What can you make in an air fryer? So many things! This collection of healthy air fryer recipes will help you get started.
A while back, a friend texted me, urging me to buy an air fryer. She was certain I would love it. Despite the endorsement, I was hesitant. Would this be another appliance to collect dust in my storage room like the zoodles maker my kids and I tried once or twice?
So I kept doing my online research about air fryers and debating about which one I would buy if I bought one.
Then my brother requested one for Christmas, so I got him one. When he started sending me photos of the dishes he made in the air fryer though, I was sold. One endorsement is good; two is golden.
These days, we use our air fryer mostly for snacks and side dishes, though the occasional crispy chicken sandwich is a treat. I love how the air fryer creates crispy food without heating up the oven or using excessive amounts of oil.
Are air fryers healthy?
This is a great question. The short answer is they can be. If you like fried food, this is a better way to cook it than deep frying. Air fryers work by circulating air around food while it cooks. It can produce fryer-like results (crispy, browned outsides) with little or no oil.
But like any other “healthy” cooking method. air fryers are only as good as what you put into them. The healthiness of the underlying ingredients (and how much oil you use) will impact the overall healthiness of what you cook in an air fryer.
As Women’s Health says, mozzarella sticks are still breaded mozzarella sticks.
Disadvantages of an air fryer
The biggest disadvantage of the air fryer — for me — is the basket. Even with larger air fryers, recipes need to be cooked in batches to ensure maximum air fryer crispiness (crowded food won’t crisp well or cook as well). That’s why we don’t often cook our main dish in the air fryer. However, if you have a larger capacity air fryer, a rack to create a second layer or are cooking for just a few people, an air fryer can be great for main dishes too.
For side dishes and snacks, it’s perfect for us.
It’s also easy to burn foods in the air fryer. So you need to both follow recipe (or booklet) instructions and experiment with your air fryer to get the doneness just right.
What I like about my air fryer
Here’s what I like about my air fryer: I can make food without heating up the oven (a bonus in the warmer months). I can create crispy dishes without frying things in oil. Mozzarella sticks come out perfect every time.
We used ours frequently in the summer and have used it less often this fall and winter. But now I am dreaming of pulling it out again so …
As to whether you should get an air fryer, that’s a question that only you can answer. If you enjoy fried foods and want a healthier way to prepare them, then an air fryer might be a good small appliance for you. However, if fried foods aren’t your thing, then this might be one to skip.
Ready to get cooking in an air fryer? This list of healthy air fryer recipes will get you started.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.