How to cook with an Airfryer: tips and easy recipes

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Australians love kitchen gadgets. From our national Nutri-Bullet obsession to the Thermomix religion, there doesn’t seem to be any electric magic we’re not thrilled to welcome into our kitchens.

Of all the popular appliances we’ve made room for in our cupboards — from sandwich presses to pastry chefs — few have had a bigger impact than the air fryer.

Even if you haven’t invested in your own air fryer, chances are you’ve heard how amazing they are from a recent convert.

Related: The best kitchen utensils and appliances

Related: 15 best air fryers to buy in Australia

Air fryers are everywhere, and while reviewers say they’re nothing more than a small benchtop convection oven (technically true…), its many uses make us glad we found room in it. our houses.

Along with offering a faster, more economical way to reheat small meals like nuggets, pies, and leftover chicken, the air fryer offers many exciting (and advanced) cooking possibilities.

To unlock the full potential of the air fryer, remember:

Oil is not your enemy. Even though the air fryer is marketed as a healthy cooking alternative, without a little splatter or smear of oil, you won’t see the same crispy, browning or satisfying crunch as when frying by more conventional means (try our fries recipe below for a great example of the difference a splash of oil can make).

Preheat your oven. Like the full-size oven in your kitchen, the air fryer only begins to cook when its chamber has fully heated. Save cooking time and get better results by running the air fryer for 3-4 minutes while you prepare your food.

Do not overload the basket. An air fryer works by circulating hot air around your food. The denser you fill your basket, the less room there is for air to circulate and the more soggy your food will be.

Flip, flip or mix your food. Pull the air fryer basket out at least once during cooking time to rotate or shake out what’s inside. This will help ensure that every edge gets the crispy heat it deserves.

Want to go further with your air fryer? Try these simple but amazing recipes.

PERFECT CRUNCHY AIR FRYER CHIPS

There’s nothing quite like a hot fry straight out of the air fryer, all golden and crispy and covered in delicious chicken salt. It’s possible to achieve almost the exact same result by dropping frozen fries into your air fryer, but you’ll need to follow a few extra (very simple) steps.

Ingredients

450 g (1/2 bag) potato chips or frozen fries

1 tablespoon vegetable, canola, rice bran, or grapeseed oil

Chicken or plain salt for serving

Method

Don’t try to cook too many fries at once. About half a bag of frozen fries is the limit, depending on your air fryer model and the brand and style of fries. Overfilling the air fryer basket will result in soggy fries.

Before cooking, toss the fries in a bowl with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, rice bran oil, grapeseed oil, or any flavorless oil that doesn’t break down when cooked. heated (avoid olive oil).

Preheat your empty air fryer for 3-4 minutes at 180°C before adding the fries to the basket. Bake the chips at 180°C for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Pause your air fryer every four or five minutes to give the fries a good toss around the basket, making sure every edge and side of each fry gets plenty of heat.

When crisp and golden, toss the fries into a bowl, toss with chicken or regular salt and serve.

HOT APPLE PIE ‘MCDONALD’S’ AIR FRYER

With a crispy, bubbly pastry shell and warming spiced apple interiors, this recreation of McDonald’s classic hot apple pie is quick, easy and perfect for the air fryer.

Ingredients (for 10 pies)

4 slices of puff pastry

Box of ‘fruit pie’ apple slices

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg, lightly beaten

Vegetable oil

White sugar (for sprinkling)

Method

Transfer the canned apple to a bowl and mix with the nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well.

Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half down the center, then each half into three equal rectangles.

Preheat your empty air fryer by running it at 180°C for 3-4 minutes.

Pile about two tablespoons of the apple mixture in the center of the rectangle, leaving at least 0.5 cm of clear batter on each edge. Using a brush, draw a thin line of beaten egg on each edge, then cover with another rectangle of puff pastry. Firmly pack the edges with the back of a knife or the tines of a fork.

Repeat with remaining dough and apple, keeping finished pies refrigerated until ready to bake.

Use a pastry brush to gently coat the top surface of each pie with the oil, then air fry for 10 minutes at 180°C. Sprinkle with a little sugar and serve warm with ice cream. vanilla.

AIR FRYER MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

This is our favorite air fryer hack and the ultimate one-bowl recipe. Everything, including pasta, cooks at the same time, resulting in both creamier mac and cheese and fewer dishes to process later.

Ingredients (for 2 people as a main dish or 4 people as a side dish)

1 cup uncooked macaroni

1 cup whole milk

½ cup cream

1 teaspoon mustard powder

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup shredded/shredded cheese (we used a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, but any processed cheese will work)

Method

Preheat your empty air fryer by running it at 180°C for 3-4 minutes.

Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a heatproof bowl (metal or glass) that fits in the basket of your air fryer. Mix well.

Cook in the airfryer for 5 minutes at 180°C. Mix well, then cook for another 5 minutes at the same temperature.

Add the cheese to the bowl and stir well until the cheese begins to melt. If the cheese melts in one lump, keep stirring until it is evenly distributed in the milk sauce.

Bake another 5 minutes or until macaroni and cheese is golden on top and pasta is cooked to your liking.

Optional: Add a sprinkle of seasoned breadcrumbs over the pasta during the last three minutes of cooking for an even crispier top.

Tristan Lutze is a recipe creator, restaurant critic, and food and travel writer. In addition to News.com.au, he contributes to Delicious, Qantas magazine, Gourmet Traveler and Broadsheet, and is a regular guest on ABC Radio. He shares his agricultural and culinary adventures on Instagram at @tristancooksandeats.

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