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What to cook in an air fryer

Your air fryer may be small, but this appliance is mighty when it comes to making tasty dishes.

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While chips, frozen foods and bacon are all made better thanks to being cooked in an air fryer, there's a whole world of foods out there just begging to be air fried. Here's how to make the most of your air fryer...

In the beginning, there was just the toaster.

Then came the electric kettle; the pasta roller; the meat grinder; the citrus juicer and the machine that broke the 1980's - the microwave. There was the ordinary blender, but it got swapped out for a fancier blender whose motor at top speed whirrs with enough force to turn normal foods into superfoods.

Then came the slow cooker (and then there was the slow cooker renaissance because we had all somehow forgotten about slow cookers) and then there was the pressure cooker because every Irish mother is obligated to own a pressure cooker. 

The pressure cooker was used for a few months but now sits on top of an unused hot plate right next to the disassembled parts of a popcorn maker. Just beside that is the coffee machine, that despite being tucked away in a corner, is the only thing in the entire kitchen we use reliably every day. 

But now, there is also the air fryer.

This tiny yet bulky, magical machine uses hot air to fry foods to a golden, crispy finish. Invented as a way for potato lovers to make crispy chips in their small home kitchens, air fryers work by circulating super-hot air, which quickly and evenly reaches all the surfaces of the food. In other words, it gives food that crispy-fried texture and golden-brown colour without having to actually deep-fry anything.

But because air fryers are often celebrated for their ability to make fried-like party foods, like onion rings or chicken goujons, we easily forget that air fryers have the ability to cook just about everything. Sure, it's great at heating frozen foods, but it’s also fantastic for from-scratch foods, like crispy chicken thighs, vegan buffalo wings, tender pork loin, and even chocolate bread! Even those among us who have owned an air fryer for years may not know everything they're capable of doing, which is exactly where we come in.

We've rounded up 10 delicious air fryer recipes that are *almost* too good to be true. Keep scrolling to discover all the amazing dishes you can make by simply popping into your air fryer. 

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs with Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb new potatoes, washed and cut in half
  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 lb bone-in, skin on, chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. In a large pot, add potatoes and vinegar. Fill the pot with water to cover the potatoes by one inch. Bring the pot of potatoes and water to a boil over high heat and boil for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken thighs with seasoning. Place chicken thighs in the drum of the air fryer and fit the lid on top. Insert into the bowl.
  3. Tap air fry and set temperature to 220°C and fry for 25-30 minutes.
  4. While the thighs cook, drain the potatoes and toss with olive oil and ½ tsp salt.
  5. Remove chicken thighs from the drum and place potatoes in the drum. Fit the lid on top and insert into the bowl.
  6. Tap air fry and set temperature to 220°C and fry for 20-25 minutes. Remove potatoes and toss with remaining ½ tsp. salt.
  7. Serve chicken thighs and potatoes with your favourite steamed vegetables.

Air Fryer Honey Sriracha Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter, softened 
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, honey, Sriracha, lime juice, Worcestershire, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Pat the salmon dry and spread the honey Sriracha mixture over the salmon fillets.
  3. Place baking rack in the bowl of the air fryer in the highest position and spray with cooking oil. Place two fillets on top.
  4. Tap the bake button and set the temperature to 205°C and fry for 12-13 minutes. Repeat with remaining fillets.
  5. Serve warm with cooked brown rice and an extra squeeze of lime juice.

Air Fryer Zoodles

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large courgettes, spiralized
  • ½ tsp salt

Method:

  1. Place courgette noodles in a colander and salt generously until the courgette noodles are coated. Let noodles rest for 10 minutes to remove any excess water. Place in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  2. Place noodles in a large bowl and toss with oil and salt. Place in the drum and fit the lid on top. Insert into the bowl.
  3. Tap the air fry button and set temperature to 220°C and fry for 20 minutes until tender.
  4. Serve topped with your favourite pasta sauce.

