Maximizing The Air Fryer: 30+ Useful Hacks For Quick And Tasty Meals

By Harpreet K March 19, 2024

Air fryers have become popular and indispensable in recent times. With their timesaving benefit to reducing oil consumption, they have become one of the most convenient and efficient cooking tools. Be it a person who’s trying to eat healthy or a mother who loves cooking for her picky eater, this unique invention works well for everyone. It has raised the standard for people to prepare delicious meals with less time and effort.

From making snacking easy and less greasy to overcoming the difficulty of convincing your kids to eat healthy and delicious, air fryers have acknowledged our needs timely. This device has worked for many, and we are here to make using it a breeze with hacks for quick, tasty meals and easy cleaning.

1. Perfect for heating leftovers 

Reheating leftovers is a difficult task. Leftover food is usually soggy, and the texture has changed drastically. It becomes disappointing and often ends up in the bin. Don’t fret; the air fryer will rescue you by making reheating much more manageable.

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You’re guaranteed the same taste, texture, and fantastic quality of newly-cooked food. What else can we ask for when our pizza and fries are crisp and delicious despite being reheated? This reason alone is enough to convince us to get an air fryer.

2. Making veggies more appealing

We often find ourselves in a difficult situation when we have to feed our kids veggies; just mentioning the word sends them running away. We can relate to their annoying expressions since we were in their situation once, too. However, veggies are a necessity.

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How can we convince tiny tots to eat their vegetables? By using an air fryer. The device can give texture and flavor to our somewhat dull veggies, helping ensure little ones get tasty nutrition that helps their growth and development.

3. Boiled eggs without water 

Hard-boiled eggs are the go-to food for many folks who don’t have time for breakfast, but how annoying is it to constantly check the saucepan, hoping the water has boiled and waiting for that tell-tale sound? Well, the air fryer will help you avoid that.

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It is an easy and stable method of boiling eggs to perfection. Just set the temperature to its lowest for about 15 minutes, and boom! Your delicious boiled eggs are ready. Now, you don’t have to worry about overdone or underdone eggs. Just peel them and enjoy.

4. Evenly distributing meat

Despite putting in plenty of effort, evenly heating meat remains a challenge for everyone. It never fails to disappoint us by remaining half-cooked. Slowly but gradually, we all became aware that meat requires an even breathing space. Without it, you’ll get a nearly raw texture and flavor.

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The solution to this is using air fryers. Proper caution is a must before cooking meat. You’ll get finger-licking results after evenly spacing it in the air fryer, making the investment worth it. This is your sign to run to the store and get this helpful gadget.

5.  Go nuts!

Raw nuts are just so good- simple yet delicious. But nothing can beat roasted nuts; their wholesome taste is just different. Now, you can toss your raw grains and enjoy a more delicious and healthier version than those offered at the supermarkets.

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Use your air fryer and enjoy your version of easy roasted nuts. Be it roasted cashews, pecans, or almonds, the air fryer is at your disposal, ready to provide healthy and tasty alternatives to chips. There’s no reason to stock your pantry with empty calories.

6. Snacking done right

We look forward to our snacks; they are the best part of the day. It is a chance to replenish yourself with much-needed nutrients. And no, we don’t mean reaching for a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate. Snacking must be done right.

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That’s where the air fryer becomes a key to the lock of delicious and quick snacks. Be it a mouthwatering chicken wing or healthy chickpeas, this unique device breaks the stereotype of waiting forever to whip up great food. Whatever cravings, you can satisfy them in a jiffy.

7. No-oven dessert

Desserts have a magical quality that lights up our faces and elevates our mood. Their delectable decadence gives us happiness in just one bite. Our love for sweet dishes is limitless. However, baking using an oven is not without challenges.

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Ovens aren’t always easy to work with, and baking desserts often come with a myriad of complicated instructions. Use air fryers instead! Google some easy dessert recipes and whip up Bramley apple crumb or air fryer brownies in less than 30 minutes.

8. Refrain from using non-stick sprays

Cooking meals is one thing, but cleaning the pots and pans after is another. Suffice it to say nobody enjoys cleaning up cookware with cooked food stuck to it. This is where non-stick sprays become your true friend. It will help you tidy up much more quickly.

