Experts share 16 things you didn't know you could make with your air fryer

Experts share 16 things you didn't know you could make with your air fryer
  • Chefs, cookbook authors, and food bloggers shared their favorite unique air-fryer recipes.

  • Meals ranging from macaroni and cheese to pizza can be made quickly and easily in the air fryer.

  • Snacks like hard-boiled eggs, tempeh "bacon," and doughnuts cook nicely in the appliance.

Air fryers can make delicious tofu dishes.

tofu salad healthy lunch
Add tofu to your salads or on top of sautéed vegetables.istetiana/Getty Images

Adeev and Ezra Potash, hosts of Food Network's digital series "Takeout Twins," told Business Insider that air-fried tofu is quick and easy.

"One of our favorite dishes is this stinky tofu dish we get on the street whenever we perform in China and we do our best to replicate that in our home air fryer," The Potash Twins said. "We've tried making it many different ways, but the air fryer is so much closer to the real deal."

According to Watch Learn Eat's vegan and gluten-free blogger Sherri Hall, firm tofu works best in the air fryer.

"Use extra firm tofu and press it for 15 to 20 minutes first," Hall told BI. "Softer tofu won't hold up as well in the air fryer, and water-logged tofu will not get crispy. You also want to make sure to grease the air fryer to avoid sticking and place the tofu in a single layer to promote even cooking."

Her recipe for salt-and-pepper tofu takes only five ingredients and 15 minutes.

Doughnuts are quick and easy to make in the air fryer.

Doughnuts on a pink-and-white-striped tablecloth
Making doughnuts in the air fryer is a lighter alternative to deep-frying.Barita/Shutterstock

According to The Potash Twins, donuts are easier and healthier to make in the air fryer.

"We make sufganiyot in our air fryers," The Potash Twins told BI. "It's an Israeli jelly doughnut that is made traditionally during the celebration of Hanukkah."

The Potash Twins fill store-bought pizza dough with raspberry jelly, spray it with oil, and place the formed doughnuts in the air fryer. This method helps to maximize the crispy, crunchy texture and replicates a deep fry.

The Potash Twins also like to top their doughnuts with powdered sugar as a finishing touch.

Make falafel in the air fryer for a tasty vegetarian snack.

The air fryer gives falafel the right amount of crunch.uniqueton/Shuttershock

Kysha Harris, food editor at The Spruce Eats, said that although falafel is traditionally deep-fried, making it in the air fryer is healthier and just as delicious.

"You have spent the time to make a healthy, protein-rich food," Harris told BI. "Cooking falafel in the air fryer keeps the calories low and the cooking time short. It's a delicious vegetarian snack on hand.

Harris said she recommends chilling the formed falafel balls for 15 minutes and tossing them with vegetable oil to yield a richer color.

Use your air fryer to dehydrate dandelions for tea.

Cup of tea on table
Dandelion roots add flavor to the hot beverage.DreamerAchieverNoraTarvus/Shutterstock

Food Network's "Farmhouse Rules" host Nancy Fuller told BI that because air fryers circulate hot air the same way as dehydrators, they can be used to dry out ingredients for tea.

"Dig up dandelions from your yard, wash the roots, chop the roots, and dehydrate the roots for 12 hours using the lowest setting on your air fryer," Fuller said. "Once the roots are dry, whir them up in a blender or coffee grinder."

Fuller then places a filter filled with the ground roots over a cup and slowly pours boiling water through. She also adds honey for flavor.

Your air fryer can also be used as a dehydrator to make homemade beef jerky and dried fruits.

Curb a sweet tooth with a simple and fast apple crisp.

Apple crisp with whipped topping
Apples soften up nicely for desserts.Andi Berger/Shutterstock

Fuller, who is a judge on Food Network's popular "Baking Championship," loves to make quick apple crisp in the air fryer.

All you need to make this dessert is fresh-cut apples topped with cinnamon sugar and graham-cracker crumbs.

Bake it in the air fryer until the sugar is caramelized and the graham crackers are crispy.

Make cauliflower mac and cheese for an easy side dish.

Mac and cheese with fork
Fernando Ortiz's mac and cheese is a family favorite.Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Fernando Ortiz, executive chef for Margaritaville Hotel Nashville, uses his air fryer for both entrées and sides when making dinner for his family.

"My go-to weeknight meal for me and my daughter from the air fryer is panko-crusted fish with cauliflower mac and cheese," Ortiz told BI.

To make Ortiz's cauliflower mac and cheese, combine one cup of cheddar cheese, one cup of Parmesan, and one cup of heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring to a slight boil while cooking cauliflower florets in an air fryer at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for eight minutes.

Mix the cauliflower with the cheese sauce and put it back in the air fryer for five minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make a one-pot meal of meatloaf and veggies in the air fryer.

Meatloaf slices on cutting board
Meatloaf makes a hearty dinner.MSPhotographic/Shutterstock

David Trotta, owner and chef of Whealth Kitchen, a pick-up meal and delivery service in New York City, utilizes the air fryer by making a one-pot meal.

To minimize messiness in the kitchen, Trotta recommends making meatloaf and vegetables.

"It is a one-pot night with minimal mess," said Trotta. "The meatloaf goes in first for about 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes followed by the broccoli. I toss the potatoes in olive oil, salt, garlic, onion, and rosemary and spray the broccoli with olive oil before adding it to the air fryer."

An air fryer can bake the perfect batch of chocolate-chip cookies.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate-chip cookies bake perfectly in an air fryer.Edalin Photography/Shutterstock

"Chocolate-chip cookies are great in the air fryer, especially during times of warmer weather, as it won't heat up the house like a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven," Trotta told BI.

