Air Fryer Basics

Air fried ribs in marinade with tartar sauce and hot chips

What Can I Cook In My Air Fryer?

The short answer to this is lots and lots of things. Probably far more things that you realise. There are a number of recipes that are easy to master and not all of them involve frying – strange, but true!

An air fryer is basically a small convection oven which cooks by circulating very hot air around your food. This combination of very high temperature and the movement of the hot air means that you can make crispy, golden food without using litres of oil. 

In fact, some manufacturers claim that their machines need no additional oil at all.

Oil or not, you can use your air fryer to make a huge range of dishes that are usually deep-fried, grilled, sauteed or baked. The big bonus is that you can knock out a healthier version of your comfort food favourite. 

Check out some of our must-try suggestions below.

Before You Start Cooking

Air fryers are pretty versatile kitchen appliances, but there are a few things that you should consider before you rush forward and try to make an eight course meal in it.

If you are concerned about food safety and cooking temperatures, you can read more here.

Check The Functions 

Air fryers are sold as multi-function appliances and can cook food in a variety of ways. Even so, it’s best to check what the manufacturer says their model can do before you start throwing your cash around.

Convection oven-style air fryer with plates of air fried food

Check The Capacity 

The cooking capacity of different models vary considerably and this will affect what you can prepare in them. Obviously, you can’t make as many hot chips in one go in a 1.7L capacity air fryer as you can in a 4.5L one. 

If you are only cooking for yourself, this may not be a problem, but if you are preparing meals for a family of six and only have a small capacity air fryer, you may find having to make two or more batches of something a real drag after a while.

Similarly, many convection oven style air fryers are big enough to roast a whole chicken (and often come with a rotisserie function for exactly that kind of cooking), but to cook a chicken in a pull-drawer model, you may need to cut it into pieces. 

Think about how you cook, who you are cooking for and the food you are likely to eat before purchasing your first air fryer. We offer suggestions in our review section.

Check For A Recipe Booklet Or App

The most reliable place to find recipes that are perfect for your particular appliance is from the manufacturer of your appliance. Some provide recipe books, or at least booklets, whilst some of the more expensive models have their own apps. Many also have air fryer recipes on their websites. 

Again, check out what is available before you buy. A friend of mine recently bought a Bellini benchtop convection oven-style air fryer which she loves, but it arrived without a single recipe suggestion! Not surprisingly, my friend would be using her new appliance considerably more if the manufacturer had provided a few recipes with the model. We all need to build up confidence when faced with new gadgets and Bellini missed a trick here.

That aside, if you are interested in how you can use an air fryer to prepare healthier meals, you can read more here.

Be Aware Of Variations Across Brands & Models

Not all air fryers are the same, so be aware that cooking times and temperatures may well vary from model to model. This means that unless you are following air fryer recipes that were written specifically for your machine, you should see most recipes as a guideline and be ready to adjust the temperature or amount of time that you cook things for. 

I recommend keeping a close eye on how the cooking is going the first few times that you make something and adjust times accordingly as you learn and evolve. 

Give It A Go!

The best piece of advice is simply to get in there and use your new toy. The more that you experiment and try new things, the easier you will find it to use your air fryer and to know what works well in it and how to get the best results. And as you learn, make a note of the air fryer recipes that work for you so you know which ones to come back to.

Have fun and get cooking!

Essential Air Fryer Recipes

There are some air fryer recipes that really must be attempted! For your convenience we’ve provided seven of these essential air fryer recipes in one convenient article.

Neon air fried chicken logo

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