Cutting down on fried food and other types of unhealthy food isn’t a new way to shed a couple pounds and a couple of inches off your waits. Meanwhile, it’s become a new trend in the food world lately to air fry food instead of bathing it in a vat of very hot cooking oil. Air frying still gives you that crispy crust and flaky center that makes fried food so enjoyable, but you cut down on the unnecessary fat by a whole lot. If you want to learn more, here are a couple of delicious recipes you can make using your air fryer.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
But before all of that, you may be wondering how something as simple as air can transform bland food into a dish that’s golden brown, crispy, and delicious. The secret is in how the air fryer heats up the air inside to a whopping 400º F and circulates it around whatever it is you’re cooking. Making the air around the food this hot completely eliminates the need for added fats such as oil and butter. Although mainly used for frying, some recipes have also used air fryers to sauté, bake, and even grill.
No list of fryer recipes is complete without a how-to on fried chicken. For this recipe, you’ll need to preheat your air fryer to 375º F. It would also be a good idea to coat the basket of your air fryer with some cooking spray to prevent the chicken from sticking to the sides and bottom. In a bowl, beat one large egg and dip your chicken pieces in it. In a separate bowl, dip your egg-coated chicken in a mixture of sage, cumin, paprika, garlic salt, freshly ground pepper, minced parsley, and crushed Ritz crackers.
It usually takes around 10 minutes to cook a batch of chicken on each side. After that time, flip the chicken and reapply a small amount of cooking spray. If you cut the chicken up into smaller pieces, it would take more time to cook. This may require a bit of trial and error on your end, but you should always make sure never to leave what you’re cooking unattended for too long. You’re looking for a golden brown color once the chicken is cooked. Another tip would be to avoid overcrowding the air fryer’s basket for even cooking.
Southern Style Catfish and Green Beans
Fish is another protein that’s usually cooked by frying. Instead of letting your fish swim in cooking oil, you can use an air fryer to make it a lot healthier. If you like southern comfort food, you’ll be happy to know that you can make classic fried catfish and green beans using this handy kitchen gadget. To start, take your catfish fillets and dip them in flour. Shake off the excess. Afterwards, dip the fillets and egg, then toss them in some panko breadcrumbs. Cook these at 400º F until golden and cooked through. Season while hot with salt and pepper.
For the green beans, just coat them with some cooking spray. Then season them with a bit of salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Cook them in the air fryer for 12 minutes at 400º F. While the fish and green beans are cooking, you can make tartar sauce by mixing together two tablespoons of mayonnaise, one and a half teaspoons of chopped dill, three-fourths of a teaspoon of relish, half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sugar.
Coconut shrimp is also a favorite among those who use air fryers. To make them, take three bowls and fill the first one with half a cup of all-purpose flour as well as one and a half teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. In the second, beat two large eggs. In the third bowl, combine two-thirds of a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes and a third of a cup of panko bread crumbs. Hold your peeled and deveined shrimp by the tail and dip them into each bowl. Use one hand to work on the shrimp that’s been in the egg. Keep your other hand dry.
You can cook around a dozen shrimp per batch. However, this amount may be bigger or smaller depending on the size of your air fryer’s basket. Just make sure to coat them with some cooking spray first to prevent them from sticking to one another. Set the temperature to 400º F. After some preheating, cook the shrimp for six to eight minutes until they’re golden brown. Turn the shrimp over halfway through to cook them evenly on both sides. Season the shrimp with salt while they’re still hot. Make a sauce with a quarter cup of honey, a quarter cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, and one thinly sliced serrano chili. Top with chopped cilantro if desired.
If you really want to go the healthy route, you can make crispy toasted sesame tofu in your air fryer. To get maximum crispiness, start by draining it then patting it dry to remove the excess moisture. It would also help to cook it in relatively small batches, so the pieces of tofu will cook and crisp up evenly. Once you’ve removed as much moisture as you can, place the cut-up tofu in a single layer at the bottom of the air fryer’s basket. Cook at 375º F for 15 minutes until golden. Flip and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
To make a simple sauce to go with the tofu, combine two tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of honey, a table spoon of toasted sesame oil, and a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar. For consistency in the sauce, mix in half a teaspoon of cornstarch and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. This will take around two to three minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat once the desired thickness is reached. Toss the tofu in the sauce and serve on top of some rice. Finish with thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
For a bit of nostalgia, you can make deep-fried pickles in your air fryer. This all-time favorite carnival fare only needs a few ingredients and takes less than an hour to prepare. All you need to make it is a few slices of your favorite dill pickles. Take 15 minutes to allow these to sit on a dry paper towel to remove excess moisture. Coat the pickle slices in a mixture of half a cup of all-purpose flour and half a teaspoon of salt. Shake off excess flour, then dip them in a mixture of three large beaten eggs, two tablespoons of the pickling liquid, and a half teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Finally, coat them in panko.
