We’re nearing the one year anniversary of owning an air fryer, so I thought I would follow tradition and share how my first few recipes with the air fryer have gone! I’ve had good and bad experiments, a couple occasions of serious smoke, but mostly, just really amazing, perfectly crispy food. From broccoli to shrimp, and apple chips to chimichangas, here are The First 15 Recipes I Made With My Air Fryer!
Air fryers are officially here to stay. They fill a void that other appliances don’t by turning high calorie, fried food, into easy to make, healthier versions that don’t require multiple cups of oil to make.
Air fryers utilize fast moving hot air (convection) to cook food, much more effectively and more quickly than your normal oven could. Plus, due to the ‘basket’ style of the air fryer, more of your food is exposed to the hot air, thus it gets even more crispy and delicious.
It’s always nice to hear what other people’s first recipes with a new appliance were – the good AND the bad. So I decided to do the same thing I did at the one year anniversary of owning my Instant Pot: share the first recipes I made with my air fryer and how it all went down.
What air fryer brand and model do you have?
About one year ago on Amazon Prime Day, we purchased our very first air fryer. We went with the Philips 2.75 qt Viva Air Fryer , which has served us well. To be fair, I’ve never personally tried any other air fryer, but I still think I can offer some insight if you’re trying to pick one out for yourself.
Things to consider when you buy an air fryer:
- Size: I have a basic 2.75 quart air fryer which can comfortably cook meals for two. We’re very happy with it. However, there’s no way mine could fit a whole chicken or enough food at a time to feed four people. Consider getting the XL size if you want to cook more food at once (but remember, it’s going to take up more room in your kitchen and possibly cost more!).
- Analog vs Digital: Again, my air fryer is super basic and does not have any kind of digital display. I simply set the dial to the (approximate) temperature I want, turn on the timer, and it goes. No presets or different modes. Just one mode: Air fry! Keep in mind digital is probably going to be *slightly* more accurate temperature wise, but it will also probably be more expensive. I’ve never really felt like I could get more out my air fryer if it had a digital display.
- Wire Basket vs. Non-Stick Coating Basket: The Philips air fryer I own has a wire basket (you can see it pictured below). Other air fryers may have a non-stick coated basket with holes. I can’t directly compare, but I would *guess* the non-stick coating basket is better at not letting liquid and grease drop through to the bottom of the air fryer. One (pretty popular) recipe I tried began smoking in a dangerous manner because a lot of grease dripped down, but it was A LOT of grease. Most things I cook in the air fryer are not super greasy, so the wire basket works for me.
My friend Steph over at Meal Plan Addict has the Power Fryer XL 3.4 Quart Air Fryer (affiliate link!) and she loves it! This air fryer is larger than mine and has a non-stick coated basket instead of a wire basket. Read about why Steph loves her air fryer so much to learn more about another great air fryer option that’s different than mine!
Not all air fryers are the same, so be sure to do your research before buying one randomly off the internet!
What are your favorite air fryer accessories?
I don’t have many air fryer accessories, but here are a few things I’m always using along with my air fryer at any given meal time!
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray – I use this oil spray for 90% of the cooking I do in the air fryer. I get them in bulk from Costco at a very reasonable price! Avocado oil has a high smoke point which is good for air frying. Plus the spray function helps distribute a little bit of oil very rapidly!
OXO 9-Inch Silicone Head Tongs – A solid pair of tongs is very necessary for air fryer cooking! These are my favorite and I use them for everything. I especially love the silicone heads so the tongs don’t damage my Dutch oven or non-stick pans. Useful for lots of cooking applications!
WISHLIST: Air Fryer Rack (affiliate link) – This is the rack that fits my Philips Air Fryer and it’s the next accessory I plan to buy! I think it will help boost the capacity and let me air fry more at once. Also, there’s skewers! Buying this ASAP!
The First 15 Recipes I Made With My Air Fryer
#1 Cheesy Air Fryer Broccoli
This remains my all-time favorite way to cook broccoli and I still make it this way all the time! This recipe is great for ANYONE (vegan, whole30, gluten-free, etc) and it couldn’t be any easier to prepare. Nutritional yeast to the rescue! Tastes like cheese but is completely dairy-free. Thank you Steph for bringing this glorious recipe into my life! Get the recipe for Highly Addictive Air Fryer Broccoli here!
#2 French Fries (Regular or Sweet Potato)
If you have an air fryer, you must turn potatoes into fries. It’s only logical. The air fryer can do this for you very well. Here’s the recipe I followed straight from Philips brand itself on how to make fries in my air fryer. Works for both regular and sweet potatoes!
#3 Stuffed Pizza Chicken
I love pizza anything, so when I saw this combo I had to try! With this recipe, you can prep the stuffed chicken ahead and save cooking time by using the air fryer instead of the oven. Such a creative use of the air fryer. Get the recipe for Stuffed Pizza Chicken here!
