5 air fryer recipes for beginners: foolproof meals you need to try

From chips to muffins, these are the best (and easiest) recipes to make in your air fryer

Air fryer recipes
(Image credit: Amazon)

Nowadays, it seems like you can’t enter a kitchen without seeing one of the best air fryers sitting proudly on a countertop. Air fryers have completely changed the way people cook, but if you’ve only just bought one, it can be a little tricky and intimidating to get your head around.

While air fryers are often thought of as a smaller and quicker oven, they don’t cook your food the same way as the best ovens do. This is where a lot of people go wrong with air fryers, as they think they can use the same timings and temperatures as they would in an oven and get the same results. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Most manufacturers give their air fryers pre-set programmes for specific foods to take the stress out of cooking. Some include a handy recipe booklet with your air fryer purchase, but if you want to broaden your cooking horizons, you need to start experimenting and accepting that a bit of trial and error will be involved.

T3 has covered air fryers for years now, so if you’re an air fryer beginner, these are the five foolproof recipes we recommend you try with your air fryer.

1. Air fryer chips

Air fryer recipes: chips

(Image credit: Dzenina Lukac / Pexels)

Chips are one of the most common foods made in an air fryer. While the best deep fat fryers make the crispiest chips, air fryer chips are a lot healthier as this type of appliance uses less oil, so you can enjoy your favourite fast food in a healthier way.

How to make air fryer chips:

1. Peel your potatoes (or don’t if you like skin-on chips) and cut them into chip shapes. Rinse your chips with water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

2. Spray your chips with olive oil spray or lightly coat them in oil. Season with salt and pepper, and any other seasonings you enjoy.

3. Place your chips in the air fryer (you don’t need to parboil them first) and cook them at 200°C for 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the air fryer drawer and give your chips a shake to make sure they’re cooked evenly. Check that your chips are cooked through and if they’re not, let them cook for a further 10 minutes.

Note: Most air fryers will have a pre-set chip function, so to save you time, select this option when making chips.

2. Air fryer chicken

Air fryer recipes: chicken

(Image credit: Karyna Panchenko / Unsplash)

Chicken is one of my favourite things to cook in an air fryer. I love to cook but chicken is a food that stresses me out and I tend to overcook it to avoid food poisoning! But air fryer chicken is incredibly easy to make and it always comes out juicy, moist and tender… and most importantly, cooked through!

How to make air fryer chicken:

1. Cover your chicken breasts with oil before adding salt and pepper, and your seasonings of choice. For inspiration, my favourite seasonings for air fryer chicken are garlic granules, chilli flakes and mixed herbs.

2. Put your chicken breasts in your air fryer and cook for 18-20 minutes at 180°C. Turn your chicken halfway through the cooking process.

3. Check your chicken is cooked by cutting into it to see if it’s white inside and the juices are clear. Alternatively, you can use the best meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

3. Air fryer salmon

Air fryer recipes: salmon

(Image credit: CA Creative / Unsplash)

Salmon is another popular food to cook in an air fryer, as it takes hardly any time at all and gives you fish that’s moist and flaky.

How to make air fryer salmon:

1. Cover your salmon with a light spray or drizzle of oil before adding your seasonings of choice.

2. Cook in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes at 180°C. Leave the fish to rest and add a squeeze of lemon before serving. It’s that easy!

3. If you want super crispy skin, remove the skin before you cook the fish. After your salmon has cooked and you’ve left it to rest, cook the skin separately in the air fryer for 5 minutes for the perfect crisp and crunch.

4. Air fryer cauliflower ‘wings’

Air fryer recipes: cauliflower

(Image credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels)

Cauliflower is such a versatile ingredient, and it’s often used as a meat substitute for chicken wings. It’s easy to prepare and can be served as a side or as a whole floret to act as a steak.

How to make air fryer cauliflower ‘wings’:

1. Remove the leaves from your cauliflower and cut them into florets or bite sized pieces.

2. Make a wet seasoning mixture using flour, cornstarch, milk and your seasonings of choice. Add your cauliflower and make sure it’s thoroughly coated.

3. Spray your air fryer basket with oil to stop the wet mixture from sticking. Cook your cauliflower ‘wings’ in the air fryer at 200°C for 18-20 minutes. Make sure to shake and turn them halfway through.

4. While your cauliflower is cooking, choose your sauce to coat them in. Buffalo sauce goes well with cauliflower so once your cauliflower is cooked, brush the sauce onto the florets and return to the air fryer for 8 minutes.

5. Air fryer muffins

Air fryer recipes: muffins

(Image credit: Michael Chiara / Unsplash)

You’ve always got to finish with something sweet, like this air fryer blueberry muffin recipe. Sweet treats like muffins, cupcakes and sponges are easy to make in an air fryer and they come out extremely fluffy and moist.

How to make air fryer muffins:

1. Combine oil, natural yoghurt, egg and milk together before adding sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add your blueberries and mix well.

2. Add your mixture into silicone muffin cases. Silicone is easier to remove from air fryers, plus liners and cases can be used again and again, rather than paper cases which tend to be thrown away after one use.

3. Cook your muffins in your air fryer at 160°C for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

For more recipe advice, check out the best foods to cook in an air fryer and if you’re ever stuck on timings, this air fryer accessory takes the guesswork out of cooking and meal prepping.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!