How to Turn Fried Food Recipes Into Air Fryer Recipes
This is how you can make deep-fried classics in the air fryer.
By Leah Brickley for Food Network Kitchen
Your favorite fried food recipes can easily be made over for an air fryer. Follow a few tips and say good-bye to that giant pot of oil.
How Does Frying Work?
Ever wonder why fried mozzarella sticks and potato chips get crunchy? All that hot oil causes the surface water in food to boil super-quick and exit as steam — leaving the outside of your food dry, which is the perfect setup for golden brown, crispy results.
How Does Air Frying Work?
Air fryers are full of hot air, literally. Air replaces oil in this machine and crisps and browns while it circulates around food. Air fried foods generally have less fat and calories per serving compared to their doppelganger fried version.
How to Convert Fried Foods to Air Fried Foods
Tweaking a fried food recipe for an air fryer is easy. Here's what matters:
Drop the heat. There's going to be a windstorm of hot air in your air fryer, so it's not necessary to cook at the same temperature for a traditionally fried recipe. Plus, it could brown too quickly. Knock the temperature down by 25 degrees: If a fried recipe calls for 350 degrees F set your air fryer to 325 degrees F and follow the same cook time.
Breaded is better. Foods that are breaded work best in an air fryer. If your recipe calls for a wet batter — like beer batter or tempura — it won't work in an air fryer. The batter will drip off into a puddle-y mess before the food is cooked. Use the standard breading procedure instead: Dredge the food in seasoned flour, dip in beaten egg and coat in seasoned breadcrumb or other coating. These breaded chicken cutlets are a good guide.
Oil isn’t evil. A little spritz of cooking spray or a teensy bit of oil (less than a teaspoon) will elevate your air fried food — it will be more golden and taste better. Be sure to oil the food, not the air fryer basket, or the nonstick coating could lose its slickness. For foods that are already high in fat — like chicken wings — skip added oil.
Fry in small batches. Space can be limited and awkward in an air fryer, so cooking in batches in best. Be sure not to overcrowd and budget extra time to get through all the batches.
Shake it up for even cooking. To help with even browning, shake the basket a couple times. Give larger pieces of food a flip. You can also add an extra spritz of oil for more even browning.