Preheat your air fryer to 425º F. Once it’s up to temperature, coat both the pickles and the frying basket with cooking spray. Place the pickles in a single layer at the bottom of the basket and don’t let them overlap for more crispiness and even cooking. After seven to ten minutes, flip the pickles to cook the other side. Spray them again, if need be. After cooking for another seven to ten minutes, serve immediately. A perfect accompaniment to this would be some ranch dressing.
Sweet Potato Fries
Another delicious snack you can make in the air fryer is sweet potato fries. To make them, you need to coat quarter-inch-thick strips of sweet potato in a mixture of a quarter teaspoon each of salt and garlic powder, one tablespoon of olive oil, and one teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. Spray down the air fryer’s basket so the fries won’t stick. Place them in a single layer and cook them at 400º F until they start to brown on the outside, but are still soft on the inside. This will take about 14 minutes. You’ll need to flip them over halfway through.
You can also make some scrumptious onion rings using an air fryer. Begin by combining half a cup of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. In a separate bowl, beat a large egg and add a tablespoon of water. In another bowl, mix a cup of panko bread crumbs and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Dip your onion rings in each bowl, shaking off the excess each time. If you can, only use one hand to work with the onion that’s been in the egg. Keep your other hand dry to avoid mixing egg into the bowls.
Cook the onion rings in batches at 375º F for 10 minutes, turning them halfway through or until they’re golden brown. Cover the cooked rings with some foil to keep them warm and to retain their crispiness as you fry the next batch. While cooking, you can make a quick sauce by combining two tablespoons of mayonnaise, a quarter cup of Greek yogurt, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of ketchup, and a quarter teaspoon each of paprika and garlic powder. Serve the hot onion rings with sauce on the side.
If you have more of a sweet tooth, another classic recipe you can make in your air fryer is donuts. To make these sweet treats, you need to stir warm water and half a teaspoon of granulated sugar with a teaspoon of dry active yeast to activate it. Once the mixture begins to foam, add two cups of all-purpose flour, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt. In a lightly greased bowl, combine that mixture with a quarter cup of room temperature whole milk, two tablespoons of melted unsalted butter, and a beaten egg.
Take the dough and roll it out until it’s a quarter-inch thick. This recipe yields eight donuts, but you can play with the ratios if you want to make more or less. Use a three-inch round cutter to cut out the donuts themselves and a one-inch round cutter to remove the centers. Don’t throw these out though, as you can just as easily toss them in the air fryer to make donut holes. Cover the cut-outs loosely with some plastic wrap to allow them to rise. Cook a couple of donuts at a time at 350º F until they’re golden. This takes around four to five minutes. To make a glaze, combine a cup of powdered sugar and warm water. Dip your donuts in this and let them set.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Believe it or not, you can actually make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies using your air fryer. Start by preheating your air fryer to 350º F and lining the bottom with some foil. Meanwhile, cream together a cup of softened unsalted butter together with three-fourths a cup each of white and packed brown sugar. Once that’s done, add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two large whole eggs. Afterwards, carefully add one and a half cups each of all-purpose flour and oats, a package of vanilla pudding mix, and a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt.
Next, add in a cup of chopped nuts as well as two cups of semisweet chocolate chips. Form the dough into balls – a tablespoon each is the recommended amount per cookie – then flatten them just a bit. Place these flattened cookie rounds two inches apart from each other in the air fryer’s basket and let them cook for eight to 10 minutes. You’ll know they’re done if they’re just lightly browned on the top and on the edges. Once done, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool before eating.
Cinnamon Sugar Churros
Another simple dessert you can make in an air fryer is churros. To make them, bring half a cup of water, a quarter cup of water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Turn down the heat, then add half a cup of all-purpose flour. Stir continuously for two to three minutes to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a bowl then let it cool. Afterwards, add two large eggs one at a time to avoid scrambling them. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a piping bag with a star-shaped tip. Put the piping bag in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Then pipe out three-inch long pieces in your air fryer’s basket. Make sure to coat with cooking spray to avoid sticking. Cook the churros at 380º F until they’re golden brown – around 10 minutes. Next, brush the churros with melted butter and coat them in a mixture of two teaspoons of ground cinnamon and a third of a cup of granulated sugar. You can also make a chocolate sauce by microwaving finely chopped chocolate for 15-second intervals. Stir the chocolate after each interval. Add some kefir lime to give it a bit of a different flavor profile than just a plain chocolate sauce.
Whether you’ve just bought an air fryer or you’ve been using one for some time, these recipes are sure to please. You can make them as a main course, as a snack, and even as a dessert.
- Are Air Fryers Actually Healthy Or Am I Kidding Myself? – Women’s Health
- Can You Really Cook Decent Hot Chips In An ‘Air Fryer’? – HuffPost