- I followed five different air-fryer recipes and rated each in terms of difficultly level, flavour, and whether or not I’d make them again.
- Both the french-fry and potato-chip recipes lacked crispness and didn’t taste like what you’d buy at a fast-food joint or grocery store.
- The mini calzones were not worth the hassle, but tasted good – sort of like a stuffed pepperoni pizza.
- The churros were excellent, simple to make, and came out looking pretty professional.
- The best recipe I followed was for chocolate-chip cookies. They didn’t look pretty, but they tasted amazing.
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Air fryers can be intimidating to use, but they’re a surprisingly simple and straightforward kitchen appliance.
With an air fryer, your food can cook quickly and get crispy without getting super greasy as it might if you were to use a deep fryer. Plus you can prepare almost anything in it, from sweets to entire meals.
To put my appliance to the test, I tried to make five popular air-fryer recipes and see how they stacked up. I rated each in terms of difficultly level, flavour, and whether or not I’d make them again.
Here’s how each recipe turned out, plus a final ranking of which I think are actually worth making again:
The first recipe I tried was for chocolate-chip cookies.
The recipe calls for 10 ingredients, including pecans and both white and brown sugar.
The process for making these wasn’t complicated.
I didn’t have a stand mixer, so I did things the old fashioned way: by hand.
I whipped my softened butter for 30 seconds and proceeded to add brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, and salt and continued to mix for two solid minutes.
After, I beat in the egg and vanilla and mixed until it had a smooth consistency.
By the time I added my mix-ins, the dough was looking good.
Slowly, I beat in the flour until it was completely combined. The dough was firm, but still easy to mix.
Lastly, I stirred in the chocolate chips and pecans.
After my dough was complete, I lined my basket with foil and poked holes in it.
I lined the bottom of the air-fryer basket with foil instead of parchment paper – a totally OK swap, according to various baking sites.
The recipe didn’t say to poke holes in the foil, but I did so to allow the hot air to stream through as it normally would in order to bake my cookies.
I turned the air fryer on 300 degrees Fahrenheit and let it pre-heat for three minutes. Then, I dropped four dough balls in ⎯ the first of three test batches.
My first batch didn’t cook for long enough.
The first batch of cookies were too big. After eight minutes of baking, they came out on the doughier side.
The balls also rolled into one another so they came out oddly shaped. They were still very tasty, especially if you like slightly underdone cookies.
For the second batch, I made the cookies a smaller size.
For the second batch, I made smaller, teaspoon rounds. They were perfectly cooked after eight minutes, however, the balls still rolled into each other due to the power of the convection.
They came out looking a little weird still because they stuck together mid-bake. They were still tasty, though.
The third batch was the best.
The third and final batch was perfect. I made the dough balls even smaller and pressed each ball down slightly so they took on more of a cookie shape.
Though they still rolled into each other, they came out looking fine.
The final batch still didn’t look bakery-worthy, but the cookies tasted delicious.
They were dense and chocolatey in the middle, yet had a nice crispness on the outside.
The cookies had a fabulous buttery, slightly salty pecan taste that paired perfectly with the creamy, semi-sweet chocolate chips.
If I were to make these again I’d use milk-chocolate chips since I think they’d pair better with the pecan.
The taste of the cookies was excellent but I’d still choose baking in an oven over an air fryer.
Difficulty Level: 3/10. These weren’t hard to make, even without a stand mixer, but the fact that the dough balls kept rolling into each other while baking was really annoying.
Flavour: 8/10. The cookies were rich in flavour and the pecans added a delightful salty, nutty taste that balanced well with the sweetness of the chocolate chip and dough.
Would I make again? No. The cookies didn’t really spread out and baked unevenly due to the rolling around. The oven works better when it comes to making cookies.
For the second recipe, I tried making miniature calzones.
The Kitchn’s Air Fryer Mini Calzones recipe is very straight forward and it seemed easy enough to follow.
The recipe required only five ingredients, none of which had to be made from scratch.
I was excited about the recipe until I realised how much of a pain it was to work with the sticky pizza dough.
I used a premade tomato-basil sauce and a store-bought pizza dough. I kept the dough covered with a wet paper towel at room temperature for an hour.
I don’t have a ton of experience working with pizza dough except once during a cooking class in Italy where instead of using rolling pins we tossed the dough the traditional way until it resembled a crust.
In this case, the rolling pin didn’t suffice and so I took to tossing the dough.
