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Air-fryer desserts: How to make brownies, pies, s'mores and doughnuts

Craving a warm brownie or a cinnamon-sugar doughnut? Your air fryer can help with that.
The air fryer allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth in a near instant.
The air fryer allows you to satisfy your sweet tooth in a near instant.Terri Peters
/ Source: TODAY

When it comes to food, TikTok knows all, including which desserts can easily be made using an air fryer.

My "For You" page is often flooded with snippets showing home cooks creating everything in their air fryers, from a perfectly cooked steak to "hard-boiled" eggs.

But I had to know for myself if desserts like cinnamon-sugar doughnuts and warm, gooey brownies really could be made in the air fryer, so I dove deep into the app, watching dessert demo after dessert demo, noticing which sweet treats seemed to star in the most videos.

Once I'd chosen my desserts — cinnamon roll apple pies, brownies, cinnamon sugar doughnuts and s'mores, I went to work, air-frying, tasting and ranking the four most popular desserts I've come across on TikTok.

The results were sweet, and the baking process was way faster than using a conventional oven. Here are my favorite air-fryer desserts, ranked:

1. Cinnamon Roll Apple Pies

Cinnamon roll apple pies can be made in the air fryer and only require an apple and a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls.Terri Peters

To make these cinnamon-scented apple pies in the air fryer, all you need is a store-bought package of canned cinnamon rolls and an apple.

After coring and slicing the apple, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the slices. Roll canned cinnamon roll dough flat with a rolling pin and, after placing a few apple slices on top of one roll, add another one to the top.

Simple ingredients pack a flavorful punch in this air-fryer dessert.Terri Peters

After pinching the dough closed to form a pocket around the apples, cook for about 10 minutes in a 350 F air fryer.

These pies were my favorite of the four desserts because, when topped with the icing from the cinnamon roll can, they were the sweetest combination of apple pie and a warm cinnamon roll. And the apples cooked to the perfect velvety consistency in the air fryer.

2. Brownies

Using boxed brownie mix, I whipped up an air-fryer brownie in 20 minutes.Terri Peters

TikTok is filled with videos of people making air-fryer brownies using a small baking pan and boxed brownie mix, but I wondered: Could it really be that easy?

It was, indeed. Using a small 5-inch round baking pan, I poured about 1/3 of the boxed mix brownie batter into the pan and cooked for about 20 minutes on 350 F.

Air-fryer accessories, like this 5-inch baking pan, are available at many retailers.Terri Peters

The result? A warm, chocolaty brownie that was molten hot and gooey in the center. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

3. S'mores

The "air broil" on my air fryer was helpful in getting the perfect browning on my marshmallows.Terri Peters

Simple, yet completely satisfying, s'mores in the air fryer were a sweet treat that made me reminisce about winter bonfires.

My air fryer, a Ninja model, has an "air broil" setting, so after heating a graham cracker topped with a giant marshmallow for about 5 minutes on 400 F, I turned the air fryer to air broil and browned the tops of the marshmallows perfectly.

Yes, you can create ooey-gooey s'mores in your air fryer — no open flame required.Terri Peters

Then, I topped each marshmallow with a square of chocolate and a second cracker and enjoyed every warm, melty bite.

4. Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts

Other variations of these air-fryer doughnuts are glazed with powdered sugar and topped with sprinkles.Terri Peters

Arguably the most popular air-fryer dessert on TikTok right now, doughnuts made with a can of refrigerated biscuit dough are all the rage.

They're simple to make: Lay each canned biscuit on a cutting board and using a cookie cutter, soda bottle cap or other circular tool, cut a doughnut hole in the middle of each.

I used a cookie cutter to make holes in my doughnuts, but some TikTokers use a soda bottle cap.Terri Peters

After baking the hole-y biscuits for 8 minutes on 350 F, I brushed melted butter on each and coated them in cinnamon sugar.

To me, they just tasted like a biscuit with cinnamon and sugar on them, but my kids liked the novelty of making a doughnut at home in the air fryer. Perhaps next time, I'll try them with sprinkles and powdered sugar glaze like some other TikTokers.