A first-timer’s guide: How to use an air fryer to make your favorite dishes

Air fryers are the latest in a long line of trendy, must-have kitchen appliances. And it’s easy to see why so many people love these devices. Air fryers use hot air to cook crispy and delicious foods, all while requiring a fraction of the cooking oil you would need to make similar recipes in a deep fryer. These appliances are praised for providing a healthier way to prepare fried food, but you can actually cook a variety of dishes in your fryer. Here is how to use an air fryer to make some of your favorite dishes healthier and tastier than before.

Fried potato wedges in an air fryer

Pre-fried frozen food

The air fryer was basically made for the frozen aisle. Pre-made chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, French fries, and fish sticks are perfect for this device. These dishes get beautifully crisp while cooking in the fryer, and they are ready to eat in minutes. The ease of preparation makes an air fryer essential for families with kids, parties, and lazy nights when you just want to indulge yourself. You can even make frozen pizzas in a fryer (small personal-sized ones at least). The crust gets toasty, and the cheese starts to bubble much faster than it would in the oven. However, you aren’t restricted to the frozen section if you want to enjoy junky comfort foods. You can make your own versions of pre-fried frozen foods using healthier recipes that will cook up just as quickly as their frozen counterparts. This could include air-fried chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, or any of your favorite fried recipes.

Veggies

Air fryers aren’t just for junk food; you can also make nutritious and flavorful vegetables. Any veggie that you can roast in the oven or grill on the BBQ will taste amazing in the fryer. Try seasoning and frying up brussels sprouts, squash, root vegetables, or corn on the cob. Potatoes are especially great in this appliance. You can cook crispy baked potatoes, wedges, or “roasted” taters. Or, if you want to make a healthy snack, use the air fryer to make homemade veggie chips. These appliances use sweltering hot air to cook food and remove excess moisture, making cooking crisp and pleasant chips easy. Toss some kale with coconut oil and sea salt before adding it to the fryer. Or thinly slice some white or sweet potatoes, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt to make handcrafted potato chips.

Cooked strips of bacon

Meat

Cooking meat in the air fryer is a simple way to create flavorful and healthy dishes. Bacon is one of the types of meat that does the best in the fryer. While cooking, fat drips off the bacon and out of the basket, creating leaner meat. Plus, it doesn’t require as much supervision or clean-up as the stovetop method. Chicken wings are also incredible when made in the air fryer. The skin gets crispier, and the meat cooks faster than oven roasting. Even air-fried chicken breasts and glazed chicken comes out juicier than oven or stovetop cooked alternatives. Hot dogs taste delicious cooked in the fryer too. They come out with a snappy casing and taste just like they would fresh off the barbeque. You can also cook steak in an air fryer! Rub it with olive oil and your preferred seasoning and flip it halfway through frying, so you end up with a flavorful, evenly cooked piece of meat.

Three doughnuts on a cooling rack

Doughnuts and other desserts

Yes, you can even make desserts in your new air fryer. Fried desserts like doughnuts, churros, beignets, and fried Oreos are a no-brainer. These air-fried desserts contain fewer calories (yay!) than deep-fried versions. To avoid a big mess in your fryer and a chewy treat, refrain from using a wet batter. Instead, use a bread-like batter that will create a more cake-y dessert. In addition to fried treats, you can prepare other “baked” goods too. You can bake chocolate chip cookies, hand pies, lava cakes, brownies, cheesecake, and more in your air fryer.

The air fryer is truly an amazing home cooking innovation. It can cook most of your favorite dishes faster, healthier, and with less mess than other traditional cooking methods. You no longer have to avoid your favorite junk foods. Plus, you can make so many delicious meals using your appliance. Whether you want to cook pre-made frozen appetizers, veggie chips, steak, or pie, an air fryer is the way to go. So, start experimenting with your fryer and discover your next favorite recipe today.

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