The air fryer is the most innovative kitchen appliance since the electronic pressure cooker became all the rage a few years ago. And, why wouldn't the air fryer be the next must-have kitchen appliance? After all, the air fryer claims that it can fry food without the fat. That piques the interest of any fan of fried food looking for a healthier way to cook it. But, ultimately, before most people purchase an air fire of their own, they want to know what they can cook in an air fryer. This article will answer that as well as provide a brief introduction to how an air fryer works.
What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer?
An air fryer is essentially a countertop convection oven that is amped up in the power department. A convection oven uses air movement over the food to be cooked in order to speed the cooking process. With an air fryer, there is a heating mechanism in the top of the unit as well as a fan. The fan pushes the hot air into the fryer-like basket. The rapid circulation of the heated air can make the food crisp as in a deep fryer but without the fat.
As its name suggests, most fried foods can be made in an air fryer. And, that is not the only thing you can make in your fryer. As it works like a convection oven, you can almost use it as you would a normal oven, albeit a much smaller one. There are inserts that can even allow for the baking of a cake in an air fryer. On the other hand, due to the fan blowing hot air over the food, there are some fried foods, such as liquid battered fish that will not cook well in an air fryer.
Tips On How To Use An Air Fryer
Before we get to our list detailing answering the question of what can you cook in an air fryer, we want to offer some tips to make your air flying experience work more smoothly. An air fryer is an innovative machine, but it is also relatively new to the market, so most people, even those who already own an air fryer, might miss out on using their air fryer to its fullest potential.
Shake The Air Fryer Basket
An air fryer uses a basket and oftentimes small bits of food, such as French fries or fried pickles, can become compressed at the bottom of the basket. Because of this, giving the basket a shake every 5 to 10 minutes as you cook with the air fryer can help to rotate the food and make sure that none of your French fries gets smashed at the bottom of your air fryer.
Don't Overcrowd The Air Fryer Basket
The air fryer uses air circulation as it cooks your food. It is vital that you not overcrowd the air fryer's basket. This will inhibit the cooking, as the air will have more difficulty moving around the food. This is the most frustrating of the tips, as the friar is not a huge machine. If you are entertaining, use the air fryer to cook in batches and then place the finished food in an oven set to low to keep it warm before you serve it.
Keep Your Food Dry Before It Is Put In The Air Fryer
The air fryer's use of a fan to circulate the air inside it means that it will blow any liquids off of the food placed in the air fryer. For high-fat foods, such as chicken wings, the air fryer has a grease trap at the bottom that must be periodically cleaned. If there is too much liquid on the food, that liquid will end up in the grease trap and could create smoke that not only stinks up the kitchen, but it adds that burned flavor to the food. If you are putting marinated food into the air fryer, wipe out any excess moisture before you do.
Spray Your Food With Oil Before You Put It In The Air Fryer
The air fryer can create fried foods without the use of a deep-fat fryer. Adding a small amount of fat, however, will aid in the crispiness of the food you put in the air fryer. It will also help to ensure that they do not stick to the fryer basket. Use a cooking spray or an oil spritzer to give the food a minimal coat of oil. Brushing oil or butter can also work, but it will increase the amount of oil used.
Our List Answering “What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer?”
In creating our list of what can you cook in an air fryer, we included some standard fried favorites as well as a couple of surprising entries to truly show the versatility of the air fryer for other cooking methods outside of what is traditionally considered fried food.
Everyone loves a good French fry, but the only way for most home cooks to get that true French fry flavor is to deep-fry them, at least until the air fryer came onto the market. No list answering what can you cook in an air frier would be complete without french fries. Not only are they a staple of most air fryer owners, but they are also remarkably easy to make in one. Simply cut your potatoes into fries, soak in water for 30 minutes, rinse them well (remember that the air frier does not like liquid), toss in a little oil and cook in the air fryer.
When you make Air Fried french fries, you can also substitute sweet potatoes or even go for other types of vegetable fries. For sweet potatoes, there is no needed change, but for other vegetables, use a breading method as you would for chicken. The air fryer has a hard time with liquid batterers, but not with breading.
Air Fried Chicken Tenders
After french fries, when most people wonder what can you cook in an air fryer, crispy fried chicken tenders are second on the list, and the air fryer can handle them just as well as French fries. The best method to produce crispy air fried chicken tenders is to use a method of breading. One of the favorite types of breading for the air fryer is Panko breadcrumbs.
The breading is done in two steps. First, dip the chicken tenders into a bowl of beaten eggs and then coat with the Panko before adding them to your air fryer. The Panko can be whisked together with seasonings as you desire to create many possible different flavors. For Italian flavored air fried chicken tenders, add some parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to the Panko mixture. If you want a more Cajun flavor, add Cajun seasoning and paprika.
Juicy Bacon Cheeseburger
This might seem like an odd addition to a list answering what can you cook in an air fryer, but remember the air fryer is not just about frying. To make an air fried hamburger patty, make your patty as you would any other hamburger and add it to a preheated air fryer at 370 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping it halfway. An air fried hamburger will crisp up as if you cooked it on a griddle or grill.
Don't forget about the bacon, either. Simply add strips of bacon to the air fryer and cook for five minutes to crisp them up. For an extra special bacon treat, crumble brown sugar on top of the bacon before cooking it to add a glaze. Maple syrup can be substituted here to add a maple flavor to your bacon. Due to the grease in the bacon, adding a small amount of water to the bottom of the air fryer can help with smoking and grease splatter.
Crispy Air Fried Hot Dogs
Not only can you cook hotdogs in an air fryer, but outside the microwave, it is likely the fastest way to cook them and unlike microwave hot dogs, air fried hot dogs crisp up as if you cooked them on the grill but without all the hassle. It only takes 5 minutes to cook the perfect hot dog in the air fryer.
Whether you are entertaining and need to make a lot of chicken wings or just have a hankering for a couple while you watch the game, the air fryer can make restaurant level air fried chicken wings easily. Remember not to crowd the basket when making chicken wings in your air fryer. If you are making them to entertain, you will need to keep them warm while you finish cooking the rest. Afterward, simply toss them in your favorite wing sauce and enjoy.
Our list that answers the question of what can you cook in an air fryer only scratched the surface of what these wonderful machines can do in the kitchen. For most people, cooking their own French fries and crispy chicken tenders at home and without all that deep-fried fat will take up most of their air frying time. Don't let the name fool you though, explore the variety of possibilities that you can cook in your air fryer.