45 Healthy Recipes You Can Make in an Air Fryer
How to Use an Air Fryer
Meet the air fryer, the miracle kitchen gadget that every healthy cook should have. Essentially a small convection oven, an air fryer works by circulating hot air up to 400 degrees around your food, transforming it into crispy perfection without all the oil or butter you'd normally need. (Don't own an air fryer? We love the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven.)
So, what can you make in an air fryer? The possibilities are limitless—and you can use an air fryer to make comfort food favorites that are normally deep-fried, sauteed, baked, or grilled. So whether you've craving onion rings, French toast, or cheesy loaded potatoes, here are delicious air fryer recipes to show you how to make the most of this amazingly versatile kitchen tool.
Once you've mastered these recipes, check out our collection of air fryer desserts.
45 Healthy Recipes You Can Make in an Air Fryer
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Tots
Sweet potato tots are a great way to sneak veggies into a picky eater’s meal—and this homemade version is more affordable than buying pre-made, frozen sweet potato tots. Cooking them in the air fryer yields a slightly crisp exterior and a soft interior. We suggest you spray the tots with cooking spray helps to help with browning, though they still don’t brown evenly. Be sure to boil the sweet potatoes just enough that they grate and hold together when shaped, but still retain a little texture. If you don’t like ketchup, you could also serve these with ranch dressing.
Air Fried General Tso's Chicken
This air-fryer riff on the Chinese takeout classic saves the day with nearly half the saturated fat of restaurant versions and loads less clean-up than deep frying at home. Air fryer sizes vary (hence the cook time’s wide range); if you have a smaller air fryer, commit to cooking in batches so that there’s plenty of room for the air to circulate and crisp up the chicken.
Air Fryer Doughnuts
If you’re craving doughnuts without the guilt, these yeast-risen rings deliver the same sweet, tender, and crackly sugar glazed goodness thanks to your air fryer.
Pro tip: After the doughnuts have risen, use the parchment paper to help gently transfer them into the air fryer. Use two forks to lower them into the glaze for maximum coverage.
Air Fryer Banana Bread
Brimming with great, traditional banana flavor, have a slice of this banana bread as an afternoon snack or post-dinner treat with a small smear of butter and/or a side of fruit. We suggest you toast the walnuts before using them in the recipe to deepen their flavor. Take note, though, the top of the bread will get a little darker than if you were to cook a banana bread in the oven due to the heating element being right above the bread.
Air Fryer Avocado Fries
Avocado fries? Oh yes! This irresistible combination of crunchy and creamy is the ultimate air fryer indulgence. They’re a little heavier in calories than most of our snacks, but they’re so darned good, they’re worth the occasional splurge!
The secret to the perfect air fryer avocado fries is picking out avocados that are just ripe, but with enough firmness to hold their shape during cooking. Paired with this kicky, spicy sauce, these fries are next-level good.
Air Fryer Italian-Style Meatballs
Moist and tender, these meatballs are absolutely jam-packed with flavor—and cooking them in the air fryer might be one of the best recipe applications for this device. The meatballs are great on their own; they would also be totally delicious over pasta, rice, or spiralized zoodles. To prevent the meatballs from getting too over-worked as you form them, use what we call the “claw method”: shape your hand into a claw shape and don’t squeeze too hard when shaping.
Air Fried Pork Chops With Brussels Sprouts
If you’re looking for a hearty, simple, satisfying meal that you can make without a lot of excess fat, the air fryer is your friend. Here we serve up a crispy pork chop and some sweet, flavorful Brussels sprouts for a winter dish that is as delicious as it is easy to make.
Air Fryer Churros With Chocolate Sauce
These delights are lighter than traditional churros—almost like éclairs—coming out of the air fryer fluffy and delicious. The cinnamon-sugar mixture creates a thin crust on the outside, delivering that classic churro crunch. You'll want to enjoy these churros immediately, as they're best fresh, but you can save any extra chocolate sauce (try drizzling it over frozen yogurt).
Air Fryer Southern Style Catfish With Green Beans
Nothing beats Southern-style catfish for a hearty meal, but the traditional method of frying unfortunately adds back in a bunch of fat that the lean protein could do without. Enter the air fryer: You can get a crispy, delicious fillet as well as a side of blistered green beans without all the oil, and have it on the table in less than half an hour. Hard to beat!
Air Fryer Broccoli With Cheese Sauce
Believe it or not, your air fryer has more than one superpower. In addition to delivering crispiness without loads of fat, it also delivers crunchy roasted broccoli that doesn’t turn that oh-so-unappealing army green color. And what’s broccoli without cheese sauce? This creamy delight is easy to make ahead—just reheat it right before serving, then drizzle away.
For a complete meal, pair this side with our recipe for air fryer roasted salmon with fennel salad (pictured).
