Sweet and Spicy Air-Fryer Meatballs

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 15 min./batch


3 dozen meatballs (about 1 cup sauce)

Updated: Apr. 27, 2022
I am always on a quest for meatballs that pack a sweet and savory punch. These air-fryer meatballs are a snap to pull together and can be served over rice or buttered noodles.—Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska
Sweet and Spicy Air-Fryer Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • SAUCE:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat air fryer to 380°. In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  2. In batches, arrange meatballs in a single layer on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until they are lightly browned and cooked through, 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sauce ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Serve with meatballs.

Sweet and Spicy Air-Fryer Meatballs Tips

How can you tell when the meatballs are done?

The air-fryer meatballs are done cooking when their internal temperature reaches 160°F. Reference our Test Kitchen’s guide to food-safe cooking temperatures.

How do you store air-fryer meatballs?

Store the cooked meatballs in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Here’s how to store every type of leftover food!

Why are my air-fryer meatballs tough?

Compacting the ground beef while handling the meatballs can cause them to become dense, or tough. Mix the meatball mixture gently and use a scoop to form the meatballs to avoid overhandling. Additionally, grind your beef at home for extra light meatballs. Here’s how to make your own ground beef using a food processor!

Josh Rink, Taste of Home Food Stylist

Nutrition Facts

1 meatball with 1-1/2 teaspoons sauce: 90 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 0 fiber), 6g protein.