Easy, healthy, and cheap air fryer recipes that are so good, you’ll want to marry them!
Y’all, I’m from the South, and in the South, we fry EVERYTHING! Our motto is, if it’s edible, it’s fry-able!
Unfortunately, frying all of your food in grease and oil can have negative consequences on your long-term health. Who knew?
So…if you’re trying to eat healthier but don’t want to give up all of your favorite foods, an air fryer is the perfect solution. Here are 60 cheap air fryer recipes that are not only easy to make, but are healthy, too!
Psst…if you’re looking to save money on food, check out this list of best cheap foods to buy when broke.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is what you’d get if an oven, microwave, and deep fryer had a baby.
Air fryers work in much the same way as the broiler setting on your oven, due to the fact that they cook from the top-down, with the added feature of a fan which circulates the air and helps to cook the food quickly.
The beauty of an air fryer is that it gives you the same results of food cooked in oil (aka, heavenly crunchiness and savory juiciness), without the greasy, fatty, side effects.
Another bonus, air fryers take very little time to preheat and will cook most foods within 15 minutes.
You may even end up ditching your microwave because you can heat most foods quickly in an air fryer without the rubbery consistency.
If you like your food crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, you NEED an air fryer!
Different types of air fryers
A quick search for ‘air fryers’ will yield you a plethora of choices. Allow me to simplify things a bit…
Basket air fryers
Basket-style air fryers are the most popular type of air fryer. They are designed with a basket (similar to deep fryers) to hold the food which slides into the cooking unit.
Air fryers with baskets are usually a bit smaller than ‘oven’ style air fryers, thus, they cook less food at a time.
Best basket air fryer: Dash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
6 QUART CAPACITY: The PERFECT appliance for picky eaters, large families, entertaining, or those with busy schedules The 6qt basket makes an abundance of appetizers, desserts, chicken wings, french fries, or even baked goods, and all within minutes of setting the timer – it couldn’t be easier
Air fryer [countertop] ovens
Air fryer ovens are alot like a mini convection oven and are designed to cook larger amounts of food in a short period of time.
Most air fryer ovens include bake, air fry, broil, and toast options.
Best countertop oven air fryer: Ninja Foodie 8-in-1
Xl capacity: 45% larger usable pan cooking area vs. The flat surface area of the Cuisinart toa-60 and toa-65 pan. Fits a 13 Pizza, up to 9 slices of toast or 6 chicken breasts (6–8 oz. Each)
Multi-cookers with air fry capabilities
If you don’t currently have a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or air fryer and are not sure which one to get first, opt for a multi-cooker that offers an all-in-one cooking experience.
Best multi-cooker: Instant Pot Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker
11-In-1 One-Touch Cooking Programs: Put cooking on autopilot with delicious results; Pressure cooks, Sautes, steams, slow cooks, sous vides, warms, air fries, roasts, bakes, broil and dehydrates
Air fryer sizes
Here’s a quick breakdown of the size of air fryer you may need:
- 1-person: 1-2 quarts
- 2-3 people: 2-3.5 quarts
- 4-6 people: 3.5-6 quarts
- 6 or more people: 6+ quarts
Trying to decide between an air fryer or pressure cooker? Now, you can have both! With an Instant Pot air fryer conversion lid!
Turn your instant pot into an air fryer: With one quick switch, unlock a whole new set of cooking techniques that allow you to crisp food right in your IP with the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid
Air fryer pros and cons
Air fryers won’t heat up your kitchen like ovens do, are easier to clean, and preheat much faster.
Now, onto the recipes!
Chicken air fryer recipes
The best way to cook chicken in an air fryer is to first coat it in some type of oil [olive oil works best], then rub in any dry seasonings. If you’d like, you can marinate the chicken ahead of time, however, it is not necessary. Add sauce at the end of the cooking time for best results.
Air Fryer Chicken and Broccoli – Eat Better Recipes
Chick-fil-A Copycat Chicken Sandwich – Stay Snatched
Bang Bang Chicken – Munchkin Time
Crispy [air] Fried Chicken – Gimmie Delicious
Buffalo Chicken Wings – Food Network
Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings – Dr. Davinah’s Eats
Simple Chicken Breasts – Simply Happy Foodie
General Tso’s Chicken – Kleinworth & Co
BBQ Chicken Wrapped In Bacon – Walking on Sunshine Recipes
Pineapple Chicken – Everyday Family Cooking
Beef air fryer recipes
The key to cooking perfect steaks in an air fryer is to marinade (and drain) or dry rub the steak ahead of time, set the air fryer to the correct temperature necessary to achieve required ‘doneness’, flip the steak halfway through, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.
