Learn how to cook frozen meatballs in the air fryer for an easy appetizer or meal! The 2-ingredient sauce is simple and delicious.
Frozen Meatballs in the Air Fryer
It is SO easy to cook frozen meatballs in the air fryer! These are cooked until juicy and tender, then tossed in a simple barbecue jelly sauce for an appetizer that’s ready in 15 minutes. Not sure about everyone’s tastes? Skip saucing the meatballs–Provide several bowls of a variety of sauces so that everyone can help themselves!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Frozen Meatballs
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. For exact measurements, keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card!
- Frozen Meatballs – I used homestyle meatballs that were 1/2 ounce each. This is a great size for an appetizer, but you could easily use the larger size if you prefer. I’ll include notes below for cooking times for the 1-ounce size as well.
- Grape Jelly – This provides a great sweet flavor to contrast with the tangy barbecue sauce. You could swap this out for a blackberry jam or a different jelly flavor if you prefer.
- Barbecue Sauce – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s, but you could use your preferred sauce brand. Feel free to use something spicy if you want a stronger flavor when combined with the jelly!
- Chopped parsley (optional) – This just brightens the whole dish and gives it a pop of color. You can skip this if you’d like, but I feel like the herby flavor does add to the recipe.
How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in Air Fryer
This recipe is so simple and perfect for a last minute cookout or potluck! Here’s a step-by-step recipe for this easy appetizer.
Air Fry Meatballs
Start by preheating the air fryer to 375 degrees F for 3 minutes while you pull out the ingredients. Pour meatballs into the air fryer, cooking them in a single layer with a little room between each if at all possible. You may need to cook in multiple batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
Cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket every 3-5 minutes for even cooking. If you’re using 1-ounce meatballs instead, add 2-4 more minutes.
Mix up sauce
While the meatballs are cooking, mix together the jelly and barbecue sauce. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until it’s nice and smooth. Set aside for now (or portion into small bowls for dipping if you’re serving the meatballs and sauce separately).
Coat meatballs with sauce
This part is optional, but I love the ease of it! Place the meatballs in a large bowl and pour the mixed sauce over the meatballs and stir with a rubber spatula to coat. This ensures that they’re super juicy and full of sweet-and-salty flavor!
What to serve with meatballs
Top the meatballs with chopped parsley for both flavor and a nice presentation. Serve either coated in sauce or with sauce on the side for dipping. We love these with Crock Pot Lil’ Smokies and Garlic Parmesan Wings. They’re always welcome at the potluck or game day watch party, especially with some dips like beer cheese, pesto, and A1 sauce!
More easy party apps:
- Potato Skins with Buffalo Chicken
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Chicken Bacon Ranch French Bread Pizza
- Slow Cooker Corn Dip
How to store meatballs
Once meatballs have completely cooled, place them in an airtight container. They’ll last in the fridge for 3-4 days, but you can freeze them for 2-3 months. If freezing with the sauce, simply pour entire dish into a freezer bag or vacuum seal. If freezing separately, freeze the sauce in conveniently measured portions, then pop out and store in a freezer bag. Freeze meatballs on a baking sheet or plate in a single layer (not touching) for about 2 hours, then transfer for a freezer bag so you can pull out just the right amount when you need.
Best ways to reheat meatballs
If in the sauce, I highly recommend microwaving or reheating the meatballs in a skillet with a lid. Simply blast on 50% power in 1-minute increments, stirring between each. For the skillet, pour sauce and meatballs in, heat on medium low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
If you are reheating separately, I recommend using the microwave (50% power 30 seconds) or a skillet (on low with a lid) for the sauce and the air fryer (350 for 3-5 minutes) or oven (350 for 5-10 minutes) for the meatballs.
If you like this quick air fryer recipe, you’ll love these frozen foods you can air fry!
- Fish and Chips – Just a bag of frozen fish and a bag of frozen fries can make a great meal in a rush! Those filets are also perfect for crispy Fish Tacos.
- Toasted Ravioli – This quick option is awesome with some mozzarella sticks and marinara or pesto!
- Hot Dogs – Great for a last-minute, kid-friendly meal. The air fryer is also perfect for Corn Dogs!
- Egg Rolls, Pizza Rolls, Taquitos
- Want more? Check out this list of the BEST frozen foods for the air fryer!
Air Fryer Frozen Meatball FAQs
Yes, you can freeze these after cooking! Simply vacuum seal the meatballs in the sauce (or use freezer bags). You could also freeze the meatballs and sauce separately if you’d prefer, but freezing together means you can put the bag in the fridge overnight to thaw, then dump in a slow cooker and put on low or warm before serving!
For 1/2-ounce meatballs, cook 10-12 minutes in the air fryer on 375 degrees F. If your meatballs are 1-ounce, you’ll want to cook them 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees F. Shake the basket every 3-5 minutes for even cooking.
- 1 26-ounce bag of meatballs (1/2 ounce size meatballs)
- 1/2 cup grape jelly
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F for 3 minutes.
- Pour meatballs into the air fryer, cooking them in a single layer with a little room between each if at all possible. You may need to cook in multiple batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking the basket every 3-5 minutes for even cooking.
- While meatballs are cooking, mix together the jelly and barbecue sauce. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
- Once meatballs are cooked through, toss with grape barbecue sauce in a bowl until well coated, then serve. For an easy potluck dish, pour into a slow cooker and keep on "warm." Alternatively, serve with the sauce on the side so that guests can dip!
I used the 1/2-ounce meatballs because they're a great size for toothpick appetizers! If you are using 1-ounce meatballs, cook for 12-15 minutes instead.
Serving Size:4 meatballs with sauce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 12.6gCholesterol: 37.4mgSodium: 466.1mgCarbohydrates: 18.1gNet Carbohydrates: 16.5gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 12.2gProtein: 8.3g