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However, non-stick sprays are not suitable for everything and are not recommended for air fryers. Their air baskets release toxic and harmful chemicals that adversely affect reheated food. A better alternative is olive oil. It’s just as effective as non-stick sprays but safer.

9. Don’t over stuff

By now, we should all be aware that stuffing too much food into any kitchen appliance is unsafe. Overburdening your air fryer or other appliances with too much meat is easy. Aside from being dangerous, this often results in nearly raw or uncooked meat. 

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You can avoid kitchen mishaps and ensure evenly reheated or cooked meat by not overstuffing your air fryer. Always read the instructions before using your device. Quality air fryers cost money; you’d want to care for them and avoid damaging them.

10. Jiggle the basket

Just like a bit of stirring is required in a frying pan or pot to evenly spread heat and ingredients, an air fryer’s contents must be evenly distributed and cooked or reheated. No, you don’t need to stir them, but you do have to shake the basket’s contents halfway through cooking.

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It will ensure that your food gets a proper spread of heat, spices, and every other necessary element that makes a meal as close to perfection as it can get. So don’t forget to jiggle your basket midway for the best results.

11. A proper place

Like any device, air fryers require space to breathe and work seamlessly. To ensure optimum performance, it must also be placed somewhere safe, out of reach of children, and away from water. No, we don’t advise putting it next to the sink.

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There should be no plastic or metallic objects placed near them. A roomy corner on the kitchen counter is one of the best areas where you can put your air fryer. Remember to turn the device off when not in use.

12. Aluminum foil to the rescue

Cleaning is an important task that ensures your health and safety. No one likes cleaning air fryers, but it must be done to ensure your food is safe for consumption. Cleaning air fryer baskets can be time-consuming and exhausting, but don’t worry; the aluminum foil will rescue you. 

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Not only does it prevent leaks of food juices or oils, but it is also a master at ensuring only minimal cleaning is required after cooking. Now, you can make as many dishes as possible without being bothered by the mess. Just take the foil and wipe the dirt on the basket.

13. Say no to lightweight foods

Lightweight foods are easy to prepare and are less messy. They are simple yet healthy and are perfect for when we don’t feel like eating anything heavy, be it our favorite veggie chips or raw grains. However, preparing them in the air fryer is another story.

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Cooking lightweight foods can result in your meals flying around the air basket. You’ll be greeted with disaster when you open the device. It’s better to avoid putting them in the air fryer and use other more appropriate cookware that can yield equally delicious and healthy results.

14. Cheesy sandwich with toothpicks

Air fryers are exceptional when preparing crispy and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, and we have a hack that can make it even easier. Toothpicks! Yes, we know preparing them this way doesn’t qualify as grilled, but let’s stick to the name for now.

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Sticking a few toothpicks into the sandwich prevents the cheese from flying around and keeps the sandwich intact, ready to satisfy your grumbling stomach. Do make sure you remove the toothpicks before biting into its heavenly goodness.

15. Avoid burning chicken

Cooking chicken at high heat makes it delicious and satisfying. However, doing so comes with risks, including burning the meat and destroying its nutritional value. Not only is this a waste of money, it is also a waste of effort and time.

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Add a small cup of water below the air fryer’s basket to prevent burning chicken before cooking. The water soaks the extra fat and ensures a tasty and crispy chicken. Once you try this hack, you’ll never look back and continue the old way of cooking chicken.

16.  Try using egg bite molds

Egg-bite molds are some of the easiest tools to use with your air fryer. If you haven’t tried them yet, now is the best time. People mostly used them in ovens to create delicious meals. Who knew they would go well with air fryers?

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Pour batter into these tiny molds, put them in the air fryer, and wait for your delicious desserts or munchies to be ready at your table. The list of foods you can prepare is endless, and cleaning the mold and basket is a piece of cake. Need we say more?

17. Tofu done right

Originally from China, tofu has found its way into mainstream consciousness, and we can’t imagine our lives without this delicious and healthy ingredient. It can be easily prepared through various cooking methods, such as grilling and deep frying. However, there are times when traditional methods leave them raw or half-cooked.

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Don’t let the mushy and flavorless texture of tofu make you a hater. Cook it in an air fryer, and you’ll notice a huge difference. You’re guaranteed crispy and less greasy tofu every time! Now, there’s no reason to eat soggy or burnt tofu.

