In your head, homemade meatballs are a hassle, right? Not these Greek air fryer meatballs. All you do is throw ground chicken in a bowl with a few Mediterranean flavours, panko crumbs and an egg. Mix, make bite-sized balls and air fry for just 10 minutes. No air fryer? Just bake.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Greek meatballs (called keftedes or kef-ted-es in Greek) are a particularly tasty version of meatballs.
I don’t post a recipe here unless I can really get behind it, but this one I can REALLY get excited about. I think you will too and here’s why:
- It’s Greek style, which is always something to get excited about. Add garlic, onion, lemon zest, dried oregano, mint and paprika for a classic Mediterranean burst of flavour.
- They really are very easy meatballs. No peeling, chopping or crushing. Just throw everything in a bowl and stir. Most of the flavours are in dried or powder form. The only real ‘work’ you have to do is zest a lemon.
- They’re ready in 30 minutes maximum. Even sooner if you’re air frying the meatballs.
- The recipe makes 30 to 40 bite-sized meatballs. Perfect for feeding a small crowd.
- They’re very versatile. Scroll down for serving ideas!
About the ingredients
The meat: I usually use good quality chicken mince/ground chicken to make my Greek meatballs. But use turkey, beef or even pork if you prefer.
The ‘fillers’: Meatballs usually contain breadcrumbs and an egg. I use panko breadcrumbs in my recipe for ease. No blitzing of stale bread required!
The flavours: Powdered garlic and onion, lemon zest, dried oregano, dried mint and paprika. These take seconds to add as no chopping is required!
What else: Apart from a tablespoon of olive oil to keep the meatballs moist, that’s it! I told you these are REALLY easy air fryer meatballs!
How to make meatballs in your air fryer
If you’re a busy person (who isn’t?) you’ll love that all of the flavours in these particular Greek meatballs are in powder form – apart from the lemon zest of course. I also use shop/store bought breadcrumbs such as panko crumbs so there’s no blitzing of bread either.
Throw in the air fryer and a couple of easy sides (see ideas below!) and you have one very simple Mediterranean themed dinner idea. In a few very simple steps:
Step 1: Zest the lemon, then throw it plus everything else together. Yes, everything. I find the mixture is quite soft, especially if you’re using ground/minced chicken, so I just mix with a wooden spoon. I hate mixing with my hands!
Step 2: Roll the mixture into bite-sized meatballs. I use disposable gloves for this part! It’s quick and easy as the meatballs virtually form themselves. I usually get 30 to 40 little balls.
Step 3: Air fry for 8 to 12 minutes. A basket style air fryer tends to cook them a bit faster, but they’re ready when they’re lightly golden and starting to caramelise. Alternatively, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If you shake or turn the meatballs half way through cooking you’ll get a more even colour, but it isn’t a disaster if you forget!
A note on different types of air fryers: I currently use an oven style air fryer that I can fit a medium-sized baking tray into. If you have a basket style air fryer, there won’t be room for all 30 to 40 meatballs. I’d suggest only cooking as many as you need for that meal and refrigerating or freezing the rest for later. Alternatively you can cook them in 2 batches – or just bake them all in one go!
How to serve them
There are more possibilities than you might think!
- Classic spaghetti and meatballs. Grab a jar of your favourite good quality pasta sauce or make this easy marinara sauce. Dinner is served!
- Make chicken meatball tacos or wraps. I like classic Greek style meatball wraps with a bit of Greek salad and tzatziki inside. Yum.
- Similar-but-different to the above – serve classic Greek style with a traditional Greek salad (which you can make in around 10 minutes), tzatziki and either homemade fries, these famous Greek potatoes or just toasted bread with olive oil and salt. You won’t believe how delicious this meal is!
- I love to serve meatballs with this delicious baked eggplant with tomato and feta. Complete the meal with these 2-minute olive oil toasts. I usually make the eggplant on a different day, though. It re-heats really well.
- Serve with sweet potato wedges/fries, a simple green vegetable like broccoli, and your favourite sauce – even ketchup, a nice chutney or mayo/aoli will do! As I have an oven style air fryer I can fit the wedges in the basket and the meatballs on a baking tray below. If you don’t you can just bake everything, or cook in batches. Broccoli can be microwaved or steamed.
- Make these Mediterranean roast vegetables. They’re healthy and colourful crowd pleasers, and you can pop them in the oven at the same time as the meatballs.
- Serve them on cocktail sticks at a party with a bowl of tzatziki on the side.
Ways to vary them
- Once again, I usually make Greek chicken meatballs, but you can use any other kind of ground/minced meat instead if you prefer.
- I sometimes throw half a cup of cubed feta cheese into the meatball mixture. Other times I sprinkle a little over the top of the meatballs after they’re cooked. If I’m serving the meatballs with a Greek salad though I skip extra feta of course!
I like chicken, but turkey, or lean beef or pork work well too.
Yes, I do this all the time. Reheat in your air fryer for 4 to 6 minutes at 340F/170C until piping hot again. Or reheat at 350F/175 in the oven for around 15 minutes.
Definitely! Freeze uncooked or cooked between sheets of baking paper in glass containers for up to 3 months. Let defrost then cook or reheat as normal. Alternatively, you can cook straight from frozen but for around 50% longer.
I sometimes shake or turn the meatballs half way through cooking. They do brown more evenly this way, but it depends if I remember!
More easy air fryer recipes
- Try this popular mini air fryer banana bread once and you won’t look back.
- These easy baked chicken thighs can be ready in about 15 minutes.
- These cauliflower fritters with feta and mint turn out really well in an air fryer!
- Crowd pleasing crispy chicken burgers that are on the table in just 30 minutes.
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Easy Greek air fryer meatballs (chicken keftedes)
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 1 pound ground chicken UK/Australia = minced chicken – turkey, beef and pork also work
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs or any breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 lemon zest only (then you can use the rest of the lemon for squeezing over at the end)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried mint (1.5 teaspoons semi-dried, or 7 to 8 leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
To serve (optional)
- feta cheese a little, to crumble over the top
- fresh chopped mint or parsley
- lemon wedges (you can use the same lemon you used for the zest)
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Preheat the air fryer or oven to 400F/205C.
- Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Shape the mixture into small bite-sized meatballs and place on the baking paper.
- Air fry for 8 to 12 minutes until starting to go golden brown (basket-style air fryers tend to cook faster than oven-style air fryers). Cook in 2 batches if necessary. Turn or shake lightly half way through cooking. If baking, bake for around 20 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Turn half way through cooking.
- Serve with a Greek salad, tzatziki and bread, sweet potato wedges and vegetables, or turn into Greek wraps or tacos.