Air Fryer Peanut Butter Chocolate Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together applesauce, yogurt, egg and vanilla.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until incorporated. Add peanut butter and mix until smooth.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the mixture into 3 greased mini tins or one 7½” greased loaf pan. Place in the air fryer bowl.
  6. Tap the bake button and set temperature to 180°C and fry for 15-18 minutes for the mini loaf pans, or 30 minutes for the 7½” pan, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  7. Move loaf pans to a wire rack and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pans to remove bread.
  9. Cut each loaf into 4-5 slices and top with additional peanut butter and sliced bananas if desired.

Air Fryer Buffalo Chickpeas

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl toss together all ingredients until chickpeas are well coated.
  2. Place chickpeas in the drum and fit the lid on top. Insert into the bowl.
  3. Tap the air fry button and set the temperature to 205°C and fry for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove and spread chickpeas in an even layer on a large baking sheet to dry for 10 minutes. Return to the drum, fit the lid on top and insert back into the bowl.
  5. Tap the air fry button and set temperature to 205°C and fry for 10 minutes.
  6. Eat immediately, or keep in an open container for a week.

Air Fryer Reuben Eggrolls

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggroll wrappers
  • 3 packets of sliced corned beef
  • ¾ cup sauerkraut
  • ¼ cup Thousand Island dressing
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Method:

  1. On a large chopping board, layout the eggroll wrappers. Layer each wrapper with corned beef, sauerkraut, dressing and cheese leaving about a ¼" edge around the wrapper.
  2. Fold in the sides of the wrappers, and tightly roll the wrapper from bottom to top.
  3. Brush all sides of eggrolls with melted butter.
  4. Place baking rack in the bowl in the low position and place 3 eggrolls on top.
  5. Tap the grill button and set temperature to 220°C and fry for 15, flipping halfway through. Repeat with remaining eggrolls.
  6. Serve hot with additional Thousand Island dressing for dipping.

Air Fryer Pork Loin

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb pork loin filet
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Method:

  1. Rinse and pat the pork dry.
  2. In a large zip top bag, add the remaining ingredients and zip the bag closed. Shake to combine all ingredients. Add the pork to the bag, seal, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.
  3. Remove the pork (discarding the marinade). Skewer the pork onto a spindle and secure. Tighten the screw on the spindle to hold the meat. Insert into the bowl of an air fryer.
  4. Set temperature to 200°C and fry for 32-35 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove pork loin from the bowl and place on a large cutting board to rest for 5-10 minutes.
    Remove spindle and slice pork.
  6. Serve with your favourite steamed vegetables or side dish.

Air Fryer Fried Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup chocolate milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, milk, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt.
  2. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Dip each sandwich cookie in the batter until it’s completely covered and place on the prepared sheet.
  3. Freeze the dipped cookies for 1 hour until batter is completely set.
  4. Spray cooking spray in the bowl and place 9 cookies in the bottom of bowl. Tap the bake button and set the temperature to 205°C and fry for 10 minutes.
  5. Eat warm. 

Note: the batter will puff up slightly around the cookie. This is normal. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 300g streaky bacon
  • 4 beef tenderloins
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning

Method:

  1. Take 1-2 rashers depending on size of the beef tenderloins and wrap around the edge of the meat
  2. Season both sides of the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Place tenderloins in the bowl.
  3. Tap the grill button and set temperature to 220°C and fry for 16-20 minutes, turning tenderloins halfway through.
  4. Remove the tenderloins and place on a cutting board to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve tenderloins with steak sauce and your favourite steamed vegetables.

Air Fryer Chicken Quesadilla

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 4 tbsp corn
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 4 tbsp nacho cheese sauce

Method:

  1. Spread refried beans among tortillas. Top with chicken, corn, shredded cheese and nacho cheese sauce.
  2. Fold tortillas in half.
  3. Place baking rack in the bowl in the low position and place two quesadillas on top.
  4. Tap the bake button and set the temperature to 190°C and fry for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips and salsa.

All recipes courtesy of George Foreman.

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