We all love the convenience and efficiency of air fryers, but have you ever wondered what foods don’t belong there? From delicate soufflés to juicy, rare steaks, certain dishes cannot be cooked in an air fryer.
While these handy kitchen appliances can quickly whip up crispy fries and golden chicken wings, it’s essential to know their limitations. Join us as we explore the world of air frying and discover what should stay far away from these countertop wonders.
Meat and Seafood
When cooking poultry in an air fryer, the results can be incredibly juicy and flavorful. Chicken wings, drumsticks, and even whole chickens can be perfectly cooked in an air fryer. The hot air ensures the meat cooks evenly, while the high heat makes for crispy skin. For added flavor, you can season the poultry with your favorite spices or marinades.
Large cuts of meat
While more minor cuts of meat like chicken and turkey can be quickly cooked in an air fryer, more significant cuts such as roasts or whole beef tenderloins may not yield the desired results. The limited space and the intensity of the heat in an air fryer can cause uneven cooking, leaving the center of the meat undercooked. Sticking to more minor cuts for optimal results with your air fryer is best.
Air fryers are excellent for cooking fatty fish like salmon, trout, or mackerel. The high heat helps render the fat, resulting in a crispy skin on the outside, while the inside remains tender and flavorful. Fatty fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential for our health. So, whether you prefer marinated salmon fillets or deliciously crispy fish tacos, the air fryer is a great tool to achieve that perfect texture.
You’re in luck if you’re a fan of breaded seafood like shrimp, calamari, or even fish sticks! Air fryers are a fantastic way to achieve a crispy, golden-brown coating without deep frying. The hot air of the food ensures an even cooking process, resulting in a crunchy exterior while keeping the seafood tender and moist. Whether you enjoy them as an appetizer or as part of a seafood platter, breaded seafood in the air fryer will surely be a hit.
Wet Batter Dishes
Are you craving that light, crispy coating of tempura? You can achieve that perfect texture without deep frying with an air fryer. Tempura batter is typically light and airy, and the hot air circulation in an air fryer helps to create that signature crunch. The air fryer is a healthier and more convenient alternative to traditional frying methods, whether you’re frying up vegetables, shrimp, or chicken.
Fish and chips
Fish and chips are a classic dish that many of us love, but they often end up greasy and heavy when deep-fried. You can enjoy this British staple with less guilt and better results with an air fryer. The air fryer ensures the fish is cooked evenly and the batter crispy. Coat your fish fillets in your favorite batter or bread crumbs, and let the air fryer work magic!
Crunchy, flavorful onion rings are a popular side dish, and making them in an air fryer is a breeze. The hot air circulating the onion rings helps achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the onions tender and sweet. Whether served as an accompaniment to a burger or a tasty snack, onion rings made in the air fryer are a healthier alternative to deep-fried versions.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, or collard are nutrient-rich vegetables that can easily be prepared in an air fryer. You can achieve crispy, flavorful greens by tossing them with oil and seasoning, then air frying them for a few minutes. Whether you’re making kale chips, crispy spinach, or sautéed collard greens, the air fryer provides a convenient and healthier cooking method.
Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways, including air-fried. You can achieve a delightful crunch in just a few minutes by slicing the zucchini into thin strips or rounds and lightly coating them with oil and seasoning. Whether you’re making zucchini fries, chips, or even zucchini boats stuffed with your favorite ingredients, the air fryer helps to retain the natural flavor and texture of the zucchini while adding a satisfying crunch.
Cauliflower has gained popularity as a low-carb alternative to starchy vegetables, and the air fryer is a great way to prepare it. You can achieve a crispy texture that pairs well with various flavors by breaking the cauliflower into bite-sized florets and tossing them with a little oil and seasoning. Whether you’re making buffalo cauliflower bites, crispy cauliflower “wings,” or simply roasting them with your favorite spices, the air fryer allows you to enjoy cauliflower’s natural sweetness with a satisfying crunch.
Foods with Excessive Liquid
While air fryers are not designed for cooking liquid-based dishes like soups, they can add a crispy and unique touch to certain soup ingredients. For example, you can air fry thinly sliced vegetables like carrots, kale, or even tofu to create crispy garnishes or toppings for your soup. These crunchy additions can add textural contrast to your soup and enhance the overall dining experience.
Unlike soups, air fryers are not meant for cooking stews due to their limited capacity and inability to hold excessive liquid. However, your air fryer can cook individual ingredients before adding them to your stew. By air frying vegetables, searing meat, or even toasting spices, you can enhance the flavors of your stew and add an extra layer of depth.
While cooking a full-fledged chili in an air fryer may not be practical, you can utilize the air fryer for specific chili components. For instance, you can air-fry diced onions, bell peppers, or even jalapenos for a charred and smoky flavor. These air-fried ingredients can then be added to your chili for an extra kick of flavor and texture.
Foods Wrapped in Parchment Paper
An air fryer can be a great tool when cooking dishes wrapped in parchment paper or en papillote. You can create a steamy and flavorful dish with minimal effort by sealing your ingredients in parchment paper packets and air frying them. The hot air circulation inside the air fryer helps to cook the ingredients quickly and evenly while infusing them with the flavors from the seasonings and marinades.
Phyllo dough dishes
Phyllo dough dishes, such as spanakopita or baklava, can be easily prepared in an air fryer. The hot, circulating air helps to achieve a golden-brown and crispy phyllo pastry while the fillings remain moist and flavorful. Whether making savory appetizers or sweet desserts, the air fryer lets you easily enjoy the delicate and crispy layers of phyllo dough.
