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11 best air fryer recipes for everyone to try – from appetizers to desserts

You won't eat fat fried foods again once you get on the air fryer bandwagon

Cooking potatoes and carrot sticks with spices in an air fryer
Francisco Zeledon / Adobe Stock

Food deep-fried in oil is undeniably some of the most delicious around. But overeating fried food comes with some health risks. Fortunately, if you can’t steer clear of crispy fried goodness, air fryers are a great compromise to get the same great taste of traditionally fried foods with a fraction of the oil, thereby helping you keep your waistline and your cholesterol in check.

With developments in air fryer technology over the past 15 years or so, you’ll have a hard time telling which foods are air-fried and which are the real thing. A great thing about air fryers is they have precise controls and different cooking functions that account for the different types of food you may be cooking. So, from French fries to fried chicken to Brussels sprouts, you can fry up every aspect of your meal if you so choose.

When you buy a new air fryer, it usually comes with recipe books that have great ideas. But if those are getting stale, we’ve tracked down eleven more creative air fryer recipes to keep your meal planning fresh and exciting. Keep in mind that many of these easy air fryer recipes don’t specify the size or type of air fryer used, so batch size and cooking times may vary. So, without further ado, here are the best air fryer recipes for you to make today!

Air fryer fried pickles

Fried pickles from air fryer
Ready Set Eat

(from Ready Set Eat)

This delicious fried appetizer is one that even restaurants have a hard time getting right. Sometimes the pickles are too greasy, and the batter falls right off. With this delicious recipe from Ready Set Eat, you have a less greasy mess and crispier, healthier fried pickles to serve to your guests.

Ingredients:

  • 32 slices Vlasic Ovals Hamburger Dill Chips
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters Original
  • PAM Expeller Pressed Avocado Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

Method:

  1. Pour pickles into a colander. Rinse pickles well with cold water. Place on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.
  2. Stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish, pickle juice, and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Stir together flour and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a shallow dish. Pour Egg Beaters into a second shallow dish.
  4. Place pickles in flour and coat lightly on each side. Dip one at a time in Egg Beaters and turn to coat.
  5. Place pickles back into the flour mixture and coat well.
  6. Place in a single layer on a plate or sheet pan.
  7. Spray top with avocado oil spray, flip and spray the second side.
  8. Spray air fryer basket with avocado oil spray. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the bottom of the air fryer basket. Heat air fryer to 400 Fahrenheit. Place pickles in a single layer in the basket. Air fry for  6 to 8 minutes, until crispy and browned, turning once. Repeat with remaining pickles and the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Serve air fryer fried pickles with dipping sauce.

Air fryer jalapeno poppers

Air fryer jalapeno poppers
Lidl

(from Lidl)

This fresh and batter-free take on the classic jalapeño popper comes from global grocery store chain Lidl. Don’t worry; you won’t miss the batter in these spicy snacks. The prosciutto wrapper, once fried, gives the poppers lovely crispiness. This appetizer is both gluten-free and keto-friendly. A tip: If you’re looking for added spice, leave some seeds buried in the cream cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh jalapeños, cored, seeded, and halved
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 slices prosciutto

Method:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spoon the cream cheese into each halved jalapeñno.
  3. Wrap each with a slice of prosciutto and place in the air fryer.
  4. Air fry for 10 minutes or until the jalapenos are soft and the prosciutto is crispy.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy.

Air fryer buffalo chicken wings

Air fryer buffalo chicken wings
Frank's Red Hot

(from Frank’s Red Hot)

Rounding out the appetizer recipes is the beloved-by-all Buffalo chicken wing, brought to you by none other than the Buffalo sauce experts Frank’s Red Hot. This recipe is super easy, and you’ll hardly tell the difference between these and deep-fried wings. Serve with a little blue cheese dressing and some celery sticks for this crowd-pleasing, game-day favorite for your next March Madness or Super Bowl party.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wing pieces
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Method:

  1. Spray the basket of air fryer with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat wings dry with paper towels.
  2. Place wings in the fryer basket, being careful not to overfill. (Cook in batches, if needed, depending on the size of your air fryer.)
  3. Air fry for 25 to 30 minutes or until skin is crispy and wings are cooked through, shaking the basket or tossing wings with tongs every 5 minutes during cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, mix butter and RedHot Sauce in a large bowl. Add cooked wings and toss to coat.
  5. Serve immediately with blue cheese and celery sticks, if desired.

