Air fryers have become incredibly popular in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do they give food that satisfying crispy texture and golden-brown colour, but they’re also healthier than regular frying because they use little to no oil.
Plus, air fryers are one of the cheapest ways to cook food, create little mess, and are incredibly versatile.
If you’re wondering what you can cook in them, the answer is just about anything! From breakfasts and lunches to dinners, snacks, and even desserts, you can make all kinds of mouthwatering meals and tasty treats in an air fryer.
So, to show you just how useful these appliances can be, here are 12 of the best air fryer recipes.
1. Spinach, red pepper, and goat’s cheese omelette
This wholesome spinach, roasted red pepper, and goat’s cheese omelette is far easier to cook in an air fryer than on the stove – and unlike some stove-top omelettes, it won’t end up with a consistency that’s similar to scrambled eggs!
This recipe uses Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, but you can add whatever you fancy — tomatoes, mushrooms, and caramelised onions all work well.
Just whisk up your egg mix, pour it into a pan, and pop it into an air fryer basket for six minutes. The omelette will set on top first, so if it’s still a bit runny at the bottom after the time’s up, you can put it back in the fryer for another minute or so.
Head over to Delish to make this spinach, roasted red pepper, and goat’s cheese omelette.
2. Baked potatoes
Baked potatoes might be simple, but they’re tasty, filling, and comforting. So next time you get a hankering for a baked potato, why not try making it in an air fryer?
The high fan speed and intense heat guarantees perfect baked potatoes – soft and fluffy on the inside, and wonderfully crisp on the outside.
Just prepare the potatoes as you would for baking – scrub, prick, drizzle, and season – then place them in your preheated fryer. Make sure there’s at least an inch of space between each potato so that the skin can crisp up, then cook for around 40 minutes.
While this recipe isn’t much faster than oven baking, some say it’s undeniably better. Try it to find out! To make air fryer baked potatoes, why not use this recipe from The Kitchn?
3. Air fryer chocolate brownies
There are few people in the world who aren’t tempted by the allure of a freshly baked brownie. Warm, fudgy, and soft, homemade brownies are a sumptuous treat.
If you only want to bake a few brownies to satisfy a craving, it can seem wasteful to crank the oven heat up. Equally, if you have a big batch of leftover brownies, it can be difficult to stop going back for more!
So why not make a small batch of air fryer brownies instead? Not only are they quick and easy to whip up, but you can make just enough for one or two people.
Chocolate brownies can be ready in under half an hour in the air fryer, and you can make them in a standard-size pan or two mini pans, depending on the size of your air fryer.
To make air fryer brownies, try this recipe from Cook It Real Good.
4. Air fried salmon
Many of the most popular air fryer dinner recipes revolve around salmon because it cooks so quickly and beautifully.
Due to the circulating heat, salmon fillets end up firm and crisp on the outside and juicy and flaky on the inside – and you’ll probably find that they’re more flavoursome too.
To give the flavour an even bigger boost, you might like to make a spice rub for your salmon before you pop it in the fryer.
Once you’ve seasoned the fish, drizzle with a little olive oil to protect the spices from the heat (and to help the salmon crisp up), then place the fillets in your fryer and cook for around seven minutes. When it’s done, the fish will be lightly browned and moist inside.
To make air fryer salmon, why not try this recipe from The Kitchn?
5. Focaccia pizza
If you enjoy baking bread (or if you just like eating it!), you might like to have a go at making air fryer bread. Focaccia comes out really well in an air fryer and is simple to make – but why not add a twist and make a focaccia pizza?
This dish is great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or as a snack, and is also perfect for impressing guests!
While the pillowy pockets of bread can have a mouthwatering effect by themselves, smothering them with a fragrant garlicky tomato sauce, fresh herbs, and soft cheese will take things to the next level.
Cooking in an air fryer also means the base will always crisp up beautifully and have a similar texture to a deep-pan pizza. Super easy and absolutely delicious!
To make focaccia pizza, you could give this recipe by J Cooking Odyssey a go.
6. Crispy fried brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts might be divisive, but if you’re a fan, you’ll know just how tasty these veggies can be when they’re roasted or fried to perfection.
For those who love crispy, flaky sprouts, just wait until you’ve cooked them in an air fryer! The circulating hot air means each sprout will have the same access to heat, so you won’t end up with any sad, soggy veggies.
Just make sure you keep your sprouts in a single layer if you want them to crisp up equally and give the basket a shake halfway through. Not only will you get sprouts that are beautifully crisp, but you’ll also do it with far less oil. Win-win!
If you’d like to impress your guests at Christmas – or you just love sprouts and want to tuck into a bowl today – try this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
Doughnuts are another sweet treat that really benefit from being cooked in an air fryer.
