Air Fryer Stuffing Balls

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Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for serving any night with roast meats, vegetables, and mashed potatoes, Air Fryer Stuffing Balls are the most fun way to serve this delicious side dish. This recipe includes instructions for freezing and then cooking the stuffing balls right from the freezer.

stuffing piled on a white plate

Stuffing is a staple at a holiday dinner. And as much as I love classic stuffing baked in a casserole, this great side dish gets a lot more fun when you roll it into balls and bake or air fry it until golden and crisp. And they’re every bit as good the next day. If you’re looking to bake these in the oven, check out my original Stuffing Ball recipe, but if you want to try making them in the air fryer, read on. They have a great texture with golden, crisp outsides and tender, pillowy insides.

In addition to making them super crispy, the air fryer is great for making these in smaller batches or for making them straight from the freezer. Though my husband eats these directly out of the refrigerator in the days after Thanksgiving, the air fryer method is a game changer if you (like most of the rest of us) prefer to eat them warm. Freeze some and cook them a few at a time in the air fryer. This remains one of our favorite recipes for Thanksgiving but the air fryer method means we can enjoy them any night of the week. 

Here’s the scoop on this great stuffing recipe!

onion, celery and herbs in a large white mixing bowl

What Are Stuffing Balls / Stuffing Bites?

No matter what you call them, these are a delicious alternative to classic stuffing baked in a casserole dish. Roll the stuffing into balls and bake or air fry them until they are golden and crisp on the outside. You can serve them as you would regular stuffing, for breaking apart and scooping up with mashed potatoes, turkey, and cranberry sauce. OR, try enjoying them like you would dinner rolls. Break them apart and spread them with softened butter. 

I shared a clip of those tender centers in this short video on Instagram

sauteeing aromatics in a skillet

How to Make Stuffing Balls

  1. Saute aromatics in butter. These start just like classic stuffing. Cook celery, onion, and parsley in melted butter until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. 
  2. Combine ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together the egg and cream of mushroom soup. Add the stuffing mix and cooked vegetables. 
  3. Add stock. Heat the stock until simmering. Pour the hot stock over the other ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
  4. Roll into balls. When the stuffing is cool enough to handle, roll it into about 20 evenly sized balls. 
  5. Air Fry. Cook in the air fryer basket at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, spraying them with some olive oil spray to help them to get extra golden. 
  6. Serve warm.
mixing stuffing mix with aromatics in a large white mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter – I highly recommend using unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt in the finished dish. Cream of mushroom soup and store-bought stock can add quite a bit of salty flavor. 
  • Celery, Onion, Parsley – Chop these all finely and cook them in butter until very tender.
  • Egg – One egg helps to bind the stuffing balls together.
  • Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup – This adds moisture and a tender texture. Feel free to substitute any type of cream soup concentrate like cream of celery. Since these can be quite salty, you can look for a no sodium or low-sodium version so that you have even more control over the salt content. 
  • Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing – This stuffing mix comes in uneven bite-sized pieces, not cubes. The cubes will not hold together well or give you the texture you want in this recipe. This comes in a white and blue bag. See it here. 
  • Low-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock – As I’ve noted above, it’s a good idea to use a low-sodium version of chicken broth or vegetable broth so that you can control the amount of salt you add to the dish.
  • Olive Oil Spray – Give the stuffing balls a light spray of olive oil to help them get a nice golden crust. I use Trader Joe’s brand. 
uncooked stuffing balls on an air fryer tray

What size to make them

I use about ¼ cup to make each of the stuffing balls. A measuring cup works, but if you have a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or a large cookie scoop, those make the process of making these really easy. I use a heaping 3 Tablespoon scoop (I have this set). You can make these any size you’d like, but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly and / or just keep an eye on them and pull them out when they’re nice and golden brown. 

Can I use Stove Top Stuffing?

Yes. See the notes section in the recipe card for a complete recipe using Stove Top Stuffing Mix. 

Can these be made ahead?


Yes. Roll the stuffing into balls up to 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them. 

Can I add my favorite stuffing additions – sausage, sage, mushrooms, dried fruit, etc?

I did not test these with other stuffing additions, but I’m pretty certain they will work. Be sure to cook the additional ingredients ahead of time before adding them to the stuffing mixture. 

Are they vegetarian?


Just be sure to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to easily make them vegetarian. 