18. ‘Fresh’ fast food

Craving your favorite chicken nuggets or cheeseburger? You quickly drive to McDonald’s after work and spend your hard-earned money to satisfy your craving. But what if you can’t eat the whole cheeseburger and all the nuggets? Put them in the refrigerator? But they won’t taste as nice when reheated.

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Pop them in the air fryer and wait for a few minutes. Tadaa! They’ll look perfect, as if they were just handed to you by the delivery guy. Now, you won’t have to throw perfectly good food. They can be brought back to their former glory when reheated the right way.

19. Dry fruits

Fruits are healthy and must be included in our diets to stay fit and healthy. If you can’t eat all the fruits you bought, you can always dry them to be consumed later. What?! You’ve never tried doing so before? It’s as easy as 1-2-3 with an air fryer.

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Fruits can easily be turned into a healthy snack, a topping for your salad, and a healthy and delicious dessert with an air fryer. It requires little prep work and can be done quickly, even if your device doesn’t have a dehydrator. You can still dry food using the lowest setting.

20. Crispy fries served right

We all love french fries because they are easy-to-prepare snacks. you can never go wrong with them when served hot, crispy, and fresh. Leftover fries are another story. They are soggy, cold, and disappointing, but you won’t have to deal with them if you have an air fryer.

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They are excellent at preserving the fries’ original texture and taste without the use of excessive oil. Now, you never have to worry about chucking leftover fries in the bin and wasting money. You can still reheat them and enjoy their goodness.

21. Be cautious with dry seasoning

We enjoy dry seasoning on our food. They make everything taste better and more flavorful. However, dry seasoning can result in problems when cooking food in the air fryer. Why? Because the device uses air circulation, it blows loose seasoning off your food.

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Try this hack so you’ll never have to worry about dry seasoning getting everywhere except your food. Mix them with some cooking oil before rubbing them on the food. You’ll have better-tasting food and avoid damaging your appliance at the same time.

22. Perfect bacon

Perfectly cooked bacon without grease is difficult but not impossible when you know the right tips and a few tricks. This hack will help you come up with crisp and great-tasting bacon every time without the risk of clogging your arteries.

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Air fryers have made preparing bacon with a single touch much easier. Cook each side of the bacon at 375 °F for 2 to 3 minutes, and you’re all set. You can now enjoy bacon without the guilt of putting your health at risk.

23.  Use cornstarch

You might have noticed or even tried using flour to prepare batter for chicken. But did you know that cornstarch works just as well or even better when using the air fryer? It can make chicken crispier, and it will change how you cook.

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Cut the chicken into smaller chunks and prepare the batter with cornstarch. Set your air fryer’s temperature; this may differ depending on the model, so consult the manual. Don’t forget the sauce; you’ll have a satisfying meal that will make you crave for seconds.

24. Partially boil root vegetables

It’s fun to have delicious and wholesome roast potatoes, even if cooking takes forever. Sadly, the cooking time doesn’t differ regardless of the appliance you use, but there is a trick to reducing it significantly. Parboil roots first before cooking them.

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What does it mean? It’s short for partially boiling in water for approximately 5 minutes before putting them in the air fryer. It is easy to do and takes little time, so don’t skip the steps. You’ll end up with much better root vegetables.

25. Power up your grilled cheese game

We don’t know anyone who doesn’t love grilled cheese sandwiches. They can put a smile on your face and make your day better. They’re the perfect pick-me-upper if you don’t feel great. Luckily, air fryer owners don’t need to go to the restaurant for the perfect sandwich.

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Forget the butter. Coat your bread with mayonnaise! It can give your grilled sandwich the perfect golden brown layer and crispiness that butter can’t. Coat the bread well, so you’ll get nothing but deliciousness with every bite. You won’t prepare grilled cheese sandwiches any other way once you try this.

26.  The best part of summer

There’s nothing quite like having roasted corn in summer while sitting with your loved ones and enjoying the moment. It might be eaten any time of the year, yet somehow, we associate it with warm months. Now, you can have corn on the cob anytime without needing propane or charcoal. 

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Air fryers have made it easier to roast corn with the touch of a button. Season the corn well with cooking spray and pop it into the air fryer’s basket. Don’t forget to flip it halfway to roast both sides evenly. You’ll taste nothing but goodness once the corn is cooked.