Air fryer balsamic-pancetta Brussels sprouts

Air fryer balsamic-pancetta Brussels sprouts
Chop Secrets

(from Chop Secrets)

One fried dish that is most easily replicated in an air fryer is Brussels sprouts. This dish from Chop Secrets may be considered by some to be even better than the deep-fried version. But in case you were worried that you might be getting too healthy, they went ahead and threw in some Pancetta (Italian bacon). To make this side dish or sharable appetizer a little healthier, simply omit the pancetta. This recipe is designed for the Instant Pot Vortex Plus, a larger model air fryer, so you may have to cook in batches if your air fryer is smaller.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts ends trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces thick-sliced pancetta cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Method:

  1. Place cut brussels sprouts n a large bowl, then evenly coat with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to ensure an even coat. Add pancetta and toss again to combine.
  2. Load the mixture into the rotisserie basket and attach the lid.
  3. Place the drip pan in the bottom of the cooking chamber.
  4. Air Fry at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  5. Continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and the pancetta is fully cooked.
  6. Serve hot topped with grated Parmesan.

Air fryer sesame-crusted blackened sweet potato fries with chamomile ginger syrup

Air fryer sesame-crusted blackened sweet potato fries with chamomile ginger syrup
Briana Riddock / Crate & Barrel

(By Briana Riddock, Crate and Barrel)

When it comes to making sweet potato fries in the air fryer, a little salt, pepper, and ketchup for dipping are enough for most. But, if you want to truly impress on a date night or dinner party, kicking your spuds up a notch with this recipe from chef Briana Riddock will do just that. While this recipe may sound like a lot of work, the total prep time for the potatoes and dipping sauce is only ten minutes combined.

Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cleaned, cut into wedges (about 1 large sweet potato or 2 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

For the chamomile ginger syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 chamomile tea bags
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Method

For the potatoes:

  1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together, reserving the sesame seeds.
  2. Place the seasoned sweet potatoes in a single layer about 1/2 inch apart in the air fryer basket. (You will need to work in multiple batches.)
  3. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the sweet potatoes.
  4. Adjust settings to air fryer function and air fry at 400 degrees F for about 10–12 minutes or until slightly blackened in color.
  5. Remove from basket and serve with chamomile ginger syrup.

For the chamomile ginger syrup:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat to low and steep chamomile tea bags for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags and bring the liquid to a rolling simmer.
  4. Add ginger and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, create a slurry by adding a splash of water (about 1 tablespoon) to the cornstarch. Stir to dissolve lumps.
  6. Add slurry to simmering liquid and stir continuously until the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove from heat and cool.

Air fryer blackened salmon

Air fryer blackened salmon
Belly Laugh Living

(From Philips

This recipe comes from another leading manufacturer of air fryers, Philips. If you follow the instructions to a “t”, you’ll have a delicious blackened salmon filet that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. A note: This recipe was created using the Philips Airfryer XXL (HD9630). If you’re using a smaller air fryer, use half of the ingredients or cook multiple batches.

Ingredients:

  • 2 white garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground peppercorn
  • 4 whole Pacific salmon fillet 1 to 1 1/2-inch thick

Method:

  1. Combine spices and garlic on a tray. Mix well.
  2. Press all of the sides of the salmon in the mixture to coat.
  3. Place salmon into Philips Airfryer basket.
  4. Cook at 390 Fahrenheit for 6 to 9 minutes (until the desired doneness), checking occasionally, until salmon is crisp and blackened.
  5. Tip: For best results, work in two batches. The second batch may cook quicker than the first batch since the air fryer is preheated.

Air fryer surf and turf

Air fryer surf and turf
Sunday Supper Movement

(From Sunday Supper Movement)

Even if you’re the kitchen in your studio apartment consists of an air fryer and a hot plate, there’s no reason you can’t have an impressive date-night dinner at home. Sunday Supper Movement provides this wonderful air fryer recipe that will leave your significant other full, impressed, and wondering what you could do in a full kitchen.

