6 Creative Air Fryer Recipes

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Air fryers are small kitchen appliances with many uses that have quickly gained popularity in the home space. Although the name reveals their primary purpose of creating a fried-food result using air (and often a tiny bit of oil), they are incredibly versatile and can cook, bake, and dehydrate foods to make a wide range of dishes.

Air fryers are an excellent alternative if you love a crispy texture on your food but prefer to avoid the excess oil generally required for traditional deep frying. However, you can also use an air fryer for baking cookies and cakes, roasting vegetables and chicken, making fruit leather, and a variety of other kitchen needs.

Potatoes in air fryer

Getty Images / Grandbrothers

Ways to Use an Air Fryer

You can use the following creative recipes to make unique dishes in your air fryer or use them as an inspirational starting point for your own inventive meals. 

Vegetable Fries

If you love fries but want a change from potatoes, use your air fryer to make crispy, delicious, and nutritious fries from almost any firm vegetable you like. Ideal choices for vegetable fries (that aren't potatoes) include green beans, asparagus, carrots, butternut squash, zucchini, and snap peas.

You can serve vegetable fries as a snack, appetizer, or side dish with classic ketchup or a yogurt-based dip mixed with herbs and garlic. Using 1lb of green beans as in the recipe below, you can make fries for six people that contain 197 calories, 5g of fat, 29g of carbohydrates, and 9.6g of protein, assuming you use all the coating. You'll also get an excellent dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

Easy Air Fryer Green Bean Fries

Preheat the air fryer to 390F and coat 1lb green beans in 1/2 cup of flour. Dip each green bean into two whisked eggs, then coat with one cup of panko crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and any other seasonings you like. Spray the air fryer with cooking spray and place green beans in the air fryer for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Air Fryer Banana Chips

Fruit chips, like these banana chips, are a perfect snack or lunchbox treat and are ready in 15 minutes or less. You can use different kinds of fruit to make fruit chips, like strawberries or apples, and season them with cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other spices you like.

These banana chips serve 4 and provide 73 calories per serving, with 2.4g of fat, 13g of carbs, and 0.6g of protein. You'll also get some vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and health-promoting phytochemicals. Serve them on their own, or try adding them to granola or yogurt.

Quick Banana Chips

Preheat the air fryer to 350F and slice two firm bananas into 1/4 inch thick slices. Coat slices with a neutral-tasting oil (avocado, grapeseed, coconut) and place in an air fryer in a single layer. Sprinkle slices with sea salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon to taste if desired. Air fry for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway, or until golden and crispy. Remove and let cool.

Air Fryer Baked Apples

Baked apples are a nutritious dessert option that is quick and easy to prepare in your air fryer. Apples are packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A. Topping them with some whole grain oats, a bit of butter, and brown sugar creates a sweet, satisfying topping that crisps up perfectly in the air fryer.

Serve these golden-crisp baked apples with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream, whipped cream, or a splash of half and half. You can add chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, cashews, a dollop of almond butter, berries, or any other toppings you like.

As is, these baked apples provide 167 calories, 6.7g fat, 26g carbs, and 2g protein in two servings. You'll also get nearly 3g of fiber, vitamin C, and iron.

Simple Air Fryer Baked Apples

Preheat your air fryer to 350F. Cut one large, tart apple in half and core it. Combine 3 tbsp old-fashioned oats, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp oat flour (or all-purpose), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil. Air fry apples for 5 to 6 minutes, remove and add topping. Air fry for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Air Fryer Roasted Salsa

A creative way to use up vegetables is to use them in roasted salsa. You can roast veggies right in your air fryer and simply blend them up to create a delicious homemade salsa.

Tomato salsa is packed with nutrients like lycopene, vitamin C, and potassium. Adding some oil to the roasting process will help you absorb these compounds and provide more significant health benefits. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent cancer, and these benefits are amplified when you cook lycopene-containing tomatoes.

Serve roasted salsa with tortilla chips, on top of Mexican cuisine, on an omelet, or mixed with yogurt to make a dip for raw veggies or vegetable fries. The below recipe serves 12 and provides 17 calories, 1.2g fat, 1.8g carbs, 0.5g fiber, and 0.3g protein.

Roasted Salsa

Peel and slice 2 tomatoes, 1/4 onion, and 1 jalapeno. Add 2 cloves of garlic and drizzle all with olive oil. Place in a preheated air fryer at 400F for 15 minutes. Blend all veggies in a blender or food processor. Add chopped cilantro, lime, and salt to taste and more fresh garlic, if desired.

Air Fryer Kale Chips

If you need a new and inspiring way to get your kids (or yourself) to eat more leafy greens, try these crunchy, savory kale chips made in the air fryer. You can season them any way you like, experimenting with flavors to mimic your favorite chips.

