It’s no secret that air fryers are making waves in the kitchen appliance industry. It is claimed that this method of frying foods is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food. Many households have become reliant on these time-saving miracle workers.
Air fryers circulate hot air to cook food, producing crispy results in a fraction of the time and without the oil used in deep-frying. Air fryers can be used to cook (and bake) all kinds of things, including fries, cakes, desserts, roast chicken, and steak. Some foods, however, should be cooked more traditionally.
To help you avoid cooking failures, we talk about foods you can cook in an air fryer and those best left in the oven or deep fryer. So just keep reading about what foods you can cook in an air fryer.
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Which Foods Are Best to Air Fry?
Here are the best foods to cook in your air fryer.
Whether you or your guests are serving tasty appetizers, frying up a side of fries for dinner, or humming for late-night snacks, air fryers are the ideal way to cook frozen foods that you would normally cook in a convection oven. You can achieve crispiness and flavor using the hot air circulation in the unit without adding any extra fat. Afterward, it’s a simple cleanup job.
A frozen meal may take a different time to cook, but the majority should be ready within 10 minutes. When preheated properly, frozen foods cook in just 6 minutes, halving the cooking time!
You can use an air fryer for various purposes, including cooking frozen food when time is short. It’s also possible to cook chicken goujons or tenders from frozen, taking around 8-12 minutes at around 400°F to crisp up nicely. They should be placed in a single layer in the basket; cook for about 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Adding garlic to any dish instantly makes it a pantry staple. An air fryer is how you can enjoy its flavor sustainably and cost-effectively. With an air fryer, you can air fry garlic bulbs much more efficiently than using an entire oven for a small amount of food.
Desserts & Baked Goods
You can make cookies, cupcakes, and desserts like brownies, doughnuts, and cheesecakes. You may need to cook certain baked goods in multiple batches because an air fryer has a limited capacity. Ensure that the recipe you use is designed for air fryers. When baking desserts, it’s a good idea to use a baking dish, so you don’t end up with a sticky, gooey mess.
Meats and Proteins That Are Raw
You can also find air fryers with accessories such as grill pans and baking cages for cooking proteins and meats. Raw meat or protein can be air fried for about 10 minutes. The duration will depend on the thickness and the desired degree of doneness you prefer. Breakfast meals like bacon, sausage, and eggs are ready in 8 to 10 minutes, making them a convenient way to start the day.
Air fryers deliver juicier results than ovens or cooktops when preparing raw chicken. A roast or a whole chicken should be avoided, however. You may end up with a half-cooked chicken if you cook your chicken whole.
You can crisp a veggie-based dish or a side of veggies with the air fryer. The machine can roast some vegetables that can be grilled or fried. You can grill a wide range of vegetables on the machine, along with tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, broccoli, corn, brussels sprouts, zucchini, and peppers.
Air Fryer French Fries
The benefits of air fryers include the ability to enjoy ‘guilty pleasures’ without consuming excessive fat. Air fryers make delicious, crispy french fries that require less oil than deep-fat frying. To make large quantities, layer them in an air fryer basket after cutting them all to similar sizes. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway. You can see how the cooking process progresses when you pull out the air fryer basket.
Looking for a healthier alternative? To add flavor, you can also use sweet potatoes as a substitute and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and paprika. Sweet potato fries are a healthy and delicious snack.
Warming up Food
When you reheat leftovers from last night’s dinner, do you find that they are mushy, overcooked, difficult to eat, or not crispy enough? Depending on the food, reheating can take the same time and yield results that aren’t as good as the original. Certain leftover foods can be made palatable in the air fryer in minutes, preventing waste. There are leftover pizzas, chicken, steak, french fries, and more that taste better when you air fry them. When reheating, most food is best warmed in a single layer to ensure it warms evenly.
Roast potatoes are one of the most mouthwatering foods in the world. The potatoes should be parboiled first, drained, and dried. After that, fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper, and air fry using duck fat. Cook at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, shaking and turning occasionally.
Air Fryers Cannot Cook the Following Items
Liquid-Coated or Battered Foods
If you don’t want to damage your air fryer, avoid cooking foods with wet batters. The bottom of your air fryer will become covered with batter as it drips off the food.
Pasta and Rice
Air fryers are primarily used for frying, which means that foods that require a lot of liquid to absorb should not be cooked in them. If you can, boil water or buy a rice cooker instead of using the fryer. Multi-cookers that can cook rice and air fry are also an alternative.
Cheese Fresh From the Farm
When baking something with fresh cheese, we recommend you avoid using your air fryer for this, except for frozen sticks surrounded by a crust. There is a possibility that fresh cheese will cause a mess in your air fryer that you don’t want to have to clean up later.
Air fryers can crisp grains like rice and pasta, but you must cook them on the stove first. Dry cooking is the purpose of air fryers, which means that cooking anything that requires water will not work. No matter how much water you put in the insert, you cannot cook grains properly in an air fryer. This is because the fan cannot get the water to a boiling point.
Red meat isn’t suited to air fryers, particularly medium-rare meats. The meat inside can quickly be cooked to medium-rare with an air fryer. However, it will take longer for the outside to become golden brown. When it comes to juicy and red meat, air fryers don’t produce enough char as a balance. However, air fryers work just fine for well-done burgers.
Air Fryer Cooking Tips
A kitchen spray bottle is an excellent investment. In comparison to drizzling or brushing, spraying oil is easier and requires less oil. While oil sprays are available in cans, air fryer baskets have nonstick surfaces that can be damaged by aerosol agents in those cans. Hence, purchase an air-powered kitchen spray bottle if you wish to spray food directly into the basket.
Before adding food to your air fryer, preheat it. The process is simple – set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes. Air fryers are ready to cook food once the timer goes off.
Using a foil sling will help you move the food. Air fryer baskets can be tricky to load and unload with accessory pieces. Make a 2-inch wide by 24-inch long strip of aluminum foil by folding it in half. You can lift and lower a cake pan or baking dish into the air fryer basket when you place them on the foil. Upon removing the pan, lift it out of the air fryer basket by holding onto the ends of the aluminum foil.
Make Sure It’s Not Overfilled
Even though they may seem large on the outside, air fryers tend to be quite small on the inside. It’s important to know what the cooking capacity is. Otherwise, you won’t be able to cook properly. Cooking for more than two or three people requires a larger, family-sized model. When cooking food such as chicken, it’s important to place it in a single layer to ensure it’s evenly cooked.
Thermometers Should Be Used When Cooking Meat
Since browned food can reach an appropriate internal temperature before it browns on the outside, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. This is important as frozen meat will take longer to reach a safe temperature.
According to bacon lovers, air frying bacon is the best to cook since it comes out crispy, perfectly done, and has a lower fat content than grilled or pan-fried bacon.
Due to this, air-frying is ideal for cooking fruit, such as bananas, which are very easy to caramelize if placed in the air fryer whole or sliced and lightly brushed with butter or oil.