27. Make use of silicon cups

Silicon cups are some of the most helpful inventions on the planet. They make preparing food and cleaning easier. Moreover, they can be used in air fryers! You can now say goodbye to bland meals, thanks to silicon cups. This is a sign that you should get some.

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They’re versatile for boiling eggs, preparing our favorite desserts, chicken wings (which stops that annoying sauce from falling anywhere), and a lot more. Why limit yourself when you have endless methods of preparing a variety of food daily with ease?

28. Use less oil

Everyone who’s ever been to a grocery store knows that olive oil isn’t cheap. We can’t help but think that people living in southern Europe are lucky; olive oil flows like water there. Thankfully, using an air fryer allows us to prepare delicious meals with minimal use of oils.

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You don’t need to spend as much on oils, and your health will thank you for it, too. If you still need more reasons to get an air fryer, we hope this convinces you. You can never go wrong when you eat delicious food and save money at the same time.

29. Use other cooking methods

Getting an air fryer is the perfect solution to most cooking problems. However, it is not the solution to ALL cooking problems. No gadget is perfect, after all. You also shouldn’t;t limit yourself by cooking everything in the air fryer.

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Not only is it unhealthy to only eat fried foods, but you’re also depriving yourself of other equally efficient and delicious cooking methods. Variety is the spice of life, so use the other things in your kitchen and help yourself to amazing recipes on the Internet.

30. Preserve the juices for broth

While cooking chicken in an air fryer, you might have observed the juice dripping from the meat to the bottom of the basket. Food juice is a good thing and shouldn’t be wasted. It can be used to make gravy or sauce.

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Collect the juice in a bowl and prepare the sauce or gravy according to your taste. Try out delicious and healthy sauces by mixing them with spices; not only would it be flavorful, but it is also much better than prepackaged sauces you can buy off the shelf.

31. Use a food thermometer

Eyeballing food isn’t a foolproof way of determining when your food is fully cooked. Why take a chance when you can use a food thermometer? The inexpensive and helpful device will make your work easier and eliminate the risks of partially cooked food.

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You can avoid food poisoning with the help of a thermometer. Make sure your kitchen has one, and it is one of the best and wisest investments you can make. Plus, it doesn’t cost much and won’t take up a lot of space.

32. Cut down on butter

Butter makes food taste better. It makes a lot of food crispy and mouthwatering. But despite all its qualities, butter is not and shouldn’t be used for anything or everything. A prime example of this is when roasting vegetables in an air fryer.

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Butter melts quickly at a higher temperature and can burn your hand. Oil is a better alternative because it can prevent burning your veggies. Coat your veggies with oil before putting them in the air fryers. Your food and your hands will thank you.

33. Use oil mid-way

There is a technique for using oil in an air fryer. Indeed, you don’t need much, but you must remember that using too little can also leave food dry. Add oil at the right time to ensure your meal doesn’t get dried up and become plain and tasteless. 

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Coat food with some oil before putting it in the basket, and make sure to put some oil again mid-way. Doing this ensures food is cooked perfectly. Who doesn’t enjoy a crispy and well-cooked fried meal? we bet everybody does!

34. Don’t skip cleaning

No matter how much we dislike cleaning, it’s an essential part of every day. We must clean ourselves, our pets, our homes, and our devices, including air fryers. Skipping cleaning can be dangerous. Never use dirty electronics when preparing meals.

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The proper way of cleaning air fryers may vary depending on the model, but generally, most baskets can be washed and wiped clean. Don’t wait until it’s too late to remove the grime and oil. Clean regularly so you can enjoy delicious and safe food.

35. Experience makes you better

Using recipe books or YouTube videos to make new dishes is fantastic and helpful. However, not all air fryers are the same. There may be a few variations when it comes to heat levels and settings. You might not get the same results as the video you’re watching when using a different air fryer.

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Don’t worry because, with experience, you’ll get better and can whip up delicious meals quickly. The more you use your device and cook, the less you’ll need to consult the manual or refer to recipes. You’ll become a pro in no time.

36. Detach and dump

Many are unaware that air fryers have different parts. Aside from the central unit plugged into the power outlet, you also have the drawer and the basket. Always ensure that you remove the basket before you dump the cooked food on a plate.

