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Air fryer—miracle of modern science, or absolute sorcery? It feels like both. How else do you explain the fact that all of the delicious fried foods that were previously on your hangover-only list can now be made with 70-80 percent less calories than if it were made in a deep fryer? Well, actually, it’s not that hard to understand.

An air fryer is kind of like a convection oven that requires minimal oil and uses a fan to circulate hot air, keeping the temperature consistent throughout a “frying” chamber. This can create a crisper exterior, but like the name suggests, it’s not exactly the same as frying—it’s air frying.


Where to Buy: Try the Dash Compact Air Fryer show above for smaller meals ($59.99 on Amazon), or go big and get an Air Fryer XL by Cozyna for larger meals ($99.99 on Amazon). 

Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular with home cooks, and not just because of the endless fourth meal possibilities. Foods you never imagined were possible to make in an air fryer come out delicious. Here are recipes for 10 things you can make with an air fryer. 

1. Fried Pickles


Pickles: good. Fried food: good. Put them together and they're a combination greater than the sum of its parts. This version uses hardly any oil, which means it's significantly lower in fat and calories than your regular restaurant appetizer.

2. Onion Rings

Photo by Tom G on Genius Kitchen

What's great about making onion rings at home is how easily you can customize them to your preference: thick rings or thin, spicy or salty (or both). This easy version of onion rings omits most of the oil and lets you enjoy them more often without adding more gym time.

3. Chicken Tenders


Yes, it's easy to grab a bag of frozen tenders and heat them up, but do you really know what you're getting? This fast and easy air-fried version is healthier and almost as fast.

4. Hash Browns

Photo by Tom G for Genius Kitchen

Hash browns are the kind of food you always want from a breakfast diner, but don't necessarily think you can make as well at home. Not anymore! These air-fried hash browns only need three ingredients, and there's no giant diner-style grill top required.

5. Grilled Cheese

toast, sweet, bread, butter, grilled cheese sandwich, cake, honey, pastry, cheese
Christin Urso

Grilled cheese might be the most basic of foods, but tbh, it's not exactly easy to make the inside super melty and keep the outside golden brown (and not charred black). In an air fryer, it comes out even and there's barely any cleanup.

6. Buffalo Wings

chicken, chicken wings, pork, meat, barbecue, sauce
Emily Head

Three ingredients, one air fryer, no takeout required. Buffalo wings are now easy (and relatively healthy) to make. Maybe you could even snag some of B Dubs' sauce for the occasion. 

#SpoonTip: You can buy Buffalo Wild Wings sauces on Amazon. Check out this 3-pack for under $15

7. Air Fryer Fried Rice with Sesame-Sriracha Sauce

Photo courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

The eternal dilemma of what to do with leftover rice is now solved. Combine it with veggies and put it in an air fryer for crispy, flavorful, easy-to-make fried rice.

8. Banana Bread

Photo courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Banana bread in an air fryer is an actual, real thing, and it's a real thing you should definitely make at home. It's easier and faster, and doesn't require turning on the oven.

9. Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli

Photo courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

A meal once reserved for nicer Japanese restaurants, Teriyaki Salmon is surprisingly easy to make at home (even with the much healthier DIY teriyaki sauce). It's also a super simple two pot meal: one for the rice, and the air fryer for the salmon and veggies. 

10. Thanksgiving Turkey

Photo courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

This is not a drill. If you've had fried turkey, you already know how much better it is than the old school oven-roasted turkey you're used to having at Thanksgiving. But if you've had fried turkey, you also know it involves deep frying a turkey in gallons of oil. This air-fryer version makes flavorful, moist, and a much easier to clean up fried Thanksgiving turkey.