11 Uncommon Things To Cook In An Air Fryer (And 4 You Should Not)

You can use air fryers to easily cook up a massive range of food in record times, making them a truly essential modern appliance for your kitchen. Since they were first introduced, air fryers have quickly taken American kitchens by storm and created a true phenomenon.

But, for as many things as an air fryer can cook, surely there must be a few things that you cannot cook or should not cook, right? Ever find yourself fretting over whether to cook one thing or another?

If so, then you have definitely come to the right place because I am going to take a look at 11 relatively uncommon things to cook in an air fryer that are surprisingly safe, as well as 4 things that air fryers are not good for.

11 Things To Cook In An Air Fryer That You Thought You Couldn’t

a man searching for things to cook in air fryer

When it comes to finding the right recipe for your air fryer, it is important to consider what kind of food will come out best as well as what foods may cause safety risks or brake the appliance.

First, let’s look at some of the foods that can be successfully cooked in an air fryer and will actually give you a delicious result.

1. Coffee

roasting coffee in air fryer

Yes, indeed, an air fryer is a great appliance for roasting coffee. The hot air circulates around the beans, evenly roasting them. You can roast a small batch of coffee beans at once in the air fryer, making it a great appliance for coffee lovers.

When done correctly, roasting coffee in an air fryer can be a successful way to produce flavorful coffee.

Check out the detailed instruction here in my latest post: Roasting Coffee Beans In An Air Fryer Is Great (But Only If You Do Not Want French Roast!)

2. Burgers

cooking burgers in an air fryer

It turns out that the air frying method is practically perfect for cooking delicious burgers every single time! Placing a few burger patties into your air fryer for around 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F (177°C) will soon see you ending up with amazingly juicy burgers that are delicate and soft at the very center but with a nice crispness around the edges!

Air frying burgers is great because it is so easy, as you can simply place them into the basket and allow the quick cooking to get to work without any need for oil that will splatter all over your stovetop! You can even do it with frozen burgers!

3. Bread

air fryer

When looking for things to cook in an air fryer, bread would probably not even come to mind, but can you believe it? You can actually bake a crusty loaf of homemade bread in an air fryer!

This fantastic kitchen appliance can do everything from chicken thighs to French fries to baking delicious desserts. And now, thanks to my amazingly easy 4 ingredient air fryer bread recipe, you can even bake crusty bread at home!

4. Ravioli

air fryer ravioli

Don’t worry; I was just as surprised as you likely are to discover that cooking ravioli in an air fryer creates a whole new experience and that it won’t ruin the ravioli or break the appliance.

While most of us know ravioli for its soft texture derived from the boiling process, air frying ravioli helps to make them deliciously crispy while still allowing the contents to stay incredibly soft and rich.

Thus, with the power of your air fryer, you can make ravioli into a perfect Italian-inspired sharing snack that pairs excellently with a fresh tomato dip!

Top Tip: Although air fryers do require any oil for cooking, you will get a really nice crispy, golden brown crust if you slightly coat the ravioli with some olive oil or melted clarified butter.

To air-fry ravioli, put them in the air fryer basket or tray in a single layer at 400°F (204°C) for 4 minutes, flipping them over at the two-minute mark.

5. Banana Bread

air fryer banana bread

If you can bake a regular loaf of bread in an air fryer (above), you can surely make banana bread in an air fryer too. This kitchen appliance is so versatile that it can be used to cook almost anything. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make banana bread, look no further than your trusty air fryer.

Looking for a delicious and easy air fryer banana bread recipe? Look no further than my air fryer banana bread recipe below! This scrumptious banana bread is super soft, moist, and crumbly – perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Give it a try today, and you’ll be hooked!

Easy air fryer banana bread.

6. Hard Boiled Eggs

air fryer eggs

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put a few raw eggs in the air fryer? The result is nicely boiled, or should I say an air-fried egg.

All you need to do is place the eggs, with the shells still intact, into the cooking basket and allow them to fry. This means you can ‘boil’ eggs without any water, which sounds totally mad until you taste them and realize just how well it works!

