When you think of air fryers, chances are you think of tender pull-apart roasts, cheesy pizzas and perfectly crisp fries. But one overlooked way they can transform the kitchen is in the dessert department: just as it makes for healthier snacks and meals thanks to the reduced emphasis on cooking with oil, air fryers can produce all kinds of surprisingly delicious (and more nutritious) sweet dishes.
Inspired by Sunbeam’s Multi-Function Oven + Air Fryer — a compact, powerful appliance that doesn’t just air fry, but can also grill, bake, warm and work as a convection oven — we’ve rounded up six unexpected desserts that cook perfectly in an air fryer. From crisp and creamy cannoli to peanut butter lava cakes and even a pavlova, these impressive desserts are tenfold tastier and easier with an air fryer.
Take the guessing game out of using your regular oven and keep things light without the need for deep frying — plus, Sunbeam’s kitchen-top fryer is the perfect size for all types of desserts, from cakes to a bundle of fritters. Let’s dig in.
One of Italy’s most iconic desserts, this crispy pastry shell with a creamy ricotta filling is always a delight, no matter whether dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with chopped pistachios or powdered sugar.
They’re also a perfect contender for air frying — especially if you’re after that crunch without the effort and oiliness of deep frying.
It’s pav season, but the worst part of making this beloved antipodean dessert is the effort and time that goes into the meringue itself. An air fryer can make whipping up the base of a pavlova a heap easier — simply air fry at 120°C for 30 mins, and then let it sit in the basket for 20 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool. So much easier — but that crunch is still there. Yum.
Pink Lady Apple Chips
Okay, maybe this isn’t technically a dessert, but this sweet snack — or any other fruit variants — is rendered so easy to make with an air fryer that it’d be a public disservice to not mention it!
The trick is to cut the apple (or fruit) into super thin slices — a mandolin will make it a quick process. We’ve specified Pink Lady apples since they’re super crisp already, whereas softer varieties like Fujis won’t always offer that crunch you want.
Whether you fill your sweet fritters with custard and apples, yoghurt, raspberries or a Japanese sweet red bean, these bite-sized treats are made all the better — and easier — with an air fryer.
Oozy peanut butter, caramel or fudge on the inside, guarded by a delicious chocolate cake on the outside: lava cakes are as dramatic as they are divine. Cooking these mini-cakes inside an air fryer will require you to foil them up in a little ramekin at 190°C for 12 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for five more for that dream texture.
This Puerto Rican twist on Cannoli is super quick to make, and only requires five ingredients — icing sugar, vanilla extract, puff pastry, egg and cream cheese. Mix the sugar, vanilla and cheese together for the filling, place into a squared pastry, then fold diagonally and brush with whisked egg. Cook at 180°C for 12 minutes/until golden, and let cool on a wire rack. Voilá, your new fave go-to sweet treat!
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