Here are the recommended air fryer temperature settings for steak:
- 125o F for rare
- 135o F for medium-rare
- 145o F for medium
- 150o F for medium-well
Steak Bites with Mushrooms – Best Recipe Box
Loaded Mini Meatloaf – Who Needs A Cape
Best Ever Meatloaf – Food Lovin Family
Roast Beef with Herbed Crust – Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Perfect Steak – Whole Kitchen Sink
Korean BBQ Beef – Air Fryer Fanatics
Taco Stuffed Peppers – Foodtastic Mom
Air Fryer Burgers – Noshtastic
Country Fried Steak – Belly Laugh Living
Steak & Asparagus Rollups – Bell’alimento
Fish & seafood air fryer recipes
Whether your cooking breaded, frozen, or fresh fish, air fryers make a healthy food even healthier.
Perfect Air Fryer Salmon – The Kitchn
Coconut Shrimp – Feel Good Foodie
Bang Bang Shrimp – Munchkin Time
Southern Fried Catfish – This Old Gal
Fish and Chips – Spend with Pennies
Whitefish with Garlic and Lemon Pepper – Air Fryer World
Citrus Soy Salmon – JZ Eats
Shrimp Tacos – Tasty Air Fryer Recipes
Keto Fish Sticks – How 2 Do Keto
Tilapia with Garlic and Herbs – Finding Zest
Vegetable air fryer recipes
The key to yummy, air fried vegetables is adding just a smidge of oil, and lots of seasonings. You can’t go wrong with garlic and parmesan!
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon – Fabulessly Frugal
Cauliflower Tots – Delish
Corn on the Cob – The Typical Mom
Taco Flavored Chickpeas – The Typical Mom
Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower – Living Locurto
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries – Kinda Healthy Recipes
Roasted Vegetable Medley – Brooklyn Active Mama
Garlic Parmesan Zucchini – Cooks Well With Others
Air Fryer Asparagus – Julie’s Eats and Treats
Sweet Potato Chips – Vegan in the Freezer
Dessert air fryer recipes
Not all air fryer desserts are bad for you! Check out the air fryer keto recipes further down in the list if you are trying to cut carbs.
Best Homemade Cannoli – Delish
French Toast Sticks – Love Bakes Good Cakes
5-Minute Cinnamon Sugar Donuts – Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons
Churro Apple Pie Bombs – Miss in the Kitchen
Molten Lava Cake – My Forking Life
Air Fryer Oreos – Courtney’s Sweets
Deep-Fried Snickers – Food is a Four-Letter Word
Fried Ice Cream – Little Cooks Reading Books
Keto Cinnamon Roll Bites – Kimspired DIY
Keto Fried Cheesecake Bites – Easy Keto Dishes
More air fryer recipes
Snacks and appetizers that will satisfy your crunchy, savory, tangy, and sweet tooth!
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers – Berry & Maple
Honey Mesquite Pork Chops – Skinny Southern Recipes
Beef Jerky – Snack Girl
Fried Pickles – Stay Snatched
Toasted Ravioli – An Affair From the Heart
Crab Rangoon – The Salted Pepper
Keto Fried Cheesesticks – Hip 2 Keto
Blooming Onion – Upstate Ramblings
Banana Chips – The Happier Homemaker
Egg Rolls – Sustainable Cooks
What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?
The best foods to cook in an air fryer are basically anything you’d normally cook in an oven or deep fryer. You can cook anything from frozen foods to meats, veggies, and even cakes and cookies.
Oh, and if you want anything melted, just pop it in an air fryer real quick.
There’s a bit of a learning curve to mastering the art of air fryer cooking, but with a little practice, and the right cookbook, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Trust me, once you’ve tasted the difference between chicken cooked in an air fryer versus chicken cooked in the oven, you’ll never look back!
Can you cook a full meal in an air fryer?
With a large enough model, you can absolutely cook an entire meal (meat & sides) in an air fryer. When you’re done with that you can even make a sheet of cookies for dessert.
Can you cook frozen meat in an air fryer?
Yes, you can cook frozen meat in an air fryer, although, it will (of course) take a little longer to cook.
BTW: this is terrific news for those of us who find ourselves at 5:00 with nothing defrosted for dinner…
Can you put foil in an air fryer?
Yes, you can put foil in an air fryer, as long as you put it in the correct place.
Here are a few need-to-know tips for using foil in an air fryer:
When in doubt, just pick up some cheap air fryer liners and skip the aluminum foil.
Cheap Air Fryer Recipes Final Thoughts
Air fryers are such a versatile kitchen gadget, I am amazed they took so long to catch on! If you’re looking to prepare cheap, healthy food fast, an air fryer is definitely a worthwhile investment. These cheap air fryer recipes are so easy, you can skip the fast-food drive-thru!