Air Fryer Burger Bites (Whole30, Low Carb)

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Looking for a healthy appetizer for the big game or your next get-together? These Air Fryer Burger Bites will be the hit of the party for kids and grown ups alike! They’ve got all the flavors of your favorite burger, the Big Mac, but they’re made in the air fryer, then they’re topped with a homemade special sauce, sesame seeds, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, and served on a toothpick. Best of all, these burger bites are Paleo, Whole30, Keto, and Low Carb!

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Air Fryer Big Mac Burger Bites

Trust me on this, these Big Mac Air Fryer Burger Bites are going to be the hit of your football party! When I made them for my friends and family, not only did the adults love them, but the kids went berserk over them!

Right on cue, all the boys used their toothpicks as mini swords and starting battling, but we ended that pretty quickly. We don’t want anybody to get poked while they’re watching the Super Bowl!

Don’t have an air fryer? Worry not! I have a skillet adaptation below for you!

All the burger bites ingredients laid on a white marble board and labeled.

Ingredients

You really don’t need anything expensive or unusual to make this awesome appetizer happen!

  • Ground Beef: I use 85% lean, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • Seasonings: Salt, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder
  • Special Sauce: My, oh my, the special sauce is sooo good! See below for instructions on how to make it! Trust me, you’re gonna love this part.
  • Sesame Seeds: Don’t skip the sesame seeds! That’s what makes it “feel” like a real Big Mac.
  • Pickles: Be sure to check the ingredients label for added junk. If you can’t find compliant mini pickles, cut 1/4 inch slices of large pickles.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Lettuce: Any kind will do, but I seem to always have romaine on hand so that’s what I use!

How to Make it

I promise, you won’t believe how easy this recipe comes together! It’s almost too simple. Like, you might even feel like you’re being duped or something. Just trust the process. It’ll be worth it!

A collage of process shots, showing hands rolling the meat into burger bites and cooking them in the air fryer.

1. Roll & Cook in the Air Fryer

First, you want to make sure to preheat your air fryer. Then, to make the burger bites, mix the ground beef with the spices, then form the mixture into 2 tbsp. meatballs with your hands.

Drizzle or spray the balls with oil, add to preheated air fryer with a little space between them. Cook for 6 minutes. Yup, that’s all you need to do!

I use a top opening Air Fryer (this one, affiliate link) so I’m able to put the the burger bites inside with tongs easily (it’s fairly shallow), but if yours opens with a drawer, just be careful of burning your hand as you add them in.

A collage of the special sauce ingredients labeled and laid on a wooden cutting board beside a photo of the finished special sauce in a small white bowl.

2. Meanwhile, make the Special Sauce

Once you’ve got your burger bites in the air fryer, mix the special sauce. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl, mix until combined, and set it aside.

By the way, here’s my lists of all the Whole30 Ketchup and Whole30 Mayo brands, in case that’s helpful!

Note: If you don’t have relish on hand or you can’t find compliant relish at your grocery store, just finely chop of a dill pickle.

A collage showing how to prep the toothpicks by putting the tomato on first, then the pickle, then the lettuce.

3. Prep the toothpicks with the toppings

It really doesn’t matter what order you assemble them, but my preferred way is this: Tomato > Pickle > Lettuce > Burger.

Remove the burger bites from the air fryer and top each with a little bit of special sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then insert the toothpicks into each one.

Note: Don’t worry if they don’t stand up perfectly! If your meatballs aren’t exactly round after cooking or they just don’t seem to want to stand up, you can lay them flat and serve them that way. They still look beautiful and may even be easier for people to grab. 

Close up side view of one finished Air Fryer Burger Bite on a wooden cutting board.

Burger Bites Recipe FAQ:

Skillet Adaptation

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still make Burger Bites!! Instead of making them into balls, form them into small, 2 inch patties (just like a real burger!). In a large skillet over medium heat, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Can I Make it Ahead of Time?

YES! These Air Fryer Burger Bites can absolutely be prepped ahead of time, then cooked just before you’re ready to serve them!

  • Make the special sauce ahead of time (it keeps well for about 4-5 days covered tightly in the refrigerator).
  • Assemble the toothpicks up to a day before, and keep them in an air tight container in the refrigerator as well.
  • You can form the burger bites 1-2 days in advance, and keep them covered in the refrigerator. Take them out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you plan to serve them to allow them to warm closer to room temp, then drizzle with oil and put them in the air fryer!

More Healthy Game Day Recipes:

Making this recipe? I’d love to know what you think!
Drop a star rating below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom.

A hand holds a toothpick with a cherry tomato, mini pickle, lettuce, and mini burger bite.
5 from 5 votes
Print

Big Mac Burger Bites – Air Fryer

This Whole30 and Low Carb appetizer is the perfect dish to serve on game day or for a get together with friends!

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Air Fryer Appetizer, Game Day Snacks
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 12 meatballs
Calories 129 kcal

Ingredients

Burger Bites

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil

Toppings

  • 12 baby pickles or cut a regular size pickle into 1/4 inch slices
  • 6 lettuce leaves torn in half
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup special sauce (see below)

Special Sauce

  • 1/3 cup mayo be sure it's compliant
  • 2 tbsp ketchup be sure it's Whole30 compliant or sugar-free if you're doing Keto
  • 2 tbsp relish or finely mince a dill pickle
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes (dried onion)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

Make the Beef Balls

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer to 375F.

  2. While it preheats, mix the beef with the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Roll the mixture into 2 tbsp balls with your hands. Set on a dish and drizzle lightly or spray with oil.

  3. Once the air fryer is ready, add the meat balls, leaving a little space between them. Cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Make the Special Sauce

  1. Mix together all the ingredients in a small dish. Set aside.

Prep the Toothpicks

  1. Add a tomato, a pickle and a half a lettuce leaf rolled up onto each toothpick. Set them aside until the meat is ready.

Assemble and Serve

  1. Remove the meat from the air fryer. Top each with a bit of special sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then insert a filled toothpick through the middle. Serve them standing up or laying down.

Recipe Notes

Skillet Adaptation:

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can still make these Burger Bites!! Instead of making them into balls, form them into small, 2 inch patties (just like a real burger!). In a large skillet over medium heat, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Nutrition Facts
Big Mac Burger Bites – Air Fryer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 129 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 156mg7%
Potassium 162mg5%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 949IU19%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.