add ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, Parmesan, sweet and smoked paprika, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine, but don’t overmix (1).
- Form about 30 meatballs (about 1 oz/ 30 g each); they should be slightly smaller than a golf ball. Use a small ice cream or a cookie scoop if you like. I prefer to use my hands. Wet them frequently while rolling the balls; it makes things easier (2).
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200C) if required by the gadget’s instruction manual. Spray the basket with cooking spray.
- Air fry the meatballs: Place meatballs in the basket in a single layer; you will probably have to cook them in two batches (3). Spray the balls with cooking spray and cook them for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping them or shaking the basket halfway through (4).
- Check the internal temperature; it should be 165°F (74°C).
The onion. Why grate it?
- I know it’s not a nice task, and I am not keen on doing it either. But I feel it’s a necessary one when making meatballs.
- The balls have a short cooking time, and no matter how fine you will chop the onions (and the garlic), you will probably still be able to feel them in your mouth.
- Grating solves this problem; the meat mixture will be nice and smooth.
- Alternatively, you can finely chop the onions and cook them in a frying pan until soft. But that will take longer than grating, and it also means you will have to wash another pan.
The color: Turkey meatballs (or chicken) are generally paler than beef or pork meatballs, and when cooked in the air fryer, they are even paler than when pan-fried or baked. That doesn’t affect their taste; they will still be delicious.
To change the recipe a bit, brush the almost cooked meatballs with a sauce during the last 4-5 minutes of the cooking time. Try your favorite sauce, like BBQ, Teriyaki, sweet chili sauce, or hot sauce.
You’ve overmixed the meatball mixture, or you’ve overcooked the balls. Or both. Only mix the ingredients until well combined; the mixture should not be pasty.
And don’t leave the balls in the air fryer for too long just to make sure; it’s better to check too soon than too late.
Check with a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be 165°F (74°C). Or break one in the middle, and you will be able to see if the inside is done or still slightly raw. If so, give the balls 1-2 minutes more in the air fryer and check again.
Place the balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake them in the preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Check.
Refrigerate the air-fried turkey meatballs in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Reheat in the microwave, air fryer, or oven.
Freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer bag for 3-4 months.
Freeze them on a plate or baking sheet in a single layer without them touching each other. Once solid (it will take a few hours), transfer them to freezer bags and place them back in the freezer.
You can thaw the frozen meatballs in the refrigerator, preferably arranged in a single layer so they won’t stick to each once thawed.
Or you can cook them from frozen but increase the cooking time and ensure that they are cooked before serving.
How to serve?
- Serve the air fryer meatballs immediately or at room temperature as an appetizer (stick a toothpick in each one for a nice presentation).
- Have them as a main meal with mashed potatoes, oven-baked potatoes, or rice.
- Serve them with roasted, boiled, or steamed vegetables, like broccoli, peas, spinach, green beans, etc.
- Make spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs.
- Glaze them with a spicy sauce and serve them with Asian noodles.
- Make it a low-carb meal by serving healthy turkey meatballs with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
- Meal prep: Pack them into lunch boxes. Add raw veggies (tomatoes, chopped salad leaves, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, etc.), a small container with a yogurt sauce or spicy dip, some cooked grains, or a piece of bread.
More turkey recipes
Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs
- Air fryer
- 1 ¾ lb ground turkey 800 g/ 28 oz
- 3 oz panko breadcrumbs 85 g
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs Note 1
- ½ – ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- cooking spray
- Finely grate the onion and the garlic (Note 2). Place them in a bowl.
- Meatball mixture: Add ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, Parmesan, sweet and smoked paprika, chopped fresh herbs or dried herbs, salt, and pepper, and combine. Don’t overmix.
- Form about 30 meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; each should weigh about 1 oz/ 30 g. Lightly wet your hands several times while forming the meatballs.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200C). Spray the basket with cooking spray.
- Arrange the meatballs in the basket in a single layer; you will probably have to cook them in two batches. Spray them with cooking spray as well.
- Air fry the meatballs: Cook them for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping them or shaking the basket halfway through.
- Check that they are cooked through; the internal temperature should be 165°F (74°C). Or break one in the middle to see if it’s fully cooked inside.
- I love using fresh or frozen dill for meatballs, but parsley or other herbs are also great. Sub with 1 teaspoon dried thyme, oregano, or marjoram if you like.
- Grating ensures that you will not bite on onion pieces; the cooking time is short, and they will not be able to soften properly if not grated. Alternatively, you can cook the onions in a pan until soft, but that takes longer, and it means that you will have to clean an extra pan.