What I’ve Cooked in My Air Fryer & What Actually Works

When I received an air fryer over the holidays, my boyfriend thought that I had been gifted a deep fryer. I think he assumed I would be making things such as french fries, corn dogs, fried Oreos, etc …

Alas, I am yet to receive that type of power.

An air fryer is similar to a tiny convection oven. The device bakes and roasts (like an oven) but its final result mimics that of a deep fryer. You get crunchy-crispy goodness, but you don’t have to use a shit-ton (or ANY!) oil.

While I have yet to make any fried candy bars, I have made a bunch of meat and vegetable dishes in my air fryer.

If you came here to read about making french fries, I am sorry to disappoint — I haven’t tried those yet but I s2g they are on my list!!

THIS IS WHAT I HAD MADE SO FAR:

SALMON

I normally bake my salmon in an oven. It is a no-muss, no-fuss way of getting the job done. I hate touching raw fish and baking it in a glass pan usually equals minimal touching.

HOWEVER!!! I never get a delicious flaky-crunchy top that way, and I really like it when salmon is like that— especially if I am having it on salad or with a lot of vegetables. I was told that cooking salmon in an air fryer gets you that result, I decided to attempt Skinnytaste’s air fryer blackened salmon with cucumber-avocado salsa.

The recipe says: “Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.”

Perhaps I chose a THICC cut of salmon….but after 7 minutes my fish was still very raw? I popped that bb back in for another 7 minutes, when it beeped, tested it with a meat thermometer (my kitchen must-have) and then only after seeing that it was at an internal temp where it could be consumed without causing bodily harm, pronounced it done.

The top was crispy and well-seasoned (the Skinnytaste recipe’s seasoning mix was v good) and the center was cooked (although perhaps a tad over-done). I have cooked salmon in an air fryer since then (for a total of 12 minutes at 400º) and had much better, less stress-inducing results.

HOWEVER!! You think your apartment stinks after you cook fish in an oven? WHEEE! Get ready for it to be way worse!! Stink city bb!! Also, is there a way to prep your air fryer so the fish won’t stick to it or no? I had to touch (cooked) fish stuck on bits when I was trying to clean my device and that was gross! ALSO no matter how much I have scrubbed since, I feel the scent of salmon still lingers in my air fryer. I am not entirely a fan.

8/10 for taste……..4/10 for experience

CHICKEN NUGGETS

If you have an air fryer, you need to make chicken nuggets. They can be real chicken nuggets, gluten-free nuggets, naked nuggets, soy nuggets, whatever you want them to be. But just go make them.

RIGHT NOW!!!

Never in my life have I made such perfectly crispy nuggets. Not since the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru have I been blessed with such crunchy, crispy, golden PERFECTION!

Here is how to do it: Pre-heat your air fryer to 400º. When that’s done, dump in your nuggets. Cook for 5 min at 400º. Once they beep, shake them in the pan so they flip over. Cook for another 5 mins.

I am dead ass serious!!!! This is nugget bliss!! AND SO EASY!!

Now if only I had saved all those extra Chick-Fil-A sauces 😦

10/10 for taste……10/10 experience!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

What I have learned about air fryer recipes from the internet is that they are semi-trial and error. I mean that’s a lot of recipes, but I find it to be especially true for those involving an this particular device.

When done correctly, an air fryer will produce potato chip-like brussels that you won’t want to stop popping in your mouth.

However, oven-baked brussels caramelize in a low-and-slow way an air fryer won’t. Oven-baking also allows your sprouts time to really soak in your seasonings. Sure, air fryer brussles will have a few crisp, tasty leaves, but the entire sprout (at least in my experience) has not been as flavorful as say….olive oil drizzled sprouts, sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper, rosemary and a little garlic in a 425º oven.

But here is how I have made good air fryer sprouts:

Halve or quarter your sprouts (depending on size). In a mixing bowl, toss them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a bit of salt and pepper. Preheat for 400º, dump them in your air fryer. Cook for 7 min at the same temp. Take them out, give the air fryer basket a shake, then cook for another 5 min at 400º. If you like them extra salty, add another pinch of salt.

8/10 for taste……8/10 experience

TOFU

I am not a tofu wiz but cooking your tofu in an air fryer feels like a really good hack! I have never successfully pan-fried tofu. I always use too much oil or just straight up burn the tofu. BUT HERE IS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO TO MAKE IT EXCELLENT SO YOU CAN ENJOY A BAHN MI OR RICE BOWL OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT TO MAKE WITH TOFU.

Step 1 is go to Trader Joe’s. They have a Sriracha tofu that you should buy. I like it. If you don’t like spicy, they have a plain version but then why are you buying tofu from Trader Joe’s if you’re not going to get the obnoxious flavored kind? Go to Ralph’s (Kroger/Jewel/Ask your local pizza rat) or something.

Step 2!! Preheat the air fryer to 400º. While it’s heating up, cut your tofu into a way that makes sense for you. If you’re putting it on a sandwich, I would recommend long strips. If you are eating it in a rice bowl, burrito, salad or whatever else, I recommend making cubes.

Step 3 – if you are going to add seasoning to it, now is the time to do that. I am not going to tell you what to do … I got the Sriracha tofu.

Step 4: Dump your strips/cubes into the air fryer. Cook for 5 min at 400º. Give it a little shake after the first timer goes off and then repeat!

CRISPY DELICIOUSNESS!

10/10 for taste…..10/10 for experience!

BAGEL

Full disclosure, I saw someone attempt this on TikTok before I tried it. Their bagel looked gorgeously golden brown!

I did not have a regular bagel, but I DID have a bagel thin.

This was my first and final mistake.

I put it in the air fryer at 350º for 4 minutes.

Basically, I made a cracker?

It was edible but it was…..not a bagel/sort of burned!!

2/10 for taste…….0/10 for experience!!!!

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH WITH AN EGG IN THE MIDDLE

Another one that I saw on social media, this time from Instagram! The original poster made a grilled cheese sandwich. It was breakfast time for me, and I added an egg. So sue me!!!!!!

I preheated my air fryer to 400º.

I buttered the sides of my bread that would be touching the air fryer. I placed one piece of bread butter-side down, topped it with cheese and cracked an egg (which mercifully stayed in place).

I let it cook for 5 minutes on that side and when it was done, I placed my other piece of bread (butter side UP) on to the sandwich and cooked for another 5 minutes at 400º.

IT LOOKED GORGEOUS! The bread wasn’t burnt (prob because it wasn’t a bagel thin) and the butter and cheese and egg had kept the bread moist enough to not dry out too much. BUT I forgot one crucial step. I did not flip the sandwich in the fryer!! The bread on the bottom was a soggy mess as it had never fried and bore the weight of all that dairy.

The worst part is, I didn’t realize it until I had it in my hands, ready to eat.

I want to attempt this one again. I am not a fan of mushy bread.

7/10 for taste …… 4/10 for experience

If you’ve made it to the bottom and you’re wondering what sort of air fryer I have my grubby mitts on, it’s this one.

I am still learning how to do things with it (clearly) but it has been an overall enjoyable experience so far. Please do not confuse this device with an Instant Pot. That is a pressure cooker. Allegedly, pressure cookers can cook a chicken but can also make yogurt (?). I don’t know much about it, other than I once had a boyfriend who was a lawyer and he was representing someone who had been badly burned after their pressure cooker (I don’t remember if it was Instant Pot?) exploded. He made me promise never to purchase one. I am afraid of explosions and also burns so I will likely keep this promise for the rest of my life!!

thanks for reading

xx

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