Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs made with ground beef and homemade firecracker sauce will spice up your dinner table or party platter. They’re a tasty party appetizer, makes a great lunch or dinner option to serve with vegetables or rice.
If you’re tired of the same ol’ crockpot meatballs and want something with a little heat and zesty flavor, these delicious Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs were made just for you!
Serve these up for a game day appetizer, make a meatball sub or roast some veggies and make kabobs. Or simply serve them with your favorite side dishes for a filling dinner.
Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs
- If you like a spicy and flavorful meatball, this is it.
- Great recipe to take to potluck dinners since they are easily portable.
- Perfect party appetizer.
More Air Fryer Recipes To Love
These homemade air fryer firecracker meatballs need a fair amount of prep time, but it is worth it!
OLIVE OIL NON-STICK SPRAY: You can swap this out for melted butter, avocado oil, vegetable oil, etc.
SPICES AND HERBS: You’ll need kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic, minced parsley, sesame seeds, and smoked paprika to really bring the tasty meatball flavor.
EGGS: Large eggs act as a binding agent to hold your air fryer firecracker meatballs together.
GROUND BEEF: I recommend using a lean ground beef if possible, too much fat content and your firecracker meatballs will be crumbling apart easily.
PANKO BREADCRUMBS: I opt for panko for the texture and taste. You can also use regular breadcrumbs if desired.
PARMESAN CHEESE: Brings some cheesy flavor to your meatballs
LIGHT BROWN SUGAR: Packed light brown sugar is perfect for balancing the heat in this sauce with just a little sweetness.
BUFFALO SAUCE AND APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: These are part of the sauce base for this homemade sauce recipe. These bring heat and cut the heat some so it’s not too spicy.
SOY SAUCE: I use low sodium soy sauce to help lower the sodium
SPICES: All you need is garlic powder and salt.
How to Make Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs
STEP 1: Start by preheating the Air Fryer to 400F for 5 minutes. We want it hot!
STEP 2: While it’s preheating, add your meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
STEP 3: Working in batches, scoop out the meat mixture and roll 2-inch meatballs between the palms of your hands to form a spherical ball.
STEP 4: Lightly spray the Air Fryer basket with cooking spray and add your meatballs. Don’t overcrowd the basket. Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray as well.
STEP 5: Cook the meatballs at 400F for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 140F-155F. Check with a meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temp.
STEP 6: Repeat steps 3-5 with the remaining meat until you’ve formed and cooked all your meatballs.
STEP 7: Warm your small saucepan on medium to high heat, once it’s hot add the ingredients to make your sauce. Whisk and cook for 5-7 minutes or until your sauce is thick.
STEP 8: Place your meatballs in a large mixing bowl and pour your spicy firecracker sauce on top and stir to evenly coat the meatballs.
Serve and enjoy warm.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Here are a few variations and tips to make air fryer firecracker meatballs:
- Adjust the heat level that you desire by adjusting how much firecracker sauce you use. If you want more heat, use more sauce and you can even add red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce, for your homemade firecracker sauce.
- Use a cookie scoop to help make all your meatballs the same uniform size.
- Make sure not to overcrowd your homemade meatballs in the Air Fryer basket, only place them in a single layer.
- You can also make these with ground turkey or as firecracker chicken meatballs for another variation using ground chicken.
- Trying making some hot meatball subs with this firecracker meatball recipe with mozzarella cheese for another meal with these meatballs.
- You can garnish with green onions and more sesame seeds if desired.
Another quick and delicious appetizer you can create are these Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs made from frozen meatballs.
Can You Freeze Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs?
Yes, you sure can make these meatballs and freeze them for later.
This is great for meal prepping when you want to make an extra batch of uncooked meatballs now and be able to cook them up later.
For best results, place your uncooked meatballs on a piece of parchment paper and lay them in the freezer for up to 1 hour, until they’re frozen. Then place them in a freezer-safe bag to freeze until ready to cook them.
To cook the raw frozen meatballs, you can let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and follow the above cooking instructions as you would if making the meatballs right then.
What to Serve with Meatballs
- Avocado Fries
- Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
- Classic Deviled Eggs
How To Store
Leftover air fryer firecracker meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
You may also freeze leftover meatballs in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
How To Reheat Meatballs
To reheat your already cooked meatballs, preheat the Air Fryer to 400F, spray meatballs with cooking spray after you placed them in the basket of the air fryer, and reheat for 5-7 minutes.
Check on the warmth of your meatballs periodically and adjust reheat cooking time as necessary.
Air Fryer Firecracker Meatballs are a fantastic way to make beef meatballs with an amazing sauce. It’s faster than the traditional method and is a great appetizer for game day or easy dinner recipe that is both kid and adult friendly.
- 2 lbs. Ground Beef
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoon Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
- 2 tablespoons minced Parsley (add more if using for garnish)
- 3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce
- 2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Start by preheating the Air Fryer to 400F for 5 minutes.
- While it’s preheating, add your meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Working in batches, scoop out the meat mixture and roll 2-inch meatballs between the palms of your hands to form a spherical ball.
- Lightly spray the Air Fryer basket with cooking spray and add your meatballs. Don’t overcrowd the basket. Spray the meatballs with nonstick cooking spray as well.
- Cook the meatballs at 400F for 10 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 5 minutes or until the beef reaches an internal temperature of
140F-155F. Check with a meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temp.
- Repeat steps 3-5 with the remaining meat until you’ve formed and cooked all your meatballs.
- Warm your small saucepan on medium to high heat, once it’s hot add the ingredients to make your sauce. Whisk and cook for 5-7 minutes or until your sauce is thick.
- Place your meatballs in a large mixing bowl and pour your spicy firecracker sauce on top and stir to evenly coat the meatballs.
See recipe post for variations/substitutions and tips.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g
Nutritional values are estimates and not exact.