Our air fryer chicken meatballs recipe will show you a neat trick to make a meal using just an air fryer and a rice cooker.
Are Chicken Meatballs Healthy?
These meatballs are a delicious way to sneak plenty of lean proteins into your diet. We serve them with cooked rice for some added carbs.
To keep the sodium content low, we used just the right amounts of soy sauce and salt. Each serving of this dish contains 20 mg below the sodium allowance for a main course (600 mg).
Calories in Air fryer Chicken Meatballs
One portion gives you around 487 calories. That’s 18 – 23% of the suggested daily calorie intake, depending on your age, gender, and physical activity level.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
Our air fryer chicken meatballs recipe requires chicken breasts, seasonings, panko, flour, eggs, and some spices. We also make a special sauce from basic pantry ingredients.
If you’re tired of the same old chicken breasts, switch things up a bit by turning them into meatballs. You can add a tablespoon of water or two to help make your meatballs juicier.
Of course, other cuts of the bird work just as well, but breasts are the easiest to work with.
The sauce provides a lot of flavor, but if you don’t season your meat, it’ll still taste rather bland. We gave our meatballs some paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to make them extra delicious.
Feel free to add your own favorite herbs or spices — this recipe welcomes creativity. We also included some parsley for a bit of added freshness (and garnishing).
3. Panko, Flour, and Egg
To the meat we also added some panko to lighten the texture, and some flour and egg to bind everything together. You can substitute panko with regular breadcrumbs, and all-purpose flour with cornstarch.
Since we didn’t fry the meat in fat, we needed to incorporate some fat into the meat so it would cook more evenly and turn out less dry. We used olive oil for some extra healthy monounsaturated fats.
4. Sauce for Chicken Meatballs
The glaze is what makes our meatballs to-die-for. It’s a sweet, tangy, and salty combination of ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar, lightened up with a touch of vinegar and lemon juice.
To this base we added some Sriracha, paprika, and red pepper flakes for some warmth. Their amounts can be adjusted according to your taste.
Finally, we diluted this concentrated sauce with some unsalted chicken broth (any kind of broth would work) and added some cornstarch to thicken it later. This ensures the right balance of flavor and the right consistency, giving the balls an appetizing shiny gloss.
If you enjoy meatballs and sauce, this cocktail meatballs recipe is probably right up your alley. It features beef meatballs that are light, flavorful, and full of juicy goodness.
How to Cook Meatballs in an Air Fryer
You’d normally need separate skillets when cooking these: one for frying the meat and another for sauce-making, but our air fryer chicken meatballs recipe doesn’t. Once the ingredients are gathered, grab two bowls, a food processor, a large sheet of foil, and:
Process the meat.
Pulse the meat with seasonings, egg, flour, and breadcrumbs.
Shape the meat into balls.
Form a baking dish from foil and cook the meatballs in it in the air fryer.
Mix the sauce ingredients together.
Add the sauce to the meatballs and cook for some more.
Serve with cooked rice.
To make the faux baking dish, you need a square sheet of foil as large as possible. Gently lay the sheet into your (cool) frying basket, and try to fit the sheet into the basket, with the sides standing up. Fix the corners nicely so no liquid can escape.
You now have a foil baking dish that fits your air fryer. It might look slightly different from ours, but that’s okay; the function is all that matters.
Can You Cook Meatballs From Frozen?
We highly recommend not to, because the inside and outside won’t cook evenly. Instead, pre-cook the meatballs then store them in the freezer.
How to Store and Reheat Meatballs
If you’re eating the meatballs within the week, put them in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Reheat them with about 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan on low heat.
Freezing, on the other hand, keeps them for up to 3 months. To save freezer space and make reheating individual portions possible, we recommend that you use Ziploc bags or biodegradable bags as containers.
To reheat frozen meatballs, you can either microwave them on medium power for 3-4 minutes straight, or allow them to partially thaw in the fridge for 2 hours and reheat as you would above.
Leftover cooked rice stores well in the fridge for up to 7 days. To reheat, stir it directly in a pan over medium heat until heated through or steam it for 5 minutes.
For more delicious meals, check out our tasty air fryer dinner roundup.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
What’s missing from this almost wholesome meal are the all-important fruits and veg, so we highly recommend a salad and a fruit juice. Two popular and delicious options from our recipes are beet and feta cheese salad and lemonade.
|Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs||Main Dish||488||1.8 g||580 mg|
|Beet And Feta Cheese Salad||Side Dish||213||2.7 g||244 mg|
|Lemonade||Beverage||55||0.0 g||9 mg|
|Total||756||4.5 g||833 mg|
More Air Fryer Chicken Dinner Ideas
If you’re interested in other air fryer chicken recipes as healthy as this one, we’ve got some seriously delectable ones:
- Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken Recipe
- Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
- Air Fryer Sesame Chicken Recipe
- Air Fryer Greek Chicken Recipe
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Chicken Recipe
Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs Recipe
- 20 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1 medium egg
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped and divided into two parts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika divided into two parts
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 2 tbsp Heinz ketchup
- 1 1/2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sriracha
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 1/2 cups cooked medium-grain rice
- Place 20 oz chicken breasts in the food processor. Give it several pulses, then scrape the sides. Repeat until there are no large bits.
- Transfer the meat into a large bowl and combine it with 1/4 cup panko, 1 medium egg, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Separate the meat mixture into 16 equal parts and shape each part into a ball. If things become a bit sticky, wet your hands with some water.
- Shape a large sheet of foil into a baking dish by folding up the edges, then place it into the frying basket. Gently put the meatballs you’ve shaped into it and cook at 400 °F for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining 1/4 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sriracha, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.
- Pour this sauce onto the cooked meatballs and cook at 400 °F for 2 minutes or until it thickens.
- When it’s done, gently toss to coat the meatballs nicely. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve with 3 1/2 cups of cooked rice.