The 34 Best Things to Cook in an Air Fryer | Gear Patrol (2024)

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

The 34 Best Things to Cook in an Air Fryer | Gear Patrol (1)Ali Majdfar

The 34 Best Things to Cook in an Air Fryer | Gear Patrol (2)The 34 Best Things to Cook in an Air Fryer | Gear Patrol (3)

By Tyler Chin and Johnny Brayson




Over the past several years, air fryers have increasingly found their place on a number of home kitchen counters. The cooking appliance uses convection plus high circulation – effectively a small oven with increased airflow – to achieve, ideally, the crispy exterior of deep-fried food without the fat content.

Really, air fryers are just countertop convection ovens with a buzz-worthy name, but the countertop gadget 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 34 things to cook if you’ve got an air fryer, from beginner-friendly recipes to dinners and desserts.

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Best Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners



Spare your stovetop from grease splatter and cook your bacon strips in an air fryer. It’s a super clean (and crispy) way to prepare the breakfast staple, and you won’t even have to turn on your oven.


“Hard-boiled” 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 eggs’ cook time depending on how runny you want your yolks.



Anastasiia Kulikovska

Skip the trip to Ikea and make your meatballs at home. Air-fried meatballs are quick and easy to make and come out nice and juicy.


Pork Chops

Anna Kurzaeva

Even more substantial entrées like pork chops become less intimidating with an air fryer. A bit of seasoning and a quick cook time means you’ll have an impressive dinner in almost no time at all. Just be sure to check the temperature of your pork with a food thermometer before consuming.



Ali Majdfar

Air-fried shrimp? Yes, please. Shrimp are notoriously quick to cook, making them a perfect food to toss in the air fryer for a speedy and delicious protein-packed dish.


“Fried” Pickles


This crowd-pleasing app doesn’t require the use of a deep fryer as long as you’ve got an air fryer sitting on your countertop. The appliance will leave the tangy treats crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Now, where’s the ranch dip?

Best Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes

Brussels Sprouts


The key to making Brussels sprouts 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.


Cauliflower Tots

Costi Moculescu / 500px

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


Bloomin’ Onion


Outback, the non-Australian Australian steakhouse, is probably better known for its deep-fried Bloomin’ Onion than it is for the steak. But you can get the same treat at home, with way fewer calories, by whipping one up in your air fryer.




Not all veggie dishes made in an air fryer have to mimic battered fried foods. You can quickly churn out yummy and healthy side dishes, like always dependable asparagus.




Another healthy veggie dish that’s a breeze in the air fryer (no pun intended) is broccoli, which you can quickly roast to a nice crisp.


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Best Air Fryer Dinner Recipes

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.


Macaroni and Cheese

Costi Moculescu / 500px

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. How easy is that?




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.




Salmon isn’t that difficult to cook, but the air fryer, which circulates hot air around the salmon so it remains moisture, makes it even easier without sacrificing any taste.



Cris Cantón

A classic fried food, these bundles of meat (or alternative fillings) enrobed in dough don’t actually have to be bathed in oil to become crispy and delicious — an air fryer will handle them just fine.


“Fried” Fish


If you’re looking to plate some fish and chips but aren’t interested in having your plate swimming in grease, then crisp up some coated fish filets in the air fryer instead for a healthier dish that’s just as tasty.


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 succulent, medium-rare meat.


“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.




Your air fryer isn’t going to churn out true Neapolitan pizzas in 90 seconds like a dedicated home pizza oven, but it will do at least as good of a job as your oven when it comes to cooking a personal pie.




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




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.




Listen, cooking steak in an air fryer is a last resort if you just really need to have a steak and don’t want to bother with the cast iron or your grill. Try at your risk, and don’t waste your best cuts with this recipe.


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Best Air Fryer Snack Recipes

French Fries

Saurav Pandey Photography

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 one results in an appreciably crisp exterior and fluffy inside without the greasiness.


Roasted 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.


Potato Chips

Ali Majdfar

Homemade potato chips don’t have to be calorie bombs — just swap the oil bath for an air fryer. You’ll still get crispy chips (make sure you slice your potatoes thin), but you’ll end up with a whole lot less fat.


Mozzarella Sticks

Dolores Preciado

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 traditionally fried foods go together like mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.



Simon McGill

Falafel is one of the most underrated foods out there. When fried correctly, they shouldn’t be greasy, but they’re usually deep-fried nonetheless. Air frying retains all the wonderful aspects of falafel without requiring you to be an expert at frying them.


Chicken Wings


Another classic air-fried dish, wings — whether tossed in buffalo sauce or not — come out perfectly crispy and moist when cooked in an air fryer.


Best Air Fryer Dessert Recipes


Rafael Elias

There’s no need to go to Disneyland or your nearest Mexican restaurant when in the mood for a churro — just fire up the air fryer! The donut-like treat is normally deep-fried, but you can whip up a healthier version right on your countertop.



Kevin Trimmer

Like their cousin, the churro, donuts are a deep-fried sweet treat. But they don’t have to be, and your air fryer will make yummy golden donuts that are perfect for breakfast or dessert.



Vrinda Mahesh / 500px

The easy-to-make chocolate dessert is easier than ever when swapping out your oven for your air fryer.


Chocolate Cake


Got a birthday party coming up? Then volunteer to make the cake and wow everyone with a moist and delicious chocolate cake baked right in your air fryer.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cyndi Monaghan

Everybody likes cookies, but you don’t have to heat up your entire kitchen while baking them in the oven. An air fryer does just as good of a job at churning out the ooey gooey treats.


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