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Air-Fried Turkey Meat Balls (A Perfect Recipe)

Air-fried turkey meatballs will delight your taste buds. Turkeys are a source of lean protein, and the air-fried meatballs give you a lot of nutrients along with the right flavor and spice. I’ve been a fan of meatballs since my childhood.

The ideal recipe retains the texture of meatballs when your bake or fry them. What you add to your meat impact how well your meatballs are cooked.

Cooking meatballs in the air fryer is as simple as cooking them on the stove. Prepare your mixture, make the balls and cook in the preheated air fryer at 380 F. The internal temperature of meat should be cooked at 165 F for it to cook properly.

It’s just a quick recipe that I’ve discussed. To get a more in-depth look at the questions and tips, read till the end of the blog. This way, you’ll end up making the perfect air-fried turkey meatballs.

Meatballs In The Air fryer: Recipe

Juicy and Tender Air fried Turkey Meatballs
Juicy and Tender Air fried Turkey Meatballs


Here’s what you need to make crunchy and tender meatballs:

  • 3-4 pound ground turkey
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and black pepper
  • Italian seasoning salt
  • olive pomace oil


To start with the recipe, follow the instructions below:

To cook juicy and tender meatballs, mix dry ingredients: meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, and spices. Next, add eggs and make balls. Preheat the air fryer to 400 F. Add olive oil and place the meatballs in the air fryer basket. Take the temperature down to 380 F and now cook for 10 minutes.

Once the inner temperature reads 165 F, take the meatballs out carefully and serve with ketchup.

What Can Replace Breadcrumbs In The Recipe Of Air-fried Turkey Meatballs?

Easy Homecooked Meatballs
Easy Homecooked Meatballs

You can replace breadcrumbs with crackers, broken nuts, and even oats. Let’s see how!

  • Crackers

For meatloaf and meatballs, crushed crackers work wonders. You can easily use it in place of bread crumbs. Crackers work just as well as bread crumbs when holding the meat mixture together.

  • Oats

You may replace bread crumbs with gluten-free oats. They cooked crunchy yet incredibly healthy. All you need to do is put them in the food processor and wait until they have a powdery consistency.

I advise flavoring crushed oats with herbs or other ingredients when using them as a coating. It’s because oat crumbs lack that flavor!

  • Broken Nuts

Any nut will do for this swap, so mix and match your favorites! They taste very well when used in chicken or fish recipes. They will adhere best as a coating when cut in a food processor.

Should We Refrigerate The Meatballs Before Cooking Them?

I believe that putting them in the refrigerator for a short period helps them “solidify” a bit and maintain their shape. Remember to do this before adding it to the sauce.

Depending on the ingredients, how I cook them, and the timing, there are times when I refrigerate them and times when I don’t. It depends on the type of meatballs you’re creating. The sauce you’re serving matters a lot too.

All in all, I keep meatballs in the refrigerator for a perfect meatball. You can always change the time and temperature according to your convenience. Check the temperature guidelines of the air fryer. You need to use a different mix if you think they’d fall apart while cooking.

How to Freeze Raw Meatballs?

You can freeze turkey meatballs for 3 to 4 weeks maximum. Use the procedures given below to freeze raw meatballs:

Place the raw meatballs in a single layer one inch apart on the baking sheet, so they don’t touch. Freeze the meatballs quickly. The meatballs should be frozen all the way through, which should take two to four hours. This step will help to guarantee that they don’t stick together.

Then, take the meatballs out of the freezer and add them to a bag or a food container. Mark the bag with the exact date you prepared the meatballs. After that, place the meatballs back in the freezer. You can keep the frozen meatballs in the freezer for one month.

When ready to cook, defrost the meatballs and re-fry them for 10 minutes in the air fryer. Or you can bake them or reheat them in the slow cooker.

People are generally concerned about if freezing meatballs retard bacterial growth? I’ll explain how it works.

