How to Convert Recipes to an Air Fryer

How to Convert Recipes for your Air Fryer - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Ask anyone who’s had an air fryer for a while and they’ll all tell you the same thing – you can cook almost anything in one! 

Air fryers circulate hot air to give food that deep-fried crispiness, without all the oil. You might think this means they’re best used for things that traditionally need deep-frying, but there’s a whole world of air fryer recipes out there waiting for you! 

If you’ve just invested in a new air fryer, you might be wondering where to get started. The beauty of an air fryer is that you can cook all your favourite foods in it – you just need to know how to adjust the cooking temperature and time. 

We’ve put together a helpful conversion chart to make adapting recipes nice and easy. Once you know how to convert recipes for your air fryer, you just might never use your oven again…

Not picked up an air fryer yet? Check out our rundown on the best air fryers to buy

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Converting oven recipes for your air fryer

Even if your air fryer doesn’t have a dedicated ‘bake’ or ‘roast’ setting, chances are you can cook your favourite oven recipes in it. When taking a recipe from oven to air fryer, the general rule is to reduce the temperature by 20ºC – 30ºC, and cook for 20% less time. 

For example, if you were making these delicious Chilli Cheesy Nachos, you’d need to bake the potato wedges in the oven at 200ºC for 25 minutes. They’ll cook way faster in the air fryer (and get so much crunchier too!). 

Pop them in at 180ºC for 20 minutes and make sure to check them halfway through. Give the basket a shake to help them get crispy and golden brown all over. 

Chilli Cheesy Nachos - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

These Chicken and Sweetcorn Pizza Calzone only need 10-15 minutes in the oven, so imagine how quick they are in the air fryer! They’ll turn out so much crispier, getting that deep fried crunch without the oil. 

Set the heat to 180ºC and flip them after just 3 minutes. Perfect if you fancy a super speedy lunch! Golden on the outside and cheesy on the inside – does it get any better?

Chicken and Sweetcorn Pizza Calzone - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

You’ve probably already heard that chips are one of the best things to make in an air fryer. Once you’ve perfected cooking potatoes in your new gadget, you’ll be able to make so many delicious dishes. From Salt and Pepper Chips to our infamous Dirty Fries, there are lots of flavourings and toppings that just taste better when your chips are crispy, golden and fluffy inside. 

With this Loaded Katsu Curry Fries recipe, the aromatic curry sauce steals the show. You’d never guess that it’s made from a blend of healthy veggies! The fries themselves take 40 minutes to cook in the oven, but you can speed up the process by popping them into the air fryer. 

Set it to 200ºC for 30 minutes and keep an eye on them. As long as you position your chips in an even layer, they’ll get super crispy in a flash. When you’re serving them swimming in curry sauce, the crispier the better. You need your chips crunchy to stop them getting too soggy!

Loaded Katsu Curry Fries - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Converting meat recipes for your air fryer

You might feel nervous to cook meat into your air fryer but there’s no need to be! Even if you don’t have a fancy air fryer with a special meat setting, you can convert recipes so that they cook perfectly. Because an air fryer cooks so efficiently, it helps meat stay succulent, whilst getting nice and crispy on the outside. 

Air fryers are particularly good at cooking meat that has a breaded or battered coating. Try making the chicken fillet for this KFC Rice Box in yours. Rather than 25 minutes in the oven at 180ºC, place the coated chicken in your air fryer basket for 20 minutes at 160ºC. 

It might not take the full 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet, so be sure to open the drawer to keep an eye on it, or check it with a meat thermometer if you’re not sure it’s cooked all the way through. 

This ThermoPro meat thermometer is easy to use and accurate, so you’ll always be sure meat is safe to eat. 

To make sure that the coating stays on, it’s important to give the chicken fillet a good spritz of low calorie cooking spray before dipping it in the egg and breadcrumbs, and another one before popping it into the air fryer basket. 

