How to Cook Any Recipe in the Air Fryer
How to Adapt Recipes for the Air Fryer
updated July 2021: Previous to this update, there was a minor mistake in explaining the 10/20 for adapting recipes for the air fryer. This has been fixed and accurately reflects how you can make (almost) any recipe in your air fryer! Enjoy! 😊
If you can bake it, fry it, or grill it, you can most likely cook it up in your air fryer. By the end of this post you will know how to adapt almost ANY recipe for your air fryer.
Today I’ll share the formula I use when modifying recipes and I’ll also tell you THREE important things you must consider when adapting any recipe for the air fryer. And stay tuned to the end because I’ll reveal which foods you shouldn’t even bother trying to cook in your air fryer!
Watch me talk about these helpful air fryer tips in this YouTube video
5 Tips to Successfully Adapt Recipes for the Air Fryer
Before I share how to adapt your recipes for the air fryer, it is important to know 5 things about cooking in the air fryer. These 5 things will help you better adapt your recipes and help you better understand your air fryer.
1. Use an instant read thermometer
Your instant read thermometer is going to be your best friend. If you don’t have one yet. It’s time to add this to your kitchen arsenal.
2. Know the recommended internal temperature
An instant read thermometer will help you gauge how close your food is to being completely cooked through. So, you will need to know the recommended temperatures of your recipes. I have a FREE download that lists out all the recommended internal temperatures for meats and baked goods. Using your instant read thermometer and internal temp guide together means your food will be perfect every single time!
3. Shake or rotate your food
Shake or rotate food for even cooking and crisping… unless you’re cooking baked foods in your air fryer, then don’t worry about this tip.
4. Write down what works for you
As you use your air fryer write down the times and temps in a notebook or a paper you won’t lose. That way when you go to cook up your favorite regular foods, you can refer to what was successful for you in the past.
5. Keep using your air fryer
Keep using your air fryer! Once you get past that learning curve, you just have that built in “gut feeling” and you’ll just know what time and temp to cook your food. Think of how easy it is to use your microwave… before you know it, your air fryer will be that easy too.
Adapting Grill Recipes for the Air Fryer
For these types of foods (like air fryer steak or air fryer hamburgers), always preheat your air fryer at the highest temp for about 5 minutes or so, to get a little sear on your food. Because a grill is cooking on flames, the air fryer will take about the same amount of time.
Grilling at high heat is around 450˚F, so when air frying, I usually work in the 380-400 degree range. Just like when you are grilling, an instant read thermometer is going to be key for perfect results!
Adapting Deep Fryer Recipes for the Air Fryer
Because hot oil conducts heat faster, you’ll actually need to air fry food longer than you would if you were deep frying.
Is an air fryer or deep fryer better?
In the case of the air fryer vs deep fryer… you won’t necessarily save on time, but clean up will be easier, your house won’t stink like greasy oil, and of course the health benefits of using less oil are a no brainer.
For example, frozen fries take just a few minutes in a deep fryer, where in the air fryer they’ll take more like 15 minutes at 400˚ (but in the oven, they’d take closer to 30 minutes at 425˚). Another example, deep fried oreos take 2 minutes, but 4 to 5 minutes at 350˚ in the air fryer.
The larger it is, the longer it will take in the air fryer – like deep fried chicken is about 14 or 15 minutes but air fried chicken is going to be more like 20-25 minutes.
You’ll know your food is done when it is reaches your desired crispiness and internal temperature.
Adapting Oven Recipes for the Air Fryer
If you are expecting an easy rule or equation that you can apply to all recipes, I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t exist. However, I do have a general rule of thumb, but there are some exceptions and considerations when adapting oven recipes. So make sure you read until the end.
And if you just don’t like figuring things out and just want someone to tell you what to do, check out my air fryer recipe book. Learn more about that at yummyairfryerrecipes.com.
The RULE for Adapting Recipes from the Oven to the Air Fryer
I have two different options for you:
1. The 10/20 rule
First, shoutout to my viewer Jeremy on YouTube who shared the 10/20 rule.
The 10/20 rule means that you cut the temperature by 10% and the time by 20%. So if you have a recipe that calls for 350˚F for 15 minutes, you would take 10% off of 350, which is 315˚F. Then 20% of 15 is 3 minutes so cook time would be 12 minutes.
2. Drop the Temperature by 10-25 degrees
If that’s too much math for you, I keep it simple and start by dropping the temperature by 10-25 degrees then I cut the baking time in half. And with a simple check in on the food I can easily add more time and increase the temperature if I want to. This is why you need an instant read thermometer!
How to Cook Frozen Foods in the Air Fryer
If you’re doing prepared items that are a bunch of smaller pieces, like french fries and frozen veggies, the 10-25 degree temperature rule applies nicely. Just be sure to shake the food midway thru cooking and you can blast it with more heat and time at the end if needed.
Now if it’s a frozen food that is larger and more solid, like a pizza or this chicken pot pie, the rule will be different. Because your air fryer is a small compact convection oven, the exterior will cook before the interior does. So start with an even lower temp so the tops and sides don’t burn.
How to Cook Baked Goods in the Air Fryer
Because these foods are more dense, they take longer to cook through the middle. By the time it’s been cooked through, the tops could be burnt. So in these cases I always cover the pans with foil or a silicone lid. This helps block the heat from cooking to the top of the food. Then you can take the cover off near the end of cook time to get things nice and brown and crispy.
Don’t forget that you can also use your instant read thermometer to check the internal temp of these baked goods. I have those temps on my free download as well.
3 Things to Consider When Adapting Recipes
1. Does your air fryer run hot?
Because air fryers come in different shapes and sizes and wattage, times and temps might be slightly different for you than they are for me. The more you use it, the more you’ll know if it cooks hotter or cooler.
2. It’s always best to start low and add more time as needed.
Once you get a feel for how your air fryer cooks, you can start reducing time by less.
3. Need a little more crispiness on your food?
Crank up the heat the last few minutes of air frying – adding a small spritz of oil will help intensify the heat and crisp things up.
What foods should you not even try to cook in your air fryer?
Grains need to be cooked in boiling water, and the air fryer just can’t bring water to a boil in an efficient amount of time.
Similar to boiling water, you need to have a sauce pan and stir and blend over a stove top.
3. Wet Batter
Think of wet batters like a funnel cake or homemade corn dog batter. They just do better in hot oil. Instead use a dry coat and spray with oil to help the dry seasonings adhere to the food.
These tips and tricks will help you become an air fryer pro! As you become familiar with your air fryer and learn how to adapt (almost) any recipe for the air fryer, you will love cooking food and dinnertime. The air fryer has changed the way I cook. It is as natural to me as using my microwave. In fact, I usually prefer to use my air fryer in most cases and I hardly ever use my oven now!
What questions do you about your air fryer? Let me know in the comments below!
Be sure to check out my air fryer 101 post to learn more about your air fryer! And don’t make the same air fryer mistakes that I have!