Can I reduce the sodium?

Yes. Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup contains a lot of salt. Look for unsalted or low-sodium version of this product so that you can control the amount of salt you add.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat leftover stuffing balls in the microwave or back in the air fryer!

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5 from 4 votes

Air Fryer Stuffing Balls Recipe

Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for serving any night with roast meats, vegetables, and mashed potatoes, Air Fryer Stuffing Balls are the most fun way to serve this delicious side dish.
To adjust the servings in this recipe, click on the number next to servings.
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 9 minutes
Total: 49 minutes
Servings: 20 stuffing balls

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Skillet
  • Air Fryer

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (½ cup = 1 stick / 8 Tablespoons)
  • 2 stalks Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 10 ounce Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 12 ounces Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing (see note)
  • 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil Spray

Instructions 

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables are very soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and mushroom soup together. Add stuffing mix on top.
  • Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl (it’s okay if it is still hot).
  • Heat the chicken stock in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is starting to boil. Pour the heated stock over the ingredients in the bowl. Stir everything together until evenly combined.
  • Set the stuffing aside until it is cool enough to handle.
  • Preheat an air fryer to 350°F. Spray the basket with some nonstick cooking spray.
  • Form stuffing into about 20 even balls (about ¼ cup of stuffing each), pressing the mixture together firmly between your hands.
  • When the air fryer is heated, arrange the stuffing balls in a single layer in the basket. (Cook them in batches if they don’t all easily fit.) Spray the tops and sides of the stuffing balls lightly with olive oil spray.
  • Cook until golden on the outside and cooked all the way through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Notes

Make Ahead: The stuffing balls can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 3 days before cooking. Cover them tightly to prevent them from drying out. 
Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing – Be sure to grab the “classic stuffing” which comes in bite-sized pieces, not cubes. It’s sold in the blue bag. 
Stove Top Stuffing: My recipe testers and I tried this recipe using Stove Top Stuffing which can be easier to find outside of the holidays. We enjoyed them this way, but because both Stove Top Stuffing Mix and Cream of Mushroom Soup are both quite salty, the stuffing balls came out noticeably salty this way. For this reason, I strongly recommend getting unsalted or low-sodium Concentrated Cream of Mushroom Soup. Also be sure to use unsalted butter to keep the salt content down. Below is the recipe using Stove Top Stuffing Mix. It makes about 20 stuffing balls.
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 (6-ounce) bags Stove Top Stuffing Mix
  • 1 10-ounce can Unsalted or Low-Sodium Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray
  1. Combine butter and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat them until the butter is melted and water is just starting to simmer.
  2. Pour stuffing mix into a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot water and melted butter over the stuffing mix. Add cream of mushroom soup. Stir everything together until evenly combine.
  3. Let the stuffing mixture rest until it is cool though to handle. 
  4. Preheat an air fryer to 350°F.
  5. Form stuffing into about 20 even balls, pressing the mixture together firmly between your hands. (These should be slightly larger than golf balls.)
  6. When the air fryer is heated, arrange the stuffing balls in a single layer in the basket. (Cook them in batches if they don’t all easily fit.) Spray the tops and sides of the stuffing balls lightly with olive oil spray or nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Cook until golden on the outside and cooked all the way through, 7 to 9 minutes.
 
Freezer Instructions: To freeze the stuffing balls, assemble the balls as directed (but do not cook them) and line them up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. Transfer to a well-sealed freezer bag. Cook within 2 months. To cook the stuffing balls from frozen, spray them lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Bake them in a preheated air fryer at 300°F for 16 to 22 minutes or until heated all the way through. (A thermometer inserted in the center should register 160°F.)
Freeze for up to 2 months. Print and attach the label below so that cooking instructions are right at your fingertips!

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 324mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 114
Keyword: air fryer recipe, Holiday recipe, holiday side dish, Thanksgiving
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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2 Comments

    1. That’s a great question! I’ll add this question and my response to the post, but I’d recommend you just make a homemade version of “condensed soup” which is surprisingly easy. That’s what I do in my homemade version of green bean casserole here. Although I’ve never tried this (so I can’t vouch for the results), I also bet you can update the recipe by adding an extra egg and an extra cup of warm stock instead of the condensed soup. Increase the salt to 1 tsp to make up for the added salt you would get from the soup. Hope that helps!