Air Fryer Recipes for Busy Families

You can make all the crispy mains, appetizers, sides, and snacks you want in your air fryer—fries, crispy cauliflower, chicken wings—the possibilities are endless.

Three air fryer finger food recipes set side by side: french fries, falafel, and chicken wings.

Simply Recipes

If you’ve ever tried frying food at home, you know that while completely doable, it can be messy and difficult to get consistent results batch after batch. In comes the air fryer to save the day! Using an air fryer cuts down on cooking time, using a vat of oil, and is a great tool for busy families needing dinner on the table stat. Need an easy weeknight meal, appetizer or a quick snack? The air fryer has you covered.

Now to be clear, an air fryer is not actually frying food in the traditional sense of deep fat frying. Instead, it makes food crispy by circulating hot air around the item you put inside, similar to a high-powered convection oven. To learn more about air frying, here is a first-timer’s guide on how to use an air fryer.

Along with the Simply Recipes air fryer guide, here are a few tips to keep in mind when working with the appliance.

  • It cooks food incredibly quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on it and give the contents of the basket a shake periodically for even browning.
  • The oil that you use should have a high smoke point. Steer clear of olive oil and use vegetable oil or peanut oil instead when making food in an air fryer.
  • Once the food is ready, grab tongs or a spatula to remove the food from the basket. Extra oil collects in the grate under the basket. Using tongs, instead of pouring the contents into a bowl, will keep you from getting burnt.

We have a host of recipes that can be made for dinner, sides, snacks, or appetizers in the air fryer. Find a favorite below!

  • Air Fryer Fried Chicken

    Air Fryer Fried Chicken on a platter

    Not sure you want to roast another chicken? Cut it into pieces and make air fryer fried chicken! Marinate the chicken for at least an hour, then air fry until you've achieved golden, crispy perfection.

  • Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower

    Platter of golden air fried crispy cauliflower heaped on the right of the platter. A small bowl of creamy dip swirled with hot sauce is placed next to the cauliflower on the platter. The cauliflower is resting on a few leaves of lettuce.
    Nick Evans

    Make cauliflower the most sought after appetizer on the table with this 12 minute recipe. Cauliflower is lightly breaded and crisped up, then served with a blue cheese dip.

  • Crispy Air Fryer French Fries

    Air Fryer French Fries Recipe
    Alison Conklin

    Make crispy fries from scratch using russet potatoes and an air fryer. Unless you like soggy French fries, don’t skip soaking the potatoes. 

  • Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

    How to cook mozzarella sticks in air fryer
    Alison Conklin

    Looking for something to do with all that string cheese? Make your own mozzarella sticks! The best part—these can be frozen, before air frying, for up to 3 months.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • Air Fryer Falafel

    Falafel air fryer recipe
    Nick Evans

    Falafel is a favorite of mine, made oh-so-deliciously with canned chickpeas, a bevy of spices and a creamy tahini sauce. These air fryer falafels are crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside.

  • Air Fryer Avocado Fries

    Air fryer avocado slices on a blue plate with dipping sauce
    Nick Evans

    Make avocado even more enticing by adding a crispy coating. This recipe coats firm avocado slices with a cheese and breadcrumb mixture and is air fried to golden perfection. Serve it with a spicy ranch sauce or your favorite fry sauce.

  • Air Fryer Chicken Wings

    Air Fryer Chicken Wings on a Platter
    Alison Bickle

    Step away from the traditional BBQ wings and try out this air fryer recipe. Crispy wings are coated in a gochujang, soy sauce, and sesame oil sauce for a perfectly spicy combination. This recipe makes 3 pounds of wings.

  • Air Fryer Tostones

    Air Fryer Tostones on parchment paper with a bowl of salt nearby.
    Marta Rivera

    Make this craveable snack by slicing plantains and giving them two trips in the air fryer. The double fry ensures they are tender and crisp throughout. Serve with a mayo ketchup sauce and enjoy!

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas

    Crispy Chickpeas in the Air Fryer
    Alison Conklin

    This is the perfect party snack! Chickpeas are seasoned however you want (think za’atar, Italian seasoning or even a spicy seasoning mix) and air fried in 10 minutes for a quick and easy nibble.

  • Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

    Crispy Golden Air Fryer Chicken Tenders on a plate with a dipping sauce.
    Nick Evans

    Use a traditional buttermilk marinade and coat chicken tenders in flour before spraying with cooking spray and letting the air fryer cook them. Save even more time by buying chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts that need to be sliced. These easy chicken tenders will take about twelve minutes per batch. Serve with BBQ sauce.

  • Air Fryer Chinese Egg Rolls

    egg rolls
    Nick Evans

    Wrap a fragrant pork filling in egg roll wrappers and let the air fryer do the rest. The filling can be made a day in advance and any leftover egg rolls can be refrigerated and reheated in the air fryer.

  • Air Fryer Crab Rangoon

    Cream cheese and crab wontons made in the air fryer
    Nick Evans

    This quick and easy appetizer uses lump crab meat and cream cheese snuggled inside a wonton wrapper. These can be assembled a day ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to air fry. Look for square wrappers and don’t forget the dipping sauce!

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

    Overhead view of Homemade Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets with ketchup and mustard.
    Nick Evans

    We always have a jar or two of pickles in the refrigerator and instead of tossing the leftover juice down the drain, use it to keep homemade chicken nuggets extra juicy. The chicken only needs to marinate for thirty minutes before it’s ready to bread and air fry to crispy perfection.

  • Air Fryer Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

    Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites topped with sauce and next to a bowl of dip, carrots, and celery.
    Nick Evans

    If you are new to breading and air frying, this cauliflower recipe is a great one to start with. Cauliflower can be eaten raw so there isn’t any worry about cooking to a specific temperature and the classic Buffalo sauce that the cauliflower is tossed in will have everyone going back for seconds.

  • Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Figs

    crispy bacon-wrapped figs cooked in the air fryer
    Nick Evans

    I love having dried fruit around to snack on or for easy appetizers, such as these bacon-wrapped figs. Wrap standard sized bacon around reconstituted dried figs and air fry until crispy. They’ll be ready to snack on in 40 minutes.