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • 2 6-ounce filet mignon steaks
  • 2 tablespoons Chicago steak seasoning or seasoning of your choice (just salt and pepper works well)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the lobster tails:

  • 2 4-ounce lobster tails
  • 4 tablespoons garlic butter
  • 1/2 lemon cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Method

For the steak:

  1. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Chicago steak seasoning or seasoning of your choice on each side of filet mignon steaks. Place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Brush each side of both steaks with 1 tbsp. of olive oil each.
  3. Place the fillets in the air fryer and cook for approximately 4 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Flip the fillets and cook for approximately 4 minutes more.
  5. Remove from the air fryer and top each filet with 1 tablespoon of garlic butter.
  6. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

For the lobster tails:

  1. Butterfly two 4-ounce lobster tails by using kitchen scissors to cut lengthwise through the center of the shells.
  2. Give it a good cut through ¾ of the lobster, but do not go all the way through.
  3. Carefully spread the shell open where you cut. Place your fingers under the meat in the shell and firmly, but gently, pull it out in one piece.
  4. Close the shell so that the lobster meat rests on top of the shell.
  5. Melt 4 tablespoons of garlic butter sauce over medium heat in a small saucepan.
  6. Transfer 2 tbsp. of the garlic butter sauce to a small bowl and brush the lobster tail meat with it. Season the lobster tails with salt and pepper to your preference.
  7. Place the lobster tails in the air fryer basket with the cut lobster meat facing up.
  8. Cook at 380 degrees Fahrenheit until the lobster meat is opaque, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon (cut into wedges) over the lobster tail.
  10. Serve the additional 2 tablespoons of garlic butter sauce in a small dish to use as a dip for the lobster and steak.

Air fryer crispy pork belly

Air fryer crispy pork belly
Scruff & Steph

(From Scruff and Steph)

Buying a slab of pork belly is a small investment. However, Scruff and Steph, the Asian-centric food blog creators, know this and have perfected an air fryer method of creating delicious, crispy pork belly like what you get at five-star restaurants. This recipe calls for letting the pork skin dry in the fridge for at least a day, and it does involve a bit of cooking outside of the air fryer. Still, the total cooking time is around half of that of the traditional cooking methods. Plus, such a cut of meat deserves a little more attention. A tip from Scruff and Steph is to find a nice, flat pork belly that will cook evenly (and fit) in your air fryer.

Ingredients

For the general items:

  • 2 pounds pork belly
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the skin rub:

  • 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

For the meat rub:

  • 1/4 teasoiib Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. If there is any hair on the pork skin, scrape it off with a knife. Then wash the pork belly under a tap.
  2. In a frying pan on medium-high, add the water, salt, and sugar.
  3. Once boiling, add the pork belly skin side down and cook for 8 minutes on each side.
  4. Once done, remove the pork belly and let it cool on a rack. Pat dry with some paper towel when it is cool enough to do so.
  5. Get a meat skewer or a metal fork and punch lots of holes into the skin of the pork belly – this usually takes me about 5-10 minutes. Do not punch holes so deep that it reaches the meat.
  6. Brush the pork skin with vinegar, and then sprinkle half the salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes, and repeat the process.
  7. Put the pork belly in the fridge uncovered and allow the skin to dry for a minimum of 12 to 48 hours. If you can check on it every now and then, wipe off any moisture that comes to the surface.
  8. Take your pork belly out of the fridge and apply the meat rub on the sides and the bottom of the pork belly.
  9. Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes, then cook the pork belly for 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Once done, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

Air fryer buttermilk fried chicken

Air fryer with buttermilk fried chicken
Julie's Eats and Treats

(From Julie’s Eats and Treats)

Perhaps one of the most attempted, yet not quite replicated, dishes that people try to mimic when they buy an air fryer is fried chicken. Although you may never exactly replicate the Colonel’s special recipe in an air fryer, this recipe from Julie’s Eats and Treats comes dang close. A tip from Julie: Don’t try to stack chicken in the air fryer; cook in batches for more even cooking and crispy skin.

