6 Yummy and Easy Air Fryer Recipes To Start With

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We all love french fries, fried chicken, and other crisp comfort foods, but who wants to finish a great meal only to spend the rest of the evening cleaning splattered grease from the stove (and maybe even the ceiling)? Air fryers are one of technology’s most recent and helpful contributions to the kitchen. They allow for cleaner, quicker, more mess-less frying, and the resulting meals are lower in fat and calories.

If you just got an air fryer and are wondering where to start, you’ve come to the right place. From veggies to fish, here are some easy options to help you learn your way around your new air fryer (and get a great meal out of it, too).

Here are some of the best air fryer recipes for you to try.

Air-fried vegetables 

French Fries

This quick side dish is one of the most satisfying to make in an air fryer because it is a perfect example of just how magical this machine really is. For perfect, restaurant-level fries, cut potatoes into shoestrings and boil for a few minutes. (Technically, you can skip this boiling step, but it helps keep the inside of the fries soft as the outside crisps up in the fryer.) Then, drain the potatoes and toss them in a tiny bit of oil, salt, and the spices of your choice, like paprika and garlic powder. Check your air fryer’s manual to see which setting is right for fries. Place the prepared potatoes in the basket, hit a couple of buttons, and enjoy. For a complete step-by-step recipe on perfect air fryer fries, click here. If you want to try a variation, substitute potatoes with carrots, zucchini, or sweet potatoes.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 205

Fat: 7 grams

Saturated fat: 1 gram

Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Sodium: 70 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 32 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Faithie – stock.adobe.com

Fried cauliflower

Another great air fryer recipe that’s vegetarian is fried cauliflower bites. It’s the perfect meatless alternative to fried poppers or chicken wings and is a great appetizer when your friends come over to watch the game. To make, dip cauliflower florets in beaten egg and then dredge in a breading mixture of panko breadcrumbs, herbs, spices, and salt. Working in batches, use the fry setting on your machine to crisp the cauliflower. We recommend coating the prepared cauliflower and basket with a touch of olive oil or cooking spray. Serve with a side of Ranch dressing or other dipping sauce. For a complete step-by-step tutorial, read more here.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 148

Carbohydrates: 24.4 grams

Protein: 6.7 grams

Total Fat: 3.1 grams

Saturated Fat: 0.8g grams

Cholesterol: 47 milligrams

Sodium: 348 milligrams

Fiber: 3.7grams

Sugars: 3.5 grams

Micko1986 – stock.adobe.com

Air-fried chicken and meat 

Fried chicken

One of the most incredible air fryer dinner recipes is classic fried chicken. Many buy air fryers because they want to make this crispy favorite with less oil without sacrificing flavor. Just like the traditional recipe, for air fryer chicken, you’ll season the meat and coat it in buttermilk before dredging it in a mixture of flour, spices, and salt. Then, instead of deep-frying the chicken, you’ll add it in a single layer to the air fryer and cook at 390 degrees for 25 minutes. Check the chicken about halfway through and spray any uncooked flour with cooking spray. For exact steps and tips, check out this tutorial.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 318 kcal

Carbohydrates: 21 grams

Protein: 21 grams 

Fat: 15 grams

Saturated Fat: 4 grams

Cholesterol: 74 milligrams
Sodium: 2,055 milligrams 

Potassium: 297 milligrams 

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 2 grams
Vitamin A: 325 IU

Vitamin C: 23.9 milligrams

Calcium: 56 milligrams 

Iron: 2.3 milligrams

Wesley – stock.adobe.com

Air-fried meatballs

Not all air frying needs to replicate deep frying. Traditional recipes call for baking or lightly pan-frying meatballs before adding them to the sauce to get better flavor and prevent food-borne illness. You can recreate the baking or pan-frying process in the air fryer by preparing meatballs using whatever recipe you usually do and then cooking them in a single layer in the air fryer at 380°F for 12-14 minutes. When the meatballs are cooked, toss them with your favorite Italian tomato sauce and spaghetti, and top with parmesan cheese. For complete instructions, check out this recipe for air fryer meatballs.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 114

Carbohydrates: 2 grams

Protein: 9 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Saturated Fat: 3 grams

Cholesterol: 40 milligrams

Sodium: 143 milligrams

Potassium: 139 milligrams

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 1 gram

Vitamin A: 65IU

Vitamin C: 1 milligram

Calcium: 20 milligrams

Iron: 1 milligram

Nadin333 – stock.adobe.com

Air-fried seafood

Air fryer shrimp

Shrimp and grits is a great air fryer breakfast recipe. Prepare the grits on the stove as you normally would, but lightly fry the shrimp in the air fryer for a perfectly crispy, seasoned finish. Peel and devein the shrimp and rub in a bit of olive oil, salt, and spices like paprika and garlic powder. Then, cook in a single layer in the air fryer at 400°F for eight minutes. Serve with grits and southern hot sauce or sriracha. Want to serve it for lunch or dinner? Try making tacos or quesadillas by stuffing tortillas with the shrimp filling and cheese and topping with guacamole, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo. Read more here on how to make this delectable, quick dish and other air fryer recipes with fish.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 134

Fat: 4 grams

Saturated Fat: 1 gram

Cholesterol: 286 milligrams

Sodium: 1172 milligrams

Potassium: 91 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 1 gram

Protein: 23 grams

Cavan – stock.adobe.com

Air-fried desserts

Air fryer donuts

Not all recipes for air fryers are savory. As the machine can recreate the experience of deep-frying, donuts also come out great. Make donut dough by activating yeast and sugar in milk and then adding melted butter, flour, egg, and salt and kneading by hand or in a stand mixer. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. Form the donuts, and let them rise again for 30 minutes more. Add the donuts to the machine’s basket in a single layer, air fry at 350°F for four minutes, and get ready for a sweet, buttery treat. For exact instructions and ingredients, check out this easy recipe.

Nutritional values per serving

Calories: 251kcal

Carbohydrates: 39 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Saturated fat: 5 grams

Cholesterol: 33 milligrams

Sodium: 113 milligrams

Potassium: 73 milligrams

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 15 grams

Vitamin A: 260 IU

Calcium: 32 milligrams

Iron: 2 milligrams

Saharosa – stock.adobe.com

Air fryer recipes FAQs

Can I put raw meat in the air fryer?

Yes, you can cook raw meat in the air fryer. As always, take care when handling raw animal products and use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of cooked meat to make sure it’s safe for eating. 

What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?

Avoid cooking wet food products (like battered meats), greens, and raw grains in the air fryer. You won’t have much luck, for example, trying to cook rice or wilt spinach. Keep your air fryer in good condition and make tasty meals by avoiding foods and cooking methods for which the machine isn’t intended.   

Do I need to pre-heat the air fryer?

Yes, you do need to preheat the air fryer. Most recipes will include preheating times and temperatures, and the manual for your particular unit can show you how to start up the machine correctly.

What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?

When cooking with an air fryer, stick to root vegetables or meats, seafood, doughs (not batter), and prepared foods like egg rolls or flauta-style taquitos, which are great for speedy weeknight meals. Search for healthy air fryer recipes to get an idea of what others have successfully made in their machines. We’ve seen everything from fried pickles, fritters, brownies, and crispy green beans, so let your creativity run wild. 

Ready to fire up the air fryer but out of cooking spray? You can order it in seconds and have it at your door in a matter of minutes with Gopuff. They carry all you need, from flour to cooking supplies and more.

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