40 Cheap Air Fryer Recipes to Cut Calories Not Flavor

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air fryer magic

There's nothing more frustrating than buying a new kitchen gadget, tool or appliance to only find that you never use it. Thankfully, that won't be the case for your air fryer, especially once you try some of these highly rated — and creative — recipes.


ratatouille, italian-style

This dish features eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and more is both nutritious and delicious. The air fryer keeps the vegetables from getting soggy without using too much oil.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Avocado Fries

crispy avocado fries

This air-fried take on traditional fries makes a healthy snack. Even better, these "good-fat" nibbles can be on the table in 15 minutes.

Recipe: Delish

Salmon and Broccoli

5-ingredient salmon and broccoli stir-fry

This recipe makes the healthy choice with frozen salmon and reduced-sodium soy sauce. It adds up to a healthy main course at 265 calories and 240mg sodium per serving.

Recipe: Food Network

Fried Pickles

air-fryer pickles

Your waistline won't get into a pickle with this snack. This Test Kitchen-approved recipe is a clever at-home alternative to the popular restaurant (and state fair) splurge.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Apple Pies

fried apple pies

Food personality Paula Deen notes that, "As a Southerner, I can't help but love fried foods. Of course, I've had to cut back on them over the past few years — until now! I've got a new way to enjoy my beloved fried foods with less fat and oils: air frying." She shares favorites in her air fryer cookbook, featuring a few on her website including this one that has our mouths watering.

Recipe: Paula Deen

Fried Rice
JianGang Wang/istockphoto

fried rice with sesame-sriracha sauce

This flavorful vegetarian dish that could serve as entrée or side. Either way, no wok needed. If you're a fan of heat, you can always increase the amount of sriracha in the sauce — or dial it back if you're looking for a milder option.

Recipe: Food Network

Fried Turkey Breast
Banana Bread

banana bread

Who knew that the air fryer would work for desserts? Try the old-fashioned charm of this crowd-pleasing dish from Food Network Kitchen, with wheat germ or whole-wheat flour adding a healthy kick.

Recipe: Food Network

Fried Tortellini

parmesan "fried" tortellini

Inexpensive pasta is the heart of this dish billed as "the Italian snack of your dreams."

Recipe: Delish

Fried Chicken
Tatiana Volgutova/istockphoto

un-fried chicken

Fried chicken is a picnic staple, so will Un-Fried Chicken be the next big thing? If you use Trisha Yearwood's recipe, it just might be. One five-star reviewer proclaimed: "One of the best chicken recipes I have ever had."

Recipe: Food Network


bob harper's air-fried french fries

How can you replicate a good French fry? Well, Bob Harper shared his secret with Rachael Ray — and the simplicity will blow you away.

Recipe: Rachael Ray Show

Chicken Tenders

crumbled chicken tenderloins

Forget greasy chicken nuggets from the drive-through window. This recipe offers a healthy (253 calories per serving) alternative that will please the adults, too.

Recipe: Allrecipes


juicy air-fryer hamburgers

Not only is this a gluten-free recipe, but it also has plenty of enthusiastic tips on preparation, nutrition, and pleasing fussy kids: "I feel like we should drop everything, whip up a batch or two of these juicy burgers and tuck right in. Who's with me?" Um, we are.

Recipe: Recipes from a Pantry

Sweet Potato Hash

sweet potato hash

Liven up your breakfast plate without a trip to the diner. This recipe spotlights sweet potatoes in a dish ideal for brunch. Switch to turkey bacon for a healthier pick if you prefer. One reviewer noted it has "great flavor from the variety of seasonings."

Recipe: Allrecipes

Zucchini Parmesan Chips

zucchini-parmesan chips

This recipe by celebrity chef Todd English was shared by hundreds of fans, which is not surprising given how easy it is. The key is to dry the zucchini prior to cooking, and make sure slices don't overlap in the frier.

Recipe: SpaWeekDaily

Party Meatballs

party meatballs

Surprise your next gathering's guests with this fun and thrifty take on the meatball. Inexpensive ground beef's at the heart of the recipe, but it gets a jolt of flavor from a surprise ingredient – gingersnaps.

Recipe: Recipe This

Bartosz Luczak/istockphoto

churros with chocolate sauce

A lighter version of the classic churro, this treat features a cinnamon-sugar mixture that delivers the classic crunch. This recipe might take a bit of effort, but results are said to be well worth it. (Dieters can skip the chocolate sauce).

Recipe: Cooking Light

Air Fried Vegetables

air fried vegetables

This is a one-size-fits-all recipe for vegetables in the air fryer. It's incredibly straightforward — choose the veggie you prefer, from Brussels sprouts to carrots, cauliflower to broccoli.

Recipe: CookSmarts

Breakfast Frittata

breakfast frittata

Funny how plain old eggs seem special when you give them a fancy name like frittata, right? This version is filled with everyday items you probably already have in your kitchen.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Mozzarella Sticks

mozzarella sticks

The kids will only eat mozzarella sticks from the fast-food counter? They'll change their tune once they taste these — and only you will be in on the healthy secret of their prep.