Kale is packed with vitamins A, K, C, and minerals potassium and calcium. Kale is known to help protect your heart, boost bone health, and reduce risks of cancer.

Serve kale chips out of hand with your favorite dip, or crumble them on top of a bowl of soup. These kale chips serve four and provide 72 calories, 7g of fat, 2g of carbs, and 1g of protein.

Air Fryer Kale Chips

Remove the leaves from the stems of 1 bunch of washed and dried kale and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Toss the kale with 2 tbsp of oil (avocado, olive, grapeseed) and sprinkle with seasonings of choice and salt to taste. Air fry at 280 for 5 to 8 minutes, shaking halfway. Watch them closely so they don't burn. Let cool for 5 minutes to crisp up.

Air Fryer Baked Oats

Baked, blended oats are like a luscious cake that provides a boost of whole grains and fiber for breakfast. You can adapt the ingredients to suit your tastes and top baked oats with anything you like such as yogurt, berries, nuts, and maple syrup.

This air fryer version of baked oats uses a banana for moisture and natural sweetness. Top it with chocolate chips and peanut butter for a classic flavor combo. This version serves two people and provides 252 calories, 8.7g fat, 41g carbs, and 7g protein. You'll also get almost 6g of fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium along with the cholesterol-lowering benefits of oats.

Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oats

Preheat your air fryer to 350F. Blend 1 banana with 2/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup milk of choice, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking powder in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour half the batter into two greased ramekins or heat-proof bowls, dollop with peanut butter and chocolate chips, then top with the remaining batter. Air fry for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Top with more banana slices, chocolate chips, and peanut butter if desired.

Air Fryer Tips & Tricks

When using an air fryer, some tips and tricks can help you make the most of it while avoiding mistakes. Firstly, ensure you allow enough space around your air fryer to work correctly.

Don't Overcrowd Your Air Fryer

Air fryers need airflow to operate and prevent overheating, which can be damaging and dangerous. Allow about 5 inches of clutter-free space around your air fryer when using.

Be careful, as well, not to overload your air fryer. Some of these recipes above may not be suitable for your air fryer if it is on the smaller side. In that case, simply complete the recipe in batches. Overcrowding can lead to some uncooked or overcooked food or soggy bits that don't crisp up.

Remember the Oil Spray

When creating your own recipes, for most items, you should spray or sprinkle them with a bit of oil. While air fryers use air, they also need a bit of oil for crispy results. Otherwise, the food could be hard and dry without the crunchy texture you're used to with fried items.

Hand-Wash Well

Wash your air fryer after each use to prevent burning or smoking. This will also help prevent smells and flavors from transferring to your new dish. Most air fryer baskets and grates should be hand washed and not placed in the dishwasher, but check the manual.

Prevent Messes

You can use parchment paper or aluminum foil to cover your food and prevent messes. If you use parchment paper, place it in the basket after pre-heating is complete. Parchment paper that's used with an air fryer should have holes in it to keep it from flying up and ruining your food or touching the element and catching fire.

A Word From Verywell

Air fryers can do so much more than fry foods with less oil. While this is one of their best draws, they can also bake, roast, and more. Using an air fryer to create quick and healthy snacks, meals, and sides is easy and fun. Get creative with your air fryer by making these recipes or using them to inspire your next dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's the easiest thing to make in an air fryer?

    There are so many easy things to make in an air fryer. Grilled cheese sandwiches, "boiled" eggs, roasted vegetables, baked oats, and more. You can even bake pre-made cookie dough, croissants, and frozen pizzas in the air fryer.

  • Can you put raw meat in an air fryer?

    You can put raw meat in the air fryer. Cooking meat in the air fryer works perfectly so long as you choose the correct time and temperature. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat is fully cooked.

8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Apple, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. Nuray Z. Unlu, Torsten Bohn, Steven K. Clinton, Steven J. Schwartz. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oilThe Journal of Nutrition. March 2005. doi:10.1093/jn/135.3.431

  4. Imran M, Ghorat F, Ul-Haq I, et al. Lycopene as a natural antioxidant used to prevent human health disorders. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(8):706. Published 2020 Aug 4. doi:10.3390/antiox9080706

  5. Kale, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  6. Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, Bondonno CP, et al. Cardiovascular health benefits of specific vegetable types: a narrative reviewNutrients. 2018;10(5).  doi:10.3390/nu10050595

  7. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K: Fact sheet for health professionals.

  8. Lin T, Zirpoli GR, McCann SE, Moysich KB, Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Trends in cruciferous vegetable consumption and associations with breast cancer risk: A case-control studyCurr Dev Nutr. 2017;1(8):e000448. doi:10.3945/cdn.117.000448

By Rachel MacPherson, BA, CPT
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.