Ingredients (4 servings)

For the general items:

  • 2 pounds skin-on chicken legs and thighs
  • Oil for spraying chicken (vegetable canola or olive oil)

For the batter:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the dredge:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Wash and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. In a square baking dish, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  3. In another square baking dish, whisk together flour and seasonings.
  4. Coat chicken with flour mixture. Then dip it into the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture again.
  5. Spray air fryer basket with oil. Then place the chicken basket, making sure to leave room around each piece to allow air to flow. Spray chicken with oil.
  6. Cook at 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, then flip chicken and spray with oil again.
  7. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  9. Serve immediately
  10. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container

Air fryer cheesecake egg rolls

Air fryer cheesecake egg rolls
Sprinkle Bakes

(From Sprinkle Bakes

Air fryer, cheesecake, and egg rolls are not three words you’d probably ever expect to say in the same phrase. But fortunately, thanks to Sprinkle Bakes, it is a real thing you’ll be saying all the time. These decadent little morcels are delicious and easy to make. The other great thing about them is you can play around with the jam/jelly filling and even include bits of fruit if it tickles your fancy.

Ingredients (15 servings)

For the churros:

  • 16-ounce, 2 packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8.5-ounce, 1 jar fig jam
  • 15 refrigerated ready-made egg roll wrappers
  • Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix well on medium speed for 2 minutes to combine. Remove cheesecake filling to a pastry bag or to a zip-top bag with a corner snipped.
  2. Stir the jam well in its jar so that it loosens and can easily be scooped with a spoon.
  3. Lay an egg roll wrapper with a pointed end toward you; in the center, pipe on approximately 2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture. Top with one tablespoon of jam. Use a pastry brush to coat the edges of the egg roll wrapper with egg wash.
  4. Fold the bottom corner over the filling, and roll snugly halfway to cover the filling. Fold in both sides snugly against the filling.
  5. Roll wrap up, making sure the top corner is well-sealed with the egg wash.
  6. Spray egg rolls with olive oil cooking spray on both sides.
  7. Preheat the air fryer to 370 degrees F for 10 minutes. Allow the egg rolls to stand at room temperature while the fryer heats.
  8. Place 4-5 egg rolls in the hot fryer basket. Fry for 5-7 minutes, or until the egg rolls are golden brown on top. Just like regular frying, you can count on at least one egg roll breaking and releasing filling during cooking. Cleanup is easy using a paper towel to wipe out the basket (just be careful if it’s still hot!).
  9. Remove rolls from the basket and let cool. Repeat frying until all of the egg rolls are cooked.
  10. Lightly brush the golden tops of the egg rolls with melted butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over egg rolls.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Air fryer banana cake

Air fryer banana cake
Zeelicious Foods

(From NuWave)

This banana cake recipe from NuWave is roof that air fryers are more versatile than some may think. Your air fryer will need to be large enough to accommodate a six-inch fluted bunt pan for this recipe. If it’s not, even more reason to buy another air fryer.

Ingredients (6 servings):

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 ci[ brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  •  Confectioners sugar (as needed)

Method:

  1.  Preheat the air fryer to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 6-inch fluted bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2.  Beat sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until creamy. Combine banana, egg, and honey in a separate bowl. Whisk banana mixture into butter mixture until smooth.
  3. Sift flour, cinnamon, and salt into the combined banana-butter mixture. Mix batter until smooth. Transfer to the prepared pan; level the surface using the back of a spoon.
  4. Place the cake pan in the air fryer basket. Slide the basket into the air fryer and set for 30 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve warm.

The history of air fryer technology

The concept of an air fryer actually has a complex history and the idea actually goes back further than the 2010s. The groundwork for the air fryer we know today was laid in the 1940s. William Maxson developed a device for the U.S. Navy in 1944 that used convection oven technology to circulate hot air and cook frozen meals quickly on airplanes. This device, which was called the “Sky Plate,” wasn’t aimed at home cooks, but it put down the foundation for the future invention.

Then, the air fryer we recognize today emerged in 2010. Fred van der Weij, an inventor from the Netherlands, is credited with creating this version after his dissatisfaction with a fat-free fryer he saw advertised. He partnered with Philips to release its air fryer at the IFA Berlin trade show in 2010, and this countertop appliance sparked the air fryer craze we know now.

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Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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