Editor Note: This article was first published in Nov 2020; we are re-publishing it this month to help inspire anyone considering an air fryer purchase for themselves or as a gift this holiday season. Happy cooking!
My favourite appliance right now is my air fryer, and there are so many good reasons for that. Air fryers are easy to use, work fast, and add a crispy edge to almost anything you’re cooking.
While most people think that an air fryer is just for french fries and chicken strips, I’ve discovered so many different recipes you can make in one. Here’s a look at a few things you can cook in an air fryer.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a compact appliance with a heating element and a fan. It’s 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. It’s the speedy circulation of hot air in an enclosed space that makes your food crisp.
Deep-fried taste without deep frying
Unlike deep frying where you submerge your food in hot oil, an air fryer uses little to no oil at all. It’s so much healthier than a deep fryer because of that lack of oil, and air fryers are safer to use too. You don’t have to worry that one of your kids is going to knock into the deep fryer or pot of oil when you’re cooking. You just seal it up and your air fryer cooks your food.
What can you make in an air fryer?
If you’re into pub-style food, an air fryer will be your favourite appliance too. I just reviewed the Insignia Air Fryer and I made french fries, chicken strips, and so much more. Here’s a look at a few of the quick and easy dishes I whipped up using this two-level air fryer.
Air fry rotisserie chicken
The Insignia Air Fryer I tested out has a bonus feature. It has a spit you can use to make rotisserie chicken. It was the fastest chicken I’ve ever roasted, and it was delicious.
To make air fry Rotisserie chicken you’ll need:
- One whole chicken
- Dash of olive oil
- Spices to taste. I used paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper, but you can do a search and find different variations of what to add to roast chicken
Follow the instructions for putting the chicken on the spit, tap the chicken preset on the air fryer or set your chicken to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Tap to turn on rotation and your chicken will start rotating.
I checked the chicken at the half-hour mark and tested the internal temperature. It was 150 degrees so I put it back in for another 10 minutes until it reached 165 degrees. The result was a golden brown chicken that was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Air fry potato chips
I’ve never attempted to make potato chips at home, but I’m so glad I did. I had no idea the process was so easy.
I used a mandolin to slice them thin enough to air fry. I highly recommend using a mandolin or a spiralizer as anything thicker would taste more like chunky potatoes and not a chip.
- 3 russet potatoes, but you can use any kind of potato including sweet potatoes
- Dash of olive oil
- Spices including dill, parsley, salt, and pepper
Slice your potatoes with your mandolin. Submerge your sliced potatoes in ice water for 15 minutes. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees.
Drain potatoes from ice water and put in a bowl. Add a dash of olive oil if you’d like. I find it makes them more crispy but oil isn’t needed if you don’t want to use it. Add spices. Toss your chips in the bowl to coat.
Place chips in the air fryer or on the air fryer rack. The Insignia air fryer has two levels so I used both to make chips, rotating them halfway through. Cook for 7 minutes, rotate or flip, then cook for another 5 minutes.
Air fry brownies
Yes, you can make all types of delicious desserts in an air fryer. I was so surprised at how delicious the brownies I made were, and the best part was that it was so easy. You mix the batter in one bowl and you can get as creative as you’d like.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- Any add-ins you’d like including chocolate chips, candy bar chunks, or nuts
Add sugar and butter to the bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add eggs and continue whisking. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix until smooth.
Pour into a greased six or seven-inch cake pan. Put in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Air fry hash browns
If you want to replicate your favourite restaurant’s hash brown recipe, all you need is a potato or two.
- Two potatoes
- Dash of olive oil
Chop up your potatoes into bite-size chunks. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil your potatoes for around 8 minutes. Drain. This step is important because it makes for the crispiest hash browns.
Put hot potatoes in a bowl and add a dash of olive oil and your favourite spices. I used salt, pepper, and chili flakes, but you can use almost anything and they will taste great. Put your potato chunks in the air fryer and tap your french fry preset. If you don’t have a preset for french fries on your air fryer, tap 370 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn halfway through.
Air fry beef jerky
Beef jerky is one of my kid’s favourite snacks. Now that I can make my own in the air fryer, I’ll never have to buy it by the bag again.
- Steak (I used flank but you can use top round or bottom round)
Slice your steak as thin as possible. Place strips in the marinade and let sit for at least 6 hours or longer. I let my steak marinade for 24 hours before cooking. Turn your air fryer to 180 degrees. Add steak strips to rack and cook for an hour and a half.
Let cool before eating.
Air fry fruit pie
If you want to whip up a quick and easy dessert, all you need are some tart shells and your air fryer. My kids got busy in the kitchen with our air fryer and they came up with mini blackberry pies.
- Tart shells
- Two cups of fruit. You can use blackberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, or whatever you have on hand
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Dash lemon juice
In a pot add your berries, cornstarch, and sugar. Heat on low and mix well until dissolved. Add fruit filling to tart shells. My kids did a few shells without tops and some with. Put on a tray in the air fryer and cook at 350 degrees for at least 15 minutes. Check to see that crust is baked. If not, put back in for another 10 minutes.
Those are just a few of the recipes I made using the Insignia air fryer, and there are so many more you can try. Do a search for air fryer recipes and see how many delicious dishes you can whip up in this amazing appliance.
Shop air fryers on BestBuy.ca.
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