These Air Fryer Sausage Meat Stuffing Balls are a brilliant update to packet stuffing like Paxo. They’re meaty enough to be the main event but you’ll likely want to add them to your roast or Christmas dinner trimmings. Pork sausages with sage and onion stuffing are my flavours of choice but you can mix and match meats and flavours as you wish!
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I’ve created quite a roster of stuffing recipes at this point, both to cook in the oven and air fryer. I generally find that the balls are easier to cook in the air fryer as you really benefit from that all round cooking action.
What I didn’t want to do is create something so crispy that they’re unpleasant to eat and these sausage meat stuffing balls are just the perfect mix of soft juicy pork inners and a slightly crispy coating.
I’ve used sage and onion packet stuffing mix and skinned plain pork sausages in this recipe but as I mentioned before, you can really use any type of sausage and any flavour stuffing you prefer.
More Stuffing Recipes
My air fryer paxo stuffing balls are the version of this recipe without sausage meat. The sage and onion sausage meat stuffing is the version of this recipe cooked in a dish in the oven. And my homemade paxo stuffing is exactly that, a from scratch recipe that taste just like my favourite packet stuffing.
How to Serve
You can absolutely treat these sausage stuffing balls like meatballs and serve them as the main event as a meal. They’d be delicious with mashed potato and onion gravy. Maybe with some simple vegetables like savoy cabbage or brussels sprouts.
If you’re planning a party or buffet, make slightly smaller balls and serve them as canapes with some cranberry sauce for dipping.
I also like to use them in what I’d call a Christmas baguette but actually make all year round! This involves a buttered sandwich baguette, bacon, smashed in stuffing balls, sliced turkey meat (or roast chicken) and cranberry sauce. Absolutely delicious.
If you’re planning on making these stuffing balls part of a roast dinner or festive feast, don’t forget to serve with some of my other classic recipes:
Packet Stuffing Mix
I’ve mentioned the brand Paxo a few times here but this recipe is suitable to use any packet stuffing mix. Any brand, any flavour. The supermarket value options can be very economical and this is a great way to pad out more expensive sausage meat for a cheap meal.
Sage and onion Paxo is however my favourite (and I can assure you that they are absolutely not paying me to say that). And I do make my homemade version often but the convenience of using a packet will always be a draw.
It is important to follow my instructions for how much water to add to the stuffing mix and not rely on the packet instructions. Because of the fat and moisture content in the sausage meat, you do need to add much less than usual.
As is usually my preference, I’ve bought sausages and removed the skins to get my sausage meat for this recipe. You can generally buy much better sausages than you can just sausage meat unless you have a good butcher to go to.
Importantly, the variety of flavours tends to be much wider. Saying that, in this case I’ve just stuck with plain old pork sausages. There is so much flavour and seasoning on the stuffing mix that you don’t need to be fancy with the sausage meat itself.
This recipe is free from egg, dairy and nuts. But you should check the ingredients of the packet stuffing and sausages you are using thoroughly as some brands could vary.
Gluten Free Sausage Stuffing Balls: You can buy gluten free versions of stuffing fairly easily now. Paxo do their own version (correct as of November 2023).
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Sausage Meat Stuffing Balls
These sausage balls cook for 20 minutes. They don’t need turning – I find they can be quite fragile anyway.
The temperature is a little lower than what I use for the vast majority of my air fryer recipes. This is to make sure the sausage cooks all the way through without the outside getting super crispy and overly dry.
How to Air Fry Sausage Stuffing Balls From Frozen
This is actually a great recipe to make up ahead of time and freeze. You need to free freeze the uncooked balls on a tray and then move them to a container or bag once they’re fully hard. Otherwise they will just freeze into one big homogenous lump in the freezer.
To cook them from frozen, you simply need to cook them at the same temperature for a good 5 minutes longer than the regular cooking time. It is a good idea to split one open to make sure they are fully cooked in the middle. There should be no pink and the stuffing should be piping hot right through to the middle.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. They can be reheated in the microwave and then put back into the air fryer for 3 to 4 minutes to crisp back up. or you can fully reheat in the air fryer although I find this can make the outsides overly hard and crispy.
You can also freeze the cooked stuffing balls. I do prefer to allow them to defrost before reheating.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Air Fryer Sausage Meat Stuffing Balls Recipe
- 85 g Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix
- 200 g Pork Sausage Meat
- 180 ml Boiling Water
- Put a kettle of water on to boil.
- Measure 85g Stuffing Mix into a mixing bowl.
- Pour over 180ml Boiling Water.
- Stir until all of the stuffing mix has absorbed the water. Leave the stuffing to sit for 5 minutes so the water hydrates the mix.
- Meanwhile prepare your sausage meat. If using sausages, use a sharp knife to cut the length of the sausage skin then remove and discard the skin.
- Use your hands to break the sausage meat up and add to the hydrated stuffing mix.
- Mix really well until everything is well combined. Use a spatula if you want but your hands will do a better job.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, start this now.
- At this point I like to smooth the mix over and mark 12 sections to get nice even sized balls. You can be more rough and ready if you prefer.
- Dip your hands into cold water to stop the stuffing sticking and start rolling the mix into balls.
- Place the balls onto a clean surface until they're all rolled.
- Place the stuffing balls into the air fryer. I like to gently use tongs which helps to not squish them and stops me burning my hands on the warmed basket.
- Air fry for 20 minutes at 180℃/350℉. This longer slower cooking is so the insides of the stuffing balls are properly heated and cooked.
- This recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I managed to fit in 12 stuffing balls with more than enough room for air flow. I could potentially fit another 4 with just enough space left.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.