#4 Crispy Green Beans
I experimented. I failed. Again, and again, and couple more times after that. They’re not all winners, people! I tried to make them crispy with a coating, I tried to make them crispy without a coating, I tried to just cook them with zero expectations. Nothing really worked, so I gave it up. Sorry guys. Maybe next time. No link or picture for this one!
After those failed green beans, I got back on track with my air fryer experiments quickly after a single round of chimichangas! These are a go to in my household. Leftover chicken, or any cooked meat, mixed up with some refried beans, salsa and cheese. Wrap it up burrito style, spray with the avocado oil spray, and you’ve got crispy crunchy chimichanga goodness! Get the recipe for Air Fryer Chimichangas here – also includes a video!
#6 Ten Different Foods from Trader Joe’s
This recipe is actually TEN recipes smashed into one article. If you like Trader Joe’s, you should probably go ahead and take a look at this one! I spent literal months testing various foods from Trader Joe’s in my air fryer. The results were magical.
This includes: Mandarin Orange Chicken, Mini Bambino Pizzas, Hash Brown Patties, Garlic Fries, Chicken Nuggets, and more! Read 10 Trader Joe’s Foods That Are Perfect for Your Air Fryer here!
#7 Bacon Chicken Bites
Sadly, this was a bit of an air fryer fail for me. However, I DO think this is one of those recipes that would work better with the non-stick coated air fryer pan rather than mine, which is more of a wire basket. The bacon produced a lot of grease that quickly fell down into the bottom of the air fryer and turned to smoke. It was a lot and I ended up having to cook these guys in the oven. Still super delicious though!
#8 Smashed Potatoes
My husband invented this while I was out of town. He took baby creamer potatoes and boiled them until just tender, then carefully smashed them on a cutting board. Next, they went into the air fryer with some avocado spray oil and guess what? A total of 16-18 minutes later, he had crispy smashed potatoes cooked in the air fryer. Delicious! No specific recipe link here, but some pictures to prove it!
#9 Boneless Buffalo Wings
You guys know I love my buffalo chicken, so I naturally had to try this recipe from Kelly at Eat the Gains. The air fryer is perfect for this kind of recipe, because I truly don’t think you could get this kind of result in the oven. Love these wings for a main dish but I would also serve them as an appetizer! Get the recipe for Boneless Buffalo Wings here.
#10 Apple Chips
This one took me a while to nail, but I did it. I love making apple chips at home because I can use my own seasoning blends (obsessed with Apple Pie Spice from Primal Palate), and eat the apple chips fresh! Something about turning a big apple into a pile of apple chips in your own kitchen is just pretty cool. All made possible with the air fryer. Get the recipe for Apple Chips in Your Air Fryer here.
#11 Anything in an egg roll or wonton wrapper
Do yourself a favor: Buy some egg roll or wonton wrappers, make some delicious filling (sweet or savory!), spray with avocado oil spray, and watch some magic happen. We’ve tried air fryer egg rolls with leftover egg roll in a bowl mixture, and it was divine (makes sense, right?). More egg roll fillings I want to try in the air fryer: Breakfast (eggs/cheese), chocolate/s’mores, avocado + chicken, taco filling etc.
Set your air fryer to the 390F or 400F setting, air fry following the package directions of the wrappers, and watch them carefully the first time you try it.
#12 Roasted Garlic
One day I wondered: How can I roast a single head of garlic without heating up the entire oven/house? Solution: Air fryer. It’s quicker than using the oven, easy enough for beginners, and tastes just as good. The only question I have is – do we still call it ‘roasted’ garlic?? Check out the directions for How to Roast Garlic in an Air Fryer here!
#13 Air Fryer Shrimp
Normally, this kind of recipe would take like a pound of oil, a huge mess, and possibly 1-2 smoke alarms! But not in the air fryer. I love this recipe because the shrimp are shockingly crispy – they honestly taste like they’re from a restaurant. Plus that sauce. OMG. Get the recipe for Air Fryer Bang Bang Shrimp here!
#14 Asian Beef & Veggies
This recipe surprised me! I wasn’t sure how something with a saucy marinade would work in my air fryer, but it did. The meat was perfectly cooked, and everything was flavorful and delicious. I served it over rice, and there was barely enough left for one serving of lunch leftovers. It was a hit in this house! Get the recipe for Air Fryer Asian Beef & Veggies here!
Similar to my chimichangas above, but made with different tortillas and filling. I loved taquitos from the freezer section growing up, so I recently created an air fryer version that’s super easy to make at home!
Taquitos are usually made with small corn tortillas, while flautas are usually made with large flour tortillas, but either way works with a little avocado spray in your air fryer! Get the recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos/Flautas here!
That’s it for the first 15 recipes I made with my air fryer! I love using my air fryer, so it’ll only be a matter of time before I’ve made another 15 recipes in that thing. Hope this article gives you some ideas on what to try first in your air fryer!
Here are a few things I want to try in my air fryer in the future:
- Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Fritters
- Air Fryer Grilled Cheese