One year ago, I broke with tradition and bought my husband a Christmas gift. It all started when he was listening to his favorite sports radio host. Paula Deen was being interviewed, and she when they asked her about the one tool she needed for football season, she replied: an air fryer. Now, Paula Deen is not known for her healthy food suggestions, but my husband became obsessed with the idea that he could have chicken wings on Game Day without leaving the house. You see, when you’re a real fan, as I’ve learned from five years of marriage to a real fan, you can’t really chance your game watching experience being out of the house. First, your team could be losing, and that would put you out of the house, surrounded by other humans, and in a really terrible mood. Second, it is really difficult to find bars and restaurants that will show “your game” depending on where you are in the country or world, and even more chancy that they’ll play it with sound. No, true fans want to tilt the world in their favor and watch their games at home.
I researched Air Fryers that year, and lo and behold found that the Pope, AKA, Oprah, had blessed one in particular. I read about about the Maillard reaction, researched recipes and footprints, and with the blessing of Oprah herself, purchased the Cuisinart Air Fryer and Toaster Oven.
Out went our toaster oven, and in went our new improved version. In the year that we have owned the Air Fryer, I’m pretty sure we’ve sold 100 of them during cocktail party conversations. We talk this thing up to everyone we know, and practically cart it with us to parties. So, I’m here to tell you, mama, why you need to put this baby on your Christmas list.
- Kid food: Picture this, you’re coming home from a long day at the zoo/trampoline park/birthday party/playdate/outlet mall with your children, and they need to be fed stat. There is no time to spare, these kids need to be in bed in 32.5 minutes and they’re ravenous beasts. Grab your bag of (organic!) dinosaur chicken nuggets and throw them in the Air Fryer. Zero preheat time. Done in five minutes. Kids scarf them all and want more? Five more minutes for another batch. Your dinos will approach Chick-fil-A deliciousness when cooked in the AF, and you can have dinner ready in basically zero time. You can apply this method to any frozen food – french fries, tots, taquitos, pick your poison. The stuff simply tastes better and is done in almost no time at all.
- Vegetables: You can cook batches of brussels sprouts, sweet potato fries, parsnips, rainbow carrots, broccoli, in basically 7-10 minutes, no preheat time, crispy, browned, perfection with the same amount of oil you would roast them with in the oven. We love to cook batches of veggies quickly because we don’t have to heat the oven. We make the best oven fries. It’s a game changer in terms of time spent to cook. We love our AF roasted veggies.
- Wings: Buffalo wings, spicy sesame chicken wings, lemon pepper wings, pick your poison. If you like wings, you can make them for pennies on the dollar at home, tossed with your favorite sauce, anytime you want them. Wings have always been our favorite game day food, and we can make them exactly like we want them at home in 20 minutes per batch.
- Toasting functions: If you don’t have a toaster oven, you need one. This air fryer takes up the same room as a toaster oven, so if you have a toaster oven, you simply need this upgrade. Toasting waffles for kids, toast for eggs, garlic bread from frozen, you name it- I can’t live without a toaster oven.
- Empanadas: we finally figured out where to buy empanada dough, and once we found it, we make empanadas like we’re Argentinian blondes. Several fillings, some dough, and the air fryer, and we can feed crowds. We can freeze the empanadas and cook them from frozen, or cook them in batches for parties. The results are light and flaky, cooked to perfection.
- Bacon! Yes, Bacon. I only cook bacon in the air fryer. On a Saturday morning I can avoid the splatter, the multiple pans, and I can cook bacon to perfectly crispy in 12 minutes start to finish.
- Pizza: Order your favorite pizza. Freeze individual slices if you can’t finish it. Heat the slices in the air fryer from frozen and you’ll feel like you just ordered the pizza fresh.
- Bagels: Skinnytaste’s Greek Yogurt bagel recipe is a huge favorite of ours. I can make these bagels in 20 minutes start to finish in the air fryer. They’re healthy, so flavorful, and the perfect canvas for a fried egg, a schmear or some of my favorite flavored butters.
In short, we use our Air Fyer & Toaster Oven in One every single day- probably 2-3x a day. It uses hot air to circulate to “fry” things, and doesn’t require any oil. It does have to be frequently cleaned (the trays do). It rivals the Instant Pot in effectiveness and MVP status in my kitchen, and I’m pretty sure it will look great with a big red bow under your tree this year.
If you do decide to purchase one, use my link and you’ll help me keep my husband flush in chicken wings. If you have any questions about recipes or ideas, let me know. The new Skinnytaste cookbook One and Done has an entire section dedicated to this amazing appliance (including the cover photo of this post.