Air fryer frozen meatballs straight from the freezer is super easy and quick. You can add them to a sandwich, serve them over rice, or add some BBQ sauce for a great appetizer. We love these quick and easy air fried meatballs frozen.

meatballs on a plate with toothpicks for appetizers

Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs

Air frying frozen meatballs straight from the freezer is super easy and quick. We first wondered if the air fryer would cook the frozen meatballs all the way through. Our kitchen staff was pleasantly surprised that the meatballs air fried easy when they were completely frozen. We added some bbq sauce glazed over the top and they were perfect appetizers! You can add what ever sauce that you want. Or you can add the meatballs to some marinara sauce for a quick and easy air fried meatballs for pasta.

Video: Air Fried Frozen Meatballs

sauced air fried meatballs frozen then cooked on a plate

Do you need to Thaw the Meatballs first?

No, you don’t need to thaw them first. They can easily cook straight out of the freezer. Just ook straight from frozen. You don’t need to thaw the meatballs first. But if you did thaw them first and completley thawed on the inside, then the meatballs will air fry a little quicker.

  • Coat the meatballs with an oil spray to help the brown up the outside crust. The oil spray helps the meatballs stay moist, without drying out too quick on the outside.

Tips How to Cook Frozen Meatballs In Air Fryer

  • There’s many different brands of meatballs and thus, different sizes. That’s why we have such a big range in air frying times for the meatballs.
  • All air fryers cook a little differently. Adjust as needed for your make and model of air fryer.
  • To avoid dried out meatballs, make sure to add a light oil spray on top before air frying.
  • Cook a small batch first to see what timing works best for the size of your meatballs and the power of your air fryer.
  • Air fry in just an even single layer. Don’t stack the meatballs in the basket/tray. Having spacer between the air fried meatballs will help them cook evenly and all around.
  • Add your favorite BBQ sauce or tomato sauce after cooking the meatballs it the air fryer.
  • All air fried meatballs frozen recipe details are in the recipe box below.
  • Pro-Tip: here’s our favorite tools to help make air frying easier:
Evo Oil Sprayer
Evo Oil Sprayer

We LOVE Evo Oil Sprayers. Not the prettiest, but they’re functional and spritz oil great! They don’t clog up like many others we’ve bought. There’s different styles, but all seem to have the same great spray head. Works great for grilling!

8.5" Square Blue Silicone Mat
Perforated Silicone Mat

There are Square Mats & Round Mats. These perforated non-stick silicone mats are used to cook food in your air fryer or steamer to minimize sticking. Holes allow hot circulating air to cook the food & keeps the food from sticking.

Perforated Parchment Paper
Perforated Parchment Paper

Parchment sheets are great for your air fryer or bamboo steamer (food tends to stick most on wire basket or tray). Choose from different sizes, shapes, white and brown (unbleached). Holes allow air to cook food evenly.

Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs |

Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs

There's several things which affect how the meatballs cook. They all vary in size, type of meat & other ingredients that affect browning so you’ll have to adjust timing. For best and even cooking, don't overcrowd the basket. Fill just an even single layer. Cook in batches if needed.
All air fryers are different and some cook much hotter than others. Once you cook your first batch, you’ll know more of what works for your model of air fryer and size of food. These were tested on basket style air fryers. Read more recipe notes below the recipe. Nutrition will vary depending on individual meatball types.
4.75 from 8 votes

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  • 1 lb. (454 g) Frozen Meatballs (16 oz./454g)
  • oil spray , to coat the meatballs
  • BBQ or Tomato Sauce , optional


  • Place the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket and spread out into a single even layer (cook in batches if needed). Coat the meatballs evenly with oil spray.
    Small and Regular frozen meatballs being sprayed with oil in air fryer
  • Air Fry at 380°F/195°C for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until heated all the way through, gently shaking and turning the meatballs halfway through cooking.
    Cooked Small and Regular meatballs in air fryer
  • If desired, heat your favorite sauce (BBQ, tomato, etc.) & toss or brush the sauce with the meatballs before serving.
    Bowl and brush with bbq sauce and sauced meatballs on a plate.


Air Frying Tips and Notes:
  1. Cook Frozen – Do not thaw first.
  2. Shake or turn as needed. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket.
  3. Recipe timing is based on a non-preheated air fryer. If cooking in multiple batches back to back, the following batches may cook a little quicker. 
  4. Adjust cooking time based off your specific air fryer.
  5. Remember to set a timer to shake/flip/toss as directed in recipe.

If your air fryer is preheated or if you are cooking multiple batches, you may need to reduce timing by a few minutes (unless preheating is called for in the recipe).


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 398kcal, Protein: 26g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 109mg, Sodium: 85mg, Potassium: 434mg, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

Recipes to make with these air fried meatballs

  • Add them to pasta. This is the best and simple way to serve air fryer meatballs from frozen. From spaghetti to penne and linguine, there’s so many pasta possibilities.
  • Air Fried Meatball sandwiches are fantastic. They’re super quick and easy too. Just find a great tasting jarred marinara or pasta sauce to make the assembly even quicker.
  • Add some hot sauce on top and serve as spicy appetizers. Spicy meatballs from air frying is great as an appetizer platter!
  • Use as a pizza topping! Put them in half and put them on top of pizza. Love meatball pizzas! Add them to any of our air fryer pizza recipes.
  • Make a Vietnamese meatball sandwich
  • Add tomato sauce on top with some grated parmesan cheese. YUM!

More sauce ideas for meatballs

BBQ sauce is the classic go-to dressing for meatballs cooked in the air fryer. Here’s some more saucing ideas to mix up your menu!

  • Curry sauce! Try making an Asian meatball version by adding pre-made curry sauces.
  • Chili crisp or chili crunch meatballs are great. These are a classic table-side condiment at Chinese restaurants. You can easily find them in the market.
  • Buttermilk ranch is always a nice creamy option.
  • Queso cheese sauce is perfect for a Mexican inspired cheesy meatball.