Air frying isn’t rocket science. But it is culinary magic! Easily add a crispy exterior and browning to your favorite veggies, french fries, egg rolls and fish – all without turning the oven on. These delicious air fryer recipes will save you time – and easily level up your cooking game.
Aside from my rice cooker, the kitchen appliance I turn to most often these days has gotta be my air fryer.
Because whether I’m making a batch of vegetable egg rolls, a side of vegetables or a delicate fish dish, the air fryer absolutely nails crispy texture and browning without breaking a sweat.
What is an Air Fryer? And How Does an Air Fryer Work?
Air fryers use a fan to circulate hot air around your food at a high rate of speed. This allows you to use very little cooking oil and still get the browning you’d expect from deep frying – minus a lot of the added fat.
Most models have a cooking basket set inside a drip tray. A heating element is at the top – and a fan circulates heated air around the cooking basket.
What Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
You can adapt most of your favorite recipes to be made in an air fryer. Common air fryer meals include:
- Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, French fries, chips and sweet potato fries.
- Veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers and shishito peppers.
- Chicken wings, chicken breast, chicken tenders – and meats like air fryer steak and even bacon.
- Seafood like breaded or coconut shrimp and crab cakes. Btw, crispy air fryer fish tacos are the best!
- Your favorite snack foods, appetizers and desserts. Air fryer donuts anyone?
- Basically, if you can make it in a convection oven, or fry it in a pan, you can probably air fry it too.
So here are a few of the best air fryer recipes. And don’t worry if you’re a beginner! These air fryer meals are super easy to make.
Air Fryer Asparagus With Spicy Chili Crisp
Want to see asparagus in a new light? Air fry it! You’ll only need seven minutes to transport this veggie from raw to perfectly charred and tender. Roasting vegetables in the oven may give you the same result – but I like any excuse to avoid cranking the oven on (especially when it’s hot outside). For the best results, use a bit of olive oil to coat the asparagus spears prior to cooking – or at least use cooking spray in the cooking basket so they don’t stick. And you can make a spicy, smoky, nutty and savory sauce with just two ingredients: chili crisp and soy sauce. Or, if that isn’t your thing, try lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan. Your choice!
Ginger Garlic Air Fryer Salmon
The secret to these delicious salmon fillets is the marinade. I use soy sauce and mirin – along with minced garlic and ginger. The ginger in particular delivers a zingy slow burn, without actually being overtly spicy. After a short stint in the air fryer, the outside is practically crispy, while the interior of the fish remains moist and delicate. If you like to leave the skin on (like me), place the skin side down in the cooking basket of your air fryer. And if you’re a salmon aficionado, this honey sriracha salmon recipe would be great in the air fryer as well.
The Best Air Fryer French Fries
Would any chronical of air fryer recipes dare skip the fries? Probably not. That’s mainly because French fries showcase the prowess of the air fryer. You get the best crispy texture on the outside and a pliant soft interior. Basically they have the flavor of fast food fries, but you only need a tablespoon of cooking oil. I use Yukon Gold potatoes for that perfect balance of subtle sweetness – but you can use russet potatoes (or whatever you have handy in your pantry). A simple dusting of salt and pepper and you’re good to go. Or go wild with the spice blend from these za’atar fries. These air fryer fries are always a big hit!
Air Fryer Teriyaki Tofu
Teriyaki sauce is one of those iconic Japanese flavor profiles that seems like it must be super complex. But in reality, you can make it super easily with just a handful of ingredients. And it’s a breeze to crisp up your firm tofu cubes with a little cornstarch. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the pillowy interior seems like food sorcery. You just used your air fryer, you magician! Serve with a side of white or brown rice, top with chopped green onions and watch the whole plate disappear.
Easy Vegetable Egg Rolls
Try these easy veggie egg rolls once and you may never order them from the takeout spot again. Simply season shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions with a bit of sesame oil, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, salt, and ground white pepper. Then wrap that savory mixture in an egg roll wrapper and you’re ready to air fry. Vegans take note: vegan egg roll wrappers do exist – but many brands contain egg. So read that ingredients label. I like making a dipping sauce out of soy sauce, chinkiang vinegar and chili crisp – but there’s no shame in using the classic duck sauce. What’s your favorite egg roll dipping sauce? Tell me about it in the comments!
Air Fryer Sweet Potato With Sriracha Mayonnaise
Roasting and air frying brings out the natural sweetness in sweet potatoes. The charred outsides belie the tender insides that dare you to dig in with abandon. And that natural sweetness is offset perfectly by a spicy, creamy, tart and savory dipping sauce. Just mix a bit of mayonnaise with rice vinegar, sriracha and miso paste for a dipping sauce that will level up your sweet spuds. Serve this easy and healthy air fryer recipe as a side dish at dinnertime – or with toothpicks as a passed hors d’oeuvre at your next get together.
Air Fryer Broccoli With Spicy Sauce
Back away from the microwave. While steaming fresh or frozen broccoli in the microwave is easy, I don’t know too many people that actually enjoy eating soggy veggies, blasted to within an inch of their lives. If you’re like me (and prefer some crisp edges and a tender yet pliantly fresh chew), this one is for you. This works with fresh florets – or with the fresh frozen variety. Now, you can flavor it any way you like. Simple salt and pepper is a fine choice. Or you can ratchet things up with a simple spicy Asian influenced sauce featuring ginger, chili flakes, sesame oil and (of course) soy sauce. When it comes to the chili flakes, Korean gochugaru and Chinese red pepper flakes are both contenders. So easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Air Fryer Carrots With Black Pepper Soy Sauce
Carrots are already naturally sweet. But when you air fry them with a generous dose of black pepper, soy sauce and mirin, they take on a whole new element of flavor. There’s a symbiosis between the earthy sweetness of the carrots and mirin – the savory umami of the shoyu – and the brash slow burn from black pepper. It all turns out just a little bit extra. These air fryer carrots are vegan – and you can opt for a gluten-free version by swapping out the soy sauce in favor of liquid aminos or tamari. All veggie side dishes should be this rich and flavorful!
The Best Air Fryer Baked Potato
You don’t need an air fryer to make baked potatoes. But it doesn’t hurt. And, in fact, these baked potatoes are one of my favorite air fryer recipes of all time. Why? Because I brush the raw potato skins with soy sauce. In the air fryer basket, that boost of umami is sealed into the potato skins as they crisp up. The inside is fluffy and cloud-like. Go with russet or Yukon Gold potatoes if you can find them. And you can top your baked potatoes with sour cream, kimchi, scallions and bacon flavored bits for the full loaded baked potato experience.
Air Fryer Green Beans
Looking for a quick and satisfying side dish? You’ll only need 5 ingredients to make these perfectly browned citrus chili air fryer green beans! With equal parts bright and savory flavors, you can heighten the taste even more with a few red chili flakes. Like it volcanic? Use more than a few. Browned green beans have the perfect pliant chew. You’ll love this one, bite after bite. And if you’re wondering how to use an air fryer for something like this green beans with Chinese garlic sauce recipe, I’ve got instructions in that post as well. Plus, I’ve included instructions on how to prepare both fresh and frozen green beans in an air fryer. Happy cooking!
Have you tried any of these easy air fryer recipes? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below.