I think I’m going to miss the little Star Wars-shaped appliance that has been sitting on our counter for the last two weeks. It’s going back to its rightful owner soon. Perhaps it’s new appliance enthusiasm or just the fad of it but I’ve used it far more than I initially thought I might. It’s not perfect but it does a few things really well.
Here are the 7 ways I used the borrowed air fryer the most:
You’ve likely seen the proliferation of “healthy” chickpea snacks at the food store recently. You’ve also likely noticed how expensive those little bags of salted, dried chick peas cost. I’ve tried doing versions in the oven and the dehydrator, but could never come close to the crispy crunch of the store-bought versions.
The air fryer solved this issue. We went through an alarming amount of chickpeas (and other beans too) in the last few weeks. Pop open a can, drain it, mix in a little olive oil and sea salt, and dump it all in the air fryer for 10 minutes. A perfect, healthy, filling after school or mid-day snack.
The only downside was that they tended to soften up after a day, not that we had many batches last that long.
This was by far the tastiest and most dangerous recipe for my waist line. If you used the store bought biscuit dough hack, you could have fresh donuts on the table for breakfast in under 10 minutes. It was seriously dangerous. I had to refrain from making these multiple times a week or experimenting with different frostings.
any kid-related pre-cooked thing – fries/nuggets/fish sticks
The air fryer is really good at cooking kid-prepped food like the ubiquitous chicken nuggets or fish sticks very quickly. It also gets the outside coating much more crispy than oven baking in just the fraction of the time.
Panko and the air fryer were made for each other. I’ve used panko in countless recipes over the years and yes, it was crunchier than regular breadcrumbs but the air fryer takes panko to another level. We coated and cooked tofu in the air fryer and it was a revelation. Even the kids gobbled them up.
This was an unexpected benefit. You don’t typically think of the air fryer and roasting veggies but the high heat and circulating air did a great job and cutting down the roasting time while adding some nice crispy edges to things like cauliflower and broccoli. I’m not sure it cam out significantly different than traditionally roasting in the oven but it did do it faster.
Buttery and crispy on the outside, soft, melty and cheesy on the inside. This was Cecilia’s favorite thing (maybe after the donuts) that I made in the air fryer. It was a consistent request for weekend lunches. It was also quicker and a little easier to just put the sandwich in, flip once and be done in five minutes rather than standing by monitoring a pan.
We did have a few air fry fails. We cooked a few fillets of salmon in the air fryer and it cooked them fine but didn’t really add anything and cooking at the lower temperature setting seemed to sort of defeat the point. There wasn’t any time saving. If anything it took longer than just pan frying. We wouldn’t try this again.
I was very excited to try sweet potato fries. Like the chickpeas, I’ve never really been able to get crispy, home cooked fries. I’m still not able to do it. Maybe there is just too much moisture in the sweet potatoes but the ones I cut and cooked came out just as limp and soggy as I typically get in the oven.
Will I purchase my own air fryer? I’m tempted. I’ll see how much I miss it when it’s not around. If it were cheaper (I borrowed the XL Phillips that retails, after discounts, for around $299), I would likely consider it more strongly but the price is tough to swallow.
Even at the XL capacity, it’s not a huge amount of space. It cooks enough for two but feeding a family of four often required multiple batches sort of negating a lot of the time savings.
Still, the things it does do, it does really well. Those donuts…..