What are some easy air fryer recipes for beginners? Get the best air fryer recipes for air fryer chicken, air fryer pork, vegetarian, frozen foods, desserts, and more! Need tips on what oil to use and the best air fryer cookbooks for beginners? I’ve got you covered in this ultimate guide for air fryer beginners. Whether you’re using a Ninja Foodi, Philips, Cosori, Power Air Fryer, Kalorik, Cuisinart, Actifry, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, or Pampered Chef Air Fryer, you can have air frying success!
What should I make first in my air fryer? It’s a common question from those who just received a brand new air fryer.
There isn’t really a right answer because it depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want something healthy? Are you following a special diet like keto, gluten-free, Whole30, Paleo, or vegan? Is it time for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a tasty snack?
I’m providing over 101 beginner air fryer recipe ideas below. Before we get started, here are some important air fryer tips:
- Check the food early. Some air fryer brands cook faster than others. The first time you make a new recipe, check your food early and often. Air fryer oven recipes using two cooking trays may take much longer than recipes using one air fryer basket.
- Use a meat thermometer. Check the temperature of your air fried meats and frozen foods. This is a simple precaution to help prevent food poisoning.
- Don’t let your air fryer food stick. Most air fryer baskets are non-stick. However, some foods will benefit from using an oil spray or air fryer parchment paper. Use non-aerosol cooking oil spray to prevent damage to your air fryer.
- Don’t overcrowd the food. The air needs to freely circulate for the best results when air fryer cooking.
📚 Best Air Fryer Cookbooks for Beginners
Your local bookstore or library is a great resource for easy first time air fryer recipes. Here are a few beginner air fryer cookbooks I recommend:
- Air Fryer Cookbook for Dummies
- The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners
- Ninja Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners
Did you know you can also get free printable air fryer recipes right here? Subscribe to get my free air fryer cookbook in your inbox. You’ll also receive additional free air fryer recipes from the site, so you’ll never be out of ideas!
🍳 Air Fryer Breakfast
Breakfast is a great meal to start with when learning to use the air fryer. And that’s not only because breakfast is rumored to be the most important meal of the day- nope!
Start by making breakfast in your air fryer so you can practice toasting. Toast is one of the easiest things for beginners to make in the air fryer. You might want to get rid of your toaster and toaster oven after you see what an air fryer can do!
Air fryers are also surprisingly good at baking. Believe it or not, you can make things like frittatas in an air fryer! Even small air fryers can typically fit mini pie pans for single-serve egg bakes.
If you’ve been wondering what oil to use in an air fryer, the answer is your favorite cooking oil! I prefer olive oil and avocado oil, so I use those. You’re welcome to substitute your favorite neutral cooking oil in these recipes.
The one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to use aerosol cooking spray in the air fryer. Some report that these sprays damaged their air fryer basket or air fryer tray. Use a non-aerosol spray from the store or use one of those oil misters you fill yourself.
Is it time for breakfast yet? Here are a few lovely ways to start the day with the air fryer:
🍗 Air Fryer Chicken and Fish
One of the very first recipes I ever made in an air fryer was cooking a whole chicken. I wanted to try using the air fryer rotisserie for the first time. It was fun, and yes- you can find the recipe below!
Some of the recipes in this section are air fryer oven recipes for beginners. They may require a large air fryer oven with two trays, or the use of a rotisserie spit.
Sometimes you can simply split a recipe into batches if you have a small air fryer. Other times, however, an air fryer oven recipe won’t work in a smaller air fryer. (Particularly the air fryer recipes requiring a spit.)
No worries, though, there are over 100 beginner recipes for the air fryer in this list. You’re going to find things to make, including air fryer chicken recipes, regardless of the type of air fryer you have. Check out the recipes, and get cooking time and temperatures by clicking the links below:
🥩 Air Fryer Pork and Beef
These air fryer beef and pork recipes are some of my favorite things to make in an air fryer. They are packed with high-quality protein, and so, so delicious. (I just enjoyed the air fryer rib eye recipe below again tonight!)
Like the poultry recipes, some of these air fryer meat recipes require an air fryer oven. Others can be cooked in a small air fryer basket.
I think you’re going to be surprised at how good these simple air fryer recipes are. The air fryer roast beef is so very easy to make, but special enough to serve as holiday dinner. With high-quality ingredients, you don’t have to be a master chef to create a culinary masterpiece!
If beef’s what’s for dinner (or pork!) here are some ideas to make a new family favorite. Many of these recipes are low carb and keto-friendly (or can easily be made so):
Meat-free air fryer recipes are a great choice for beginner cooks. You often don’t have to use a meat thermometer when you’re cooking vegetarian recipes. Items like canned beans and tofu can be eaten straight from the package, so there’s no risk of undercooking them.
Both omnivores and vegetarians can enjoy these plant-based foods. My whole family eats meat but we also like foods like tofu and eggplant Parmesan sometimes. Why not try something new, like my air fryer tempeh, tonight?
(BTW, you’ll also find many other vegetarian and vegan recipes in some of the other sections. Easy veggies, air fryer potatoes, and the air fryer snacks are packed with them!)
I don't really care for the concept of Meat Free Monday, but I still definitely enjoy a vegetarian meal on occasion. If you’ve been thinking of adding more plants to your diet, here are some easy air fryer recipes to get you started:
🥶 Frozen Foods
One night I forgot to defrost the chicken for dinner, so I put the frozen solid block of chicken in the air fryer. Amazingly, dinner turned out perfectly. If you are an air fryer beginner, you need to be air frying frozen foods!
You can air fry frozen convenience foods for a single ingredient recipe. You can also air fry frozen fish, frozen chicken, frozen burgers, and make more complicated dishes.