The dough was so sticky and difficult to stretch out – I honestly wanted to give up.
Fortunately, I managed to stretch out enough for four disks.
Cutting the disks was also a challenge.
The recipe suggests using a 3-inch round cutter or large glass to cut out disks. They seemed a bit too small, but I decided to fill them anyway.
My disks couldn’t fit my ingredients.
The glass I used to cut the rounds was just a bit larger than 3 inches – but the dough cut-out simply wasn’t wide enough to hold the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni inside.
I had to fold up pepperoni halves just to get one to fit in each calzone.
By the time I popped these in the air fryer, I was losing hope.
After folding the tiny dough disk and crimping the edges with a fork, the sauce was already slightly seeping out.
I was worried about the sauce dripping into the bottom of my air fryer, which would be messy to clean later.
After a few minutes of cooking, some of the calzones erupted.
I turned on the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (my model doesn’t have a setting for 375), preheated it for three minutes, and then placed four pockets into the air fryer.
After eight minutes, they were golden brown and ready to be taken out.
The first batch looked terrible but tasted good.
They came out as weird-looking, misshapen, half-disks that were oozing cheese.
The boiling cheese also seeped to the bottom of the air fryer during cooking which resulted in some smoking and extra clean up afterward.
Taste-wise they were surprisingly delicious, especially when dipped in more sauce. But there wasn’t enough gooey, cheesiness inside.
I decided to try the recipe again and use a bigger item to cut my circles.
For the second set of mini calzones, I used a bowl to cut the dough disks. This nearly doubled their size.
This made it much easier to fill each pocket.
The second batch didn’t have major leakage issues.
This time around, the ingredients fit inside the dough much better, and I only had to slightly cut my pepperoni slices.
After cooking for a few minutes, they came out looking OK. The filling was delicious and tasted just like a pepperoni pizza.
Overall, these were delicious but pretty tricky to make.
Difficulty Level: 7/10. If I had to do it again, I would just buy a pre-rolled pizza crust, which would have made it way easier to manage the dough. I would also cut out a bowl-sized dough disk instead of the suggested 3-inch one. With those two changes, the recipe would have been a breeze.
Flavour: 7/10. The mini calzones tasted just like pepperoni pizza. They were delicious, especially when dipped in more pizza sauce.
Would I make again? No, unless I made regular-sized calzones. The hassle of making them fun-sized wasn’t worth it.
For the third recipe, I made french fries.
This Air Fryer French Fries recipe from the Food Network was straightforward.
The most intensive part was cutting the potatoes. I started by cutting the potato half in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices. Finally, I cut them into sticks.
Next, I rinsed the potatoes in cold water to remove excess starch.
After draining and drying the sticks, I tossed them in a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and a dash of pepper.
I preheated my air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes (my model doesn’t have a setting for 380) and placed the fries in an even layer with no overlapping.
I had enough potato sticks for two batches.
They looked golden and crispy, but lacked that true crunch of a fry that’s been deep-fried.
I cooked them for 15 minutes in total, shuffling the basket halfway through. Once cooked, I seasoned them with a sprinkle of more salt.
Some of the fries were crunchy, but the ones that were too thick ended up limp. That said, they tasted good.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have that crunch I was hoping for. For example, I’m a huge fan of McDonald’s fries, so if that’s what you’re expecting this isn’t it.
I think these would have been better if I deep-fried them instead.
Difficulty Level: 2/10. This was a very easy recipe to make.
Flavour: 6/10. The french fries were good, but nothing spectacular. They lacked that oily crispiness that Imost enjoy from a good fry. I sprinkled the second batch with garlic salt for extra flavour, which I recommend.
Would I make again? Yes. But only if I was trying to be more healthy and wanted an alternative to a heavier, heartier potato side dish.
I decided to continue with the potato recipes and make chips next.
I’m a big fan of potato chips so I had high expectations for this one.
Overall, the Air Fryer Potato Chips recipe from food blogger Mum’s Dish seemed super easy, but a tad time-consuming. I only needed a handful of ingredients.
The first step of thinly slicing the potatoes was tedious.
Although the recipe recommends using a mandolin slicer, I didn’t have one so I did my best to cut the potatoes as thin as possible.
After slicing the potatoes, they need to be soaked for 20 minutes in cold water. After they soaked, I drained and dried them.
I then proceeded to toss them in a teaspoon of olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
I placed two layers of chips in the air fryer and baked them for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 20 minutes, I tossed them. They stuck together a bit but were starting to cook nicely.
