You love comfort food, but greasy fare—and the fried-food coma that comes with it—you can do without. That’s why we love air fryer recipes. You can whip up “fried” chicken, zucchini, French fries, and more without the usual oil and excess calories. Whether you’re craving something to appease your inner caveman (here’s to you, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Thighs), a quick snack, or a vegetarian-friendly dish, we’ve got you covered.
Read on for our five go-to air fryer recipes and get excited to test drive ‘em in everybody’s favorite unsung kitchen toy.
1. Chicken Skewers with Sweet Potato Fries and Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
Prep potatoes by slicing them into thin wedges. Add the potato wedges to a large mixing bowl, then toss with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper until evenly coated.
Add the potatoes to the preheated air fryer and shake the basket so they fall into a single layer. Cook for 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the skewers by cutting chicken into 1½-inch cubes. Slice the red onion and bell pepper into 2-inch chunks. Toss the chicken and vegetables with olive oil, sea salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Assemble the chicken and veggies onto metal skewers, alternating vegetables and chicken. Note: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before use to ensure they don’t burn.
Once potatoes have been cooking for 10 minutes, shake air fryer basket to flip potatoes. Add skewers over potatoes and continue cooking for additional 10 minutes.
While skewers are cooking, prepare tzatziki sauce. Use a grater to shred cucumber. Use a mesh strainer and rubber spatula to squeeze excess juice from cucumbers, then discard. Finely chop the dill and parsley. Whisk together the coconut cream, shredded cucumbers, dill, parsley, and olive oil until well combined.
After 10 minutes, flip the skewers and continue cooking for a final 5-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° F.
Serve potatoes and chicken skewers hot with tzatziki sauce.
2. Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites
“This is a great recipe to cook in the air fryer because the texture is so good—tender on the inside, yet golden and crispy on the outside,” says Denise Bustard of food blog Sweet Peas and Saffron. She recommends pairing this with ranch dip for an easy appetizer.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
4 cups cauliflower (cut into 1½-inch florets)
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Heat air fryer to 390° F.
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower and egg white; mix until cauliflower is evenly coated. Sprinkle the garlic powder and salt over cauliflower, tossing with a spatula until spices are evenly distributed. Add the Panko last, and mix until the cauliflower is evenly coated.
Dump the cauliflower into the basket. Cook for 10 minutes without shaking or moving the cauliflower.
Toss the cauliflower gently, prying apart any florets stuck together. Move cauliflower from the bottom to the top to ensure all sides get crispy.
Cook for 2-5 more minutes, until cauliflower is done to your liking.
3. Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Thighs
Drew Manning, personal trainer and author of Fit2Fat2Fit delivers with this protein-packed dinner when you just can’t do another night of plain old baked chicken. Serve with sautéed spinach or steamed broccoli to get some greens on your plate.
Spray air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic herb seasoning, and dill, set aside.
In another small bowl, combine remaining seasonings.
Using a meat tenderizer, beat chicken thighs to about ½-inch thick. Pat chicken thighs dry and season on both sides with seasoning mix.
Spoon cream cheese mixture onto one side of the chicken; divide evenly, then roll closed. Wrap two slices of bacon around the chicken thigh and place the seam side down in the air fryer basket.
Bake in the air fryer at 400° F for 10 minutes, then flip chicken thighs and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
4. Broccoli Meatballs
These veggie meatballs from celebrity chef Maria Liberati, author of the book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, is a winner—even for meat lovers. Liberati says you should feel free to swap in cauliflower or mushrooms for the broccoli, or use a combination of all three veggies. “Add grated pecorino and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or a mix of both to give this an extra kick,” she added.
Servings: 4-5 (makes approximately 20 meatballs)
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
1½ pounds broccoli
1 egg white
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper, for taste
Freshly chopped parsley
¼ cup of bread crumbs (Panko or gluten-free), plus 2 tablespoons for coating
2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese (optional)
Boil the broccoli florets in salted water for 6-7 minutes, until soft, not mushy.
Leave them in a colander to drain and cool for 30 minutes to get most of the liquid out.
When the broccoli has cooled, place in a food processor with egg white, garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper. Blend until creamy.
Place in a bowl and add ¼ cup bread crumbs/Panko, and grated cheese. Mix with a spoon until firm. If necessary, add more bread crumbs/Panko. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Place 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs on a plate.
Form 20 round balls with mixture and roll in bread crumbs/panko mixture. Place on a tray in the air fryer, cook 8-10 minutes at 350° F.
5. Rosemary Parmesan Chickpeas
“Because an air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food in its basket, it’s perfect for small batches of crispy snacks, like these tasty, healthy chickpeas,” shares Monti Carlo, Puerto Rican chef and Food Network personality. “I sprinkle mine with fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese. But you can try taco seasoning, powdered ranch dressing, or Togarashi.” These are best paired with a citrusy, hoppy IPA. (You don’t have to tell us twice.)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat your air fryer to 400° F.
Toss the chickpeas in 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt to taste.
Add to air fryer and cook until dark golden and crispy, about 15 minutes. Make sure to shake the basket halfway through cook time.
Grate two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Zest the lemon. Finely chop the rosemary.
Put chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with Parmesan cheese, rosemary, and lemon zest. Enjoy.