You Can Make Sweet And Savory Baby Carrots In An Air Fryer
Chef Zach Cummings of Timbers Kauai in Lihue, Hawaii, told Insider that baby carrots are one of his favorite foods to prepare in an air fryer.
“The intense, focused heat of the air fryer achieves this beautiful caramelization in a fraction of the time it takes to cook baby carrots that way in a traditional oven,” said Cummings.
For perfectly caramelized carrots, Cummings said, coat them in extra-virgin olive oil, toasted fennel seeds, fresh thyme, sea salt, and pepper. Cook them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and shake the basket halfway through.
Works Well: Homemade Chips
Our Test Kitchen has had lots of success making homemade potato chips in their air fryers. You dont have to just stick to russet potatoes, either: try sweet potato chips, kale chips, beet chipseven pickle chips. Ready for a healthy crunch? You can make air-fryer tortilla chips with way less oil than deep-fried tortilla chips!
The Deal With Air Fryers
First off, a disappointment: Air fryers are not deep fryers.
Air fryers are full of hot air, and thats what is great about them. They are basically small, powerful ovens, and ovens use air as a vehicle for heat, whereas deep frying uses fat as the vehicle for heat.
Because air fryers are ovens and not fryers, foods that come out of your air fryer will not be 100% identical to the onion rings at Cone-n-Shake or the calamari rings at your favorite bar and grill.
The upshot is that air fryers are much less messy and oil-intensive than deep-frying. Even better, these lil ovens can do much more than crank out faux fried food. Air fryers bring beautifully browned vegetables, crackly-skinned chicken wings, and even light and airy cakes, all within your reach.
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Best Practices For Using Your Air Fryer
If youre new to the world of air-frying, well, youre in for a treat. Here are some best practices for using your air fryer, which just might just change your life.
Place the air fryer on heat-safe surfaces. The air fryer unit gets really hot, so make sure youre using it on a surface that can withstand the heat. Also, keep it several inches away from other appliances or kitchen items. Hot air blows out from the vent and, in my novice air-frying days, this is how I melted the outside of my coffee machine.
Air Fryer Veggie Chip Medley
Sweet, earthy beets and crispy, salty potatoes come together in this easy air-fryer chip medley that’s inspired by the favorite store-bought variety. It will take a couple batches to complete, but the final result is a super satisfying snack you can enjoy any time of the day.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Veggie Chip Medley
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Common Mistakes Youre Probably Making With Your Air Fryer
Cleaning it incorrectly or infrequently: Not many of us look forward to cleaning up post-meal. But, to keep your air fryer in decent condition, crumbs should not be left behind. Generally, washing the air fryer with hot soapy water after each use, combined with an occasional soak and light scrub, will help keep your appliance squeaky clean.
Not checking on your air fryer while its cooking: For best results, youll want to periodically check up on your food, which means opening up your air fryer. Most units are designed so you can open them, check on your food, and shake the basket around allowing food to be evenly cooked and crispy without burning or drying it out.
Overcrowding the basket: A mistake a lot of first-time buyers make is filling their air fryer to the brim with food, and expecting it all to magically cook evenly and thoroughly. It is recommended you should never fill your basket more than halfway, so larger portions of foods must be cooked in batches. The general rule of thumb is: resist the temptation to feed a crowd, all in one go.
Not pre-heating: When using an oven to bake or cook, you would usually pre-heat before cooking. Well, the same goes for an air fryer. Spending a few extra minutes waiting for the machine to reach optimum cooking conditions will potentially help you avoid under-baked choc chip cookies or unevenly cooked potato gems.
Whats So Good About Air Frying
An air fryer uses air to fry your food which means that the air bubbles around the food are what cooks it. Because air is used instead of oil, air-fried foods are much healthier for you. Furthermore, air frying requires less fat than traditional frying resulting in even healthier food!
Some air fryers can also bake and grill, which makes them all-in-one cooking machines. For example, an air fryer can be used in place of a microwave oven too! The best thing about air frying is that because theres no oil or grease involved in this process, the taste of the food becomes even better whilst retaining most, if not all, its nutritive value! Lets take a look at some recipes for an air fryer before looking at air fryers themselves.
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What Can I Make With My Air Fryer
You can make the regular things like wings and frozen items. Well the question I throw back is, what cant you make in it? I really havent found anything, really. Even our tofu air fryer recipe rocks.
We used to make stuffed bell peppers in the oven but not anymore! After making air fryer stuffed peppers there is no other way.
