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If you’re wondering what can you cook in an air fryer, we’re here to help! Honestly, there isn’t much you can’t cook in an air fryer. But because this is still a relatively new appliance to most people, many don’t understand what you can (or can’t) cook in an air fryer.
What to cook in an air fryer feels like it should be a complex question, but honestly, it’s pretty darn simple and easy. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, relax, and lets take a look at all the wonderful foods you can cook with your air fryer.
What Can You Cook In An Air Fryer?
A list of what you can’t cook in an air fryer would be shorter. But we like to focus on the positives around here, so let’s start with what you can cook in an air fryer.
IMPORTANT: The cooking times and temperatures below are based on our air fryer. Every air fryer is different. So use these times and temperatures as a jumping off point and adjust as needed. Also note that our air fryer requires about a 5 minute warmup. So we will often indicate times for both a cold air fryer (if it requires a warmup) and a preheated air fryer. If your air fryer does not require a warmup time, then use times notes on a preheated air fryer. Find a full chart of cooking times here.
What Are The Best Foods To Cook In An Air Fryer?
Air fryers were made for cooking frozen, packaged foods. So if you tend to enjoy things like cheese sticks, onion rings and french fries, then an air fryer should be right up your alley. That being said, there are plenty of healthy foods you can easily make in an air fryer. Even healthier version of your junk food favorites are a breeze with an air fryer!
But don’t think that they are only good for snack-type foods. On the contrary! You can make delicious air fried:
- and more!
Can You Cook Bacon In An Air Fryer?
Abso-tootin-lutely!! In fact, we won’t eat bacon cooked any other way these days. Here’s how to cook bacon in an air fryer.
- Rinse your bacon! We know, this sounds odd, but if you quickly run your bacon under some running water before putting it on your air fryer tray (or in the basket), it will reduce shrinking considerably. And who doesn’t want a bigger piece of bacon?
- We like to cook our bacon at 400F. for 8 minutes (including warmup) or 6-7 minutes in a preheated air fryer.
- Don’t forget to flip your bacon half way through.
- Note that cooking times can vary with the thickness of your bacon and even with the type of bacon you use. So adjust as needed. Just make sure you fully cook your bacon!
- If you have a toaster oven air fryer, put your bacon as low down as it will go on your shelves.
How To Cook Chicken In An Air Fryer
This is a larger topic because different cuts of chicken are cooked different in an air fryer. But we will try to cover the most popular cuts here.
- Whole Chicken – 400F. / 40-50 minutes (4 lbs.)
- Chicken Thighs, bone in – 380F. / 30 minutes (2 lbs.)
- chicken Thighs, boneless – 380F. / 20 minutes (1 1/2 lbs.)
- Chicken Wings – 400F. / 12 minutes (2 lbs.)
- Drumsticks – 370F / 20 minutes (2.5 lbs.)
- Chicken Breasts, bone in – 370F / 25 minutes (1 1/4 lb.)
- Chicken Breasts, boneless – 380 / 12 minutes (1/4 lb.)
How To Cook Hot Dogs In An Air Fryer
If you want to warm up your hot dog buns in your air fryer, you can do that too. We recommend starting with no more than 1 minutes in a preheated air fryer. Check for doneness and cook in 1 minute increments until they are as toasty as you like them. But 1 minute is typically plenty. Some air fryers may need 2- 3 minutes though. If you have a toaster oven air fryer, set the air fryer tray at the lowest possible level. You don’t want the bread too close to the heating element.
- Hot Dog Buns – 390F / 1-3 minutes
- Hot Dogs – 390F / 3 minutes
Air Fryer Steak
Steak cooking times will vary based on the cut and thickness of your steak. However, here are some general cooking times. The cooking temperature for steak is 400F. Don’t forget to flip your steak half way through!
Air Fryer Steak Cooking Times
- Rare – 8 minutes
- Medium Rare – 10 minutes
- Medium – 12 minutes
- Medium well – 14 minutes
Air Fryer Cooking Times By thickness
- Thin steaks – 7-8 minutes
- Medium thickness – 10 minutes
- Thick steaks – 12-14 minutes
Finished Cooking Temperatures For Steaks
- Rare – 125F.
- Medium Rare – 135F.
- Medium – 145F.
- Medium Well – 150F
- Well Done – 160F.
Air Fried Fish
Fish is delicate stuff. It cooks fast, but should still be tender when done. When attempting fish for the first time, always air on the side of caution with cooking times. Check your fish before the cooking time is up to be sure you don’t accidentally overcook it.
- Fish fillet – 400F. / 10 minutes (8 oz. / 1 inch)
- Salmon – 380F. / 12 minutes (6 oz.)
- Tuna steak – 400F. / 10 minutes (6 oz.)
- Swordfish steak – 400F. / 10 minutes (8 oz.)
- Shrimp – 400F. / 5 minutes (6 oz.)
- Scallops – 400F. / 6 minutes (6 oz.)
What Else Can You Air Fry?
- Vegetables – almost any kind
- Pretty much anything you can cook on a stove or in an oven!
- Check out more air fryer cooking times here.
What Can’t You Cook In An Air Fryer?
The list of things you can’t cook in an air fryer is actually pretty short. Here’s what to avoid.
- Anything with a wet batter.
- Anything that requires tons of oil or other fats to cook.
- Overly large, whole chickens – Stay around the 4 lb. mark.
- Anything with tons of cheese. A little cheese inside a sandwich is fine. But anything with lots of cheese that can ooze out or melt over edges is likely to make a big, smokey mess.
- Dry spices that are not stick to the surface of your food with fats or breading.
- Fresh greens are likely to blow around the inside of your air fryer and get stuck on the fan.
- Anything very light weight. Bacon is about as light as you want to get.
Air Fryer Types And What You Can Cook In Them
There are three different types of air fryers that most people buy. Paddle air fryers, basket air fryers and toaster oven air fryers. (Air fryer microwaves are also a thing!) The type you have can sometimes dictate what you can or can’t make in your air fryer.
Paddle air fryers are great for foods that can be pushed around the air fryer with the paddle. More delicate foods should be avoided with these unless the paddle is removable.
Basket air fryers are fantastic for frozen foods and snack-type foods. You can also bake pretty well in most of them.
Toaster oven air fryers are probably the most versatile air fryer appliances. You can easily make everything from cake and pizza to rotisserie chicken and more. That’s not to say that you can’t make those things in the other types of air fryers, we are simply sharing where each type of air fryer excels. Some types are better with certain types of foods than others. You can more or less cook most foods in any type of air fryer, but it will require some patience and fiddling around until you figure out times and temperatures for each food.
Air fryers are very versatile appliances. You can pretty much make any type of food without too much hassle. The main thing to keep in mind is that, most air fryers are not set-it-and-forget-it appliances. Paddle air fryers are the exception here because they rotate your food for you. But with every other type of air fryer, you will need to flip, shake or toss your food at least once during cooking, if not more often.