I Just Got An Air Fryer And Here's Everything I've Made With It So Far
The salmon was perfection, but the cheesecake....
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I've been considering getting an air fryer for months now. The combination of not wanting to deal with lengthy cooking times, too much cleanup, and constantly seeing the air fryer we put in all our articles finally made me feel like I really needed one (gosh dang it, why are we so convincing??) So...I caved and bought one for myself.
1. I started off easy with a batch of sweet potato fries. I just used store-bought, pre-cut fries. I set the air fryer at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and ended up with delicious, crisp fries (and I didn't even need to wait for anything to heat up or clean any leftover oil at the end).
2. We had a case full of salmon fillets so I decided that would be part of my next air fryer experiment. I seasoned 'em up with salt, pepper, and a multi-herb seasoning and, again, coated them in just a tablespoon of oil. This time, however, I placed aluminum foil in the frying chamber to avoid having any juices leak into the fryer. Twenty-five minutes later and absolute perfection!
3. Next up: tilapia and potatoes. This time, I wanted to see how'd they cook together. I gave them each their own dose of seasoning, lined the frying chamber with foil and cooked 'em for 30 minutes. I was a little worried that one would be done before the other, but they both seemed to cook evenly. The potatoes were delicious and the tilapia ended up being thoroughly cooked through but not dry.
4. Now I really got ambitious and decided to try making cheesecake in an air fryer. I lined the chamber with foil, pressed in crushed graham crackers, and poured a simple cheesecake base of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. I even used strawberry preserve to top it off. Cheesecake normally bakes in an oven for at least 45 minutes, so — knowing how powerful this thing is — I let it cook for just 30 minutes and the top ended up suuuuper brown!!
5. I returned to the air fryer with my tail between my legs and this time opted for a much simpler, but just as exquisite dish: mozzarella sticks. In 10 minutes, they were crispy and perfectly gooey. No surprises there.
6. Another huge advantage of this air fryer: you can reheat meals for that freshly baked taste and texture without ever turning on your oven. I heated up cooked chicken and mini tortillas for tacos for lunch one day and it was SO much better than just reheating them in the microwave. The tortillas had some crispiness to 'em and didn't taste soggy from the usual condensation of a microwave.
7. I even made an egg omelet in this thing!! This omelet, however, took 20 minutes to cook in the air fryer, but on a stove top, it would've taken less than 10 minutes. In terms of time effectiveness, I'd say the air fryer loses here. But the end result was still light and fluffy.
8. And, I tried to re-create my mom's fried plantains in the air fryer. She usually deep fries ripe plantain slices and they turn out crispy on the edges and literally fat with flavor everywhere else. I coated them lightly in oil, salted them, and cooked them for a total of 25 minutes. They smelled and looked great but this was one dish that could've benefited from turning over halfway through so they could cook on both sides.
So to sum things up: I love my air fryer. It's convenient and makes me feel like I can cook most things with minimal cleanup and with minimal effort since I can just set the time and do other things while I wait.
Some things do require a little more thought, though (like the cheesecake!!!) and a little effort to flip your food halfway (like the plantains!!!).
While it's great to already know the exact temperature and cooking times for various meals and snacks, it's easy to just cook by trial and error and add a little more time or remove the dish even halfway through.
If you're looking for some inspo to get you started, check out our roundup of air fryer recipes.