Trotta said home cooks can use their favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe and bake them on parchment in a preheated air fryer at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cookies should be set about 2 inches apart and need to bake for about eight minutes.

Make sure to let the cookies sit in the pan for two to three minutes before removing them from the air fryer for best results.

Use your air fryer to get the most out of your potato salad.

Potato salad in bowl
Potatoes can even be dehydrated before being used in a salad.Fanfo/Shutterstock

Jim Mumford, a cookbook author and food blogger, swears by using an air fryer when he makes German potato salad.

"The air convection dries the potatoes out, slightly dehydrating them, allowing them to drink in the dressing for less sogginess the next day," Mumford told BI.

You can use this tip for your favorite potato-salad recipe, whether you prefer to serve it warm or chilled.

Make a fast two-ingredient pizza dough in the air fryer.

Pizza on countertop
Pizza can be a great snack or meal.Improving/Shutterstock

Liana Green, a cookbook author and food blogger at Liana's Kitchen, said you can make two-ingredient pizza dough in an air fryer.

To make the dough, Green combines one cup of self-rising flour and one cup of natural or Greek yogurt.

Once the ingredients form a dough consistency, Green rolls it out and places it on a piece of parchment paper in the air-fryer basket. She bakes the dough at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to 10 minutes, turning over halfway through.

"Add pizza sauce, mozzarella, and any toppings and cook for a further three minutes," Green said. "It's the perfect snack or quick midweek meal."

Air fryers can quickly bake delicious cakes.

Brownies on plate
Baking a cake in an air fryer doesn't heat up the whole house.mama_mia/Shutterstock

According to Green, as long as you have a baking pan that will fit in your air-fryer basket, you can quickly and easily make a cake.

This method is a great way to avoid heating up the house as a conventional oven would.

"Make the cake batter the same way you would for baking it in an oven," said Green. "But remember that cakes will cook quicker in an air fryer than in an oven so it's important to check on them after 20 minutes."

To check if the cake is done, Green pokes a cocktail stick or skewer in the middle. If the outside is cooking too quickly, she covers the cake with some foil until it's done baking.

Proof bread dough fast using a low temperature on your air fryer.

Heart-shaped pizza on dough board
The warmth of the air fryer can help to proof dough quickly.natalia bulatova/Shutterstock

If you're in a hurry to proof bread dough, Green suggests using an air fryer.

"Just add the kneaded dough to the air-fryer basket and set it on the air fryer's lowest temperature," said Green. "Each model will differ, but it will likely be somewhere between 75 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. About 10 minutes should be enough time for the dough to proof."

Once you're done proofing, you can even bake your bread in the air fryer.

Make a steakhouse-worthy dinner in your air fryer.

Half-way through cooking steak in the air fryer
Steak can be cooked in the air fryer for an easy dinner.Chelsea Davis

Marjory Pilley, a writer, recipe developer, and photographer for Dinner Mom, uses up thick cuts of meat with her air-fryer steak bites.

"Steak bites rival something cooked on the grill," said Pilley. "They caramelize on the outside and are juicy on the inside."

To make the steak bites, Pilley uses one pound of beef, such as sirloin. She cuts the meat into one to 2-inch cubes and tosses it with a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of her favorite steak seasoning.

Pilley then places the meat in the air-fryer basket in a single layer. She cooks the steak bites at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.

If you'd like to make a full meal, Pilley said, you can add chopped vegetables like mushrooms or peppers to the mix.

Hard-boiled eggs can be made in less than twenty minutes.

Boiled egg
Hard-boiled eggs make a fool-proof breakfast or snack.Getty

Pilley said making hard-boiled eggs in an air fryer is "ridiculously easy."

"Simply place cold eggs in the basket of the air fryer," said Pilley. "Cook at 250 degrees Fahrenheit using the following timing guide — 11 to 12 minutes for soft, 13 to 14 minutes for medium, and 15 to 17 minutes for hard. Immediately remove the eggs into ice-cold water for five minutes and peel."

Because every air fryer model is different, Pilley recommends checking the timing for your particular version on one or two eggs the first time around.

Customize your tempeh bacon by making it in the air fryer.

grilled tempeh
Tempeh is the perfect meat substitute.leodaphne/ Getty Images

Hall likes to make vegetarian "bacon" with tempeh, tamari, maple syrup, olive oil, and seasonings.

According to Hall, this air-fryer "bacon" takes less time than baking in an oven, uses less oil than making it on a stovetop, and has "the perfect level of crispiness."

"Although you can purchase pre-made tempeh 'bacon' at the grocery store, store-bought tempeh 'bacon' brands are not typically gluten-free," Hall said. "Making it at home means that you can make it gluten-free and you can marinate it for as long as possible to make it incredibly flavorful."

Hall's easy air-fryer dupe is gluten-free, has less than 10 ingredients, and includes tips for using the "bacon" to make the perfect vegan BLT.

Air fryers can make crispy homemade churros.

Homemade churros and sugar
Churros get crispy in the air fryer.Chelsea Davis

Jessica Formicola, owner of Savory Experiments, makes churros in the air fryer as a lighter alternative to conventional deep-frying.

"Thick choux pastry works surprisingly well for churros," said Formicola.

To avoid batter from seeping through the grates, Formicola lines the bottom of the tray with aluminum foil to prevent it from dripping.

This story was originally published on January 18, 2022, and most recently updated on May 17, 2024.

Read the original article on Business Insider