What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer? 

 Last Update April 23, 2024

By Jenny Zhang

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In the ever-evolving landscape of kitchen appliances, the air fryer has emerged as a true game-changer, offering a compelling promise of crispy, golden-brown goodness with significantly less oil than traditional deep frying. Imagine enjoying fried chicken, sweet potato fries, falafels, heating up frozen french fries, juicy kebabs, flavorful roasted vegetables, or even mouthwatering seafood—all with a fraction of the oil and mess you'd typically expect.

In this guide, we'll share what food you can cook in an air fryer and help you discover the best air fryer recipes.

17 Foods You Can Cook In An Air Fryer Ideas

1. Meat

Chicken thighs in air fryer basket

Air fryers are remarkably versatile when it comes to cooking different types of meat. They offer a delicate balance of tenderness and crispiness while using considerably less oil than traditional deep frying. If you're seeking ideas for the kinds of meats and dishes to prepare in an air fryer, a wealth of air fryer recipes is available.


Utilizing an air fryer to cook chicken yields a marvelous combination: a crispy, flavorful exterior while preserving tender, juicy meat. Air fryers offer the advantage of quick cooking times and even heat distribution, making them ideal for various chicken dishes. 

For instance, you can create mouthwatering dishes like air-fryer chicken drumsticks, which boast a delectably crispy skin and juicy meat. Chicken wings, often associated with deep frying, can also be transformed in the air fryer. Air fryer chicken wings boast a satisfying crunch without excessive oil while maintaining their tenderness inside! In addition, you can also make chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, chicken kebabs, stuffed chicken, Korean chicken wings, and even a whole chicken in an air fryer!


Cooking pork in an air fryer is a convenient and delicious way to prepare various dishes with succulent and flavorful results. The air fryer version offers the advantage of achieving a crispy exterior while keeping the pork juicy and tender inside. Whether you're making classic pork chops, crispy bacon, or experimenting with new pork recipes, the air fryer can help you achieve flavorful and mouth-watering results.


The same holds true for beef, with dishes like air-fried steak fries, meatballs, kibbeh, or burger patties. Achieving a satisfyingly crispy exterior and a soft, yielding interior, these steak fries require a fraction of the oil used in deep frying, ultimately producing a lighter side dish rich in flavor.


Turkey, too, benefits from air frying, as seen with air-fryer turkey breast and turkey burgers. The outcome is a flawlessly juicy patty with a touch of outer crispiness. This leaner alternative to beef burgers reduces the calorie intake and ensures that the turkey's natural taste remains the dish's star.


Utilizing an air fryer for lamb offers a convenient, efficient method to create delectable dishes, boasting tender meat and rich flavors. Whether you're making lamb chops, kebabs, cumin lamb or other delicious lamb dishes, the air fryer can help you create mouthwatering meals with minimal hassle and exceptional flavor.

2. Fish

Fish and veggies in air fryer basket

Cooking fish in an air fryer is a fantastic way to achieve a delicate and crispy texture without excessive oil. You can achieve perfectly crispy and tender air fryer fish with minimal effort with an air fryer.

When it comes to the best type of fish to air fry, lean and flaky varieties tend to work exceptionally well due to their texture and cooking time. Fish with a thinner fillet or delicate texture are particularly suited for air frying. Some of the best fish to cook in an air fryer include tilapia, cod, salmon, haddock, sole, and trout, with air fryer salmon being the most popular.

Despite their versatility in cooking various dishes, air fryers have limitations when attempting to prepare battered fish. Battered fish typically involves coating the fish in a wet batter made from a mixture of flour, liquid, and seasonings. This wet batter creates that classic crispy and golden exterior when deep-fried but can drip through the perforated basket and into the bottom of the air fryer as it cooks. It can lead to a mess, and the batter may not adhere to the fish as effectively as in a deep fryer. Instead of a wet batter, use dry coatings like breadcrumbs or panko for a crisp exterior. You can dip the fish in an egg or a milk mixture and then coat it with the dry mixture.

3. Frozen Food

Air-fried frozen French fries

Air-frying frozen foods is a game-changer for busy moms and those seeking speedy cooking. It delivers rapid, convenient, and efficient crispiness and deliciousness. Whether you're preparing frozen snacks, appetizers, or even full meals, the air fryer can transform your frozen foods into tasty delights.

Some of the frozen foods you can pop in an air fryer include:

  • Frozen French fries
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Spring rolls
  • Dumplings
  • Fish sticks
  • Pizza rolls
  • Ravioli
  • Onion rings
  • Mini pizzas

4. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Air fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Using an air fryer to make air fryer grilled cheese sandwiches provides numerous benefits, including even cooking, faster cooking times, less mess, and consistent results. It's a hassle-free way to achieve a perfectly crispy exterior and a warm, melty interior without excessive butter or oil. With the air fryer's efficiency and precision, you can enjoy your favorite comfort food quickly.

