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Even if you haven’t taken the plunge and gotten yourself an air fryer, I’m guessing you’ve heard plenty about the convenient countertop appliance. I mean, it can mimic the effects of deep-frying with way less oil (and way less mess)—that’s pretty hard to compete with. Unsurprisingly, the possibilities for foods you can make in an air fryer are almost endless. It’s great for fries, obviously, but it’s also great for unexpected things like pie and corn on the cob. In other words, the number of air fryer recipes out there is pretty much endless.
OK, but like, what is it? Air fryers are cleverly designed to use a mixture of oil and air to “fry” food, but you can also just use an air fryer as a mini oven, setting it to a certain temperature and let it do its thing. If you’re looking to buy one, I can vouch for the Philips Avance XXL Twin Turbostar Airfryer ($300 at Amazon) being the absolute best option. Plus, with a four-quart basket capacity, it’s bigger than some of the others on the market. For a less expensive option, the Krups Air Fryer ($90 at Amazon) is also solid and has a 2.5-quart basket capacity, which is plenty for most things.
So, OK, now you have an air fryer, or at least have one coming in the mail. What to make? Like I said, the possibilities are many, but certain foods lend themselves especially well to the air-fry cooking method. Anything that you’d deep-fry is a good candidate for air-frying, but you can also make traditionally roasted dishes—or even baked ones. Here are 21 easy, delicious air fryer recipes to try, ASAP.
Baked Garlic-Parsley Potatoes
These classic “baked” potatoes take 40 minutes in the air fryer and have extra-crackly skin.
Jen’s Air-Fryer Donuts
These sugar-coated air fryer doughnuts are as good as anything you’d get at a bakery—but have the advantage of being fresh from the fryer.
All you need for these kid-friendly (and adult-friendly) air fryer chicken tenders is chicken, panko and an egg. Make things a little more interesting by adding a spice, like paprika or even taco seasoning, and be sure to salt your tenders when they come out of the fryer.
Whole30 Lemon Pepper Chicken
If you’re braving the Whole30 and can’t eat panko-crusted chicken tenders, this breadless air fryer recipe makes a great substitute.
Perfect Onion Rings
The best onion rings are made with thick slices of onion dipped in batter, not breading. These are exactly that. You’ll need to bake the rings before you air-fry them, but the two-step process is worth it.
Crunchy Parmesan Chickpeas
Crispy chickpeas are a great snack—they’re tasty, but they also have tons of protein and fiber, both of which will help keep you full until your next meal. Add parmesan to the mix, and you’ve got a total win.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts
If you’ve ever had perfectly crispy, bitter Brussels sprouts at a restaurant, I’ve got news for you: Those things have definitely been deep-fried. The air fryer makes a similar kind of sprout, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich
People say it’s the best fast-food chicken sandwich around, so it’s definitely worth trying this simple copycat recipe in the air fryer.
Parmesan-Dill Fried Pickle Chips
If you’ve never tried fried pickles, the time is definitely now.
Fried pizza—um, what? Turns out, yes, you can absolutely make pizza in the air fryer. At 325 degrees without oil, the air fryer is similar to an oven, and the pizza will cook evenly and perfectly.
Mexican Street Corn
Sweet, juicy corn topped with herbs, cheese and seasoning makes the perfect side, whether you’re cooking for a crowd, or just for one.
Forget those stale-looking things on the hot rollers at 7-Eleven, these DIY air fryer taquitos are guaranteed to be fresh every time.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
The best thing about sweet potatoes is that they’re perfect for any meal, and can skew sweet or savory. Make a big batch, then reheat the leftovers as a base for breakfasts, lunches or dinners.
Just like your air fryer will work as a pizza oven, it can also be used to bake pies.
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
You can make several of these lava cakes at once, in little ramekins placed inside your air fryer. That’s great news for your next dinner party.
Churro Donut Holes
Are air fryer chonuts going to be the next cronuts? Probably not, but they definitely deserve a spot in your rotation.
Crispy Roasted Broccoli
Coated with a batter of chickpea flour, yogurt and spices, these crispy air fryer broccoli bites make a delicious and unexpected side dish, but also work as a snack.
If you love avocados straight up, you’ll absolutely love them air-fried with dipping sauce.
French fries in an air fryer is a no-brainer, but this list wouldn’t be complete without them. This recipe is simple and satisfying.
This air fryer omelette is easy, cheesy and perfect for any time of day.
Tasty beef filling and tender savory dough set these air fryer empanadas apart. They’re perfect comfort food and not too hard to make.
A version of this story was originally published in August 2018.