Air Fryer Strawberry Pop Tarts
These adorable air fryer delights check all the nostalgia boxes, from afternoons spent with your sister’s Easy Bake Oven to Saturday mornings eating piping hot pop tarts fresh from the toaster oven.
Our grown-up air fryer version wraps all that goodness into a healthier package, featuring a quick microwave jam with nice chunks of strawberries. Lemon juice cuts the sweetness of the glaze, and the sprinkles—well, they’re just plain fun.
Air Fryer Loaded Baked Potatoes
Comfort food just got quicker and easier courtesy of your air fryer. These crispy "baked" potatoes may seem indulgent, but smart portions of bacon, cheese, and sour cream add big flavor while keeping calories and sat fat in check. The secret is the center-cut bacon—it cooks up nice and crispy, and yields just enough pan drippings to make these potatoes really shine.
Air Fryer Roasted Salmon With Fennel Salad
Your air fryer has more up its sleeve than the expected crispy tricks—it’s also a fantastic oven for roasting meaty fish fillets like salmon. This recipe serves four, but you can easily cut it in half to make a date night dinner for two.
Everything comes together so easily—while the salmon cooks, whip up the quick and tangy fennel slaw. By the time you’re finished, the salmon will be hot and ready to plate up. Try it with the air-fryer broccoli with cheese sauce (pictured).
Air Fryer Empanadas
Traditional meat-filled empanadas can be a double-whammy of fat and calories due to ground beef and a trip to the deep fryer. This air fryer twist on the traditional handheld snack is even healthier thanks to the addition of mushrooms, which lighten the filling while keeping it nice and moist. Pack these air fryer empanadas for a tailgate, or serve them over greens for a hearty supper.
Air-Fried Peach Hand Pies
Perfectly flaky pies from your air fryer? You bet! Store-bought piecrust is a smart shortcut; it bakes up nice and flaky in the air fryer. Naturally, fresh peaches will make the best filling, but you can use thawed frozen peaches if the fresh kind aren’t in season. Don’t toss out the leftover peach juice—simmer it down in a small saucepan until thickened for a fantastic ice cream topper.
Welcome to Calzone Making 101. Don’t worry—you’ll ace this course. Our easy recipe shows you the way to perfectly browned and crunchy calzones in the air fryer. We love using whole-wheat pizza dough for the fiber boost it offers, but regular pizza dough will work just fine. Serve these cheesy guys with a side of marinara for dipping.
Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Drumettes have more meat than wings—that's what we use in this tasty recipe for air fryer chicken wings—but either will work. The air fryer basket gets overcrowded easily, so only cook 10 wings at a time, or stir the wings frequently so that they cook evenly. These wings have a sweet and spicy Asian flavor; sprinkle them with some toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch.
Mexican-Style Air-Fried Corn
No need to track down a food truck to get your Mexican street corn fix—your air fryer turns out a fantastic batch. A quick turn halfway through cooking yields crispy, juicy corn that soaks up the tasty garlic-lime butter like a champ.
Pick out small ears, or trim them slightly so that they fit into the air fryer basket. If you have any leftovers, cut the kernels off the cob and stir into a dip or sprinkle over a salad.
Air-Fried Sweet Potato Fries
Hand-cut fries beat out frozen any day, and these sweet potato beauties are a huge air fryer win. An excellent balance of sweet and savory flavors, these crisp fries get a nice kick of flavor from the garlic and thyme.
They make a nice healthy snack, or a great side with a grilled chicken sandwich or burger. Be sure to cut the sweet potato into similiar-sized pieces so they cook evenly. These fries go great with air-fried hot chicken thighs (pictured).
Air-Fried Whole-Wheat Pita Pizzas
In addition to delivering crispy delights, your air fryer makes a pretty awesome countertop pizza oven. Whole-wheat pitas make a great fiber-forward crust, baking up nice and crisp. Opt for roma tomatoes; their smaller size makes them a good fit for these personal pizzas. Swap out toppings to customize your pizzas; since these cook in just 5 minutes, you can prep the next one while the first is baking.
Double-Glazed Air-Fried Cinnamon Biscuit Bites
This scrumptious cross between cinnamon rolls and biscuits is easier than either and stars a simple, no-yeast dough that requires no rising and bakes up into tender, fluffy bites in a matter of minutes. It’s like an adult-version easy bake oven!
You can jazz up the glaze any way you like—we tried swapping out the water for lemon juice and adding a little lemon zest, and loved it. Resist the urge to crowd the air fryer basket; these little guys need to bake in batches so they don’t stick together.
Spicy Air-Fried Chicken Wing Drumettes
Chicken drumettes are a smart choice for air frying—their small size means you don’t have to spend all day cooking endless batches. Traditional drumettes require tons of oil to guarantee maximum crispy goodness; this genius recipe gets it done with just a tablespoon of super-flavorful sesame oil.
