Air fryer recipes: Kiwis share their top air fryer tips and favourite recipes

Stock image of person frying seasoned chicken in an air fryer
Kiwis recently took to the New Zealand subreddit to share their favourite air fryer creations. Photo credit: Getty Images

Air fryers have certainly been hogging the limelight in the cut-throat world of kitchen appliances in recent years, with viral recipes from pavlova to pasta chips taking social media by storm.

During the long weeks of COVID-19 lockdown last year with little else to do but eat and sleep, many a Kiwi kindled a steamy love affair with the humble air fryer, with PriceSpy data showing sales of the appliance in New Zealand sky-rocketed in 2021. Fryers and air fryers were the top trending category for shoppers over the festive season, up 202 percent compared to 2020. 

Considered by many a homecook as the best thing since sliced bread, it's no wonder that air fryers continue to be a source of inspiration for recipes and handy hacks in the kitchen. While the appliance has found a firm foothold in the world of TikTok, a recipe or two can also be found in the realms of Reddit, with Kiwis recently taking to the New Zealand forum to share their favourite air fryer creations

"Let's hear your air fryer recipes," one user posted to the subreddit on Sunday evening. "[I] got one recently and aside from the usual suspects (chips etc), what's something that turns out surprisingly well?"

And Kiwis were all too keen to contribute, with many sharing their top tips and chefs-d'œuvre.

"Not a recipe but I've found it's the absolute best way to reheat pizza (that isn't soggy or burnt to a crisp!)" one suggested.

"Cut croissants in half and chuck a bit of ham and cheese on top. Four-to-five minutes at 200C [and] you've got yourself a treat," another shared.

"Bacon. Eight minutes at 190C, flipping it halfway through [to make it] super crispy," a third said. "Not healthy, but it's some of the best bacon I've ever made."

"Then dice up potatoes or kumara, roll in bacon fat from the bottom tray and refry for the best ever potatoes," another chipped in.

And for a full breakfast, others agreed that cooking eggs in the appliance works a treat. One advised cooking the eggs for 10 minutes at 132C for soft yolks and 15 minutes for a firmer centre. 

Another said they made a Spanish omelette in their air fryer using egg, milk, chorizos, tomato, onion, olives and haloumi.

"I folded baking paper into the shape of the air fryer basket and half-cooked the egg and milk mixture, then added some cooked chorizo, tomato, onion, olives and haloumi and then air fried for another few minutes."

One user revealed that the air fryer is their favourite way to heat up a frozen pie - blast it in the microwave for three minutes before popping it in the fryer for two minutes at 180C. 

"Hot all the way through, crisp on the outside."

Another had a recipe for sweet-and-sour pork: "Dip in flour, then egg/milk mix, then coat in breadcrumbs. Instead of frying, pop in the airfryer, and pour sweet and sour sauce over it once it's cooked."

"It's easier than an oven, heats up quicker than an oven, and cleans up easier than an oven," they added.

Another claimed that the air fryer has transformed the way they cook pork belly, writing: "[It] actually turns out better than using the oven, tidy and quick. The crackle is perfect."

And several chipped in saying the air fryer is their favourite way to eat veggies: simply chop or slice your produce, whether it be cauliflower or zucchini or otherwise, and toss it in olive oil, salt, and your choice of spices or seasonings and cook until crisp.

For the vegans and vegetarians, one user suggested making homemade tofu nuggets - just press the tofu to remove the liquid, tear it into chucks, coat the pieces in a batter of cornflour and seasonings and then dip them in breadcrumbs, before placing them in the air fryer for 12 minutes.

"Do you like chicken curry in a hurry? Put spices in yoghurt and coat chicken breast (skin on or off is chef's choice). Make little individual tin-foil boats. Pop two boats in the air fryer at a time. 18min on 200 and you got moist tasty perfect chicken tandoori. Serve in wrap or on rice or with a quick naan," another pitched in.

Others agreed that the air fryer is the best way to achieve a "perfect" roast chicken - a challenge Newshub took on in 2019 to astounding results

"It's probably the nicest roast chicken I've ever had and it's a lot quicker than the oven," another seconded.

And for dessert, a user shared their not-so-secret recipe for a delicious bread and butter pudding.

"Line the tray with tinfoil or use a tart tin that fits. Cut croissants or hot cross buns or both and top with cream and custard, then add cinnamon and nutmeg and extra raisins and/or orange zest. Air fry at 200C for 12 minutes."

Despite all the upsides of cooking with an air fryer, many complain that clean-up can pose a challenge. But labour no longer - last year, a TikTok creator shared a magical hack for cleaning an air fryer that makes it sparkle and shine like a brand-new appliance. 

And in 2020, an Australian mum's super-simple air fryer recipe for a perfect pav was widely applauded on Facebook, with the creator claiming the appliance is the best way to achieve a light and fluffy meringue with a delicious crunch.