Batters and doughs
The air fryer can be a game-changer when it comes to delicate desserts like donuts, churros, or even beignets. Air frying the batters and doughs ensures a crisp exterior while ensuring a soft and fluffy interior. Whether making homemade cinnamon sugar donuts, powdered sugar-dusted beignets, or even glazed churros, the air fryer provides a healthier and more convenient alternative to deep frying.
Believe it or not, you can bake cakes in an air fryer! Although the capacity of an air fryer may limit the size of the cake you can make, it is still possible to enjoy individual-sized treats. You can bake single-serving cakes, cupcakes, or even mug cakes in the air fryer using small cake molds or ramekins. The hot air circulates evenly around the batter, resulting in a moist and fluffy cake every time.
While traditional baking methods are still preferred for large pies, you can use an air fryer to prepare individual-sized pies or tarts. Whether it’s sweet fruit pies, savory pot pies, or even quiches, the air fryer provides a quick and efficient cooking method. The portions bake evenly and quickly in the hot air, ensuring a flaky crust and flavorful filling.
Steamed Dumplings and Buns
The air fryer can be a great cooking tool if you enjoy dim sum favorites like steamed dumplings, buns, or even Siu Mai. You can achieve a crispy bottom by air frying the dumplings while keeping the filling juicy and flavorful. Whether you’re making classic pork and shrimp dumplings, char siu buns, or vegetarian steamed dumplings, the air fryer ensures that each bite is a delightful balance of textures.
Baozi, also known as steamed buns, are a popular staple in many Asian cuisines. These soft and fluffy buns can be easily prepared in an air fryer, giving them a unique twist. You can achieve a crispy and golden exterior by air frying the baozi, adding a delightful crunch to each bite. Whether you’re making pork buns, vegetable buns, or even sweet red bean buns, the air fryer provides a convenient and efficient cooking method.
Gyoza, or Japanese dumplings, are typically pan-fried to achieve a crispy bottom while maintaining a tender and juicy filling. However, you can enjoy the same crispy texture without excessive oil with an air fryer. You can achieve the desired crunchiness by air frying the gyoza while ensuring the filling remains moist and flavorful. Whether you’re making chicken, pork, or vegetable gyoza, the air fryer provides a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods.
Soft and creamy cheeses
Soft and creamy cheeses like brie, camembert, or goat cheese can be easily enjoyed in an air fryer. By placing the cheese wheel in a heat-safe dish and air frying it, you can achieve a warm, gooey center with a slightly crispy rind. Whether serving it with crackers, bread, or seasonal fruits, the air fryer provides a quick and effortless way to enjoy melted and decadent soft cheeses.
Dishes topped with cheese
If you enjoy the melted, gooey cheese goodness on top of your favorite dishes, the air fryer can help you achieve that perfect melty texture. The air fryer can quickly melt the cheese and create a golden-brown crust, whether you’re making cheesy nachos, party dips, or even casseroles. The circulating hot air ensures even melting, making a deliciously cheesy dish every time.
Omelets are a popular and versatile breakfast option that can be easily prepared in an air fryer. You can achieve a fluffy and flavorful omelet by whisking together your eggs, adding your favorite fillings and seasonings, and pouring the mixture into a greased air fryer-safe dish. The hot air circulates the eggs, ensuring even cooking and a perfect texture. Whether you prefer a classic ham and cheese omelet or a vegetable-packed version, the air fryer makes omelet preparation a breeze.
If you’re a fan of fried eggs with a perfectly runny yolk and crispy edges, the air fryer can help you achieve that without flipping or constant monitoring. Crack an egg into a greased ramekin or cupcake liner, sprinkle with salt and pepper or your favorite seasonings, and air fry for a few minutes. The result is a deliciously fried egg with a perfectly cooked white and a runny yolk.
Scrambled eggs are a quick and easy breakfast option, and the air fryer can simplify the process even further. By whisking together your eggs, seasoning them to your liking, and pouring the mixture into an air fryer-safe dish, you can achieve fluffy and perfectly cooked scrambled eggs. The hot air circulation ensures even cooking, allowing you to enjoy a hassle-free and delicious breakfast.
Basil is a fragrant and flavorful herb that can be used in various dishes, ranging from Italian pasta sauces to Thai curries. While drying or freezing basil is a standard preservation method, the air fryer can provide a quick and easy way to retain the freshness and flavor of this herb. By placing basil leaves in a single layer in the air fryer and air frying them for a few minutes, you can achieve crispy basil chips that can be used as a garnish or enjoyed on their own.
Cilantro is a versatile herb that adds a bright and refreshing element to many dishes. If you’re looking for a way to elevate the flavor of your meals, the air fryer can help you achieve that. You can transform cilantro leaves into crispy and flavorful chips by air frying them for a few minutes. These cilantro chips can be used as a topping for soups, salads, or even a crunchy addition to tacos or sandwiches.
Parsley is a commonly used herb that adds a fresh and grassy flavor to many dishes. The air fryer can be a helpful tool to preserve its flavor and texture. By air frying parsley leaves until they become crispy, you can create delicious parsley chips that can be used as a garnish or a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes. Whether you sprinkle them over roasted vegetables or use them as a topping for grilled meats, air-fried parsley chips provide a unique and vibrant flavor element.
In conclusion, while air fryers may not be suitable for all types of cooking, they offer a wide range of possibilities. They can be a valuable addition to your kitchen arsenal. From cooking meat and seafood to preparing delicate desserts and even preserving the freshness of herbs, the air fryer provides a convenient and healthier alternative to traditional cooking methods.
Whether you enjoy crispy, flavorful dishes or experiment with new recipes, the air fryer is a versatile tool to enhance your culinary adventures. So, go ahead and explore the endless possibilities of cooking with an air fryer – your taste buds will thank you!