5. Onion Rings

Air Fried Onion Rings

Onion rings are a popular and delicious appetizer or side dish that can be made even better using an air fryer. A beloved indulgence, onion rings boast a delightful outer crispness and flawlessly tender interior. Making onion rings in an air fryer offers numerous benefits, including healthier cooking, reduced oil absorption, less mess, energy efficiency, and convenience. Air-fried onion rings deliver the same satisfying crunch as deep-fried ones while promoting a lighter and more enjoyable dining experience.

6. Air Fryer Desserts


Making desserts in an air fryer opens up a world of possibilities for creating sweet treats that are both delicious and convenient. An air fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance that can handle various dessert recipes, offering unique benefits compared to traditional baking.

Some of the desserts you can make in an air fryer include donuts, fruit crisps, churros, cakes, cronuts, cookies, brownies, and pies. Desserts with excess liquid, like custards or puddings, might not work as air fryers are designed for rapid air circulation, leading to uneven cooking and textural issues.

7. Stuffed Peppers

Air Fried Stuffed Peppers

Making stuffed peppers in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient way to create a flavorful and satisfying dish with less cooking time than an oven. Making stuffed peppers in an air fryer offers numerous benefits, including faster cooking times, a crispy exterior, even cooking, energy efficiency, and convenience. Whether you are stuffing cream cheese or cheddar cheese, air fryers allow you to enjoy a delicious and nutritious dish in a fraction of the time it would take using an oven.

8. Falafels

air fryer falafel recipe

Falafel, a well-liked Middle Eastern delight crafted from ground chickpeas or fava beans, traditionally requires deep-frying for its signature combo of crispy outer layer and tender inner texture. Making falafel in an air fryer is a healthier and equally delicious alternative to deep frying while still delivering the desired texture and flavor.

9. Homemade Chips

Air Fried Homemade Chips

Making homemade chips from potatoes, sweet potatoes, or zucchini in an air fryer is a fantastic way to enjoy a crispy and delicious snack with less oil and fewer calories than traditional deep-fried chips. Air-fried chips retain the same satisfying crunch and flavor as their deep-fried counterparts. They offer several benefits, including reduced oil usage, fewer calories, a healthier option, similar crispiness, even cooking, convenience, safety, and energy efficiency. 

10. Reheat Leftover Pizza

Leftover pizza, nuggets, and fries

Air fryers provide a practical and efficient solution for enjoying your pizza leftovers, allowing you to savor the flavors and textures of your pizza as if it were freshly baked. Reheating leftover pizza in an air fryer offers several advantages, including faster reheating, crispy crust restoration, even heating, energy efficiency, and convenience.

11. Potato And Sweet Potato

sweet potato fries

Making potatoes and sweet potatoes in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient way to achieve crispy and flavorful results with less cooking time than roasting in the oven. Whether you want to make fries, hash browns, or roast potatoes, cooking them in an air fryer can speed up the cooking process, crispy textures, and even cooking. 

12. Quiche

Quiche, a delicious savory pie, features a buttery crust, eggs, milk, or cream and an array of fillings like cheese, vegetables, and meats. Making quiche in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient way to create a delicious and satisfying dish with less cooking time than an oven. Air frying quiche allows you to enjoy all the flavors and textures you love about this classic dish while benefiting from the unique features of the air fryer.

13. Whole Roasted Garlic

Whole Roasted Garlic

Cooking roasted garlic in an air fryer is a simple and efficient way to enjoy this aromatic ingredient's rich, caramelized flavors. With an air fryer, you can enjoy the wonderful flavors of roasted garlic with minimal effort and in less time than a traditional oven. Whether you're adding roasted garlic to recipes or simply enjoying it as a spread, the air fryer is an excellent tool for achieving excellent results.

14. Corn On The Cob

Air fried Corn On The Cob

Air frying corn on the cob offers a swift and hassle-free technique, producing wonderfully tender and flavorful outcomes. Air fryers provide a hassle-free way to prepare corn without the need for boiling water or grilling while it retains flavor and the option for a crispy exterior.

15. Croquettes


Croquettes are typically breaded and fried food items, usually filled with mashed potatoes, minced meat, seafood, vegetables, or cheese. With the help of an air fryer, croquettes can achieve a crispy and flavorful exterior while keeping the inside soft and delicious, just like the traditional deep-fried version.

16. Reheat Leftover Fried Food

Leftover nuggets in air fryer

Reheating fried food in an air fryer is an excellent method to restore the crispy texture lost during refrigeration. Unlike microwaves that can make fried foods soggy, air fryers circulate hot air around the food, evenly reheating and re-crisping the exterior while keeping the interior moist. It is great for reheating fried chicken, fried chicken wings, and more.

17. Tempura

Fried tempura

Cooking tempura in an air fryer offers a healthier alternative to traditional deep-frying, reducing oil use while achieving a crispy texture. To prepare, lightly coat the tempura in a thin batter and place it in the air fryer basket. Whether making your own from scratch or heating up frozen tempura, an air fryer is the perfect way to cook it. 

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.