Check out my step-by-step instruction video here: Making Hard Boiled Eggs In An Air Fryer – Useless Hack Or Game Changer?

To air-fry whole eggs, place them in the air fryer basket without overcrowding the basket and cook 275°F (135°C) for about 15 for a hard-boiled egg. Or if your appliance has a bake setting, then you can use that.

If you are struggling to peel then freshly air-fried egg, then check out this clever trick here: How To Peel Eggs Without Shell Sticking – Shell Slips Right Off!

7. Pumpkin Seeds

air fryer roasted pumpkin seeds

Snacking on pumpkin seeds can be a great way to make the most of every inch of the humble pumpkin, especially towards the end of autumn! Of course, store-bought pumpkin seeds work great as well.

The only trouble is that many existing methods for producing snackable toasted pumpkin seeds are quite difficult and definitely time-consuming.

Luckily, if you want to get right to munching on delicious and nutritious pumpkin seeds, then you can easily and safely place them in your air fryer with some of your favorite seasonings and allow them to fry slowly!

To roast pumpkin seeds in the air fryer, make sure that the seeds are completely dry and mix them in a bowl of melted clarified butter and some seasoning till well coated. Cover the air fryer basket with some parchment paper and spread them evenly.

Roast the pumpkin seeds at 350°F (176°C) for about 15 minutes and shake the basket every few minutes for even roasting.

I was blown away by how well this method worked and how perfectly the seeds came out the other end!

8. Pizza

small air fryer pizza

One of the most surprising things about air fryers is that you can also easily make mini pizzas! That’s right! All you need to do is head to your local grocery store to grab some pre-made pizza dough, and then you can create mini pizzas from scratch.

Simply lay out the pizza dough in the air fryer basket or tray in a small pizza shape, and allow that dough to cook for about a minute for the crust to crisp up slightly, then simply remove the tray again and cover the pizza with all of the toppings you desire!

Precooking the pizza crust will help you get a perfectly crispy bottom without overcooking the pizza toppings!

In just 7-8 minutes at 370°F (187°C), you will have a perfect pizza with a golden brown crust and some perfectly cooked cheese that simply oozes with decadence!

Now that you know how to create mini pizzas in your air fryer, I can guarantee you’ll make plenty more! It works great for frozen ready-made pizzas too.

9. Sweet Potato Chips

air fryer sweet potato chips

If you have seen my latest video on how to make sweet potato chips in a microwave, then how about creating some thin slices and then placing them into your air fryer instead?

Doing so will create perfect little chips that taste irresistibly crispy and are low in fat! In fact, they taste better than store-bought potato chips and are a lot healthier and low in fat and sodium.

To make air fryer potato chips, cut the unpeeled but washed sweet potato into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a bow, coat the slices with olive oil, a little sea salt, and the sweet potato slices in the basket in a single layer and cook at 350°F (176°C) until crispy, about 12-15 minutes.

You can also create chips from other vegetables, like carrots, parsnips, and swede!

10. Bacon

air fryer bacon

Bacon is another food that often surprises air fryer owners, as it is totally safe to cook and comes out tasting amazing.

Not only does air frying your crispy bacon takes much less time, but it also results in bacon that is far more crispy.

To cook bacon in the air fryer, lay the bacon rashers in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure the bacon layers are not overlapping. Cook at 380°F (193°C) for 8-10 minutes, and for extra crispy bacon, cook about 12-15 minutes.

I definitely recommend giving this a try; it is super easy to do and tasted surprisingly awesome!

If you need to cook a large amount of bacon fast, then check out my other post here: How To Cook Large Quantities Of Bacon (3 Easy Methods).

11. Steak

Are you looking for a fast and easy way to cook a steak? Look no further than the air fryer! This cooking method is quick and simple, and it produces juicy, delicious steak every time.

Check out this easy and succulent marinated air fryer steak bites recipe below:

So if you’re looking for a quick, easy, and delicious way to cook steak, give air frying a try!

What Should You Not Put In An Air Fryer?

this is what you can not cook in an air fryer

1. Popcorn

Making popcorn is what air fryers are not good for. Though an air fryer’s cooking chamber may well look like it is equipped to cook popcorn, it most definitely is not suited for it.

