Easy and Delicious Recipes

Cheesy Air Fryer Meatballs with BBQ Flavor

Cheesy Air Fryer Meatballs with BBQ Flavor

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Air Fryer Meatballs are about to become your new favorite way to dine. This recipe for mozzarella-stuffed meatballs pairs the sharp tang of Pecorino cheese with the freshness of basil, and adds a touch of cumin to deepen the flavor profile subtly.

Each meatball encases a gooey mozzarella center, promising a perfect blend of taste and texture. Whether you’re setting the table for a family dinner or hosting friends, these meatballs are sure to impress and satisfy. Let’s discover how easy and enjoyable your cooking experience can be with this standout recipe.

Cheesy Air Fryer Meatballs with BBQ Flavor


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shredded Pecorino cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Small cubes of mozzarella cheese (about 10 pieces)
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • ½ cup store-bought BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 Tablespoons BBQ rub, adjusted to your taste


  1. Prepare the Meatball Mixture:
    • Mix your ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, Pecorino cheese, egg, Worcestershire sauce, chopped basil, cumin, and BBQ rub together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Form and Stuff the Meatballs:
    • Take a portion of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball about the size of a golf ball.
    • Press your thumb into the center of the meatball to create a deep hole.
    • Place a cube of mozzarella cheese into the hole.
    • Gently press the meat around the cheese to close the hole, ensuring the cheese is completely covered by the meat. Smooth out the ball after sealing to make sure there are no cracks or openings.
  3. Cooking in the Air Fryer:
    • Prepare your air fryer by spraying the basket with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
    • Place the stuffed meatballs in the basket, spaced apart to ensure they cook evenly. Avoid overcrowding, and cook in batches if needed.
    • Set the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 8 minutes.
    • After the initial cooking time, carefully flip each meatball and cook for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Serving:
    • Remove the meatballs from the air fryer and serve them hot, ideally with a drizzle of BBQ sauce or with the sauce on the side for dipping.

Cheesy Air Fryer Meatballs Video Recipe

If you enjoyed these delicious air fryer meatballs, don’t keep the goodness to yourself! Go ahead and pin the image below to your favorite Pinterest board so others can discover this fantastic recipe too. Happy cooking and happy sharing!

Tips & Variations for Perfect Air Fryer Meatballs

1. Consistent Size: Ensure all meatballs are the same size to promote even cooking. A small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon can help you achieve uniform meatballs.

2. Prevent Sticking: Even if you’re using non-stick spray, placing a small piece of parchment paper in the air fryer basket can help keep the meatballs from sticking and make cleanup easier.

3. Checking Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check that the meatballs have reached the safe internal temperature of 165°F. This ensures they are fully cooked and safe to eat.

4. Keeping Moisture: To keep your meatballs moist, avoid overmixing the meat, as this can make them dense and tough. Mixing just until the ingredients are combined is sufficient.

5. Flavor Variations:

  • Herbs: Try adding different herbs like thyme or oregano for a different flavor profile.
  • Spices: For a spicy kick, include a pinch of red pepper flakes or swap the cumin for smoked paprika.

6. Cheese Options: If mozzarella isn’t your favorite, experiment with other cheeses such as gouda for a smoky flavor or cheddar for a sharper taste.

7. Sauce Variations: While BBQ sauce is a great choice, consider trying marinara, teriyaki, or even a creamy Alfredo sauce to change up the flavors.

8. Serving Suggestions: Serve these meatballs over a bed of spaghetti, tucked into a sandwich, or alongside a crisp salad to turn them into a full meal.

9. Make Ahead: You can prepare these meatballs in advance and freeze them either before or after cooking. To use, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the air fryer until warmed through.

5/5 (1 Review)

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