Air Fryer Spanakopita Bites
Is there anything your air fryer can’t do? Soup, probably. It would be terrible at soup.
But it can rock out these super-crunchy spanakopita bites! These savory Greek phyllo pastries are filled with spinach and salty cheeses with just a little hit of lemon and heat. Classic spanakopita calls for brushing the phyllo with butter; this version calls for olive oil, which adds even more Greek flavor. Filled with nutrient-rich spinach, these crispy treats make an excellent party dish or appetizer.
Air-Fried Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
This spicy air-fried cauliflower bites recipe checks all the boxes, whether you're having vegetarian friends over to watch the game or you just enjoy recipe mashups starring your favorite flavors. A smidgen of blue cheese adds a lot of flavor to the quick stir-together sauce. (If you’re not a fan of pungent blue cheese, try milder gorgonzola, or even feta.) To make this no-fuss recipe even easier, pick up a package of pre-cut cauliflower florets.
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet potato chips sound like a nutritious snack, but store-bought versions can still pack significant amounts of fat and sodium. Enter air fryer sweet potato chips. These healthy homemade chips have a third of the fat—and they’re perfectly crunchy and addictive.
Air-Fried Coconut Shrimp
Transport yourself straight to a Caribbean beach by making this air-fried coconut shrimp recipe. Coconut and panko team up to create an amazingly crispy coating for the shrimp; use finely shredded coconut to guarantee better crust adhesion. These beach-dive-inspired crustaceans are even better when dunked into the sweet-and-tangy honey-lime sauce.
Crispy Air-Fried Onion Rings With Comeback Sauce
Ah, onion rings—the ultimate deep-fried indulgence. Thanks to your air fryer, you can rescue this crunchy favorite from the realm of diet banishment and invite it back to your plate. These rings of allium awesomeness come out of the air fryer boasting a superbly crispy coating without any heavy greasiness.
And if you’ve ever had comeback sauce, you know its tangy and sweet flavor is the perfect pairing with the crunchy, savory onion.
Air-Fried Corn Dog Bites
Who doesn’t love a corn dog? These whimsical, perfect little bites of smoky hot dog goodness come with a crunchy cornflake coating—thanks to the air fryer—that will make party guests smile. Look for high-quality uncured hot dogs at upscale grocery stores such as Whole Foods. Mustard is best friends with corn dogs, so pick out your favorite to serve with these fun and festive snacks.
Crispy Toasted Sesame Tofu
Tossed in a tangy dressing rich with the flavors of honey, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce, these air fryer-crisped cubes of tofu make a hearty supper served over brown rice.
The secret to perfectly crisp tofu is two-fold: First, drain, dry, and press it to remove excess moisture; second, cook it in batches, and turn the cubes during cooking to ensure all sides have a chance to get crunchy.
Air-Fried Flaxseed French Toast Sticks With Berries
One of the secrets to getting the best results from your air fryer is to coat foods with a dry mixture that cooks up nice and crispy. Here, we’ve used omega-3 rich flaxseeds to add a super-food style crunch to French toast. Thanks to this delicious recipe, you can feel great about treating your kids to these on Saturday morning (they’ll never guess they’re eating a fiber-rich and heart-healthy breakfast!).
Air-Fried Beet Chips
Specialty root chips can cost $5 to $6 per bag at the grocery store; save big bucks by whipping up a couple batches in your air fryer. The secret to crispy beet chips is to slice the beets super thin; if your knife skills aren’t Top Chef level, use a mandolin to get wafer-thin slices. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket; air flow is crucial to getting the chips nice and crispy.
Air-Fried Apple Chips
On the hunt for a treat that satisfies your sweet tooth without busting your diet? Pack these cinnamon-laced, air-fried apple chips in your lunch bag.
Apples deliver natural sweetness and a handsome amount of fiber, making them a smart choice for any diet, and the air fryer transforms them into something altogether more delicious, thanks to its signature move—adding fat-free crunch. Cutting almond butter with low-fat Greek yogurt adds protein to the dipping sauce, as well as extra creaminess.
Crispy Air Fried Sweet Potato Wedges
These spiced sweet potato wedges make the perfect healthy snack or side dish. The smoky spice blend is easy to whip up ahead of time, but the potatoes are best eaten while hot. Though it’s tempting to crowd the air fryer basket and cook everything in one batch, resist the urge—air flow is crucial for maximum crispiness.
Air Fryer Veggie Quesadillas
Filling but not heavy, air fryer quesadillas make a quick and satisfying weeknight supper. Black beans bring protein and fiber to the party; peppers and zucchini bring color, crunch, and up your daily veggie count. Shop for sprouted tortillas at well-stocked supermarkets; regular whole-wheat tortillas will work in a pinch.
Public Service Announcement: These quesadillas pair perfectly with ice-cold beer; limes optional.