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Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

This air fryer chicken meatball recipe is perfect for juicy chicken meatballs, and ready in no time at all. These meatballs make a perfect party appetizer, or game-day snack, but are also ideal for a quick dinner for a weeknight meal. 

Air fryer chicken meatballs in a blue bowl.
Air fryer chicken meatballs.

How to cook chicken meatballs in an air fryer

I love this chicken meatball recipe, it’s not often you find a healthy option for finger foods! Try serving these meatballs with marinara sauce for dipping for the perfect game day snack!

If you like this recipe you should also check out these quick air fryer chicken recipes: air fryer chicken patties, air fryer chicken wings, or air fryer chicken tenders (these also make a great healthy appetizer).  

Scroll down for the printable recipe card with step-by-step directions for these air fryer chicken meatball recipe, or read on for all the details. 


This super simple recipe has just 5 ingredients, just the type of recipe I like!

  • Ground chicken/ chicken mince: I like to use lean ground chicken meat. You could substitute ground turkey for a turkey meatball recipe, or ground pork (or ground beef for that matter). 
  • Zucchini (courgette): to keep the meatballs moist and tender (nobody wants tough meatballs). (Tip for parents of fussy kids: this is a great recipe for getting hidden veggies into them – just peel the zucchini first to get rid of the tell-tale green color!).
  • Breadcrumbs: I like to use panko breadcrumbs as these seem to give a lighter texture, but you can use any breadcrumbs you like or try a gluten-free alternative. You can substitute 1/4 cup of the panko bread crumbs for Parmesan cheese to make a chicken Parmesan style meatballs (and serve with marinara sauce).
  • Seasoning: this recipe uses smoked paprika to give the meatballs a wonderful rich smoky flavor. Feel free to substitute your favorite chicken seasoning. Alternatively, add some garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper to make buffalo chicken meatballs.  
  • Kosher salt: I use kosher salt, any flaked salt or sea salt would also be fine. If you are using table salt reduce the amount by one-third as it is finer ground. 


Gluten-free or low-carb meatballs: You can make the to make the meatballs without breadcrumbs for a low carb dinner by substituting almond meal for the breadcrumbs.

Ground chicken, breadcrumbs, zucchini, paprika, salt.
Air fryer chicken meatballs ingredients.


Step 1: Prep. Shred or grate the zucchini. Add to a large bowl with the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, paprika, and salt. Combine the ingredients thoroughly. You may want to use your hands to do this (they are going to get messy during the next step anyway). 

Step 2: Make the meatballs. Shape chicken mixture into golfball size meatballs. I have a tablespoon scoop that I use to do this, but a cookie scoop or ice-cream scoop would also work. Use wet hands to shape the meat mixture, and try to make equal-sized balls. 

Chicken meatballs ingredients being mixed in a bowl.
Add chicken meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined.
Raw chicken meatballs on a white plate.
Use a tablespoon or a cookie scoop to form the mixture into golfball-sized meatballs.

Step 3 Air fry meatballs. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F/180°C. Place meatballs into the air fryer basket. If your air fryer is prone to food sticking, give the basket a quick spritz with olive oil (or use a small sheet of parchment paper if your air fryer brand allows that). You may need to cook the meatballs in batches.

Air fry the chicken meatballs for 8-12 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. The exact cooking time will depend on a number of factors, so you should always test the internal temperature with an instant-read meat thermometer to check they have reached the safe internal temperature of 165°F/ 74°C.

Chicken meatballs in air fryer basket.
Place chicken meatballs in air fryer basket, ensure they are not touching.
Cooked chicken meatballs in air fryer, instant-read thermometer reads 172F.
Air fry meatballs until they are golden brown and have reached at least 165F/ 74C in the center of the thickest part.

How to serve

I love to serve these chicken meatballs as a weeknight dinner recipe. Here are some you can serve them:

  • with a side of roasted vegetables
  • serve with a side salad and hummus
  • with spaghetti and pasta sauce
  • Make meatball subs: serve air fried meatballs in a submarine roll slathered in marinara sauce with melted cheese on top

For a game day appetizer or party appetizer, serve with a dipping sauce. Try: 

  • Buffalo sauce
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Bbq sauce
  • Spicy teriyaki sauce
  • Marinara sauce
Chicken meatball dipped in hummus.
Serve chicken meatballs with salad and hummus.


Store leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container and consume within 2-3 days. 

Freeze raw meatballs in a freezer-safe container. Once they are frozen you can pop them into a ziplock plastic bag for easier storage. Use within 3 months.

To cook frozen meatballs, there is no need to defrost them first. Place them in the air fryer as you would if cooking them from fresh and air fry at 360F/180C for 12-15 minutes. It is really important to check that they have reached the safe internal temperature, so use an instant read thermometer to ensure the biggest one has reached at least 165°F/ 74°C in the center.

Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs Recipe Card

Air fryer chicken meatballs in a blue bowl.
Yield: 2 servings

Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

How to cook chicken meatballs in an air fryer.


  • ½lb ground chicken /300g chicken mince
  • 1 medium zucchini (courgette)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Shred or grate the zucchini. Add to a large bowl with the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, paprika, and salt. 
  2. Mix to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Shape chicken mixture into golfball size meatballs using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop.
  4. Preheat air fryer to 360°F/180°C.
  5. Place meatballs into the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching (if your air fryer is prone to food sticking, give the basket a quick spritz with olive oil first).
  6. Air fry chicken meatballs for 8-10 until golden brown and cooked through. Check that temperature in the center of the largest meatball has reached 165°F/ 74°C.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 627Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 282mgSodium: 929mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 66g

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food, whether you lack time, skills, or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes made using everyday ingredients for delicious meals your family will love!
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