Surprising Foods You Can Cook In An Air Fryer (And Some You Can’t)

Since the air fryer was invented in 2010 its gained widespread use. Not only can it be used as a quick and easy way to fry foods, but it can be used to cook other things as well. While there are many foods everyone knows can be cooked in an air fryer (and some that everyone knows shouldn’t) there are many that the population at large are unaware do well in the kitchen essential. Here are a few things that can be cooked in an air fryer (and a few that can’t be).

Chicken (Do Air Fry)


Okay, don’t try cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer. They’re just too big for that, you won’t get a well-cooked dish out of it. However, you can air fry smaller parts of the chicken, such as the breasts and wings.

Eggs (Do Air Fry)


You can actually hard boil an egg, no water required. Just preheat the air fryer to 250 degrees. After it warms up, place cold eggs into the basket. Cook them for about 16 minutes, and afterward, put them in an ice bath until they cool.

Pasta (Do Not Air Fry)


Pasta needs to be boiled, and air fryers just aren’t built to be able to boil water. You can still bake pasta though. Some recipes require that the pasta only be partially boiled before being cooked anyway.

Cheese (Do Not Air Fry)


Just, any kind of cheese. Whether its a part of a food or just cheese by itself, do not put it in your air fryer. It’ll just melt and gunk up your fryer. Just remember that an air fryer isn’t actually a fryer.

Popcorn (Do Air Fry)


Popcorn kernels require a temperature around 355 degrees in order to burst. An air fryer normally reaches its maximum temperature around 400 degrees. So yes, you can pop popcorn in an air fryer.

Bacon (Do Air Fry)


Not only can you cook bacon in an air fryer, but you can actually make it healthier too. Putting it in a basket will cause the excess fat to drip through as it gets cooked. The result will be leaner, crispier bacon.

Cookies (Do Air Fry)


Did you know that it only takes three minutes to preheat an air fryer. That would certainly help decrease the amount of time it takes to bake some foods. And one of the foods that you can bake are in an air fryer are cookies. Just use an appropriately sized cooking pan.

Bread (Do Air Fry)


You can actually bake bread in an air dryer. And you might be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the bread and how quickly it can come out. The technique for baking it isn’t even that much different than if you were to bake it in an oven.

Side-Note: They Can Crisp Foods


An air fryer is actually an ideal way to heat up foods to ensure that they don’t come out soggy. The air fryer website actually has a chart for cooking different frozen foods.

Leafy Greens (Do Not Air Fry)


The circulation of air within an air fryer cooks food incredibly quickly. And as a result, leafy greens just won’t survive in there. They’ll get blown around and torn to shreds. You can still make kale chips, but you’ll need to weigh them down with cooking oil.

Toast (Do Not Air Fry)


It’s not so much that toasting bread in an air fryer causes problems, it’s just that it won’t work. The bread will just be blown around, or the air circulation just won’t be hot enough. In other words, the bread just won’t turn into toast.

Zoodles (Do Air Fry)


You can’t cook normal pasta, but you can make excellent noodles from zucchini (also known as zoodles). Just preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees and spray the basket with cooking oil. Combine the zoodles with whatever sauce you prefer, and cook it for five to seven minutes.

Brussels Sprouts (Do Air Fry)


Brussels sprouts cook exceptionally well in an air fryer. They become delightfully crispy. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Combine one bag of brussels sprouts with one teaspoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of vinegar, and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook it for 15 minutes, but pause halfway through the shake the basket a bit.

Side-Note: Don’t Use Dry Rub Spices


Air fryers just don’t cooperate with dry rub spices. Sure, they make your food have more flavor, but the air of an air fryer would just blow them off your food. It’s recommended you combine your dry rubs with just the smallest amount of olive oil. That way, the olive oil sticks more to the food.

Broccoli (Do Not Air Fry)


Some vegetables do well in an air fryer and broccoli is not one of them. It simply gets dried out. The experience of eating air fried broccoli has been compared to eating sandpaper. It’s just so dry.

Rice (Do Not Air Fry)


Rice is a lot like pasta. You do need to boil it after all. And since water can’t go into the air fryer, you won’t be getting that cooked rice. You can use rice in other ways in the air fryer, but if the recipe requires it to be boiled you’ll be out of luck.

Steak (Do Air Fry)


This may be surprising to some, but you can air fry steak. The only downside is that it might not have the same level of charring you might be accustomed to. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees. Season your steak as you please, letting it soak in the flavor for at least 20 minutes. Using an air fryer tray, put it in to bake for 12 minutes. Make sure to flip it halfway through. It’ll be a little bit more involved than just throwing the food in the air fryer, but the results will be worth it.

Burgers (Do Air Fry, Just Not Medium Rare)


You can cook burgers in an air fryer, but they won’t be able to be made medium rare. At least not medium rare and safe to consume. Air fryers do not provide a scorched crust like grills or ovens do, so a medium rare patty would not give the outside enough time to brown. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that all ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F, brown on the outside with little to no pink in the middle.

Olive Oil (Do Not Air Fry)


Cooking oils have this thing called a smoke point. Depending on the oil you’re using, your food will cook slower or faster. Olive oil, in particular, has too low of a smoke point for the air fryer. It’ll end up being absorbed into the food and leave a strange aftertaste.

Vegetable, Peanut, and Canola Oil (Do Air Fry)


Now these oils can work in an air fryer. They have a much higher smoke point, making them a more appropriate choice of cooking oil. Now your food will be cooked to perfection instead of just absorbing all the oil.

Side-Note: Don’t Overload The Air Fryer


No matter how big your air fryer is, make sure you don’t overload it. The air won’t circulate properly and the food will cook unevenly. If you need to air fry a bunch of food, just do it in multiple batches.

Salmon (Do Not Air Fry)


It’s not so much that salmon can’t be cooked in an air fryer, it’s that using a different method to cook it is a better idea. Salmon generally requires constant checks to make sure it isn’t over or undercooked. Because you’re supposed to just push a few buttons and throw the food in, you can’t exactly cook salmon with the same precision required of it.

Cinnamon Rolls (Do Air Fry)


An air fryer can actually cook cinnamon rolls in a fraction of the normal time. They’ll be cooked to perfection. Not to mention, the smell in your house afterward will be heavenly.

Cake (Do Not Air Fry)


You can make cookies in an air fryer, but, unlike cookies, cake uses wet batter. It’d just be tossed around the air fryer. The cake would cook unevenly, if it cooked at all.

Jerky (Do Air Fry)


The air fryer can be used to dehydrate food, but if you want to make jerky you have to do in a certain way. Since it’s air that blows around everything, the jerky pieces are going to have to be big enough to weigh themselves down. As long as they’re big enough, air fry the meat to your heat’s content and make some nice, homemade jerky.

Asparagus (Do Air Fry)


Asparagus is another vegetable that does well in an air fryer. Good news, considering its packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and folate. Cook for about ten minutes it’ll be perfectly tender, crisp, and charred.

Apple Crisps (Do Air Fry)


Would you have expected to be able to make a healthy snack like this using an air fryer? Apple crisps just thinly sliced fruit sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. The air fryer dries them out and cooks them quickly. Just make sure that their size is more uniform so that they’ll cook at the same speed.