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5 Perfect & Distinct Ways To Know How To Cook Frozen Meatballs

When you’re looking for a delicious source of protein, meatballs are always a great option. 

As a staple dish in many cultures across the world, most of us have likely tried this delicious sphere of ground beef goodness.

And while the majority of us probably think meatballs have their origin in Italian cuisine, it is actually the Persians we can thank for this delectable dish. 

Meatballs not only taste fabulous, but they are super versatile and can be paired with a variety of side dishes, including spaghetti, rice, veggies, mashed potatoes and much more. 

When it comes to preparing meatballs, thanks to modern technology, unlike the ancient Persians, we no longer have to undergo the hassle of making them from scratch. 

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good DIY meatball, but for time’s sake (and, let’s be honest, our sanity), taking advantage of the freezer section at the local grocery store is the best thing we can do for ourselves. 

Frozen meatballs come pre-cooked and make life a whole lot easier. Plus, they’re super yummy and can be prepared 5 different ways. 

With this list of approaches, there’s a meatball method for every kitchen’s needs. 

If you’re ready to start your frozen meatball journey, make sure to check out the following sections for step-by-step instructions as well as pro tips and tricks. 

how to cook frozen meatballs

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Microwave?

When you’re in a time crunch, the best method for cooking your meatballs is in the microwave. 

This approach only takes approximately two minutes and will allow you to get a good source of protein into your meal with minimal effort. 

Here’s how to do it!

Pro Tips 

  • Adding water is critical for ensuring your meatballs stay moist and don’t dry up, so don’t skip this step!
  • It’s also important that you don’t overlap the meatballs when you put them in the dish, as this will prevent them from cooking evenly. 
  • If you don’t have plastic wrap on hand, you can also use a microwave-safe plate to cover the dish.
  • Depending on the size and how many meatballs you have will change the total amount of cooking time. The best way to know whether or not your meatballs are done is simply by testing them. 
  • Note: if you are making the meatballs with sauce, follow the same steps but instead of putting water in the microwave-safe dish, substitute it for your sauce. When testing the meatballs to see if they are done, make sure to test the sauce as well to ensure it is also hot. 

RELATED: What Is The Best Amount Of Time To Cook Meatballs In The Oven?

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Air Fryer? 

When time is of the essence, another great method for heating up your frozen meatballs is using the air fryer

The great thing about the air fryer is that once the meatballs are in, it does all the work for you. 

So you can sit back, relax and watch the magic happen! 

Check out the following table for further details.

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Air Fryer 

Pro Tips 

  • Adding olive oil to the air fryer is only necessary if food has a tendency to stick to it. If your air fryer doesn’t have this problem, skip this step. 
  • It’s important your meatballs don’t touch each other while cooking in the air fryer. This is why we recommend not cooking more than 20 meatballs at a time. If you are cooking for a large number of people we suggest doing the meatballs in batches. 
  • Every air fryer is different and may require slightly different cooking times, so make sure to keep an eye out on them. The meatballs will be golden brown when they are done. 
  • If you’re not confident they are heated all the way through, try doing a little taste test!

RELATED: The 40 Best Meatball Recipes

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In A Crockpot? 

Although cooking frozen meatballs is super easy, it does require a little more time than the other methods. 

Depending on the setting (and how much time is at your disposal) will determine exactly how long you need to heat up this dish, but regardless you will need to reserve at least a couple hours of your time. 

You’re probably thinking, why on earth would I do that when they can be done in less than 15 minutes in the air fryer?

When you cook food at lower temperatures for longer periods of time, they get extra moist and tender and leave you with a deliciously juicy and flavorful end result. 

Here’s what you need to know

Pro Tips

  • For the best flavor, we recommend adding a sauce such as spaghetti, barbeque or stroganoff sauce.
  • For even more flavor, add in a few onions, garlic or any other spices of your choice. 
  • The length of time your meatballs will need to cook really depends on the particular crockpot, what heat setting you are cooking them at and how large the meatballs are. Your best bet is to try a little when you think they are done. 
  • After your meatballs are finished cooking, you can turn off the heat and allow them to sit in the crockpot for up to three hours to stay warm. 

RELATED: Why Do My Meatballs Fall Apart (And How To Stop That Happening)?

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Oven?

If you love the flavor of oven baked-meatballs, you’re in luck. Frozen meatballs cook splendidly this way and require less than 30 minutes of your time.

Let’s get roasting!

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Oven 

Pro Tips

  • Meatballs can be taken directly from the freezer and cooked in the oven (they do not need to be thawed first).
  • Make sure your meatballs aren’t touching when you add them to the baking sheet, as this will prevent them from cooking evenly. 
  • Adding sauce after 20 minutes isn’t necessary, but it does add a nice flavor (as well as some moisture).
  • All ovens are different, so make sure you keep an eye out for the meatballs. When they are heated all the way through, they are done. 
  • A good way to determine this is by inserting a thermometer into the meatball and when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit (it’s done). 

RELATED: What To Serve With Meatballs: 13 Tasty Side Dishes

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs On The Stovetop? 

