40 Cheap Air Fryer Recipes to Cut Calories Not Flavor

Closeup of Easy Juicy Air Fryer Hamburger with Lettuce, Tomato, and Cheese Toppings


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Closeup of Easy Juicy Air Fryer Hamburger with Lettuce, Tomato, and Cheese Toppings

Air Fryer Magic

There's nothing more frustrating than buying a kitchen gadget, tool or appliance to 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. 

Also: We know that cleaning them can be a chore, so here's our helpful guide on how to clean your air fryer

Haven't joined the air fryer club yet but would like to? Check out the highly rated Cosori Air Fryer Max and the popular Ninja 9-in-1 Air Fryer and Pressure Cooker.

Related: 24 Kitchen Accessories You Didn't Know You Needed

Air Fryer Parmesan 'Fried' Tortellini with Marinara Sauce
Bowl of Un-Fried Chicken with Lemons and Garnish
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

Related: 20 Chef Secrets for Crisp, Juicy Fried Chicken

Bob Harper's Air-Fried French Fries on a White Plate
Closeup of Easy Juicy Air Fryer Hamburger with Lettuce, Tomato, and Cheese Toppings

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

Related: 31 Wild and Wonderful Burger Toppings

Crispy Air Fried Avocado Fries on Black Plate with Garnish

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

Paula Deen Air Fried Apple Pies on a Brown Earthenware Plate

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, which has our mouths watering.

Recipe: Paula Deen

Related: 20 Essential Baking Tools That Every Aspiring Pastry Chef Needs

Closeup of Air Fried Rice with Sesame-Sriracha Sauce on a White Plate
JianGang Wang/istockphoto

Fried Rice With Sesame-Sriracha Sauce

This flavorful vegetarian dish 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

Related: Exotic Condiments to Add Zing to Meals

Air Fried Ratatouille, Italian-Style in Earthenware Bowl with Wooden Serving Fork
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Hash with a Sunny Side-Up Egg and Slices of Avocado in a White, Square Bowl
Turkey Breast
Air Fryer Breakfast Frittata on a White Plate with Strawberries

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

Air Fryer Salmon and Broccoli on a Decorative White Plate
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce on White Plate

Mozzarella Sticks

The kids will eat only fast-food mozzarella sticks? 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

Air Fried Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins on Wooden Cutting Board with Fries and Sauce

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

Two Air Fryer Falafel Burgers with Lettuce, Onion, and Herbs Toppings
Air Fryer Zucchini Parmesan Crisps on Brown Paper

Zucchini-Parmesan Chips

The crunch and salt factor are high in this snack packed with protein, good fats, vitamin B6, zinc, and calcium — and it takes just five ingredients and around 10-minutes to pull off.

Recipe: Gimme Delicious

Several Pieces of Air Fryer Bacon on a Wooden Cutting Board

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 makes cleanup a snap. 

Recipe: A Pinch of Healthy 

Related: Mouthwatering Bacon Dishes Across America

Four Pieces of Air Fryer Meatloaf on a White Plate
Air Fryer Pickles with White Sauce in a White Bowl

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

Closeup of Air Fryer Pork Chops and Broccoli on a White Plate

Pork Chops & Broccoli

Numerous 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

Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken with Knife and Carving Fork Cutting Into It
Got to Be NC Air Fried Tofu Rancheros in a Ceramic Bowl

Tofu Rancheros With Veggies

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

Recipe: Healthy Slow Cooking

Air Fryer Southern Style Catfish with Green Beans with Fork Into a Piece of 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 

Related: 45 Comfort Foods for a Cozy Fall Meal

Closeup of Air Fryer Party Meatballs Each One with a Toothpick for Guests, with Marinara Sauce

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

Air Fryer French Toast Sticks with Blueberries and Raspberries on a White Plate
Crispy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan Decorated with Herbs and a Delicate Marinara Sauce on a White Plate

Crispy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

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

Recipe: Watch What U Eat

Air Fryer Steak Bites on a White Plate

Steak Bites and Garlic Mushrooms

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

Recipe: Best Recipe Box

Closeup of Air Fryer Bang Bang Breaded Fried Shrimp in a White Bowl

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

Closeup of Air Fryer New York Style Egg Rolls Made with Shrimp and Pork, on a Wooden Cutting Board

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

Related: 21 Takeout Meals Made Cheaper at Home

Pie Server Holding a Slice of Air Fryer Banana Bread with Rest of Loaf on a White Plate

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

Closeup of Air Fryer Churros with Chocolate Sauce, One Churro Is Dipped in Chocolate Sauce
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

Related: The Best Fried Foods Around the World

Closeup of Air Fried Brussels Sprouts in a White Plate

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

Crispy Air Fryer Artichoke Hearts with Horseradish Sauce on a White Plate

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 readily available and easy to find.

Recipe: Health Starts In The Kitchen

Closeup of Air Fryer Donuts with Powdered Brown Cane Sugar
Perfect Personal Pizzas in an Air Fryer with Cheese Topping on a Baking Sheet
Two Basic Air Fryer Hot Dogs with Mustard in Buns
Closeup of Air Fryer Sweet and Salty Snack Mix Nuts, Chex Mix, and Pretzels

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

Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas in a White Bowl

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

Closeup of Air Fryer Apple Chips with a Cinnamon Stick
Four Slices of Air Fryer Brazilian Grilled Pineapple on a Cooking Sheet

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