FOOD PREPARATION

Top 10 Air Fryer Meals: Pros And Cons For Every Meal

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Picture of By : Carolyn Crutcher
By : Carolyn Crutcher

Last Updated: April 24, 2021

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Ever wanted to fry food with almost no oil and eat it without instantly needing a nap? If you’ve heard anything about the air fryer, the most popular cooking appliance in recent years, you’ll know the answer is yes. After determining what an air fryer is and, more importantly, which air fryer is the best on the market, the most common question, air fryer owners have is, “What can I make with one?” The truth is a lot! Here are the top 10 air fryer meals.

What is an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are technically mini convection ovens, which circulate hot air around foods (think: french fries, chicken wings, crispy Brussels sprouts) to give them an irresistible fried-like texture with almost no oil. Air-fried foods will not taste exactly like deep-fried foods, but they will have a crispy-crunchy exterior (thanks to the Maillard reaction) and a tender interior.

The Pros of Using an Air Fryer

This appliance has a lot to recommend it. People wouldn’t be pulling them off the shelves at the rate they are if there weren’t. Here are some of the better features of the air fryer.

The Cons of Using an Air Fryer

There is no such thing as a flawless appliance, and air fryers are no exception. Here are some of the disadvantages of using an air fryer.

What are the Top 10 Air Fryer Recipes?

Here are some of the most amazing dishes you can make, ranging from main courses and sides to desserts and snacks. Each one thoroughly described, we included their pros and cons and what to expect when you cook one of the following:

1. Air Fryer Chicken Wings:

chicken-wings

Fried chicken wings are tasty, but they make quite a mess. These air fryer wings are quick and easy to make, and they taste just like the oil-fried version. We’ve been sucked in! This recipe can be used to make any kind of wing. You can, of course, keep it simple with buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, and crunchy vegetables. If you want to spice things up, try our sweet and spicy Korean Fried Chicken sauce, or keep it easy with our Lemon Pepper Wings seasoning.

Pros
Cons

2. Air Fryer Sweet Potato Tots:

weet-potato-tots

Sweet potato tots cooked in the air fryer have a gently crisp exterior and a soft interior. These homemade sweet potato tots are a wonderful way to slip vegetables into a picky eater’s dinner, and they’re less expensive than buying pre-made, frozen sweet potato tots.

Although spraying the tots with cooking spray aids in browning, they still do not brown uniformly in the air fryer. Make sure to cook the sweet potatoes just long enough for them to grate and hold together when molded while still retaining some texture. You don’t like ketchup? Instead, make a greek yogurt ranch dressing.

Pros
Cons

3. Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan:

Chicken-Parmesan

Are we surprised at all? We’ve already established that the air fryer is unrivaled. It’s incredible that crispy golden chicken can be done without the use of any oil at all, let alone how quickly the air fryer can do it!  This chicken parm tastes just as good as the traditional version but requires much less effort to prepare. Your cheese will even melt and broil in the air fryer for a perfectly cheesy, crispy bite!

Pros
Cons

4. Graham-Crusted Chicken Tenders:

graham

Can we agree on one thing? Adults enjoy kid-friendly recipes just as much (if not more) as children. And in the case of these tenders, which are breaded with pounded graham crackers and pretzels, there may be a finger-licking showdown at the supper table. All jokes aside, these crunchy tenders are a fun twist on a weeknight staple that’s also surprisingly simple to make. For dips, serve with honey mustard and hot sauce. Psst…To make cleanup even easier, line the rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil—it will catch any grease drips or stray crumbs. Here are the pros and cons worth mentioning.

Pros
Cons

5. Homemade Cannoli:

home-made

Cannoli has been served in Italian bakeries for centuries. The crispy shell and creamy sweet filling are almost too good to eat. They often come with mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, or are dipped in chocolate. Whatever toppings you want, they’re a MAJOR treat. (That’s why we couldn’t resist making cannoli cupcakes!) Cannoli dough is typically made with white wine, which may seem strange. It contains wine for the same reason that certain pie crusts contain vinegar or vodka. The alcohol tenderizes the pastry and contributes to its flaky texture. Who would have guessed?