Tastier than baked doughnuts and healthier than deep-fried doughnuts, air fryer doughnuts are soft on the outside with a fluffy centre. Made with proper yeast dough – just like deep-fried doughnuts – these baked delights are the real deal.
To make sure the doughnuts stay luxuriously soft and taste authentic, you can coat them in a sugary glaze. By adding flavours like maple syrup, chocolate, or cinnamon to the glaze, you can adjust the recipe to your own personal preferences.
To make air fryer doughnuts, you might like to try this recipe from Plated Cravings.
8. Chicken breast
If you eat a lot of chicken breast, why not try cooking it in an air fryer?
Chicken breast can sometimes be a bit rubbery, bland, and dry – but adding it to your air fryer is a great way to make sure it stays juicy and deliciously seasoned. You’ll end up with a tender chicken breast ideal for salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more.
Because chicken is a lean meat, it’s best when cooked at high temperatures for shorter amounts of time – and this is why it comes out so well in an air fryer.
Brining the chicken for 30 minutes before cooking gives this recipe another boost. Then just coat with spices, add a dash of olive oil, and cook on one side for six minutes before flipping and cooking for a further two minutes.
To make air fryer chicken breast, why not give this recipe by Well Plated a go?
9. Crispy fried tofu
Tofu comes in many forms and is very versatile. Due to its mild taste and absorbent texture, you can make tofu taste like just about anything, and one of the best ways to cook it is in an air fryer. Crispy, crunchy, and satisfying, fried tofu can be seriously moreish.
To get wonderfully crisp, golden brown tofu, you’ll need to marinade the tofu first. You can use whatever flavours and condiments you like, but this recipe uses an irresistible combination of soy marinade and spicy chilli sauce mix.
Just dredge the marinated tofu in cornstarch, air fry for around 15 minutes, and then toss in the sauce. The recipe is foolproof and the flavour options are endless!
To make crispy air fryer tofu, check out this recipe by Delish.
10. Birthday cake
If you think you can’t make a birthday cake in an air fryer, think again!
While the idea of baking a cake in an air fryer may seem a little strange, the results will speak for themselves. Air fryer cakes are light, moist, and mouthwateringly delicious – and at a time when the cost of living is rising exponentially, not having to use the oven is another plus.
This recipe is for a vanilla cake topped with pink buttercream frosting, but you can make the cake mix and frosting to your own preferences. Once you’ve made your batter, pour it into a pan, place it in the air fryer, and cook.
How long you need to cook it for will depend on your fryer, but you can check it after 25 minutes by sticking a toothpick in to see if it comes out clean.
To make an air fryer birthday cake, try this recipe by Emma Fontanella.
11. Courgette and corn fritters
If you’re on the lookout for a healthy, savoury snack, why not try making courgette and corn fritters?
Made using only five or six ingredients, fritters are quick and easy to make and delicious dipped in tahini-style sauce – or served with veggies and rice. Plus, because this recipe uses chickpea flour instead of eggs, it’s vegan too.
After you’ve grated the courgette, mix it with corn, potato, garlic, and seasoning. You can add fresh herbs for extra flavour too. Then, shape them into patties, lightly brush with oil, and pop them in your air fryer. Cook for around seven minutes, then flip and cook for a further three minutes.
Just as tempting when eaten hot or cold, these courgette and corn fritters are a must-try. To make some, try this recipe from Watch What U Eat.
Falafel is one of the most popular and moreish Middle Eastern foods around. Fluffy mashed chickpeas or broad beans are encased in crispy-fried shells, and flavoured with garlic and lots of herbs.
But while falafel ingredients themselves are healthy, they’re usually deep-fried, and baked falafel doesn’t taste quite the same – which is where air-fried falafel comes in!
Once you’ve shaped your falafel mix into balls or patties, simply pop them in your air-fryer. Instead of deep-frying, you only need to give them a light spritz of cooking oil. Then, after cooking for around 14 minutes, you’ll end up with a batch of beautiful, golden brown falafels. They’re perfect paired with hummus in a pitta, wrap, or salad.
To make air fryer falafel, why not try this recipe from SkinnyTaste?
While some kitchen appliances may seem like fads, air fryers aren’t one of them. As this article shows, you can cook all manner of meals using these valuable gadgets.
With an air fryer, it’s never been easier to bake a batch of delectable sweet treats or to make sure meat and fish are juicy and tender – and they work just as well on veggie dishes too, from baked potatoes to falafel and tofu.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, using an air fryer means you can slash your oil consumption without having to give up those delightfully crispy dishes we all love to enjoy now and then.
If you’re interested in buying an air fryer and trying out some of these recipes, you might like to check out our article, 13 best air fryers 2023, or browse the food and drink section of Rest Less Events. There’s an upcoming series of four exciting sessions on cooking with your air fryer across November which you may like to join to learn more.
Have you cooked with an air fryer before? Or are you tempted to buy one? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!