How to Convert Pretty Much Any Recipe for Your Air Fryer
Tried all of our air-fryer recipes already? Here are the secrets to becoming an air fryer conversion master.
Here’s our Test Kitchen’s complete air fryer guide.
Conventional Oven to Air Fryer Conversion
To convert an oven-cooked recipe to an air-fryer one, Mason’s general rule of thumb is to reduce the suggested temperature by 25°F and then cut the cook time by about 20%. (Here’s our guide to air-fryer cooking times.) Just use the pause button on your machine to occasionally check the doneness and flip for balanced crispness on all sides.
Deep Fryer to Air Fryer Conversion
You can get the tastiness of deep frying—hello, chicken wings—without using nearly as much oil. That’s why so many people love it.
Mason uses a special method for her fried chicken. She sets the temperature to 390° and the timer to 25 minutes. At 14 minutes, she flips the chicken and sprays it with just a bit of vegetable oil, then air fries it for 11 minutes more. She says a light spritz of oil at the beginning and midway, when you flip the pieces, can help form an extra-crispy exterior while maintaining interior juiciness. (Learn how to cook air-fryer chicken in every way possible.)
If you’re air-frying prepackaged frozen foods like french fries, hit pause and shake the basket once or twice throughout the cooking process so all surfaces are exposed to the hot air coming from the top of the air fryer.
Pan Fry to Air Fryer Conversion
If you can whip it up on your stovetop, chances are you can air-fry it. Think stir-fries, meatballs and veggie side dishes.
When your traditional pan-fry recipe calls for a sauce or batter, make those elements first. If the recipe calls for a dipping batter like our Air-Fryer Pickles, coat according to directions and place the pickles in a single layer in the air-fryer basket to crisp up. After the veggies are a nice golden brown, turn and finish off the other side with additional cooking spray.
If you’re making something with lots of ingredients like a stir-fry or grain dish, Mason says you’ll want to use an oven-safe cake insert, foil pan or bowl to keep small pieces from falling through the air-fryer basket. It’s easier when you cook the grain ahead of time. Add the cooked grains, along with veggies and herbs, to the pan and place directly in the basket for cooking. Remember to stir it up every five minutes.
Here are more air-fryer accessories you’ll love.
Grill to Air Fryer Conversion
Instead of searing your steak on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet, Mason suggests you use your air fryer. Flip the steak once halfway, then make it amazing by topping it with a slab of garlic butter while it rests. You can use the same method for fish, and check the temperature once it stops cooking.
All that said, there are some foods that just don’t work in an air fryer. Save yourself some time and stick to the ones that do.