Quick and easy air fryer chicken meatballs are juicy inside and perfectly browned on the outside. Loaded with three different veggies, they can be air fried or baked.
- ⭐Why you will love this recipe
- ⏲️Air fryer chicken meatballs recipe instructions
- 🍭Tips for success
- 🔪What air fryer to use and other recommended equipment
- 🥗What to serve chicken meatballs with
- ♨️How to store
- 🌡️How to air fry frozen meatballs
- 📋Recipe variations and substitutions
- 🍗Can I bake these chicken meatballs?
- 💭Frequently asked questions
- 🍲Other air fryer dinner ideas
- 📖 Recipe
⭐Why you will love this recipe
Healthy - they are cooked with minimum oil and made with carrots, zucchini, and spinach. These meatballs contain 27.5 grams of protein per serving
Easy - made in one bowl and ready in 10 minutes in your air fryer or 24 minutes in the oven.
Affordable - recipe ingredients are affordable and make a large batch of meatballs only with one pound of meat.
Great For Meal Prep - these chicken meatballs reheat well and are great for your meal prep container.
- Ground Chicken - I used organic ground chicken with 7% fat. Leaner mince will result in less juicy meatballs.
- Zucchini - shredded zucchini will add some nutrients and make meatballs super juicy.
- Carrots - carrots are great for extra texture, color, and a hint of sweetness.
- Spinach - chopped baby or regular spinach are both great.
- Eggs - the egg will bind all the ingredients and hold the meatballs together.
- Bread Crumbs - I used plain bread crumbs, they have the least amount of sodium. If using Italian ones, reduce the added amount of salt. You can also use panko breadcrumbs.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese - you will need finely grated Parmesan cheese. Store-bought or grated at home.
- Olive Oil - olive oil will create a great texture and will not let meatballs dry out.
- Tomato Paste - you can skip it, but adding a little bit of tomato paste will add great flavor and balance the taste.
- Salt - I add just a little bit of salt since both bread crumbs and cheese contain a good amount of sodium.
- Spices - I used dry oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. You can also add thyme, and basil or use Italian seasoning.
See a recipe card for ingredients quantities.
⏲️Air fryer chicken meatballs recipe instructions
Prepare the veggies - use a grater box or food processor to shred zucchini and carrots. If possible, grate the carrots on the smallest side of the grater box. Chop the spinach finely. Set the veggies aside.
Make the meatball mixture - in a large bowl, add the egg, and whisk it with the fork. Now, add ground chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, tomato paste, salt, and spice, Use a spoon or hands to mix everything well until all ingredients are evenly combined. Add zucchini, carrots, and spinach. Mix again to combine.
Form the meatballs - use a spoon to scoop out a meat mixture and form the meatballs using your hands. I usually go for not bigger than golf ball size. Set the meatballs on a flat surface covered with some parchment paper.
Air Fry - preheat your air fryer at 375°F for about 5 minutes. Arrange the chicken meatballs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd and make sure the meatballs are at least one each apart from each other. Cook them in batches. Air fry the meatballs for 10-12 minutes or until they are browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
🍭Tips for success
- Do not use very lean meat, 7% fat is recommended.
- Gently squeeze the shredded zucchini to get rid of extra liquid.
- The cooking time may be different depending on your air fryer.
- Cook them in batches to prevent overcrowding the air fryer
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the meatballs are fully cooked.
🔪What air fryer to use and other recommended equipment
I cooked these meatballs in Ninja XL Air Fryer. You can use any type or brand of air fryer, just make sure to adjust the cooking time if needed. Oven types of the air fryer are great for making this recipe because will fit more meatballs at a time.
I used my grater box to shred the veggies. A food processor can do it faster, but you will have to wash more parts. That's why I prefer a good old grater box.
You will also need a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, and some measuring spoons.
🥗What to serve chicken meatballs with
The best way to serve these juicy chicken meatballs as a main meal is with marinara sauce over spaghetti or any other pasta. Try them with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a lower-carb meal.
These meatballs can also become a great appetizer, sandwich, or even snack.
♨️How to store
Refrigerate: place any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove with your favorite pasta sauce.
Freeze: these meatballs freeze well. Let the meatballs cool down to room temperature and place them in freezer safe Ziploc bag. Store them in the freezer for about 3 months.
🌡️How to air fry frozen meatballs
From cooked: to air fry previously cooked frozen meatballs, simply arrange them in an air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook in batches if needed. Cover the meatballs with cooking spray or brush with some olive oil to prevent them from drying. Air fry at 375°F for 8-12 minutes flipping them halfway through cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165° and they are heated well all the way through.
From raw: no thawing needed! just place frozen raw meatballs in an air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry them for about 12-15 minutes at 375°F, flipping and shaking them halfway. The internal temperature must reach at least 165°F.
📋Recipe variations and substitutions
- Gluten-free: you can use the same amount of dry-rolled quick oats in place of flour to make gluten-free chicken meatballs. Make sure the oats are certified gluten-free. Oats are the best flour substitute for meatballs. You almost can't tell a difference.
- Low-carb: fine almond flour will be the best flour substitute for keto-friendly meatballs.
- Turkey Meatballs: you can easily use ground turkey to make these meatballs. Make sure to use at least 7% fat ground turkey.
🍗Can I bake these chicken meatballs?
No air fryer?- No problem. You can make these homemade meatballs in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F, lay some parchment paper over the baking sheet, and spread a thin layer of olive oil on top. Follow the same directions to make a chicken mixture using the list of ingredients and directions above. Form the meatballs and bake them for 24-27 minutes flipping them halfway through cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
💭Frequently asked questions
Yes, these ground chicken meatballs are healthy. They're made with simple ingredients, high in protein, loaded with veggies, and have much less sodium than store-bought ones.
If you are not following a low-fat diet, I recommend using dark ground chicken meat. It is usually made from both dark and white chicken meat. It has a higher fat content and makes juicier meatballs. Lean or white ground chicken meat is made with a chicken breast and can be used as well to make the meatballs, they might turn out a little dry.
- use at least 7% fat content ground chicken.
- do not overmix the mixture.
- do not overcook the meatballs.
- add a little bit of olive oil to the meat mixture.
🍲Other air fryer dinner ideas
Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs With Veggies
- 1 Ninja Air Fryer or other brand
- 1 Measuring Cup
- 1 set of measuring spoons
- 1 Box grater
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 pound ground chicken (7% fat)
- ½ medium zucchini
- 1 carrot
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 egg
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more by taste
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Using a grater, shred zucchini and carrots. Chop spinach finely.
- In a large mixing bowl, add one egg. Use a fork to whisk it briefly. Now, add ground chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt, spices, tomato paste and olive oil. Use a spoon or hands to combine.
- Add shredded carrots, zucchini and spinach. Mix to combine.
- Scoop a spoonful of the meat mix and use your hands to form the meatballs size of golf balls. Set them on a hard surface layered with some parchment paper.
- Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes at 375°F. Cook meatballs in batches. Arrange the meatballs in air fryer basket in a single layer without them touching each other. Air fry at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until they are browned on top and the internal temperature reached 165°F.
- Cooking time may vary, since different air fryer cook food differently.
- Use 7% fat ground chicken for juicy meatballs
- Nutritional facts are for information purposes only and are estimate, and not to be considered a medical advice.
- For accurate nutrition information, weigh all ingredients and use special app to calculate the calories and macro-nutrients.