It feels like everyone we know is always ranting and raving about their air fryer. But what exactly is an air fryer? More importantly, what do you make with one? We’re here to answer your top questions, provide a few recipe recommendations, and give you our honest opinion on whether or not you need to buy one.
What is an air fryer?
Air fryers are essentially ramped up, countertop convection ovens, meaning they’re a great device to quickly heat and cook food without raising the temperature in your entire house. We are big fans of that in this Texas heat!
One of the biggest benefits usually brought up is that air fryers are able to achieve crispy, crunchy texture results on a variety of foods with little or no oil used. The absence of the oil used when traditionally frying foods is what leads to the claims that it will help you “eat healthier”.
I don’t eat a lot of traditionally breaded or fried foods, will I still use an air fryer?
We say, yes. The benefits to air fryers can be applied to a vast majority of foods and dishes that you would never even think of traditionally frying. One of our favorite uses for our air fryer is quickly roasting vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, okra, green beans, carrots, zucchini, potatoes… honestly, this list is endless. The crunchy textures achieved when roasting in a traditional oven can be tackled in a fraction of the time with the air fryer. Much like any other new appliance, the more you spend time to understand how it works, the more opportunities you’ll find to use it. In fact, some have even replaced their entire microwave for an air fryer. We’re also here to help! Join us on the Farmhouse Delivery Family Facebook Group and our community is happy to share recipes and ideas on using the air fryer in new ways.
What type of air fryer do I need?
There are a lot of different air fryer models out there and choices can be very overwhelming. We prioritize the following features:
- Pre-heating not required. Some air fryer models require preheating before using, but some models can immediately reach temperature, which will significantly improve the time requirement and use it as a quick-cook appliance.
- Dishwasher safe. The entire unit will not be dishwasher safe much like an Instant Pot, but it’s a huge benefits to have the basket and basket holder be dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
- Large basket design. A larger basket will allow for more food to be cooked at one time. We recommend the COSORI 5.8qt Air Fryer as our top choice since the 5.8qt square basket design will hold a significant amount of food and minimize the need for multiple rounds or batch cooking.
So, do you need an air fryer?
Don’t get us started on if we truly need any of the kitchen appliances we’ve bought over the years (Can you say Slap Chop or George Foreman?). The COSORI 5.8qt air fryer we recommended is a little over $100 but we think it’s worth the investment. Air fryers are very popular so there are no shortage of different models, sizes, and prices available online and in retail stores. Starting with a cheaper unit can be a good way to get started and get to know what you like to make in the air fryer before investing in a higher quality model that best suits your needs later down the road. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next air fryer fanatic!
Recipe note: Some air fryer units require time to pre-heat, some do not. If your unit requires pre-heating, please do that prior to beginning the following recipes.
Recipe #1: Okra “Popcorn”
Fried okra is a classic southern dish many of us grew up eating for hours in the hot sun. This lighter, non-battered, air fried okra is one of our favorite alternatives to crunchy popcorn!
- 1 lb fresh okra, chopped into thick coins
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Get creative with seasonings! Traditionally, the savory seasonings you like on popcorn will also work on roasted okra. We recommend our Taco Salt!
Combine chopped okra, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl to combine. Place in air fryer basket and close unit. Cook on 375*F for 5 minutes and then open the basket and shake the contents. Repeat in 5 minute intervals until desired crispiness is achieved (usually 10-12 minutes).
Recipe #2: Fresh Biscuits
- Dai Due Biscuit Kit
- Non-stick oil spray of any kind
Make biscuits based on kit instructions. Spray inner basket of the air fryer lightly with cooking oil or a non-stick spray. Cook at 400*F for 6-8 minutes, occasionally checking for doneness.
Recipe #3: Baked Egg in an Avocado
Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Cut a small part off of the back of the avocado so it can sit flat in the air fryer without toppling over. Crack 1 egg into each avocado half, keeping the yolk intact. (If you need to, scoop some avocado out of the middle to make a bigger well for the egg to crack into.) Cook on 400* for 12-15 minutes, or until egg is desired temperature. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cheese, or herbs as desired for garnish. Enjoy!
Recipe #4: Super Crunchy Air Fried BBQ Chicken Wings
- Chicken Wings
- Salt, Pepper, or Dry Rub seasoning
- Franklin’s BBQ Sauce (optional)
Place the chicken wings in the air fryer basket (no oil or anything else needed). Cook at 380*F for about 25 minutes, shaking the basket occasionally. Turn the heat up to 400* for a final 5 minutes for extra crispiness. Remove and toss with Franklin’s BBQ Sauce.