When you refrigerate your food, it doesn’t stop bacterial growth. It only slows it down. Therefore, it’s better to use frozen meatballs as soon as possible. Apart from that, the cooking temperature determines matters a lot. They can get contaminated if you don’t cook the meatballs to 175 degrees.

Therefore, take a look at the cooking temperature beforehand.

frozen meatballs
Frozen meatballs are cooked at 450 Degrees for 15 minutes

Nutritional Information

Meatballs contain a total of 190 kcal.

NutrientsAmount (g)
Nutrient content of meatballs

How Can We Avoid Crumbling Of The Meatballs?

The following hacks will help you create the ideal meatballs that won’t crumble when cooked:

First and foremost, add some breadcrumbs to your meat with all the spices. Flour your meatballs before rolling them. Shaking them would give a thorough spread.

In the mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with eggs and a tbsp of oil with the help of your hand. Your hands’ heat will allow the meat’s proteins to break down; It will help the mixture hold together as it cooks. Mix until the mince becomes sticky and moist.

Bread crumbs are beneficial as they absorb some of the meat fluids created while cooking. They help to prevent the meat from overdrying. However, the excess addition of breadcrumbs leads to a distorted structure of the meatballs.

On the other hand, too few breadcrumbs won’t provide the appropriate filler effect. The key is to add 3 tbsps of crumbs for each pound of minced meat.

Moreover, you can use oats; if you’re on a gluten-free diet, oats are a suitable replacement for breadcrumbs.

meatballs in an air fryer basket
Meatballs are a healthier cooking alternative.

Why Do My Turkey Meatballs Keep Crumbling?

The breadcrumb’s quantity and quality are typically the culprits when meatballs crumble. Eggs and bread crumbs are common ingredients in meatball recipes.

Either the quantity of bread crumbs is too high or too less. However, using an insufficient amount is most likely to cause this problem. Here are a few tips to prevent your meatballs from breaking down while air frying:

  • There are many variations in using breadcrumbs. People use dried bread crumbs in place of fresh ones. They work better. Also, you can try panko breadcrumbs. They keep the balls together and taste much crunchy.
  • Additionally, some recipes call for removing the crusts off bread slices before soaking them in milk for a while. After soaking the bread in milk, squeeze out as much milk as you can. By soaking the bread, you provide the meatballs with moisture and a binder in the form of bread.
  • Another crucial tip is to work slowly and handle the meatballs as gently as possible. Less interaction with the meatballs, the more stable they are!
  • Before forming the dough into balls, you can combine all the ingredients and chill them for at least 30 minutes and possibly up to an hour. When shaping the meatballs, keep a bowl of cold water nearby to moisten your hands before rolling each one.

Here I have linked a short tutorial to air frying meatballs. Have a look!

Air Fryer Meatballs Recipe

How do you tell whether your turkey meatballs are done?

When an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the center of the meatballs, they are done in the air fryer.

You may also visually verify by slicing one of the meatballs in half to ensure it is no longer pink.

Can I use different types of meat in this recipe?

Yes! The flavors in this recipe work well with beef, pork, chicken, or meat substitutes like Beyond Meat.

These air fryer turkey meatballs taste precise like, if not better than, beef meatballs. They brown wonderfully in the air fryer and are ready to serve with your favorite pasta sauce or as an appetizer.


To conclude, I’d mention;

  • Air-fried turkey meatballs are delicious yet nutritious food. You can easily make them home and freeze them for a longer run.
  • But the secret lies in making the balls without crumbling. To keep them intact, we can add eggs, breadcrumbs, crackers, oil spray, and more.
  • There are plenty of replacements for breadcrumbs too.
  • Before freezing the meatballs, mark your containers with the date. And then you can store them in a refrigerator for up to 2 months, but 1 month is the ideal time.
  • Keeping all the storage conditions and cooking prerequisites in mind before freezing meatballs is better.

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