Air fryers are quickly becoming a kitchen staple worldwide, thanks to their quick cooking times and crispy, delicious results. But many home cooks are still unsure of what the top air fryer foods are. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most popular dishes that air fryers are well-suited to cook and some tasty, easy-to-follow recipes you can prepare with one of these handy appliances.
From crispy fried chicken to crunchy french fries, we’ll provide detailed instructions for each dish so that you can get the most out of your air fryer. Plus, we’ll also share some tips and tricks for ensuring all your meals turn out delicious every time. So, let’s get started on your journey to air fryer mastery!
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it. This process is known as "air frying” and uses little to no oil to produce food with a crunchy, fried texture similar to conventional deep frying. A large air fryer typically has a temperature range of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, a timer and an adjustable basket for different types of food.
Air fryers are efficient, healthier alternatives to deep fryers because they require significantly less oil. They also produce less smoke than traditional cooking methods and can usually fit on a countertop without taking up too much space. Additionally, since they don’t need to be monitored as closely as deep fryers, they can usually be left unattended while cooking food.
Air fryer basics
To get started using an air fryer, read through the user manual carefully to make sure you understand your particular model's instructions. For example, some models require preheating before adding ingredients, while others don't. Next, lightly spray or brush the basket or pan with oil or use a nonstick cooking spray before adding food. Place the basket or pan inside the fryer and close the lid or drawer. Then adjust the temperature and timer settings based on your recipe's instructions and press the start button to begin cooking. Finally, when the timer ends, carefully open the air fryer and inspect your food before serving.
Here are some helpful tips for using a large air fryer:
- Cut foods into even-sized pieces (about a ½-inch thick) to ensure they cook evenly
- Shake the basket occasionally during cooking to prevent sticking
- Preheat your air fryer if needed
- Don’t overcrowd the basket too much
- Turn off your air fryer after each use and let it cool down before cleaning it
Chicken nuggets and strips are great air fryer foods because their skin becomes extra crispy when cooked in hot air. Start by marinating or seasoning chicken pieces according to your desired taste. Some tasty spices include garlic powder, paprika and Italian herbs. Once seasoned, spread out individual pieces of chicken in an even layer around the air fryer basket or pan so that they aren’t touching and don’t overlap — this will help them cook more evenly. Finally, set the temperature to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit, set the timer for 10 minutes per side (depending on how big the chicken pieces are), flip each piece halfway through cooking and enjoy your delicious air-fried chicken on its own or with a tasty dipping sauce!
Large air fryers are also suitable for cooking fish fillets. Seasoning them with spices like cayenne pepper or Old Bay seasoning is important for maximum flavor. Next, place them in the air fryer basket or pan in a single layer to ensure even cooking. Be careful not to let the fish fillets overlap or touch. Set the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer for eight minutes per side, adjusting as needed based on the fish’s thickness. After cooking, carefully open the air fryer lid and serve your crispy fish fillets.
To cook steaks in an air fryer, start by preheating the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about five minutes. Season your steaks to your preference, using garlic powder, rosemary, thyme or other spices. Place the steaks in a single layer in an oven-safe dish inside the air fryer basket. Cook for about 10 minutes per side at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the thickness of the steak. Check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer to ensure the steak is cooked to your desired doneness. Once it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the steaks from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your delicious, well-cooked steak on its own or with a side of vegetables — which you can also air fry!
Crispy potatoes make great snacks or side dishes when cooked in a large air fryer. Start by washing whole potatoes thoroughly with cold water and then pat them dry completely with paper towels; this will help them get a crispier texture. Once you have washed your potatoes have been washed, pierce each one with a fork (this will help steam escape during cooking) and season generously with salt, pepper and any other seasonings desired. Our favorites are garlic powder and Italian herbs. Next, place the potatoes directly onto the rack or tray of your air fryer at 375 degrees Fahrenheit with the timer set for 30 minutes total. Turn potatoes once halfway through the cooking process so that both sides get a crispy texture. Remove them and serve hot as a side or with dipping sauce!
Broccoli makes a healthy, crispy snack or side when cooked in an air fryer. Start by washing broccoli florets thoroughly under cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Next, season the broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper and other spices, then place the florets into your air fryer basket at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook it for 10 minutes total, turning the pieces halfway through the cooking process for even crisp and color on both sides. Remove from heat once finished and enjoy!
Fried mushrooms can also be prepared quickly using an air fryer. Start by preheating your air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you prepare mushrooms by washing them and brushing the mushroom caps lightly with olive oil. Next, sprinkle any desired spices onto them such as garlic powder or Italian herbs. Place the mushrooms onto the rack or tray of the air fryer, then close the lid and cook for five minutes until the outsides of the mushrooms become golden brown. For optimal flavor and color, be sure to flip them over halfway through the cooking process. Serve hot as a crispy snack with some dipping sauce!
Nothing beats homemade French fries made using an air fryer! Start by cutting potatoes into small strips about ¼-inch thick, then season them generously with salt and pepper before laying them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then gently place each potato strip directly onto the rack or tray — make sure not to overcrowd them to ensure even cooking. Close the lid and allow the fries to cook for about 20 minutes until they turn golden brown, shaking them once halfway through the cooking process for best results. Serve hot and enjoy this tasty appetizer with ketchup or ranch!
To make crispy beer-battered onion rings in a large air fryer, start by cutting onions into ½-inch slices and separating the rings from each other. Next, place the rings on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. As they sit, mix flour, garlic powder, paprika and other spices you like in a bowl, then slowly add beer until the batter reaches a thick enough consistency to coat the rings well during the frying process.
Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and dip each onion ring into the batter, ensuring it's fully coated. Then, place the rings onto the rack or tray in the preheated air fryer, making sure to leave some space between each ring to cook evenly. Close the lid and let the onion rings cook for eight minutes until golden brown, flipping them once halfway through the cooking process. Once cooked, serve your onion rings hot and enjoy this delicious appetizer!
Want to whip up a classic fried dessert in a large air fryer? Try making some sweet doughnuts. Prepare the dough according to the package instructions, mixing all the ingredients until a smooth dough forms. Next, roll out the dough flat onto a lightly floured surface until it is ¼ inch thick and use a biscuit cutter tool to cut out circles. Repeat the process until the dough runs out, placing them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and carefully brush the top side of the doughnuts with melted butter and sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top. Place the doughnuts directly onto the preheated rack or tray of the air fryer, making sure not to overcrowd them. Close the lid and allow the doughnuts to cook for six minutes total until they turn golden brown, flipping them once halfway through the cooking process if desired. Serve hot and enjoy these tasty treats on their own or with ice cream!
To make cookies using your air fryer, combine softened butter and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer or whisk until you achieve a creamy consistency. Slowly add one egg at a time while still mixing, then add vanilla extract and stir until a smooth batter forms. Mix the remaining dry ingredients, such as flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg, in a separate bowl, until everything is well incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring thoroughly to form a soft well-mixed cookie dough.
Preheat your large air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then spoon the cookie mixture directly onto the preheated rack or tray, making sure not to overcrowd them. Close the lid and allow the cookies to bake for eight minutes. Once done, transfer the cookies onto a baking sheet or cooling rack to cool them before serving!
In conclusion, the air fryer is a versatile and convenient tool for cooking delicious meals, from meats to vegetables and even desserts! Whether a novice or an experienced cook, the air fryer can help you quickly and easily whip up delectable dishes. Following the tips and recipes outlined in this post, you can make the most of your air fryer and create amazing meals that your family and friends will love. So, go ahead and give a few of these delicious recipes a try — your taste buds won’t be disappointed!