The main problem is that popcorn requires very specific temperatures to cook, and these temperatures cannot be reached by most conventional air fryers, meaning you would simply be left with very hot but unpopped popcorn kernels!

Even if your air fryer could cook popcorn, it is not designed to handle the motion of the popcorn popping, which could cause a lot of mess to find its way into the smaller parts of the air fryer, causing further trouble, maybe even some smoke and burning!

But don’t worry, if you are craving some popcorn, check out this simple recipe here: How To Make Popcorn With Butter?

2. Loose Seasonings

If you plan on cooking anything seasoned within your air fryer, make sure to season the food before placing it inside.

This is because loose traces of different seasonings like dry spices and salt and pepper can easily find themselves trapped in the mechanism and little corners of the device because of the hot circulating air, making cleaning it up later much more difficult!

3. Toast

Once again, the average air fryer does look, on the outside, like it would be perfect for cooking a slice of toast, but unfortunately, the cooking chamber of an air fryer is not designed to handle a single slice of bread.

The pressure of the air in the air fryer will cause an average slice of bread to simply fly about because there is little weighing it down. This means that the bread will not toast evenly, and it will blow crumbs all around that could find themselves in small crevices that you will later have to clean up!

Really, it is just so much easier to place the bread into a toaster and allow it to do its job for more consistent and satisfying results!

However, if you do add some butter and cheese to your slice of toast, then it would be quite ok to cook it in the air fryer.

4. Fresh Greens

If you plan to cook fresh greens like chard, kale, spinach, collard, and turnip greens, you should not do it in the air fryer. These greens are best cooked in a pot on the stove with little water or sauteed on the pan with some oil.

The air fryer will just not give you the same results. These leafy greens would cook unevenly or burn because the air fryer uses high-speed air, and it is easy to burn foods that do not say put. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before I get into some frequently asked questions about what things you can and can not put in the air fryer, check out my latest video below, where I cover some common air fryer mistakes and how to fix them.

Can you put foil in an air fryer?

Although air fryers are designed to cook food without the need for oil, you can still use foil to line the basket. This can be helpful if you are cooking something that is particularly sticky or prone to sticking, like chicken wings. Just be sure to use a small amount of foil so that the air can still circulate properly.

Can you air fry a whole chicken?

Whole chickens can be air fried provided they fit snugly in the fryer basket. The ideal cook time for a 3 lb chicken is about 45-50 minutes, while a 4lb chicken will take about 60 minutes to cook. To ensure even cooking, it is important to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time. When finished, the chicken should be golden brown and cooked through to the bone.

Can you put a ceramic plate in an air fryer?

The short answer is yes, you can put a ceramic plate in an air fryer. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the plate is oven-safe. Second, always use caution when handling hot ceramic items.

Can I use a microwavable container in an air fryer?

The microwaveable container can be used in an air fryer if it meets the following criteria: The containers must be made of a material that is safe to use in the air fryer, such as ceramic or glass, and not plastic. The container must be able to withstand the high temperatures that are generated in the air fryer. The container must be able to hold the food that will be cooked in it.

Can you put a casserole dish in an air fryer?

Yes, you can put a casserole dish in an air fryer. However, the size of the dish should be considered. It is important to make sure that the dish fits comfortably in the air fryer so that you can close the basket properly.

Can I put a stainless steel bowl in an air fryer?

You can absolutely put a stainless steel bowl in your air fryer! Just make sure that the bowl is oven-safe without any wooden or plastic handles or trim. Additionally, you’ll want to coat the bottom of the bowl with cooking spray before adding any food to it. This will help to ensure that your food doesn’t stick to the bowl and makes for easier cleanup.

In Conclusion

Many foods that may not be suited for this little kitchen appliance can be safely and successfully cooked in an air fryer. With a little creativity, the air fryer can be used to cook almost anything. So get creative and start experimenting; this list of things to cook in an air fryer could be so much longer!

Read Also: How To Cook Frozen Hot Pockets In An Air Fryer?

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.