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Meatballs on a grey plate with marinara sauce.

Air Fryer Pesto Chicken Meatballs


These air fryer chicken meatballs are perfect for serving in a variety of ways! Use them in a classic meal of spaghetti and meatballs, as a quick and healthy appetizer, I even love them for meal prep. Option for dairy-free and gluten-free air fryer meatballs included!


  • 1 lb ground chicken (I used 92/8 leanness)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (store-bought is perfect, vegan or regular)
  • 3 tablespoons of almond flour (or breadcrumbs reg or gf)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Preheat: If your air fryer requires pre-heating, preheat to 400°F. 
  2. Combine: In a large bowl, add all ingredients and combine using your hands or a large wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. I find it easier to use my hands to avoid overworking the mixture. 
  3. Spray: Remove your air fryer tray and spray with cooking spray (I used avocado oil). 
  4. Roll: Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, scoop the meatballs into round balls and place them evenly into the air fryer tray. Do not let the meatballs touch. If you need to work in batches do so. I like using the cookie scoop because chicken is mushy until cooked. If you want to use your hands to roll the mixture into meatballs it helps to work with wet or lightly oiled hands and to toss the meatball back and forth in your hand to shape the meatball versus trying to roll the meatball in your hand. 
  5. Cook: Cook for 6 minutes at 400°F, flip the meatballs using tongs and cook for another 4 minutes or until your meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 160°F with a meat thermometer. Depending on your air fryer and the size you make your meatballs cooking times may vary. 
  6. Serve: Enjoy these meatballs in your favorite sauce and pasta, as an appetizer, sprinkled with fresh basil with a veggie side dish, with spaghetti squash or even meal prep. See notes for freezing and storage. 


  • The chicken meatball mixture will not be the same texture as beef. It is going to be mushy and sticky until cooked. Use lightly wet or oiled hands to help with that. You can also let your mixture sit in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to rolling in balls, but that isn't necessary. 
  • To freeze these meatballs, let them come to room temperature. Place them on a cookie sheet with parchment paper in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove and place into a sealed freezer-safe container or bag to freeze the remainder of the way. 
  • Store these in the fridge in an air-tight container 3-5 days. 
  • You can sub in turkey for this recipe. 
  • Vegan or regular storebought pesto works for this recipe. I love Trader Joe's vegan pesto so that I can keep them dairy free. 
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Air Fryer