Cook Like a Pro: Ingenious Air Fryer Recipe Hacks and Tips

Cook Like a Pro: Ingenious Air Fryer Recipe Hacks and Tips

Updated on - . 8 min read

Want a quick hack to kick things off? Try using perforated parchment paper as a DIY liner for easier cleanup and to prevent food from sticking. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg! From cooking shortcuts to flavor enhancements, we've compiled a treasure trove of air fryer hacks and tips that will turn you into a culinary whiz.

So, grab your air fryer, and let's get cooking!

Table of Contents

Why Air Fryers are a Game-Changer

Air fryers use hot, circulating air to cook food, making them a healthier option than traditional frying. They can make crispy and tasty foods with less oil and are incredibly versatile. You can even bake, roast, and grill in some models.

Breakfast Hacks

  • Donut Holes from Pancake Mix: Use pancake mix to create quick donut holes. Roll them into balls, air fry, and then coat them with powdered sugar.
  • Two-Ingredient Bagels: Combine Greek yogurt and self-rising flour to make easy bagels. Air fry until golden.
  • Bacon Weave Breakfast Sandwich: Weave bacon strips into a square and air fry. Use it as a "bread" for a breakfast sandwich.
  • Air Fryer French Toast Sticks: Cut slices of bread into sticks, dip them in a mixture of eggs, milk, and cinnamon, and then air fry until crispy. Serve with maple syrup for dipping.
  • Hash Brown Patties: Grate potatoes, season with salt and pepper, form into patties, and air fry. Perfect for a quick breakfast side.
  • Egg Muffin Cups: Use silicone muffin cups to make individual omelets. Fill with eggs, cheese, and your choice of veggies or meat, then air fry.
  • Quick Air Fryer Pancakes: Use a silicone mold to make perfectly round pancakes in the air fryer. Just pour your batter into the mold and air fry.
  • Stuffed Breakfast Peppers: Halve bell peppers and remove the seeds. Fill with a mixture of scrambled eggs, cheese, and cooked sausage. Air fry until the peppers are tender.
  • Air Fryer Breakfast Burrito: Wrap scrambled eggs, cheese, and cooked bacon in a tortilla. Secure with a toothpick and air fry until crispy.
  • Churro Bites: Make a simple dough with water, butter, and flour. Pipe into small churro shapes and air fry. Coat with cinnamon sugar after frying.
  • Air Fryer Granola: Mix oats, nuts, and honey, then spread the mixture in the air fryer basket. Air fry at a low temperature, stirring occasionally, until crispy.
  • Fruit Compote: Dice your favorite fruits and mix them with a little sugar and spice. Air fry to create a quick compote perfect for topping pancakes or yogurt.
  • Sausage Links: Air fry your favorite breakfast sausages to perfection without standing over a sizzling pan.

Dinner Shortcuts

  • One-Pot Air Fryer Pasta: Believe it or not, you can make pasta in an air fryer. Add pasta, sauce, and water into a pan and air fry until cooked.
  • Air Fryer "Smoked" Salmon: Get the smoky flavor without a smoker. Use liquid smoke on salmon and air fry it.
  • Crispy Skin Chicken: Air fry chicken with a layer of baking powder on the skin to make it extra crispy.
  • Air Fryer Pizza: Use pre-made pizza dough and your favorite toppings. Air fry for a quick and crispy homemade pizza.
  • Stuffed Chicken Breasts: Make a pocket in a chicken breast and stuff it with cheese and spinach. Air fry until cooked through.
  • Meatball Subs: Air fry pre-made meatballs and place them in a sub roll with marinara sauce and cheese. A quick air fry melts the cheese and crisps the roll.
  • Air Fryer Stir-Fry: Use a shallow pan to air fry your favorite stir-fry ingredients. No need to stand over the stove!
  • Quick Quesadillas: Place a tortilla in the air fryer, top with cheese and other fillings, fold, and air fry until crispy.
  • Air Fryer "Roast" Beef: Season a beef roast and air fry with veggies for a quicker version of a Sunday dinner.
  • Frozen to Fabulous: Air fry frozen shrimp or fish fillets for a quick and healthy dinner option.
  • Veggie Chips: Thinly slice vegetables like zucchini or sweet potatoes, season, and air fry for a healthy side dish.

Snack Time Reinvented

  • Avocado Fries: Slice an avocado into wedges, coat with panko crumbs, and air fry.
  • Sweet Potato Toast: Skip the toaster. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and air fry them to use as a gluten-free toast alternative.
  • Air Fryer "Boiled" Eggs: No water needed. Place eggs in the air fryer to "boil" them.
  • Air Fryer Popcorn: Believe it or not, you can make popcorn in an air fryer. Use a solid pan and a little oil.
  • Mozzarella Sticks: Wrap string cheese in wonton wrappers and air fry until crispy.
  • Air Fryer Nachos: Layer tortilla chips, cheese, and toppings in the air fryer for quick and easy nachos.
  • Stuffed Jalapeños: Fill jalapeño halves with cream cheese and wrap in bacon. Air fry until crispy.
  • Air Fryer Pretzel Bites: Use pre-made pizza dough to form bite-sized pretzels. Air fry and then dip in melted butter and coarse salt.

