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14 of our best air-fryer recipes for crispy, crunchy bites

Yes, air-frying is healthier than deep-frying, but it’s also a far less messy cooking process. A win-win.

Our best air-fryer recipes include takeout-inspired favorites like egg rolls and chicken satay, chicken wings galore and better-for-you twists on meatballs and burgers. Using an air fryer will allow you to achieve the crispy, crunchy texture of deep-fried treats without the use of hardly any cooking oil. How? The cooking process is similar to that of convection cooking. Instead of using quarts and quarts of vegetable oil, an air fryer uses a fan to circulate super hot air, which thoroughly and evenly cooks whatever you put in the basket. Yes, it’s healthier, but it’s also a far less messy cooking process. A win-win.

But it’s not just suitable for deep-fried treats like mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders and french fries. It’s also an easy alternative to roasting vegetables such as potatoes or Brussels sprouts in the oven; not only do they get crispier than they do in the oven, but they cook in about half the time. Whether you live in a small apartment with a not-so-functional oven or you love trying out new gadgets and cooking appliances, an air fryer will transform the way you cook. There’s a large range of air fryers on the market, ranging from $50 to $350. Start small and if you fall in love, invest in a snazzy model. (Spoiler alert: you’re going to fall in love.) Not convinced? Take a peek at the 12 recipes below and try to give us one good reason why you’re going to pass on air-fryer lasagna nachos. That’s what we thought.

A takeout order isn’t complete without a side of egg rolls. Make this to-go favorite at home using just a handful of healthy ingredients — rotisserie chicken, avocado, cilantro, onion and egg roll wrappers — and an air fryer. They’re perfectly crispy without the greasy feel of deep-fried treats.

4-Ingredient Air Fryer Salmon

Baked salmon can get, well, a bit boring. Cook it in an air fryer, glaze it with honey, soy sauce and garlic, and it’s a whole new ballgame.

Instead of the usual tortilla chips, these nachos start with lasagna noodles. They’re seasoned with Parmesan, olive oil, Italian seasoning and granulated garlic, then are cooked in an air fryer until crispy.

This is, hands down, the best recipe for chicken tenders. It’s a bold, but honest statement and here’s why: To make them, you’ll brine chicken tenders in a combination of lemony buttermilk and pickle juice. For even more flavor, the chicken is coated in a seasoned flour mixture and panko breading with paprika, onion powder, granulated garlic and oregano. They’re a far cry from your go-to fast food tenders.

Air-Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Air-Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookie

Jennifer Smith, Grace Like Rain Blog

No need to turn on the oven! Use your air fryer to bake this nine-ingredient cookie dough. Instead of forming individual cookies, make one large format cookie in a cake pan for an easy-to-share dessert.

Deep-frying chicken wings can be messy, but baking them doesn’t always result in a crispy exterior. By “frying” them in an air fryer, you’ll achieve the crunchy, crispy texture without the need for cups of oil. Toss them in a sauce made from tequila, agave, chipotle in adobo sauce and pineapple juice for a sweet and spicy bite.

Inspired by a traditional recipe for fried plantains, these better-for-you crispy plantains are baked in an air fryer. “If you’re preparing a lot you will just want to put one layer in the basket, not overcrowding them and cooking them in batches,” adds Robin Arzón.

Air-Fried Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

While picking up a bag of frozen french fries from the grocery store is easy-peasy, making your own is so much more satisfying. By baking them in an air fryer, they’ll get just as crispy as they would if they were deep-fried.

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

When you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs but want a leaner bite, turn to these better-for-you turkey meatballs. The ground turkey is mixed with softened whole-wheat bread, garlic, fresh parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Calabrian chili paste. “The air fryer achieves that golden crust on the outside and moistness on the inside without added fat,” explains Donatella Arpaia.

Tebasaki Wings

Toss crispy, air-fried chicken wings in a sauce made with soy sauce, sake, grated garlic, fresh ginger and add black vinegar. It’s a flavorful, umami-packed bite that you’ll surely want seconds of.

Re-create this popular Southeast Asian-inspired dish using an air fryer. To save time, marinade the chicken up to a day in advance so come dinner time, all you need to do is fry ‘em and serve ‘em.

Jimmy Fallon's Air-Fried Chicken Burgers

Ground chicken has a reputation for tasting dry and bland. The way to fix that is with this actually flavorful recipe for chicken burgers, which are cooked in an air fryer. Jimmy Fallon mixes the meat with a combination of jalapeño peppers, cayenne pepper and breadcrumbs for a heavenly hand-held bite.

We'll never say no to classic Tater Tots, but these Parmesan cauliflower tots are just as delicious as the real deal. They're air fried for just 10 minutes until crispy.

This gluten-free recipe for sesame broccoli gets its flavor from coconut aminos and tamari, both of which are gluten-free substitutes for soy sauce, a touch of sesame oil, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and white miso paste. It totally transforms broccoli into an appetizer or side dish that everyone will be excited about.