Then, I turned up the temperature to 390 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes.
The chips came out golden brown and had a decent crunch to them. They definitely would have been better had I been able to more perfectly slice each chip, but I did my best.
They were tasty, but they seemed more like cooked potatoes, not fried ones, depending on the slice’s thickness.
Difficulty Level: 3/10. This was a super easy recipe to make. The only annoying part was thinly slicing the chips. A mandolin slicer would have made this recipe even simpler.
Flavour: 6/10. The chips were good and fairly crunchy. That said, they weren’t anything like store-bought chips, and weren’t all that crispy. So if you’re big on Lay’s, for example, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. I would also add garlic salt and other salt seasonings to boost the flavour of these next time.
Would I make again? Yes, but only if I wanted a more hearty, healthy homemade chip. These chips wouldn’t satisfy me if I wanted name-brand ones from the store.
For my last recipe, I made cinnamon-sugar coated churros.
I was most excited to make these churros but was slightly intimidated by the process.
The recipe I followed for Air Fryer Churros is from the food blog Plated Cravings. It only requires water, butter, sugar and cinnamon, salt, flour, eggs, vanilla, and oil spray.
The ingredients were all ones I already had in my kitchen.
Who knew you could make dough on the stove?
To begin, I put butter, water, sugar, and salt in a medium pot and brought it to a boil.
Then, I reduced the heat and added flour to the simmering mix.
The recipe was easier than I thought it’d be.
Making the dough took a few more steps than I thought it would, but it wasn’t difficult.
I stirred my ingredients constantly until they formed a dough ball, which was so satisfying. I’ve never made dough like this and loved doing it.
The dough didn’t look appetizing — but it was coming together well.
After removing the dough from the heat, I let it cool for five minutes then added eggs and vanilla to a mixing bowl. I used an electric hand mixer to combine the ingredients.
As the recipe stated, the dough looked like gluey mashed potatoes.
I didn’t have a traditional piping bag or star-shaped tip, so I used a resealable plastic bag.
After pressing my dough together with my hands, I transferred it into a resealable plastic bag, since I didn’t have a piping bag or special tip.
I cut a 1/2-inch hole on the corner and piped out my mini churros on a greased baking sheet. The bag worked perfectly and each churro was about 4 inches long.
I let them cool in the refrigerator for one hour before cooking.
After being refrigerated, they held their shape quite well.
I preheated my air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (my model doesn’t have a setting for 375), sprayed the bottom of the basket, and placed the churros inside with 1/2-inch spaces in between each.
I sprayed them with cooking oil and set the timer for 10 minutes.
They cooked pretty fast, despite the lower temperature, and I took them out early.
They came out looking like perfect, little churros, minus the ridges.
I immediately popped them into a shallow container filled with a sugar-cinnamon mixture and gave them a good coat of sweetness.
They looked and tasted so good, even without a dipping sauce.
I would definitely make these churros again.
Difficulty Level: 4/10. This recipe was easy to make and straightforward. Nothing difficult.
Flavour: 8/10. These churros were delightful and had a nice crunch. The inside was a little sweet, eggy, and soft. They tasted absolutely delicious on their own and even better with the chocolate dipping sauce I ended up making for the second batch.
Would I make again? Absolutely. They reminded me of the churros I would get at state fairs or the zoo. They were super delicious and not nearly as oily as traditional ones.
Most of the recipes turned out pretty well — but some things are best deep-fried.
Most of these recipes yielded yummy results, but I think some things are just better deep-fried.
Here is my final recipe ranking, from worst to best:
5. French fries. My least favourite recipe was the french fries because some were limp and they didn’t satisfy my craving for the real deal.
4. Potato chips. The potato chips ended up being decent, however, they lacked crispiness, and didn’t come out anything like store-bought ones.
3. Mini calzones. These mini calzones were a pain to make, but their flavour was awesome. They were just like stuffed pepperoni pizza, which I’d forgotten how much I love.
2. Churros. These were a slam dunk and shockingly easy to make. The crunchiness and sugar-cinnamon coating balanced out the eggy, soft inside of each churro.
1. Chocolate Chip Cookies. The chocolate chip cookies, despite their odd shape, were super indulgent and I loved the buttery, nutty flavour of the pecans in combination with the sweet chocolate chips. The dough was super easy to prepare, and I couldn’t ignore this dessert’s incredible flavour.