This will come out so crunchy and every bit as tasty as a real KFC (but so much lighter). 

KFC Rice Box - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

These Fiery Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks also work really well in the air fryer. We use skinless drumsticks to help keep the calories down, but they still get a crispiness to them when you cook them in this way. 

Coated in a sticky honey and fiery chilli sauce, these drumsticks can be as spicy as you like. Add extra hot sauce if you prefer a bit more of a kick!

They can take up to 45 minutes in the oven, but they’ll be a lot speedier if you throw them in the air fryer. Watch for when the juices run clear, or use a meat probe to make sure they’re cooked all the way through. 

Fiery Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

It’s not just chicken that can be cooked in your air fryer. The recipe for these Minted Lamb Kebabs says to put them under the grill for 10 minutes, but you could also cook them in your air fryer. Some air fryers like this Ninja Foodi even come with a grill plate and grill function. 

Use the grill setting to cook the lamb kebabs, bearing in mind that they should only need around 8 minutes. Turn the skewers over after 4 minutes of cooking time and make sure they’re cooked all the way through before serving. 

Minted Lamb Kebabs - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Converting snacks and sides recipes for your air fryer

If you’re trying to eat more healthily, chances are you’re cutting down on deep fried foods. The good news is that lots of traditional deep fried recipes can be cooked in the oven to help reduce the calories. The even better news is that if you cook these recipes in the air fryer, you can enjoy the crunchiness that comes from deep frying, without an unhealthy amount of oil.

Take our Onion Bhajis recipe for example – delicious in the oven, but super crunchy in the air fryer! These are a perfect addition to an Indian-inspired Fakeaway night and so easy to make. 

They can take up to half an hour in the oven to get really crispy (depending on how big you’ve made them), so they should only need up to 24 minutes in the air fryer. Give them a shuffle around after 12 minutes and take a peek at regular intervals after that to make sure they’re not starting to burn. 

Onion Bhajis - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Why not add Sweet Potato Pakoras to the menu too? They go so well with onion bhajis and you’ll only need a few ingredients. Pop them into your air fryer for up to 16 minutes and let them get all golden and crispy. 

So simple and tasty, we think cooking these in the air fryer takes them to the next level. Whether you serve them as a snack or a side dish, they’re so moreish!

Sweet Potato Pakoras - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Another irresistible veggie snack that we just can’t get enough of is these Cauliflower Hot Wings. Each floret is coated in a vegan-friendly batter that gets so crispy when it cooks. Served with a cooling dairy free yoghurt dip, this recipe is perfect when you’re peckish but still want to make a healthy choice – it’s just 154 calories per serving. 

There’s no need to convert this one for the air fryer because we’ve already done it for you! This recipe works so well when air-fried that we’ve got a dedicated method for Air Fryer Cauliflower Hot Wings

Cauliflower Hot Wings - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

Air Fryer Conversion Chart

For general guidance around how to convert cooking times for your air fryer, the chart below should be a great place to start. Remember, this is for guidance only, and we’d recommend keeping a close eye on your recipe as it cooks, because it may not need as long in the air fryer as you’d expect. 

You can open the drawer or basket as many times as you need to, without affecting the cooking temperature inside – it’s not like cooking in an oven where you risk letting the heat out. 

Cooking times can also vary depending on manufacturer. Your air fryer will come with a manual and it’s always helpful to refer to the guidance in there when trying something new. Your air fryer may come with preset timings for common food types such as chips, chicken nuggets and meat. 

How to Convert Recipes for your Air Fryer - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can convert cooking times for different methods, don’t miss our converting for Slow Cookers article or how to convert for your Instant Pot®. Both articles have helpful hints and tips, along with plenty of recipe inspiration. 

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? If you have any questions about cooking with your air fryer, then our Facebook Group is the place to ask them – we’re more than happy to help! 

We love seeing all of your creations too, so we’d love to see photos of your successful air fryer dishes. Post your pics in the group for us to see!

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