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What can you cook in an air fryer? 30 Easy Air Fryer Meals & Side Dishes Ideas

If you keep hearing about air fryers and thinking “what can you cook in an air fryer?”, the short and simple answer: A LOT! So many things, from raw food, to pre-cooked food, and even desserts. 

That’s the beauty of an air fryer. It acts like an oven, but also as a normal deep fryer. It’s fast (I use it for 20 min max).  And most importantly, it does NOT stink up your whole house. 

That’s actually why I bought my air fryer in the first place. I wanted a versatile cooking item that can help me make quick and delicious meals, didn’t take a lot of space, didn’t smell, and boy, did I get it.

Happy to say I love my air fryer. I got it just before Covid hit and it saved me during the pandemic. I used it almost every day. Some days for chicken nuggets and fries. Others, for roasted vegetables. I even did pigs in a blanket once. Never tried desserts, though.

So, what CAN you cook in an air fryer? I’m here to help you with at least 30 easy air fryer meals or side dishes you can make. Let’s start: 

Meat

The first and most obvious answer to the “what can you cook in an air fryer” question is MEAT. Any kind of meat (or tofu). I use it for frozen items, like chicken nuggets or fish fingers, but works perfectly well for fresh chicken breast and fish. You can even make bacon in it, too. Here is the meat list, but you can try other things, too.

  • Chicken breast / wings.
  • Chicken Nuggets.
  • Meatballs
  • Pork. 
  • Beef.
  • Meat patties.
  • Lamb chops.
  • Fish (salmon, shrimps, fish fingers, you name it)
  • BACON. Yes, you can cook bacon in the air fryer.

Roasted vegetables

The air fryer is the perfect alternative for an oven. If you want to make roasted veggies or maybe even something fancier, like buffalo cauliflower, you can definitely do them in the air fryer.

Here are some of the vegetables you can cook in an air fryer, but you can try almost anything else.

  • Potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Onions.
  • Carrots.
  • Brussel Sprouts.
  • Peppers.
  • Cauliflower (like Curry Cauliflower or Buffalo Cauliflower)
roasted vegetables air fryer

Frozen meals

Another great thing you can use air fryers for are the refrigerated items that are advertised to be cooked in the oven, or sometimes, the ones that should be made in a pan. Meal such as: 

  • Cordon Bleu.
  • Lasagna.
  • Mozzarella Sticks.
  • Tater tots.
  • Gnocchi.

This is one of my preferred ways to use it, because it’s healthier this way. Some items, like frozen fries or cordon bleu, are recommended to be made in a pan or, even worse, in a deep fryer, and you know how much oil that requires. Skip oil entirely and just put them in the air fryer. 

Desserts. 

You were probably not expecting this, but the answer to “what can you cook in an air fryer” can also be “DESSERT”. I’ve personally never used the air fryer for making desserts, but there are so many Pinterest recipes on things like Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies or Donuts, or Cinnamon Rolls. Definitely give them a try, I know I will soon enough. 

Other cool stuff you can cook in an air fryer

I bet you didn’t know this, but you can make so much more than meat and vegetables in the air fryer. Since its launch, people have experimented and cooked the coolest and most delicious things in it, like:

I hope I answered the frequently asked question “what can you cook in an air fryer”. Let me know in the comments what you usually cook in the air fryer. 

p.s. If you’re looking for other healthy recipes, here is a healthy summer salad recipe and a homemade chili one.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Bianca
    May 6, 2021 at 11:26 am

    We just got an air fryer recently and I LOVE these ideas! I would have never thought of tortilla chips!! Right now, my favorite thing to cook in there is Brussel sprouts!!

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 6, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      Love it! I made Brussels Sprouts recently, too. I also love doing the fries in the air fryer, they are healthier than the deep fryer or even pan.

  • Reply
    Freya
    May 6, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Wow, I didn’t know you could cook sweet things in the air fryer! Another reason for me to get one!

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 6, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      Definitely get one, I love mine!

  • Reply
    Anaiah Michelle | Speak Veggie To Me
    May 6, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    I love my air fryer! I have a ninja so it does a lot of other things as well. And it’s soo easy to make dessert with it. I have made fried bananas, donuts, churros, and even cheesecake! Thanks for all the other awesome ideas.

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 7, 2021 at 6:31 am

      Fried bananas! that sounds amazing, I’ve always wanted to try them!

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