Cannoli filling is often made with ricotta and normally sweetened with powdered sugar. The filling will normally include mascarpone and whipped cream for a lighter filling. For added flavor, you could find orange zest or nutmeg in there. Here are some of the pros and cons.

Pros
Cons

6. Twice Baked Potatoes:

twice-baked

Twice Baked Potatoes are essentially mashed potatoes in a nice little potato boat. The first bake is to roast the potatoes until they are tender and crispy on the outside. The second bake involves combining all of your boiled potatoes with butter, cheese, milk, and other delectable mix-ins, then re-filling the potato skins and baking until everything is warmed through. It’s the most decadent baked potato you’ve ever had.

We suggest baking the potatoes and doing the filling as usual. Prepare them to the point of baking the second time and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to bake. The second bake time will be slightly longer in order to thoroughly warm the filling. Here are the most important pros and cons.

Pros
Cons

7. Roasted Cod with Wilted Kale:

roasted-cod

This heart-healthy dinner alternative is far from tedious. Each boneless, skinless cod fillet is baked in a crispy coating of panko, chopped garlic, and fresh parsley, making it taste like a healthier, less oily version of fried fish. Baking the fish also frees up your hands and ensures that no fishy odors pervade your kitchen. 

The combination of cod and sautéed kale creates a well-rounded meal, and the addition of lemon brings out the best in the popular vegetable. In fact, you’ll be shocked at how delicious the plain side dish is, and you’ll soon be pairing it with all of your favorite proteins. Here are the pros and cons of the Roasted Cod.

Pros
Cons

8. Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries:

sweet-potato

We like a crispy sweet potato fry. Though oven-baked fries are delicious, these air fryer fries are even crispier and take far less time! We can’t think of a better snack when paired with our favorite 3-ingredient secret sauce.

Pro Tip: Sadly, not all air fryers are created equal. While this recipe has been tried and checked in our air fryer, you may get different results in yours. If you’ve never made sweet potato fries in your air fryer before, start with less time per side. When making these for the first time, start with 5 minutes and work your way up. Here are the pros and cons.

Pros
Cons

9. Crispy Air Fryer Bacon:

air-fryer-bcon

Cooking bacon in the oven is the traditional method, and it’s a good one, but we’re here to advise you to give the air fryer a try. It’ll be done quicker than your oven can heat up, and we’re always looking for faster ways to bacon! The air fryer produces the crispiest bacon ever without the use of excessive grease. You’ll be proud of yourself. Here are the pros and cons.

Pros
Cons

Wrap Up

Cooking meals that traditionally require a deep fryer, such as fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, or eggrolls, is an option. You can cook stuff like these in an air fryer while using very little oil and still getting crispy results. For marinated salmon, you might even use an air fryer.

Consider the following; even though using an air fryer reduces the amount of oil used in cooking, it is still important to remember that eating a healthier, more balanced diet will increase your overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the air fryer’s intended purpose is fulfilled: instead of quarts of oil, a cook can use a small amount to produce wonderfully crisp results in French fries, chicken, fish, and other dishes. However, we discovered that the results are more similar to an oven-fried food than a deep-fried meal. Air-fried and oven-fried foods taste much leaner than deep-fried foods because fat is essential to the “fried” flavor. Having said that, we discovered that the best air fryers manufactured food that was superior to oven-fried versions.

An air fryer heats up much faster than a conventional oven. We discovered that the total time it took to cook food started in a cold air fryer was the same as when we waited a few minutes for the air fryer to heat up before adding our meal; plus, skipping the preheating was easy. One of the benefits of using an air fryer over an oven is that it cooks food much quicker because it does not need to be preheated.

Cooking meals that traditionally require a deep fryer, such as fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, or eggrolls, is an option. You can cook stuff like these in an air fryer while using very little oil and still getting crispy results. For marinated salmon, you might even use an air fryer.

Consider the following; even though using an air fryer reduces the amount of oil used in cooking, it is still important to remember that eating a healthier, more balanced diet will increase your overall health.

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Picture of Carolyn Crutcher
Carolyn Crutcher

First, let me introduce myself, my name is Chef Carolyn and I would like to welcome you all to my personal blog Kitchen Gadgets Maven! Wohoo let’s jump in....

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