Air Fryer Cooking: The Winners & The Losers

Air Fryer Cooking Winners & Losers Header

I get a lot of questions about Air Fryer cooking. Recently, an Instagram follower suggested I write a post about the things I’ll only cook in an Air Fryer, which is a great small appliance that saves time, is healthier and sometimes better tasting! Today, let’s look at which items are winners and which you should avoid.

But, with the good comes the bad. Not everything is suited for an Air Fryer. This post will focus specifically on food recipes. You might find my post Air Fryer Mistakes I Learned the Hard Way interesting if you’re looking for more information on things to avoid.

Let’s begin!

Air Fryer Cooking: The Winners

The following foods are what I enjoy cooking most in the Air Fryer. In fact, all of these dishes are now “Air Fryer Exclusive”, meaning I’ll never cook them any other way! Of course, there’s plenty more you can do so you many enjoy perusing 12 Pinterest Approved Air Fryer Recipes for more ideas.


Air Fryer Cooking: Bacon

If you haven’t already made bacon in your Air Fryer, then please stop reading and go do that. Right. Now. Seriously folks, it’s amazing and you’ll be stunned by how much fat just melts to the bottom. Personally, I like my bacon curly so I just separate the strips and throw the whole pack into the basket. Be sure to flip them every 5 mins until reaching desired crispiness. If you prefer to have flat bacon, you will need to cook the strips in batches.

Preheat Air Fryer to 390 degrees. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you like it.

French Fries

Air Fryer Cooking: French Fries

Well, duh. I know people who have purchased an Air Fryer just so they can make french fries. And they ain’t wrong! You need very little oil in an Air Fryer but you still get crisp-outside, tender-inside fries. It works just as well for fresh or frozen, depending on your preference.

Check out my Air Fryer Pepper Parmesan Fries for a homemade version my family loves.


Air Fryer Cooking: Ribs

The small space in an Air Fryer makes it perfect for cooking foods with a dry texture. But my personal favourite is dry ribs! Check out this recipe for Memphis-Style BBQ Pork Ribs and I promise it will have you licking your fingers.

I can fit an entire rack in the basket. Turn often so all surfaces are being cooked.

Frozen Foods

Air Fryer Cooking: Frozen Foods

Frozen chicken wings are a dream and cook up super fast. Chicken nuggets, bang-bang shrimp, and egg rolls are also great things to try. Small prepared frozen foods make great quick-meals to pack up for your kid’s lunches.

Tik Tok Trends

Air Fryer Cooking: Corn Ribs

I’ve come to realize that if a meal is trending on Tik Tok, it’s probably really, really good. This summer’s biggest trend was Corn Ribs so I couldn’t help but try them. They were so good!

Check out my Corn Ribs: An Air Fryer Recipe Trend post for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make this impressive crowd pleaser.

Air Fryer Cooking: The Losers

In my opinion, some things are just better left to traditional cooking. Sure, it’s fun to try something new but it’s not fun when it burns or is not properly cooked, which can be dangerous. Here are some items I’ve found are not worth the effort of cooking in an Air Fryer.

Leafy Greens

Air Fryer Cooking: Leafy Greens

I once tried what looked like an amazing dish that involved putting kale directly into my Air Fryer basket and allowing it to bake. When I opened up the basket, wisps of burnt leaves went flying around the kitchen!

The issue here is that as leaves begin to dry, they become very light and will circulate with the air in the Air Fryer. This can be especially dangerous if those bits get stuck in the heating elements and begin to burn.


Air Fryer Cooking: Cheese

I’ve found that cheese melts way too fast in an Air Fryer, to the point where you end up with soup. It also tends to melt faster than the coating. With things like grilled cheese, you need to monitor very carefully and check often or even weigh down your bread so it doesn’t slide off. If you’re determined to try, please add some foil to the bottom of your basket to prevent a big mess.

One alternative I’ve heard (but haven’t tried myself) is to freeze the cheese beforehand. This is especially useful if you’re making cheese balls. Have you had success with this method? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Wet Batter

Air Fryer Cooking: Wet Batter

I really, really, really wished this worked but it’s not ideal. With wet or battered food, you need the high heat of oil to quickly set the outside layer. Otherwise, you end up with a soggy mess. Dry coating (otherwise known as dredging) is your best alternative because it decreases the moisture covering your food.

Foods that are covered in a batter but are pre-cooked should work without any issues.

Whole Chicken

Air Fryer Cooking: Whole Chicken

You’d think this would work well in an Air Fryer because the heat circulation would perfectly roast a whole chicken. The problem is, most baskets are too small to hold a decent sized poultry. Without enough room for proper air circulation, your food will not evenly cook, creating a risk of salmonella.


Air Fryer Cooking: Popcorn

With so many different ways to cook popcorn, I’m not sure why anyone would want to do this in an Air Fryer. But just in case, let me explain why this is a bad idea. Each kernel of popcorn has a small amount of moisture in it so when it starts to expand, the kernel pops. In an Air Fryer the appliance does not get hot enough to cause the moisture to expand before the kernel dries out. The result? Burnt kernels!

All in all, I absolutely love, love, LOVE my Air Fryer. I find it well worth the investment and that I’m making healthier, faster meals. But I haven’t tried everything and I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a “must make” or “don’t even” recipe you’d recommend for an Air Fryer? Please share in the comments below.

Enjoy your meal 🙂

xoxo, Mary


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