Preparing your meatballs on the stovetop is super simple and great for those of us who like to easily see what we’re doing (especially if you’re cooking meatballs for the first time!). 

Meatballs can be heated up this way using either pasta sauce or olive oil

Here’s what you need to know

Pro Tips

  • It’s good to add a lid while the mixture simmers so that none of the sauce or oil splashes out of the pan.
  • Because oil is thinner, it won’t take as long to heat up as the sauce. If you’re not sure if it’s heated all the way through, have a little taste. 
How To Cook Frozen Meatballs On The Stovetop 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Cook Frozen Meatballs Faster?

The best way to speed up the cooking process when it comes to frozen meatballs is to plan ahead. 

If you know in advance that you are going to make a meatball dish, remove the meatballs a few hours prior to cooking and allow them to thaw. 

In terms of actual cooking methods, the fastest approaches include using the microwave and air fryer. 

Are Frozen Meatballs Already Cooked?

Yes, frozen meatballs come pre-cooked, which is why you are actually just heating them up when you prepare them.

What Are The Best Ways To Cook Frozen Meatballs?

The best ways to cook frozen meatballs include the microwave, air fryer, slow cooker, in the oven or on the stovetop. 

For more info, make sure to check out the article above. 

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Microwave

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Microwave?

Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Meatballs are placed in water in a microwave-safe dish (or with sauce if making it this way), covered with plastic wrap and then placed in the microwave for 60-second intervals until fully heated through.


  • Meatballs
  • Water


  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Measuring spoons
  • Plastic wrap


  • Retrieve a microwave-safe dish 
  • Measure out 2 tablespoons of water and pour it into the microwave-safe dish 
  • Remove your meatballs from the freezer and place them in the microwave-safe dish so that they are not overlapping 
  • Take a sheet of plastic wrap and cover the dish, ensuring to leave a small space around the edge or corner
  • Set your microwave to high heat 
  • Microwave the meatballs for one minute
  • Take out the dish and stir the meatballs 
  • If they are done, you can remove them and serve
  • Otherwise, place them back in the microwave for another minute
  • If necessary, continue this in 60-second intervals until the meatballs are fully heated through 
  • See pro tips below for cooking with sauce
How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Air Fryer

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Air Fryer?

Active Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Meatballs are cooked in an air fryer for approximately 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or until golden brown.


  • Meatballs
  • Olive oil (optional)


  • Air fryer
  • Tongs


  • Set the temperature of the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
  • Grease air fryer with olive oil if necessary 
  • Place no more than 20 meatballs into the air fryer basket so that they are not touching each other or overlapping
  • Cook for 5 minutes
  • Open the lid of the air fryer and, using tongs, flip the meatballs over
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until they are golden brown
How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In A Crockpot

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In A Crockpot?

Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Meatballs are placed in the crockpot with either sauce or water at the desired temperature until fully heated through (2-6 hours).


  • Meatballs
  • Sauce of choice (or water)


  • Crockpot
  • Spoon


    • Place meatballs and sauce of choice into the crockpot
    • If you don’t have any sauce, you can also add ½ cup of water
    • For a longer cooking period, set the temperature to low (this will take approximately 4-6 hours)
    • For a shorter cooking period, set the temperature to high (this will take about 2 ½ hours)
    • Stir the meatballs and sauce/water occasionally 
    • Once the meatballs are heated all the way through, remove and enjoy!
    How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Oven?

    How To Cook Frozen Meatballs In The Oven?

    Active Time: 20 minutes
    Additional Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 5 minutes
    Difficulty: Easy

    Meatballs are placed on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes and, if desired, paired with a sauce.


    • Meatballs
    • Sauce (optional)


    • Oven
    • Baking sheet
    • Parchment paper or foil


    • Set your oven to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)
    • Retrieve a baking sheet and line it with either parchment paper or foil 
    • Place the meatballs onto the baking sheet so that they are not touching or overlapping
    • Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius)

    NOTE: if you are adding sauce, remove the meatballs from the oven after 20 minutes, cover them in sauce and cook for another 5 minutes

    How To Cook Frozen Meatballs On The Stovetop

    How To Cook Frozen Meatballs On The Stovetop?

    Active Time: 22 minutes
    Additional Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 27 minutes
    Difficulty: Easy

    Meatballs are cooked in either a sauce or olive oil in a saucepan on the stovetop until heated through.


    • Meatballs
    • Pasta sauce or olive oil


    • Saucepan


    • Retrieve a saucepan with a lid
    • Place your sauce in the pan
    • Or, if using olive oil, add in a few tablespoons of this
    • Combine the sauce or olive oil with your meatballs
    • Cook on medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a boil
    • Cover the pan with a lid and allow the mixture to come to a simmer on medium-low heat 
    • Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes
    • If using a sauce, you will likely need the full 20 minutes whereas olive oil may only need 15
    • Once the meatballs are heated through, remove and serve!
    Jess Smith


    Thursday 21st of December 2023

    Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.


    Saturday 25th of November 2023

    Thank you very much for sharing, I learned a lot from your article. Very cool. Thanks. nimabi

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