Dessert Delights

  • Cookie Cup: Place cookie dough at the bottom of a muffin tin and air fry. Fill with milk and enjoy with a straw.
  • Air Fryer S'mores: Assemble s'mores and wrap them in foil. Air fry for a quick treat.
  • Frozen Yogurt Bark: Spread Greek yogurt on a tray, sprinkle with fruits and nuts and freeze. Break into pieces and air fry briefly for a frozen treat with a twist.
  • Mini Cheesecakes: Use silicone muffin cups to make individual cheesecakes. Air fry until set.
  • Air Fryer Churros: Pipe churro dough into your air fryer and cook until golden. Roll in cinnamon sugar.
  • Fruit Crisps: Place sliced fruit in a shallow dish, top with a crumble mixture, and air fry for a quick dessert.
  • Air Fryer Donuts: Use canned biscuit dough to make quick donuts. Air fry and then glaze or sugar.
  • Chocolate Fondue: Melt chocolate in a heatproof dish in the air fryer. Use skewers to dip fruit or marshmallows.
  • Quick Apple Pie: Use pre-made pie crust and apple pie filling to make mini apple pies in an air fryer.

Seasoning and Marinade Tips

Dipping sauce
  • Instant Sauces: Use mayonnaise or yogurt as a base to make quick sauces. Add herbs and spices, mix, and use as a dip or marinade.
  • Coffee Rub: Use ground coffee as a rub for meats to add a smoky, rich flavor.
  • Citrus Zest: Use lemon or orange zest in your marinades for a fresh twist.
  • Herb-Infused Oils: Infuse olive oil with herbs like rosemary or thyme. Use it to brush on meats or veggies before air frying.
  • Spice Blends: Create your own spice blends like Cajun or Italian seasoning. Store them in airtight containers for quick and consistent flavoring.
  • Nutritional Yeast: For a cheesy, vegan flavor, sprinkle nutritional yeast on veggies or popcorn.
  • Mustard Marinade: Combine mustard with honey and a touch of vinegar for a tangy marinade that works well with chicken or pork.
  • Asian Flair: Use soy sauce, ginger, and garlic to make a quick Asian-inspired marinade for meats or tofu.
  • Taco Seasoning: Mix cumin, paprika, and chili powder together for a quick taco seasoning. Great for air-fried chicken or beef.
  • Sweet and Spicy: Combine brown sugar with cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy rub that's perfect for chicken wings or ribs.
  • Pesto as a Marinade: Use store-bought or homemade pesto as a quick and flavorful marinade for chicken or fish.
  • Coconut Milk Marinade: Use coconut milk with curry spices for a tropical twist on chicken or shrimp.
  • Beer Marinade: Use beer, garlic, and spices to marinate meats like sausages or brats before air frying.
  • Maple and Bourbon: Combine maple syrup and bourbon for a sweet and smoky marinade that's great for pork or salmon.
  • Quick Brine: For juicier meats, consider a quick brine of salt, sugar, and water before seasoning and air frying.

Time-Saving and Efficiency Hacks

  • Batch Cooking: Use the air fryer's multiple rack levels to cook different foods at the same time. For example, cook chicken on one level and veggies on another.
  • Quick Preheat: Unlike traditional ovens, air fryers preheat in a fraction of the time. Use this feature to get meals ready quickly.
  • Frozen to Fabulous: No need to thaw frozen foods. Adjust the cooking time; you can go straight from the freezer to the air fryer.
  • Reheat Like a Pro: Forget the microwave. Reheat leftovers in the air fryer to maintain the food's texture and flavor.
  • DIY Air Fryer Liners: Use perforated parchment paper as a DIY liner for easier cleanup and to prevent sticking.
  • Cook and Crisp Leafy Greens: Turn leafy greens like kale or spinach into crispy chips in minutes. Just add a little oil and your choice of seasoning.
  • Shake and Rotate: For even cooking, shake the basket or rotate the trays halfway through the cooking time.
  • Quick Snack Makeover: Give stale chips or crackers new life by air frying them for a couple of minutes.
  • Instant Croutons: Cube stale bread, season it, and air fry to make instant croutons for salads and soups.
  • No-Mess Bacon: Drape bacon strips over the edge of the air fryer basket. The grease will drip away, making for a cleaner and healthier cooking process.


What is the best thing to cook in the air fryer?

The air fryer is incredibly versatile, capable of cooking a wide range of foods from vegetables to meats and even desserts. However, if you're looking for the 'best' thing to cook, many people swear by air fryer French fries. They come out incredibly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, all without the need for deep frying. It's a healthier alternative that doesn't sacrifice flavor or texture.

What cannot be fried in an air fryer?

It's not recommended to fry foods with runny or liquid batters as they may not cook well. However, thicker doughs that hold their shape, like the one used for churros, can be cooked successfully.

What is the easiest thing to cook in an air fryer?

Frozen foods like fries and nuggets are among the easiest to cook.

Can I put aluminum foil in the Airfryer?

Yes, but make sure it doesn't come in contact with the heating element.

Recipe Exploration

  • Jumpstart your day with 25 speedy breakfast recipes for your air fryer, expertly curated by Insanely Good.
  • For aficionados of the sea, don't miss our 8 Essential Air Fryer Seafood Recipes.
  • Savor the richness with our 10 Unmissable Air Fryer Pork Dishes.
  • Explore a carnivore's dream with our 11 Beef Recipess for the Air Fryer.
  • Mix it up with our 7 Diverse Air Fryer Snacks and Sides.