But Summer, you are probably wondering, why air fry my frozen foods when I can microwave them? If you want your foods cooked on the inside with a crispy outside, the air fryer does a better job. Try the air fryer frozen chicken patties or air fryer frozen chicken thighs with crispy skin, and see for yourself!
I think we’ll eventually see more frozen foods with air fryer directions on the packaging. Until then, here are the air fryer directions for some popular frozen foods:
🍰 Desserts and Snacks
If carbs are life in your world, this section on easy air fryer snacks and desserts is what you need. People often start air frying by making healthier versions of deep-fried favorites. However, the air fryer is good for so much more than chicken wings and fried mushrooms.
An air fryer is essentially a mini convection oven that can sit on your countertop. And like a convection oven, you can use an air fryer for baking. That means you can make things like cornbread and donuts in the air fryer.
(You may be wondering where the donuts are below. Check out the cheesecake recipe- it's stuffed with them! Learn to make air fryer gulab jamun, a sort of Indian donut. YUM!)
Many of these treats are fun air fryer recipes for kids. And why not let older kids use the air fryer? It’s kind of like a modern version of an Easy Bake Oven!
🥔 Air Fryer Recipes with Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States. In fact, the air fryer potato recipes are so well-liked here, they get their own category! Just about everyone is familiar with cooking potatoes, so they’re a natural fit for beginner air frying.
If you have a picky eater in the household, potatoes tend to be a vegetable they’ll accept. With delicious potato options like fries, potato skins, and hash browns, who can blame them!
I’m including sweet potato air fryer recipes in this section with regular potatoes. Nutritionally, sweet potatoes offer provitamin A that you don’t get in white potatoes. I like to include both veggies in my diet for a greater variety of nutrients and flavors.
Potatoes are inexpensive, easy to prepare, nutritious, and a delicious crowd pleaser. Sounds like a win to me! If you’re looking for air fryer potato recipes for beginning cooks, here are some to try:
Psst... don't miss the bonus air fryer beginner potato recipe at the bottom!
🥦 Easy Veggies
Ok, ok, with the popularity of keto diets, I know that not everyone is clamoring for potatoes. Luckily, there are a lot of other tasty air fryer veggies you can make.
This section has some of my favorite air fryer veggie recipes for beginners. Many of these recipes have only five ingredients or less.
If you don’t have knife skills, recipes like air fryer frozen vegetables and air fryer baby carrots will be perfect for you. There are lots of ways to prepare veggies in the air fryer that don’t require slicing or chopping at all.
No matter the type of diet you’re following, some veggies will likely fit. Vegetables are rich in fiber and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. They offer a lot of volume for few calories, great if you’re a volume eater trying to lose weight.
If you think you don’t like veggies, keep trying! There are so many types of veggies and ways to prepare them. You’re bound to find some you like. Why not start with these?
🍟 Reheating Fast Food
Through this website, I’ve learned a lot about how people use air fryers. One of the most popular things people use air fryers for is reheating fast food leftovers. It’s a great cooking project for air fryer beginners!
Honestly, a lot of the reheating fast food air fryer recipes are not the healthiest things you could be eating. Fries, chicken nuggets, and takeout pizza are not the most nutritious foods around, that’s for sure.
That said, there’s something to be said for using the air fryer to prevent food waste. Keeping food you bought out of the trash saves you money, and may be better for the environment too.
In some cases, reheated fast food may taste even better than when it was purchased fresh! (IMVHO, this is true for reheating McDonald’s french fries. Never eat cold fries again!)
Have some leftover fast food hanging out in the fridge? Bring those sad and soggy leftovers back to life with these easy air fryer directions for beginners:
Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners
- 8 ounces frozen waffle fries (227 grams; frozen Ore-Ida waffle fries or frozen sweet potato waffle fries may be used)
- dipping sauce (optional)
- Put the waffle fries on a tray in the top rack position of the air fryer oven. Air fry for 6 minutes at 400°F (200°C), flip the fries, and air fry for 6 more minutes at 400°F (200°C). Flip the fries one more time and air fry for 2 minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Serve cooked waffle fries with your favorite dipping sauce.
You cannot cook food in plastic trays, or other items that are not oven-safe, in the air fryer. The air fryer isn’t the best piece of kitchen equipment for braising or stewing. I also don’t recommend trying to cook raw grains, particularly whole grains, in the air fryer.
If you are cooking for a family, I recommend getting a large air fryer or this air fryer oven. With a small air fryer, you will need to air fry multiple batches every time you make a recipe. (So time consuming!) Keep in mind that square baskets or trays fit more food than circular ones.
My air fryer doesn’t have a rotating basket. However, I’ve heard of folks having issues when their basket isn’t connected properly. It’s important to make sure the basket is installed correctly in the air fryer. Overfilling the basket with food can also impede rotating.
Unfortunately, some air fryer brands produce a lot more smoke than others. I’ve never had an issue with this air fryer smoking, and I’ve been using it for years. If you do have a smoky air fryer, I’ve heard that adding a little water or a piece of bread in the drip pan (to catch grease) can help.
If foods tend to stick, be sure to use a non-aerosol cooking spray before air frying. Also, you can get perforated air fryer parchment paper for air fryers. Make sure to purchase the parchment sheets that are the right size for your air fryer basket or tray.
👩🍳 Other Air Fryer Posts
Looking for more air fryer recipes for beginners? Here is some additional air fryer information to check out:
- Best Frozen Foods for the Air Fryer
- Cooking Microwave Meals in the Air Fryer
- 101 Easy Plant Based Snacks (contains additional air fryer ideas)
What’s the first food you cooked in an air fryer? Drop me a comment below and tell me your favorite air fryer recipes for beginners!