Believe me, adding a new appliance to my already packed kitchen was not the plan...and then Amazon Prime Day happened, and here we are. I’d be lying if I said the air fryer is a small gadget; he’s clunky and not really a looker on the counter top. Although he takes up some real estate in the kitchen, he makes whipping up healthy meals a snap. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven, he’s been our go-to cooking companion. For this post we made an entire meal, a protein and two sides, ENTIRELY in the air fryer.
What is an Air Fryer?
This tabletop appliance uses convection to circulate very hot air (and a minimal amount of oil, most recipes call for less than 1 teaspoon) around food to cook it. Traditional deep frying submerges your food in a hot jacuzzi of oil, but the air fryer just bakes it in a nice dry sauna (unintentional spa references here). The machine gets hot in minutes, which means no more waiting for your oven to preheat or sweating in the kitchen.
Can you get things crispy in the oven? Of course. But the speed, ease, and minimal clean up (our fryer baskets go straight in the dishwasher), are why we just can’t quit our fryers. Since it uses a fraction of the oil that deep frying does, it’s great for creating healthy dishes that deliver crispy goodness, minus the grease. We’ve put shishito peppers, veggie kebabs, frozen gyoza dumplings, shrimp, and cauliflower into our AFs, and they all came out mwahhhh (kisses fingers like a cartoon French chef).
Cosori Air Fryer: My friend Dulce’s glowing video message/love letter about her own Cosori finally convinced me to take the plunge. What we both love about this model is the reasonable price point (I paid $75 for mine on Prime Day), and accurate preset features. You can adjust the time and temperature manually, but the preset options have not failed us yet. It also has a “Shake Reminder”, which stops halfway through the cooking time so you can shake shake shake, shake your foodie (sorry, not sorry). I haven’t turned on my oven since I got my AF, and guess what...I don’t give an AF!
Phillips Air Fryer: I was really early to the air fryer game. I took the plunge way before they were the hot commodity they are today. At the time, options were far more limited and the Phillips was the one to beat. It hasn't let me down, it's reliable, well built, and big! You can fit 4 chicken thighs in the basket without over crowding.
It’s Fry Way or the Highway: Three rules to keeping things crispy.
Don't overcrowd the fryer basket. Fry in small batches for optimum crispiness.
Don't be afraid to adjust the temperature or time, and keep an eye on it!
Summer Sweet Potato Fries
This recipe is air fryer perfection, and it could not be any easier. When you get that fry craving, but are too hazy (hot + lazy) to leave the house, it’s time to throw some taters in the AF! One sweet potato may fill up the fry basket, so you might need to do this in two batches.
2 sweet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
Paprika and salt to taste
Peel your sweets.
Slice them into fry-like shapes. Easiest way to do this is to cut them into flat slices, approximately 1/2 inch thick, then cut those slices lengthwise into fries.
Toss or spray with olive oil until they're evenly coated.
Preheat your fryer.
Fry for 8 mins at 400 degrees, shaking half way through.
Sprinkle salt and paprika immediately after they come out of the basket.
Bacon is another easy AF winner. We love not having to deal with grease splatters on the stove. We used the bacon grease in place of regular olive oil to maximize the flavors in this dish.
1 bag of brussel sprouts (we go for the pre-washed ones)
4 strips of bacon
Cut the bacon in thirds.
Put into the fryer basket and cook at 400 degrees for 10-11 minutes.
Trim the bottom of the brussels, cut them into quarters, and place in a large bowl.
Remove the bacon, and pour the drained grease over the sliced brussels. Toss to evenly coat. If you need more oil to coat them evenly, just add a little olive oil.
Put the brussels into the fryer (don’t overcrowd them, one even layer works best) and cook at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes.
Once the bacon has cooled slightly, chop into small pieces.
Remove the brussels from the fryer once fully cooked, season with salt and pepper.
Toss with the chopped bacon
They're delicious just like this, but if you're feeling extra fancy... try this sauce to coat the brussles.
1 tablespoon balsamic
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sriracha
Mix well in a small bowl and then toss the brussels in it just prior to serving.
Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner
These chicken thighs deliver the crisp, minus the grease. It’s one of the regular proteins we toss in our AFs, with consistently tasty results.
4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
Dry off chicken thighs with paper towel.
Trim off excess skin and fat. Leave in fridge uncovered for 20 - 60 minutes to continue to dry. (dry skin before = crispy skin after)
Spray both sides (skin and underside) with a high heat spray oil (canola oil, ghee, or coconut oil) and sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
Follow your air fryer’s directions but here’s the general: preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
Place thighs in basket skin side up, and cook for approximately 18 minutes or until thermometer inserted into thickest section reads 165 degrees.
If your airfryer, begins to smoke, take the bottom tray out and empty excess grease, then continue to cook.