The 25 Best Things to Cook in an Air Fryer

You don't really need an air fryer, but if you've got one, this is what you should cook first.

air fried chicken
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Air fryers have suddenly found their place on a number of home kitchen counters. The appliance uses convection plus high circulation – effectively a small oven with increased air flow – to achieve, ideally, the crispy exterior of deep-fried food without the fat content. But the countertop gadget also works well for any dish that would usually be cooked in an oven or on the stovetop, without producing as much residual heat in your home (plus, preheat times are much lower). Here are 25 things to cook if you've got an air fryer.

French Fries

French fries are arguably the most popular thing to cook in an air fryer. Air fryers use a fraction of the oil as deep-frying, and making French fries in them result in an appreciably crisp exterior and fluffy inside without the greasiness.

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Brussels Sprouts

air fryer brussels sprouts
Domestic Superhero

The key to making brussels a tasty treat is to get them crispy and top them off with Parmesan cheese, which, to be fair, could be said about most things.

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Cauliflower Tots

So you really want to get healthy with your deep-fried potato snacks? Swap out the potatoes for cauliflower, which will give the same crumbly texture of tater tots, and you'll consume fewer carbs and less fat.

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Bloomin' Onion

Outback, the non-Australian Australian steakhouse, is probably better known for its deep-fried Bloomin' Onion than it is for the steak.

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Fish & Chips

A whole meal consisting of deep-fried foods is probably not the healthiest choice, but it's pretty delicious. Cooking the meal in an air fryer results in crispy, flaky fish and crunchy fries, minus the swim in the fryer.

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Bagels

The recipe from SimplyScratch results is for an everything bagel, but you can adjust the seasonings, or neglect them entirely, to suit your tastes. Air frying a bagel results in a chewy bagel with a crackly exterior.

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Chicken Wings

Take-out wings are good in theory, but in practice they always show up soggy. Besides, these wings are done in about 20 minutes, probably less time than it takes for takeout to show up at your door (and your home won't smell like heart burn days after cooking).

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Empanadas

Empanadas are typically fried or baked. These tiny protein-packed treats can be filled with almost anything from savory meats to sweet fruit jams. These empanadas have a flaky outer layer, and the filling is an umami-packed beef mixture.

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Salmon

Salmon isn't difficult to cook, but the air fryer, which circulates hot air around the salmon so it remains moisture, makes it marginally easier.

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Cheeseburgers

You won't get the same char on your patties as you would from cooking on cast iron, but an air fryer will drastically reduce the amount of fat associated with a burger.

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Falafel

Falafel is one of the most underrated foods out there. When fried correctly, they shouldn't be greasy, but they're deep-fried nonetheless. Air frying retains all the wonderful aspects of falafel, which works well in a pita or over a bed of rice.

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Roast Beef

Try making roast beef in an air fryer for your Sunday roasts. Season a hunk of beef and give it just over an hour in the air fryer for a succulent, medium-rare meat.

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Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese
A Family Feast

Making macaroni and cheese in an air fryer is just as easy as making the boxed stuff, just without the neon cheese dust. And unlike stovetop mac and cheese, there's no need to boil the pasta separately.

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"Rotisserie" Chicken

It's not exactly rotisserie chicken as it's not rotating on a spit, but the air fryer can produce a similar whole-cooked chicken in less time than it takes to get in and out of a Costco.

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Turkey Breast

You won't be able to fit a whole turkey into an air fryer, but you can at least cook its breast to juicy perfection.

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Bacon

Spare your stovetop from grease splatter and cook your bacon strips in an air fryer. There's no need to preheat the device, so you'll come out with crispy bacon in seven to 11 minutes.

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Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are some of the best snacks out there. They take on the flavor of whatever seasoning you use, so feel free to get crazy with your spice blends. Pop a can of chickpeas and heat them in the air fryer for a crispy snack in about 15 minutes.

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Whole Eggs

These aren't exactly hard-boiled eggs as they aren't boiled, but popping whole eggs into the air fryer results in the same finished product. There's no water required, and you can adjust the egg's cook time depending on how runny you want your yolks.

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Donuts

Listen, you're already taking the easy route with an air fryer, so you might as well cheat your way to donuts. Buy some frozen pre-made biscuit dough and "fry" up a baker's dozen of sweet donuts.

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Apple Chips

Health food grocery stores are hawking three-ounce bags of apple chips for like $5. Make your own in an air fryer for a fraction of the price. They're the perfect sweet alternative to potato chips.

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Pop Tarts

Skip the boxed Pop Tarts of your youth for a fresh batch you make yourself. Prep time is about 40 minutes, but at least you know every ingredient going into the sweet treat. Bonus: they're vegan.

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Mozzarella Sticks

I've never met a mozzarella stick I didn't like. Cheese? Good. Breadcrumbs? Good. Grease? Good, but not good for you. Air fryers and fried foods go together like mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

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Tofu

Get perfectly crispy tofu from your air fryer by making sure you use the extra-firm variety. No wobbly beige cubes here.

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Schnitzel

Schnitzel is as satisfying as it is easy to make. Pound some sirloin steaks thin, bread and fry. They're so thin and tender you could probably cut through them with a fork. Even though they're not deep-fried, don't forget to squeeze some lemon over your schnitzel for an acidic bite.

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Steak

Listen, this steak recipe is a last resort if you just really need to have a steak and don't want to bother with the cast iron. Try at your risk, and don't waste your best cuts with this recipe.

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