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What foods are best for the air fryer?

Now that you have decided on the best air fryer for you, the fun part is actually putting it to use! You can pretty much put any food into your air fryer to cook however, just like other kitchen appliances, there are certain foods that cook better than others. 

I have noted of what works best in the air fryer after trying out different recipes and here are my findings.

I have also included some of my quick and easy air fryer recipes for you to try.

Air fryer best for family

Frozen Foods

The original concept of the air fryer was made to reheat and rapidly cook frozen foods. I found that it does does this well. All the food was cooked to perfection with no oil added. The food was cooked right through without any burning on the outside.

Some of the frozen foods that I cooked and the results:

  • French fries: Comes out crispier and crunchier than the oven.
  •  Mini pizza’s: Toppings are juicy and the base is crunchy.
  • Chicken nuggets: Outer layer is crispy and chicken inside is tender.
  • Vegetable croquettes: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Meatballs: Outer layer is crispy and meat inside is tender.
  • Chicken wings: Perfectly grilled on the outside and juicy on the inside.
  • Fish sticks: Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Chicken breasts: Soft and tender on the inside.
  • Fish fillets: Melts in your mouth.

The only thing to be aware of is that smaller air fryers might not fit a medium to large size pizzas. Therefore you need to consider what types of food you will be cooking regularly when deciding on your air fryer size.

Air fried frozen food


Most of the vegetables that you love can be cooked in the air fryer. However, depending on how you like you like them done, some vegetables are better in the air fryer than others.

It was noted that some vegetables comes out soft and juicy while others comes out crispy and crunchy. I also noticed that they do seem to retain more of their nutritional value as the vegetables were not overcooked.

Soft and juicy vegetables when air fried included:

  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Butternut squash
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Aubergine
  • Bell Pepper

Crispy and crunchy vegetables when air fried included:

  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus
Vegetables that I am still trying to perfect with the air fryer:
  • Broccoli: They are too crunchy for me and when I tried to increase the time, they get a bit burnt.
  • Sweet Potato: The outside gets a bit burnt if I want the inside cooked through.
Air fried vegetables


Cooking meat with the air fryer is a delight as you don’t have to worry about the meat being burnt or undercooked, especially uneven pieces of meat. The only trick is to get the right temperature and timer set to have a perfectly cooked piece of meat.

The first step would be the user manual of your air fryer. Then you can refer to any cookbooks or any other recipes that you can come across. Some air fryers even have preset programs that you can use as a beginner.

Once you have got an estimated temperature or timer you can manually adjust the elements up or down to suit the way you like to have your meat. As we all have different taste buds and preferences, it may take you a few tries before you find your perfect settings.

In saying this, I have listed below some of my findings while cooking my meat in the air fryer.

  • Chicken: With the small air fryers the best chicken pieces to cook would be the evenly shaped pieces like chicken breasts and chicken tenderloins as the basket size is smaller. The family sized and extra large air fryers can accommodate a whole chicken depending on the model and capacity air fryer you have. Chicken generally comes out tender and juicy.
  • Beef: Steaks and kebabs are done fairly well as it can be done medium to well done simply by adjusting the temperature or timer settings. You have control of the process. Most air fryers even allows you to slide the basket out during the cooking process to check on your food midway.
  • Lamb: Steaks and lamb chops are done perfectly when air fried as they are juicy and tender. Lamb rack , however, proved to be tricky depending on the size of your air fryer. For small to medium air fryers it is recommended to cut it into smaller pieces for best results.
Air fried steak


I found grilling seafood in the air fryer keeps most of the juices inside therefore I could taste more of the seafood flavour. Naturally, fresh seafood is always best if you want to taste the seafood flavours. 

I found that seafood is cooked faster in the air fryer and the flesh is soft and tender.

Some of the things to note are:

  • Prawns and Lobster: Grilling them in the shell really brought out there natural flavours. 
  • Fish: Fillets had the best outcome with the air fryer as they fit in the basket and there is still enough room for the air circulation to cook them evenly. Even with salmon fillets where the middle are thicker and the edges are thinner, the air fryer is able to cook them evenly. Grilling whole fish is also great in the bigger air fryers but not recommended for smaller air fryers as you would need to cut your fish in half.
  • Scallops: Few minutes in the air fryer and they come out tender, juicy and full of flavour.
Air fried prawns


Best Air fryer recipes

Now that you have some idea on what to expect from your air fryer when cooking different types of food, how about trying some quick and easy recipes?

These recipes are for anyone who is looking for a quick meal with no fuss. The preparation and cooking of these meals are mostly around 30 minutes. This excludes marinade time.

If you have a passion for cooking then you may be interested in getting an air fryer cookbook for more recipes to try.

In summary

You can put most food types into the air fryer for cooking. The trick is to get the settings right for each specific type of food. This comes with trying different recipes and noting down what you like and don’t like. Over time, you would have discovered what works best to suit your taste buds.

Don’t forget to have a look at my quick and easy recipes for some ideas and, if you are looking for more inspiration, you can refer to our air fryer cookbook selection.

Hope that you can have as much fun as I am cooking with my air fryer!

Best air fryer cookbook
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