It has given me the ability to cook a lot healthier, and homemade meals on a more regular basis. Now I might make a meal in a few batches like:
- And a air fryer Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for.
The real game changer for us was when we figured out how to make air fryer ground beef!! Then used it to make ground beef egg rolls. I mean, air fryer popcorn chicken was a win but this could be used for a multitude of recipes.
Throw it into a pot of spaghetti or make our favorite chili mac recipe. For a quick meal or fun appetizer, make air fryer oysters that taste like they were deep fried.
You can even cook frozen salmon in air fryer that comes out perfectly.
Healthy Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken With Broccoli
This chicken gets incredibly crunchy, thanks to a light coating of panko and Parmesan and a quick cook in the air fryer! Serve it with charred broccoli and a tangy yogurt sauce for a healthy and complete meal you can throw together any day of the week.
Get the Recipe: Healthy Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken with Broccoli
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Air Fryer Taquitos And Charred Salsa
Taquitos are the ultimate finger foodmini rolled tacos that are warm, cheesy and super crunchy! An air fryer makes this crowd-pleasing snack surprisingly easy to cook up at home. We fill them with chunks of chicken and melty Colby Jack, but you can customize the ingredients to please even the pickiest of eaters with different proteins and cheeses. And while you have the air fryer fired up you can make a delicious charred salsa to serve alongside.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Taquitos and Charred Salsa
Air Fryer Gnocchi And Squash With Brown Butter And Sage
Gnocchi in an air fryer? This recipe will make you a believer! After testing several methods, we found that cooking the gnocchi first resulted in the soft pillowy centers we expect from gnocchi, while still giving the exterior a nice golden crunch. Paired with roasted squash, toasted walnuts, brown butter and sage, this dish is cold weather comfort at its best.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Gnocchi and Squash with Brown Butter and Sage
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What Is An Air Fryer
An air fryer is a compact appliance with a heating element and a fan. Its similar to, but not exactly the same as, a convection oven. Your food is placed in a basket or on a tray, you close the door, and hot air is rapidly circulated around your food. Its the speedy circulation of hot air in an enclosed space that makes your food crisp.
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
Who knew you could make sandwiches in the air fryer? And honestly, how delicious does an air fryer grilled cheese sandwich sound? Because you know it’s going to perfectly melt the cheese while crisping up the edges of the bread in exactly the way you want it to. And the thing is, the steps to make your sandwich are simple: preheat your air fryer to 400 F, butter both sides of two slices of bread, add shredded cheese between the slices, and cook the sandwich for 10 minutes on top of a trivet placed in the small appliance. Just flip the sandwich halfway through to get a nicely toast on both sides of the bread.
And here’s the thing: once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can get as creative as you want with the cheese or other sandwich fillings you choose to use. Why not use three different types of cheese , or why not add slices to tomato or sauteed onions? The ways to “gourmet-ify” your grilled cheese are practically endless. And couldn’t be easier.
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Dont Overcrowd The Pan/basket
Cooking a big batch of food might seem like its going to save time, but theres actually more risk of ruining whatever youre making.
Overcrowding your air fryer will lead to uneven cooking. Having a batch of cupcakes with some having burnt tops and some with gooey centers isnt ideal. Allowing some space between your food ensures that the hot air will circulate properly. This also ensures that the entire batch gets done at the same time.
More Than Fried Foods: How To Roast And Bake In The Air Fryer
No, you dont need to eat mozzarella sticks and onion rings every night for the air fryer to earn its keep on your countertops. Even though the air fryer is lauded for its ability to create the crispy, crunchy texture of deep-fried food with little to no oil, the perks dont end there. Yes, you can make traditionally deep-fried favorites like chicken wings and French fries, but you can also make rib-eye steak, herb-roasted chicken and even cinnamon rolls for dessert. Ready to push some limits? Heres what you need to know.
Roasting in the air fryer
For the same reasons that air frying is great for fried foods, its also great for roasting. A little background on : Like an oven, air fryers generate heat. Unlike an oven, that heat is circulated rapidly around the cooking space with the help of a fan. This air movement, combined with a cooking basket that allows hot air to reach the food from all angles, results in food with a crispy-crunchy exteriormuch like deep-frying, but without the need for gallons of oil.
This same technology is perfect for roasting foods. Roasting foods in the air fryer is much quicker than roasting them in the oven since its compact size allows the air fryer to get to temperature much more quickly and use that heat more efficiently.
Heres how simple it is to roast a whole chicken in an air fryer:
Baking in the air fryer
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Works Well: Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, say hello to your new best friend. The air fryer is an easy way to get those yummy little seeds baked to crispy perfection. While traditional methods would take you around an hour to complete, youll save plenty of time by using an air fryer.
