Chef shows how to cook Christmas dinner in an air fryer... and I'm impressed and horrified

How to cook your entire Christmas dinner using an air fryer

Someone using the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer air fryer to cook a leg of lamb
(Image credit: Amazon)

Christmas is coming up and while the day is filled with presents and joy, there’s also a lot of cooking involved. If you’re cooking Christmas lunch or dinner this year, you could use an air fryer to make the entire lunch, including the turkey, roast potatoes and other sides.

As shown on This Morning, chef Nathan Anthony gave his air fryer recipes for a full Christmas dinner… and I’m both impressed and horrified at the same time. In the segment, Anthony showed how to cook a turkey crown and festive sides to feed up to six people… yes, really!

It goes without saying that the best air fryers have changed the way we cook. Lazy cooks, meal preppers, snackers and professional chefs all use and love air fryers, mainly because of their ease, speed and healthier versions of fast food. But cooking an entire Christmas lunch or dinner in an air fryer?! I’m not entirely convinced on this one.

On This Morning, Anthony explained how to make Christmas dinner in an air fryer. The turkey recipe starts with a dry brine 2-3 days before cooking. It’s covered in compound butter before going in the air fryer for 90 minutes and then being rested like normal.

Another key recipe was for roast potatoes. Anthony explained that the potatoes should be parboiled for 10 minutes (not using an air fryer) before being covered in oil and flour and being cooked in the air fryer for 20 minutes.

In addition to the turkey, Anthony used the air fryer to cook pigs in blankets, stuffing and other festive sides. While all recipes seemed pretty straightforward, it left me (and many other viewers) with more questions than answers.

Firstly, how big is the air fryer?! Since growing in popularity, many brands have expanded the size of their air fryers, either by increasing the overall capacity or adding extra baskets. For example, the Ninja Foodi FlexDrawer Air Fryer has a huge 10.4-litre capacity and can fit an entire salmon or leg of lamb, so a turkey crown doesn’t sound like it’d be out of the question.

Secondly, how do you fit everything in the air fryer and how does this work with timings? With the FlexDrawer, the total 10.4 capacity removes the dual baskets to create one big cooking space so in this case, you’d have to use the air fryer for just the meat. After the turkey comes out, you can use the dual baskets to make the sides while the turkey rests. As this is typically what you’d do when making Christmas dinner using the best oven, why not stick to the traditional method?

What many viewers were concerned about was oil. With roast potatoes, they tend to be thrown into an oven pan with goose fat or oil to crisp them up. This isn’t a method that can fully transfer to air fryers, as most models only recommend small quantities of oil. As air fryers use rapid air technology, having too much oil in the baskets can cause hot oil to fly about and increase the risk of burns.

During This Morning’s segment, Anthony did state that “I’m not saying cook the whole thing in your air fryer but it is such a good backup to give you more space and more time.” So, while I’m slightly baffled by using an air fryer for Christmas dinner, it can definitely serve as a more cost-effective and energy saving way to cook your meal, and it can help cook multiple things at once, especially if you have a small oven.

As someone who’s hosting Christmas this year, I won’t be using an air fryer to cook it and will stick to the oven. But, if you have limited space, it could be worth making the sides in an air fryer, particularly the roast potatoes and carrots. For more cooking advice, check out the best foods to cook in an air fryer.

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!