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Are you an amateur cook who is ready to take your cooking game to a whole new level? Then it is time to get your hand on an air fryer. Air fryers have become a must-have addition to every kitchen, but what’s the big deal about them?
Well, not only do they cook a deliciously crispy dish within a few minutes, but there is also a wide variety of meals that you can cook in your air fryer. Air-fried meals are not exclusive to pre-frozen foods.
There are plenty of air fryer recipes for making tasty meals from scratch. Here is some inspiration if you wonder what you can cook in an air fryer and what foods you should avoid air frying.
How Does the Air Fryer Work?
Despite its name, the air fryer does not fry food. However, it imitates the cooking process of food being fried by giving the food that outer crispy look and delicious taste.
As a convection oven, the air fryer uses heat to cook food. The electronic appliance has a mechanical fan that circulates hot air at a rapid speed. Hot air circulates the food creating a convection heating effect that cooks the food. However, unlike a convection oven, the air fryer holds the food in a perforated basket, allowing hot air to distribute and cooking the food much faster evenly.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
When air-fried foods come to mind, your first thoughts may be french fries, frozen pizzas, fish sticks, and other easy frozen meals. However, the air fryer can be used to bake, grill, roast, broil, and even oven fry.
Most meals that you can make in the oven can be made in the air fryer. An air fryer recipe will be helpful when deciding what to cook using the air fryer like fried rice, kale chips, and plenty more. Here are just some of the best foods that you can cook in the air fryer.
Air fryer chicken will be a much healthier alternative than deep-fried chicken, but it will still have the same crispy and tasty outer layer. You can use an air fryer for cooking it all from chicken wings, chicken breasts, and chicken drum sticks.
Tip: when air frying chicken, brush a little oil on the outer layer to prevent the chicken from drying out and giving it a little extra crispiness.
If you would like to get your steak incredibly juicy and tasty without the kitchen mess, you need to do is air-fry your steak instead of pan-frying it.
Tip: preheat your air fryer and season your steak well with salt and pepper before cooking it (make sure the seasoning is not dry).
Air frying lamb chops and pork chops will not only taste amazing but the amount of fat will also be reduced as opposed to when these meats are pan-fried.
Tip: do not overcrowd the perforated basket. Make sure that there is enough room between the chops allowing it to cook evenly.
Crispy fish, fish sticks, grill-styled fish, and fish bites can all be cooked in the air fryer.
Tip: for crispy and flakey fish, remove your fish halfway through the cooking process, spray the perforated basket with olive oil, and flip the fish for extra crispiness.
If you are a lover of crispy bacon, then the air fryer will be perfect for you! Air-fried bacon is extra crispy and a much healthier option than pan-frying as it reduces excess fat.
Tip: only add a single layer of bacon to the air fryer to ensure even cooking.
Beef burgers, lamb burgers, chicken burgers, and vegan burgers can all be cooked perfectly in the air fryer.
Tip: add a slice of cheese or vegan cheese alternative (plant-based cheese) on top of the burger patty and pop it back in the air fryer for a minute to get the perfect melted cheeseburger.
If you’re constantly craving egg rolls, then this is a must-try! Air-fried egg rolls are a game-changer. They are extremely crunchy, quick and easy to make, and much healthier than deep frying.
Tip: flip halfway through, then sprinkle a little oil for extra crispiness.
Almost all vegetables can be air fried, even root vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, sweet potato chips, fennel, and beets. As well as other vegetables like brussels sprouts or asparagus can be cooked in the air fryer and bring on a next-level taste that will make you want actually to eat them.
Tip: To make the clean-up process easier, pop in a sheet of aluminum foil at the base of the air fryer to catch any excess liquid.
While potatoes are a root vegetable, they deserve their category because they can be cooked differently. One of the best ways to cook potatoes is in the air fryer; you can make baked potatoes, russet potatoes, and potato chips. These can all be perfectly done if you put in the time and learn how to make the most of your air fryer.
Tip: shake the basket a few times while cooking and add a little oil for crispy potatoes.
Chocolate cake, lemon cake, and even a simple box cake can all be baked in the air fryer. If you’ve ever forgotten about a cake in the oven, then baking it in the air fryer will be perfect for you. All you have to do is pop the cake batter in a cake pan, set the timer, and the air frying will begin. (Yes, it is that easy.)
Tip: spray the cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Can You Cook Anything in the Air Fryer?
While air fryers can make plenty of meals, certain foods should not be made in the air fryer. Here are a few foods that you should avoid cooking in the air fryer.
For example, the cheese will melt and make a sticky mess for you to deal with. Cleaning an air fryer can be hard enough as it is without having to worry about melted cheese.
Another that would be impossible is rice and pasta, or anything submerged in a liquid. The air fryer design doesn’t allow for this kind of cooking, and it cannot heat water to boiling point.
Also, be aware of overfilling the air fryer – the hot air needs to circulate the food to cook it, so if you put too much into the air fryer, it will not cook through.
Can You Reheat Meals in the Air Fryer?
Yes, using the air fryer to warm food is great because it will leave your meal warm, crispy, and not soggy, unlike the microwave, which tends to leave certain food a bit soggy after being reheated.
How Do You Know How Long to Set the Timer For?
Following air fryer recipes is a great idea if you are unsure how long you set your timer. This can be crucial to avoid your food from burning or being very dry.
How Do You Clean the Air Fryer?
Firstly, the air fryers baskets need to be washed after each time it is used. You can either wash it with soap, water, and an adhesive sponge or, if it is dishwasher safe, pop it into the dishwasher.
High Five for Frying!
In conclusion, the air fryer is one of the handiest appliances to add to your kitchen right now. There are plenty of air fryer recipes out there and inventing your recipes. However, there are a few foods that should not be air-fried.
Despite this, the air fryer is a must-have kitchen appliance that you will not regret adding to your kitchen.