No air fryer? No problem. We have a guide to roasting pumpkin seeds the traditional way, too.
What You Can Bake
As explained above, hot air circulates faster in an air fryerthis means it can take from as little as 5 minutes to bake a small batch of cookies!
Make sure to coat the air fryer basket with butter or cooking spray to prevent the cookies from sticking. You can also line the base with foil or parchment paper.
Apart from slight adjustments to the baking time and temperature which we will cover later in the article, baking cookies with an air fryer is pretty much the same as using an oven. Stay away from any toppings that might melt, since they might get burnt.
Cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads
These batters are relatively dense, and theyre one of the most fuss-free baked goods you can make. Since the surface of such batters will come in close contact with the air fryers heating element, baking these items in an air fryer will give them slightly caramelized, crisp tops. However, the centers will remain soft and fluffy, just like the ones you get in an oven!
Cinnamon rolls are surprisingly one of the best items you can bake in an air fryer. Just make sure to do it the right waycut them into smaller pieces, and dont bake too many at a time.
If youre using frozen cinnamon roll dough, it only takes around 9 to 11 minutes to bake them to perfection.
Chiffon and Sponge Cakes
Cakes made from batter that is relatively thin can be quite tricky to bake in an air fryer since the batter can get scattered during baking and create a mess.
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Important Tips To Keep In Mind
- Always have the grate in the basket. This allows hot air to circulate around the food, and also keeps the food from sitting in excess oil.
- Air fryers are loud. When its running, youll hear whirring fans.
- Its hands-on. Even browning requires you to remove the basket and shuffle the food around every few minutes.
- It’s fine to pull out the basket for a peek. You can do this at any point into the cooking process. No need to shut off the machine, as it shuts itself off when the basket is out.
- Accordingly, make sure the drawer is pushed all the way in, or it wont turn back on. Youll know, because the air fryer will be suddenly quiet.
- Food cooks fast, faster than youre used to! Its one of the best attributes of the air fryer. Your air fryers manual likely has a handy table of cooking times and temperatures for common foods. The less food in the basket, the shorter the cook time will be the more food, the longer it will be.
- You may need a slightly lower temperature. A lot of air fryer recipes call for lower temperature settings than their conventional counterparts. This might seem fishy, but just go with it. Once again, air fryers get hot very fast and move that hot air around, so a slightly lower temperature will help keep food from getting too dark or crispy on the outside, while still being properly cooked on the inside.
You Cook In The Air Fryer Without Cleaning
A dirty air fryer can be dangerous for your stomach and your nose. You put yourself at a much higher risk of food contamination if you do not clean your air fryer between uses, says Candess Zona-Mendola, editor of a food safety blog and a paralegal for a food safety law firm. Aim to clean your air fryer after every meal thats cooked in it. It might seem like a big mess, but its quite easy, Zona-Mendola adds. Just use hot water with a bit of dishwashing liquid. Let the basket soak as long as it needs so you dont have to scrub off baked-on food. Three minutes of your time will keep your air fryer fresh your tummy safe, and your kitchen wont stink. And beware of these other things you should never cook in an air fryer.
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Air Fryers Can Take Gnocchi From Gummy To Golden
Dang told Insider that she thinks using an air fryer is one of the best ways to prepare premade, frozen gnocchi.
“The first time I tried frozen cauliflower gnocchi, I didn’t get the appeal I just wound up with a gummy mess,” she said. “But when I tried them again in the air fryer, they came out golden and crispy.”
You Dont Check The Foods Temperature
Dont neglect your food safety know-how when you turn on an air fryer. The rules of cooking meat thoroughly apply here just as they would on a grill, oven, or stove surface. Those who think that there is no need to check the internal temperatures when food is air-fried are serving up a recipe for disaster, Zona-Mendola says. You want to make sure that you are practicing the same sanitary precautions, as well as cooking temp precautions, as you would with any other method of cooking. Here are 25 more cooking mistakes that can ruin your food.
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You Can Make Your Own Potato Chips With An Air Fryer
The ability to turn thin slices of potatoes into crispy chips is one reason air fryers are popular. But, as Knight pointed out, you don’t have to stick to plain spuds for your homemade chips.
“You can definitely use regular white potatoes, but you can also substitute sweet potatoes,” said Knight. “These are a fun snack to make for kids.”
For best results, it’s a wise idea to coat your potato slices with a touch of olive or vegetable oil before placing them in the air fryer.