Recipe: Show Me The Yummy

Pork Chops

pork chops & broccoli

More than 1,000 readers have shared this recipe on social media, so it must be pretty tasty. Remember, it's a dish just "cooked all at once for juicy pork chops and toasty roasted broccoli."

Recipe: That Low Carb Life

Rotissiere Chicken

rotisserie chicken

Skip that rotisserie chicken at the grocery store for a quick dinner. Making a golden-brown bird at home is surprisingly easy to do, and it only needs to cook for 30 minutes.

Recipe: PaleOMG

Steak-Lover's Meatloaf


Cooking meatloaf in an air fryer may be unexpected, but give it a try. This five star-reviewed recipe includes shredded carrots and chopped mushrooms.

Recipe: My Forking Life

Steak Bites

steak bites and garlic mushrooms

Steak cubes, mushrooms, butter… what's not to love? If you cook this recipe shared 15,000 times, remember you have to let the steak rest a few minutes before digging in.

Recipe: Best Recipe Box

Fried Tofu

got to be nc air fried tofu rancheros with veggies

Pump up the Mexican flavors with this spin on tofu. Cumin and chili powder give the tofu a kick, and salsa adds even more heat.

Recipe: Healthy Slow Cooking


air fryer bacon

While this might be the tastiest way to make bacon, the real win has nothing to do with flavor. Instead of getting grease all over the inside of your oven or splattered around your stovetop, this method is not only easy but clean up is a snap.

Recipe: A Pinch of Healthy

Fried Shrimp

bang bang panko breaded fried shrimp

This version of the dish was inspired by a take on bang bang shrimp served at Bonefish Grill, but this keeps things lighter. The spicy chili sauce is served on the side, and the air fryer reduces oil for only 1 gram of fat per serving.

Recipe: Stay Snatched

Fried Artichoke Hearts

crispy artichoke hearts with horseradish sauce

This appetizer or side dish dubbed "seriously delicious" uses frozen artichoke hearts, an easy and inexpensive ingredient that is both readily available and easy to find.

Recipe: Health Starts In The Kitchen

Sugar Donuts

sugar doughnuts

Four minutes and four ingredients, including canned Pillsbury biscuits make for an inexpensive treat. While they may not be low in sugar, they're a quick and easy dessert.

Recipe: Thrifty Nifty Mommy

Egg Rolls

new york style egg rolls (shrimp & pork)

Forget the oil leaking through the paper on the way home from the local restaurant. Here's a homemade version of the restaurant favorite has been shared by more than 18,000 Chinese food fans.

Recipe: This Old Gal

Personal Pizzas

perfect personal pizzas (in an air fryer)

Wait, you can make pizza in an air fryer? Yes, and the results are low in calories but still satisfying. Inexpensive ingredients and endless topping possibilities have us ready to toss out the takeout menu.

Recipe: Foodtastic Mom

Snack Mix

sweet and salty snack mix

You're never going to say you made those Cheez Doodles yourself — but you can impress the afterschool crowd or those at your next cocktail party with this easy snack recipe.

Recipe: Blue Jean Chef

Falafel Burger

falafel burger

Vegetarians will delight in this recipe that can easily be custom-spiced to reflect a variety of cuisines, from Moroccan to Mexican, Thai to Indian. It's already connected with more than 1,000 home cooks.

Recipe: Recipe This

Fried Chickpeas

crispy air fryer chickpeas

This recipe is ideal for last-minute guests or the devoted snacker. It's totally customizable — and ready in less than 15 minutes.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Fried Catfish

southern style catfish with green beans

Wondering if an air fryer can turn out crispy fish? This recipe makes a strong case — and you can have fish with a side of green beans on the table in less than half an hour.

Recipe: Cooking Light

Eggplant Parmesan

crispy air fryer eggplant parmesan

Forget deep-frying then baking your eggplant. This air-fryer version of the restaurant favorite also uses whole wheat flour and breadcrumbs for an even healthier turn.

Recipe: Watch What U Eat

French Toast Sticks

french toast sticks

Need a kid- or crowd-pleasing breakfast dish? This recipe can be made ahead and frozen for those time-crunched weekday mornings.

Recipe: Love Bakes Good Cakes

Apple Chips

apple chips

You don't have to be on NutriSystem to enjoy the recipes it features on The Leaf site. This easy, wholesome snack is destined to become a favorite.

Recipe: The Leaf

Hot Dogs

basic air fryer hot dogs

When even turning on the grill or boiling a big pot of water seems too daunting, turn to the air fryer to toast buns and cook the dogs — and top with condiments of your choice. This recipe is so quick to prepare, you'd spend more time waiting in the drive-thru.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Grilled Pineapple

brazilian grilled pineapple

Yes, this dessert contains brown sugar and butter, but its main ingredient is healthy, naturally-sweet pineapple. This grill-free dish is said to be "melt-in-your-mouth delicious" by fans, and pineapple is a sweet ending to any meal.

Recipe: Two Sleevers