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Failing to do so will result in the bottom oil or juice spilling and ruining your food. Three words to help you remember this are ‘detach and dump.’ Don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget it the first couple of times.

37. Use breadcrumbs

Breading made of egg and flour usually works best for deep frying food. However, it isn’t ideal when using the air fryer to prepare food. We don’t know the science behind this, but that’s how things are. Thankfully, there’s a way to work around it.

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Using breadcrumbs instead of breading works better for air fryers. Ensure to use a little bit of oil for the best results. You’ll have the right amount of crisp, juiciness, and tenderness without too much oil. Indeed, this is the healthier alternative to deep frying.

38. Say goodbye to irritating beeps

Microwaves and ovens have annoying beeping sounds, which annoy you no matter how much you try to ignore them. Add an air fryer to the mix, and you might as well start pulling your hair out. Fortunately, there’s a way to tone it down.

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Most air fryers allow users to turn off these annoying noises by pressing the minus key for around 3 seconds, and voila, no more annoying sounds. But again, the steps may vary depending on the model of your device, and you won’t be able to tell if it’s time to flip your food without looking at your air fryer.

39. Only use parchment paper when you’re confident

Parchment paper can save you a lot of time and elbow grease where cleaning is concerned. It works like a breeze for baking pans. However, it is challenging to use in air fryers. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it, and we have just the right trick.

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If you are confident enough to use parchment paper, poke a few holes in it before putting it in the air fryer. However, if the idea makes you nervous, it’s best to do away with it and use aluminum foil instead.

40. Bring stale croissants to life

This is a simple and brilliant hack for folks who love croissants. The French pastry is perfect for breakfast and even snacks as long as it is fresh and soft, but when it gets stale, it is no longer as appealing. Don’t worry; we can bring them back to life with water.

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Add a cup of water to the drip pan of the air fryer. Put your stale croissants in the basket, and it will be crispy and fresh in a few minutes. Now, you won’t have to dread eating croissants bought a day before.

41. Make casseroles

During the great depression in America, people survived with very little food. There was no room for being fickle. At that time, people put whatever food they could find in a pan and cooked it in the oven. This was how the casserole came to be a staple diet of Americans.

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Nowadays, making casseroles is much easier and faster with the help of air fryers. Impress everyone the next Thanksgiving by preparing a recipe well-loved by the family. You can use silicon or traditional pans when making your mouthwatering air fryer casserole.

42. Use different pans

At this point, we’ve already discussed using silicon cups, casserole dishes, and a variety of molds with air fryers. As long as your pans and molds don’t touch the side of the basket, you’re perfectly safe. A new world of recipes will open up when you are courageous enough to do the same.

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Again, you should never limit yourself to frying or a single cuisine. The culinary world is yours to conquer with the help of the air fryer. Preparing different recipes makes you a better cook and makes mealtime a lot more exciting.

43. Preheat for better meat

Not always, but at times, preheating works best for food, especially when we talk about meat. All chicken lovers are aware of how terrible it tastes when it’s dry and not done right. Try preheating the air fryer when cooking meat.

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Doing so ensures the air fryer is hot enough to cook meat thoroughly while ensuring it remains nice and juicy. Undercooked chicken becomes a thing of the past when you learn to use your device’s preheat setting. It’s there for a reason, folks!

44. Have perfectly cooked ham

Important celebrations such as Thanksgiving call for exceptional food cooked right. Everyone knows the holiday is incomplete without a deliciously baked ham. This time, prepare it in the air fryer, just like your green bean casserole.

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Set your air fryer’s temperature at 300° F. You should allot 10 minutes for every pound. That’s how easy it is to surprise your loved ones with the most delicious glazed ham. No one will ever think that you didn’t labor long in the kitchen to prepare them a hearty meal.

45. Prevent food from sticking

How upset were you when taking out the food you prepared in the air fryer turned disastours because it refused to budge? We’ve all been there, thinking the baskets were nonstick. The good news is that you can prevent this with a simple trick.

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Oils with high-smoking points, such as safflower, are your best friend. Use it to grease the bottom of the basket and save yourself the trouble of scraping the food and wasting your time. You’ll be able to dive right in when you’re hungry.