What can you cook in an air fryer?

The air fryer is only 10 years old, yet it’s right there among the best alternatives for a regular convention oven, if not better in most regards. Below are some of the reasons why i’m confident of such assertion.

With an air fryer appliance, whatever model or brand you’re working with, it’s easy to mimic almost any kind of recipe you can make in a regular convention oven, and not only that, it’s way faster, super efficient, and most importantly, very convenient – meaning that you never have to heat up the four corners of a kitchen to furnace-level temperature during summer.

You can also substitute the deep-fat fryer with the air fryer appliance for so many recipes without sacrificing so much in taste, texture, consistency and most importantly, aesthetics (browning reactions like Millard’s’ and caramelization), although you don’t necessarily get that depth in flavor imparted by the action of penetrating oil into the inside of the food or its surface elements like coatings.

But who cares? Things are getting done way faster, easier, and in the most efficient and cleanest fashion possible, so the trade off, for me, is easily worth it.

If you’re supposing the functionality of an air fryer only terminates with these handful of things, then you couldn’t be more wrong.

You can also use the air fryer as you would a microwave oven for reheating left over foods, especially pizzas and fries that benefit from the efficient circulation of hot air which makes them super crispy and revived.

You can even bake cakes and grill boneless chicken breasts with additional accessories meant for that (depending on your brand). The possibilities with an air fryer appliance are endless!

It’s truly the invention that incorporates all kitchen methods; from frying, grilling, roasting to reheating and even baking!

Below, i’ve compiled for you the ultimate list of foods you must try out with your air fryer appliance before you die (essentials are tagged with “essential”). Without wasting much time, let’s get started, i’m already salivating.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

Here is a quick list of must-try recipes with an air fryer appliance:

  1. Air fryer baked potatoes
  2. Air fryer fritters
  3. Air fryer fried rice
  4. Air fryer French fries
  5. Air fryer roasted chicken parts
  6. Air fryer Burgers
  7. Air fryer chicken nuggets
  8. Air fryers breakfast souffle
  9. Air fryer zucchini chips
  10. Air fryer fried shrimp

The ultimate list of foods you can make with an air fryer

I’ll discuss the cooking methods first, and then match the best recipes that have been test and trusted with it.

1) Roasting and Grilling

Roasting is a dry heat cooking method that uses medium to hot air to cook food, often those that have a solid structure already, for example meat, sea food or vegetables. If you generally don’t agree with that definition, do so for the sake of this air fryer guide.

I also don’t agree, and feel roasting and baking are pretty much the same thing, but just so i’m able to create a separate header section (baking) to represent all other articles that are cooked into solid states without having any structure or foundation at first, such as cakes, breads and muffins, i’ll be reserving the roasting title strictly for those food items i’ve made mentioned above.

Roasting in an air fryer is made possible because, let’s face it, the air fryer is really no more than a mini version of our regular convention oven.

It circulates hot air around food just like a convention oven does, except that it’s much faster and efficient at doing so (20% much faster), which is why it produces roasted articles that are perfectly browned on the outside from Millard reaction.

In an air fryer, you can roast poultry meat: breasts, wings, thighs and legs, lamb chops, steak parts such as: briskets and tenderloin,  sea foods such as: shrimps, fishes, prawns and crabs, vegetables such as: chickpeas, eggplant, potatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, nuts such as: almond, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts, and seeds such as: pumpkin, sunflower, squash and hemp etc.

You can also twice roast (i’m already missing the ‘baking’ term), food items like potatoes and even stuff bake them. Opps, i said bake!

Below are some air fryer roasting recipes to try.

  1. Roasted Pepper rolls: Roast halved medium bell peppers (without the seeds) in a hot air fryer until they char. Yes, the air fryer chars too. Stuff the baked goodness with your favorite filling and hold the delicate firm with a tapas forks. Plate and then serve!
  2. Air fryer Roasted potatoes with Tuna: Crispy roasted potatoes stuffed with tuna sauce. It tastes just as perfect as it plates!
  3. Air fryer fried shrimp:
  4. Air fryer beef burger
  5. Air fryer meat balls with Feta

2) Baking

For the very same reason that air fryers roast, they bake. You get some nice caramelization from heating carbohydrate in baked articles like bread loafs and muffins. They also bake faster and more evenly, except there’s always that space constraint which can be annoying when you have large batch of items to bake.

With an air fryer, you can make snacks and desserts such as breads, muffins, cupcakes, biscuits, brownies, cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pie, tart, torte, cinnamon rolls, donuts, croutons etc.

Some delicates such as flans and custards might not prove fair game for the air fryer, and you might have better luck making them in the oven, but it’s ever worth experimenting!

Here are some quick and delicious baking projects to try out with an air fryer:

  1. Air fryer donout
  2. Air fryer apple chips
  3. Beignets
  4. Cakes
  5. Cupcakes
  6. Air fryer apple pie
  7. Air fryer chocolate chip cookies
  8. Cinnamon rolls
  9. Bread
  10. Air fryer chocolate muffins
  11. Croutons

3) Frying

When it come to frying, contrary to what the name says, the air fryer is often a decent alternative to a deep fryer and not a great one, especially for items like croquettes, cheese sticks and nuggets that are so used to the traditional deep-frying that they’ve actually developed allergy for other cooking methods. (Not literally, but you know what i mean).

That’s because, they usually come out not as crispy and browned as they are supposed to be because they’re using less oil, although they will still bake perfectly fine.

So with frying, you’re most often going to run into problems associated with the final aesthetic of the food, and if that’s something that bothers you a lot, and you’re not worried about using so much oil to cook your frozen articles, then it’s better you stick with a deep fryer. As for me, I’m willing to experiment.

With an air fryer, you can fry snacks such as croquettes, cheese sticks, pizza, pizza bites, burritos, fish sticks, pies, nuggets, French fries, mini tacos, vegetables, taquitos, poultry parts such as breasts, wings and drum sticks, and sea foods such as prawns and fish.

Here are some air fryer frying recipes to try out.

  1. Air fryer crispy bacon.
  2. Air fryer sweet potato chips.
  3. Air fryer salmon.

4) Reheating

Just like the microwave, air fryers are excellent for reheating left over foods. They revive back that crispness the foods have lost and make them feel so much fresh with every bite.

With an air fryer, feel free to reheat last night’s pizza, tater tots, French fries, vegetables, chicken parts, steak, etc.

Reheating food items is as easy as popping them (in their cold refrigerated states) into the air fryer – well spaced, and heating for a few minutes 3- 4 for pizzas and 5 minutes for chicken breasts, or until crusts develops and crispiness or life is revived. For some items like chickens, you might have to flip over mid-way during reheating for even cooking. You should cook at increments of 1 minutes when you’re sure the food item isn’t yet there.

5) Other things you can do with an air fryer

You can make hard boiled eggs in the air fryer by arranging them cold on a wire rack and placing into a preheated fryer for 15 minutes or more depending on the wattage, and type of the air fryer. It’s not recommended though because of how difficult it is to nail the correct cooking time with a different air fryer than the one recommended on the recipe page.

In addition, you can also cook sandwiches by drizzling the exterior with healthy oil and cooking at high temperature to bring out flavor.

Also, Mexican foods like tamales, nachos and burritos are perfect to make in the air fryer. You can even make meals from scratch such as white rice, rice cheese balls, fried rice etc. Everything, so far it’s oven safe, is possible in that cooler like appliance.

It really depends on how eager you are to experiment. Goodluck with air frying!