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


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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.

Works Fast

An air fryer cooks much quicker than a conventional oven or stovetop. Because the majority of the heat remains inside, it will preheat in minutes. During the brewing process, no heat is released into the atmosphere. In fact, constant circulation only serves to amplify it, allowing it to cook even frozen foods in record time.

Energy Efficient

Because of the compact nature of an air fryer, you won’t have to worry about your kitchen turning into a sauna in the summer, as a conventional oven would. It does not take a lot of power to run because it is so small. So you’re not only cooking quicker, but you’re actually consuming less energy.

Healthier Foods

Deep-fried meats are slathered in oil, which isn’t good for you. Air fryers use gasoline, but not nearly as much as conventional fryers. When exposed to hot air, a small amount of oil goes a long way. Excess oil drains from the meal, which is ideal for some of the naturally oilier snacks that have become a staple in the American diet.

Compact and Simple

Air fryers are normally small, about the size of a toaster. It’s ideal for smaller kitchens, such as those found in apartments or condos. An air fryer would be ideal in an RV or camper for cooking on the go or at a campsite. To get the most out of your air fryer, you don’t have to be a master chef. Set the temperature and timer, then place your meal in the basket and let the machine do the rest.

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.

Food Burns Easily

Many newcomers are confused by the short cooking time. Because you generally fry at temperatures ranging from 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, a few minutes can mean the difference between a perfectly crispy fried food and a black flavorless hockey puck.

Food Dries Out

Turning your air fryer on and abandoning it isn’t the only danger. Your food will easily dry out if you don’t keep an eye on it. This is due to a lack of crude. The oil in a deep fryer keeps your food wet on the inside and crisping on the outside. In this respect, air fryers must be closely monitored.

Small Volume

Turning your air fryer on and abandoning it isn’t the only danger. Your food will easily dry out if you don’t keep an eye on it. This is due to a lack of crude. The oil in a deep fryer keeps your food wet on the inside and crisping on the outside. In this respect, air fryers must be closely monitored.

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:

Air Fryer Chicken Wings

air fryer 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

  • The most extensive selection of cloud-enabled dash cams.
  • Easy to cook
  • Prep time is around 10 minutes, with total time cooking around 45 minutes.
  • It yields 4 servings.

Cons

  • Can’t stack more than one layer in the basket, they won’t get crispy enough.

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Tots

air fryer tater 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

  • The active time required is 20 minutes.
  • Yields 4 servings, maximum of 6.

Cons

  •  have to cook for 1 hour.

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

air fryer 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

  • Yields 4 servings.
  • The preparation time is 10 minutes.

Cons

  • The total time required is around 50 minutes.

Graham-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Graham crusted chicken tenders

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

  • The hands-on time required is 15 minutes.
  • Yields 6 servings.
  • The total time required is around 35 minutes.

Cons

  • You might eat too many of these!

Homemade Cannoli

home made air fryer cannoli

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

  • Can yield up to 20 servings, depending on the size of the basket.
  • Crisp taste.

Cons

  • A lot of preparation needed.

Twice Baked Potatoes

twice baked potatoes

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

  • Yields 6 servings.
  • Incredibly tasty.

Cons

  • Better if stored for a few days.

Roasted Cod with Wilted Kale

air fryer baked potatoes

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

  • Yields 4 servings.
  • Easy and fast to cook.

Cons

  • Around 70mg of cholesterol.

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

air fryer sweet potato fries with herbs .

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

  • Yielding about 2 servings.
  • Crispier and faster than oven-baked sweet potato fries.
  • Total time required to make it is around 50 minutes.

Cons

  • Requires dipping sauce.

Crispy Air Fryer Bacon

air fryer bacon

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

  • Yielding about 8 servings in a full Air Fryer.
  • Crispier than oven-baked or fried bacon.
  • The total time required is around 15 minutes.

Cons

  • Requires rearranging the bacon slices with tongs.
  • Single-layer only

Frequently Asked Questions

Is air frying healthier than deep-frying?

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.

Do I need to preheat the air fryer?

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.

How much can an air fryer hold?

Depending on the meal, most standard air fryers should hold enough food for 2 to 4 servings. It is critical not to overcrowd the basket. If you want to make different batches of an air fryer recipe, start checking the second batch for doneness a few minutes earlier, as the air fryer will be hot and the second batch may cook faster.

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.

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