What to Make With Your New Air Fryer

What to Make With Your New Air Fryer
Photo: Claire Lower
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The air fryer certainly had a dramatic, messy year, but it’s not her fault. All she wanted to do was serve up hot and crispy food in record time, but all the pedants of the world wanted to talk about was how she was “just a small convection oven” that “didn’t really fry anything.”

That may be true, but a small convection oven that heats super quickly and turbo-crisps your food is very valuable, especially if your oven doesn’t have a dang convection setting. (Also, my oven does have a convection setting, and it takes twice as long to get those same, gloriously crispy results). If you end up being the proud owner of a new air fryer this holiday season, you should christen it with one of the following.

Potatoes

Photo: leungchopan, Shutterstock Photo: leungchopan, Shutterstock

Whether you are roasting wedges or fingerlings, heating up frozen tots, or making potato pancakes (with far less oil), the air fryer cuts down spud cooking time to a remarkable degree. (Read our full air fried potato guide here.) Just last night, I used mine to make two small baked potatoes in about 15 minutes, and it made me glad. (To cut down the time even further, do five minutes in the microwave, then brush on some sort of grease and air fry it for 10-15 minutes at 380℉ (193C)).

Gnocchi (and maybe some meatballs)

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

Air fried gnocchi was, quite honestly, a game changer for me this year. It’s a great base for a meal of gnocchi and meatballs, but it’s a terrific snack. Just toss some shelf-stable gnocchi in a little oil, sprinkle on your favourite seasonings, then cook in your air fryer at 385℉ (196C) or 8-11 minutes, until the gnocchi is crispy on the outside. Serve with sour cream for dipping.

In Defence of the Air Fryer (and Really Good Gnocchi)

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Fried bread

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

Air fried toast is good (and very fast), but fried bread is even better. To make air fried bread, just smear some fat on there (I like bacon fat), and pop it in a 400℉ (204C) air fryer for a few minutes. Your bread will come out uniformly golden and crispy (and infused with fatty flavour).

Fried Bread Is Better Than Toast

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Leftover fries

Photo: paulista, Shutterstock Photo: paulista, Shutterstock

Having to stay inside means that almost every french fry I’ve eaten this year has been delivered to my home, which means they have not been as hot and fresh as they would be if I had ordered them at the restaurant. Luckily, just a minute or so in 400-degree air fryer is all it takes to perk up slightly cold fries. Even completely cold fries are restored to their former glory. The hot, circulating air drives off moisture and gets any dormant fry grease movin’ and groovin’, re-crisping the potato’s crust. And while the insides aren’t quite as tender and fluffy as they are when you first take them out of a deep fryer, they are pretty damn close.

This Is Actually the Best Way to Reheat Chips

It wouldn’t be fair to say that I bought an air fryer simply to reheat chips, but it would be disingenuous to claim that my desire to reheat chips had nothing to do with the purchase. Back at the beginning of this year — when we were young and the...

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Any leftover fried thing

Photo: Brandy McKnight, Shutterstock Photo: Brandy McKnight, Shutterstock

In addition to french fried potatoes, pretty much any fried takeout thing can be re-heated and re-crisped in a matter of minutes in the air fryer. Crab rangoon, egg rolls, and chicken wings are just a few of the leftover take-out morsels I’ve revived with mine. I just set it at 400℉ (204C), plop my leftovers in the basket, and cook until everything is hot and crisp (start checking two or three minutes in — it can go very quickly).

Peppers

Photo: Shebeko, Shutterstock Photo: Shebeko, Shutterstock

There is no better appliance for roasting a single pepper or two. Just lightly coat ‘em in some oil, set your air fryer to 380℉ (193C) or so, and let ‘em go until they are charred to your liking.

Hot dogs

Air fryer hot dogs are the platonic ideal of a gas station hot dog. You get the blistered, snappy casing, all taut and shiny from cooking in its own grease. It also toasts the bun to perfection, especially if you brush a little mayo on there first.

Air Fryer Hot Dogs Are the Platonic Ideal of Gas Station Roller Dogs

When I first heard someone rave about their “air fryer” and touting its calorie-cutting abilities, I lost interest almost immediately. I simply do not care about things like that. The second time I heard someone discussing an air fryer, they explained that it is merely a small, powerful convection oven,...

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Stoner food

Photo: New Africa, Shutterstock Photo: New Africa, Shutterstock

Despite what the marketers and advertisers will tell you, the air fryer was not made for people who are trying to “cut their calories” or “use less oil.” It was made for stoners, dirt bags, and people who enjoy an even lower-effort pizza roll in the wee hours of the morning. Every single frozen snack I’ve put into this thing comes out crispier faster, all without turning the oven on. (Just set your air fryer to the temperature recommended by the packaging instructions, but start checking for doneness way sooner than you normally would. I’ve found it cuts the cook time down by at least 25%.)

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