Air fryer meatball sub skewers are made with all-beef meatballs stuffed with mozzarella cheese, and wrapped in a flaky croissant pastry. They cook in just 10 minutes in the air fryer then they are brushed with savoury garlic butter for ultimate flavour.
Served with a dish of pizza sauce for dipping these easy skewers are like a sub on a stick. They taste like fair food and are perfect for your next party or game-day.
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If you love meatball subs, and you love food-on-a-stick, then this is a must-try recipe.
These delicious little skewers are made with homemade beef meatballs that have been wrapped in flaky pastry and air fried until golden brown. Then they are smothered in a savoury garlic herb butter, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with a big bowl of pizza sauce for dipping.
They are a meatball sub on a stick and they make the perfect hand-held appetizer, party food, or even a great lunch.
These little skewers are just like the type of food you’d get at the fall fair or from your favourite food truck, but they are made in minutes, at home, in your air fryer.
We can’t get enough of them and my only problem is I never seem to make enough.
Why We Love This Recipe
It’s easy – Despite looking complicated, this recipe is actually really easy. The meatballs come together quickly with simple ingredients and using refrigerated crescent rolls means you aren’t mixing dough.
It’s quick – The part that takes the longest is forming the meatballs and even that is relatively quick. The cook time for this recipe is only 10 minutes. From start to finish you will be eating in less than an hour.
It’s food on a stick! – There is something special about food on a stick that people love and these meatball sub skewers are no exception. They are like having fun fair food in your own kitchen.
To make these meatball skewers you will need:
- Lean ground beef – You can use regular or extra lean if you prefer, however I find lean has the best flavour and holds together best.
- Fine breadcrumbs
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic & Onion powder
- Mozzarella cheese – I used mozzarella cheese string sticks as that is what I had on hand. But you can use just regular mozzarella if you prefer. You will need about 3 oz.
- Refrigerated crescent roll dough – You want 1 8oz tube containing 8 rolls. In some areas you can find crescent roll sheets. If they are available in your area you can use that if you prefer. Refrigerated pizza dough will also work.
- Salted butter
- Parsley flakes
Begin by making the meatballs. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and salt and mix until well blended.
Cut the cheese into 18 small cubes, then form the meatballs.
To form the meatballs form a small ball and then press it flat. Add a cheese cube to the middle then wrap the beef around the cube forming a ball.
Pro-Tip – Using a cookie scoop makes forming the meatballs easy and ensures they are of equal size. I use a 1.5 inch cookie scoop. You are looking for meatball that are about 1 and a half tablespoons or the size of a golf ball.
Next, prepare the dough by removing it from the tube and unrolling it. Pinch the seams together then cut the dough into strips about an inch and a quarter.
You need 6 strips for this recipe, I usually just twist and cook the extra strips on their own, they never to go waste.
Start by threading one end of a dough strip onto the tip of the skewer, then add a meatball. Wrap the dough over the meatball and onto the skewer, then add another meatball. Wrap the dough back over the meatball and onto the skewer before adding the third meatball, then finish by wrapping the last of the dough over the meatball through the skewer. The dough should form an “S” like pattern around the meatballs.
Push the meatballs and dough down the skewer so there is about 1 inch of the tip of the skewer poking from the top then separate the meatballs just a bit to allow room for the dough to expand.
Pre-heat the air fryer to 350°F for 5 minutes, then add the skewers to the basket. Make sure you leave room for air circulation and for the dough to rise. I do 3 skewers per batch in my Cosori 5.8qt air fryer.
Cook for 8-10 minutes until meatballs are browned, and dough has risen and is golden brown. Then carefully remove and cook the next batch.
Pro Tip – You should be able to tell they are cooked through when you see a bit of cheese oozing out of a few of the meatballs. However, if you want to be sure you can use a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of a meatball. You will be looking for 160°F.
While skewers are warm brush with the garlic herb butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
We love to serve these meatball sub skewers smothered in herbed garlic butter, sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese and with a big bowl of warm pizza sauce for dipping.
When made as a meal they are great with a Caesar salad, pasta salad, or a side of fries.
They are perfect on an appetizer or party platter due to the hand held nature of the stick.
You can easily make these ahead of time and cook them when you are ready. Just place them on a platter or baking tray after assembling then make sure to wrap tightly with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Then simply take them out of the fridge and cook as directed when ready.
If you prefer to make the meatballs with chicken or pork, or even a combination of meats that’s no problem. But you will want to be extra careful to make sure the middle of the meatball is cooked through. Chicken needs to reach 165°F to be considered safe.
More Air Fryer Party Foods
Air Fryer Meatball Sub Skewers
- 1 Pound lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ¼ Cup fine breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoon italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 mozzarella cheese sticks or 3oz of mozzarella cut into cubes
- 1 tube crescent roll dough 8oz tube of 8 rolls
Garlic Herb Butter
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese optional
- ½ cup pizza sauce optional
- Begin by combining the ground beef, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a medium size bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Cut the cheese sticks so you have 18 small cubes of cheese.
- Scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of the beef mixuture and form into a ball, (I use a cookie scoop for this) then flatten slightly. Press a cheese cube into the middle then wrap the beef around the cheese. You should end up with a meatball about the size of a golf ball. Repeat with the remaining meat and cheese until you have 18 meatballs.
- Open the crescent roll dough and unroll onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Pinch the seams then cut into strips of about 1 ¼ inches wide.
- To make the skewers, thread one end of a dough strip onto the tip of a skewer, then add a meatball. Wrap the dough over the meatball and onto the skewer. Add a second meatball and wrap the dough back over the meatball. Add the third meatball and wrap the end of the dough over the meatball and onto the skewer. It should look like 3 meatballs with the dough wrapping around in an S like pattern.
- Push the meatballs down the skewer so you have approximately 1 inch of skewer at the top. Then separate the meatballs just a bit to give the dough room to expand between them. Repeat the process until you have 6 skewers.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 5 minutes, then place the skewers in the basket leaving room for air circulation and the dough to rise. I place 3 skewers in the basket of my 5.8qt air fryer at a time.
- Set the air fryer to 350°F and cook for 8-10 minutes until the meatballs are browned and the dough is puffed and golden. Repeat with remaining skewers.
- While the skewers are cooking make the garlic butter. After the skewers are cooked, remove from the basket, brush with garlic butter, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Garlic Herb Butter
- Melt the butter then stir in the garlic powder and parsley flakes.