Have you heard the buzz about air fryers? Imagine a tool that promises the tasty flavour of deep frying without all the fat. Fried family favourites like chicken, french fries, and mozzarella sticks are made crispy and juicy with just a quick spritz of cooking oil—no scary vat of boiling grease required. Try our favourite air fryer recipes for your next family meal and see how this countertop cooker might be the answer to lighter meals.
What is an air fryer and how does it work?
Think of this handy appliance as a compact convection oven. Air fryers bake on high heat, while a fan circulates the hot air evenly, recreating that deep-fried, crispy texture everyone craves. To get that golden crunch with virtually no oil, you need to leave room around each piece of chicken. This means you may only be able to cook two to four servings at a time. Also, an air fryer is about the size of a toaster oven, so you’ll need a fair bit of countertop real estate for it. If you don’t mind batch-cooking and have the kitchen space, an air fryer is a great way to add healthier meals to your weekly dinner rotation.
Ready in: 35 minutes
Why we love it: Crispy french fries without all the fat, for real. Next time you and your kids are craving the deep-fried favourite, whip up a batch of these air fryer fries instead.
How to add it to your meal plan: First rule of meal planning: ask your family what they’d like to eat. Sounds simple and super obvious but it’s so easy to get stuck in a routine where fun and creativity gets forgotten. Even just picking their favourite sides (hello, healthier fries!) can bring them to the table quicker and leave plates empty.
Ready in: 30 minutes
Why we love it: Fried chicken is many things: finger-licking-good, craggy crispy perfection and a family favourite any night of the week. This recipe can be made in the oven instead, but we love the way an air fryer adds extra crunch to the skin.
How to add it to your meal plan: Choose recipes that bless you with leftovers that taste just as good the next day. If you spot a value pack of drumsticks on sale, grab it! You can bake a double batch while prepping veggies so you can enjoy a juicy chicken lunch tomorrow.
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Ready in: 15 minutes
Why we love it: Crunchy-munchy goodness aside, you can make these spiced chickpeas in just 10 minutes! This speedy snack can also become a salad topper, grain bowl accompaniment, soup garnish or a tasty addition to popcorn.
How to add it to your meal plan: Since they only take 10 minutes to air fry, make a triple or quadruple batch, sprinkling with spice mixes of your choice. Store them at room temperature for an after-school snack to tide the kids over until dinner.
Ready in: 35 minutes
Why we love it: This is one of the best easy air fryer recipes you’ll make again and again. Plus, you’ll convert all those Brussels sprout haters in the process. The roasted bits are caramelized into mouthwatering goodness. Just be sure to quarter the sprouts for even browning and don’t overcrowd the basket.
How to add it to your meal plan: We can’t think of a better way to bring Brussels sprouts from the holidays to your weeknight dinners. These little veggies are long lasting and can linger in your crisper for up to a week. This makes them easy to have on hand when you need a healthy side dish with just a few ingredients.
Ready in: 25 minutes
Why we love it: Who can resist gooey, battered and fried mozzarella? And don’t get us started on the tangy dipping sauce. You can enjoy this restaurant-worthy appetizer at home with this lightened-up air fryer version. Pair it with a bright marinara sauce or try ranch dressing for a creamier take.
How to add it to your meal plan: Start meal prep by slicing cheese into sticks and pre-mixing your bread crumb mixture. That way you’ll have a head start on days when you’re lacking energy but craving something crispy and cheesy.
Ready in: 50 minutes
Why we love it: These pocket-sized air fryer desserts are more than adorable; they’re vegan too. Pack them in lunches boxes, for weekend snacks or on road trips. Or, you can freeze them individually to have a quick treat at the ready.
How to add it to your meal plan: Forget the pre-packaged versions and keep a stash of these in your freezer for future cravings. Just thaw in the refrigerator, pat dry and top with a quick lemon glaze or dust with icing sugar. You can reheat them in a microwave or just gobble them up as is.
Ready in: 5 hours 15 minutes
Why we love it: Crunchy, fried ice cream at home might seem too good to be true, but not with an air fryer. Though it requires five hours of freezing time, there’s only 15 minutes of prep time, which mostly involves scooping and rolling the ice cream.
How to add it to your meal plan: This is the ultimate make-ahead dessert as it gets better the longer it’s frozen. Prep your ice cream balls and stash in your freezer for up to three weeks for a sweet air fryer dessert whenever you need it.
Shop Air Fryers and Recipe Ingredients
- Canada’s Food Guide. Eat Protein Foods.
- Epicurious. What to Cook Now: Brussels Sprouts.
- Harvard Medical School. Fresh or Frozen Produce? The Health Benefits is All in the Mix.
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