I absolutely love my air fryer! It’s a way to keep enjoying all the delicious deep fried comfort foods I love (like fries) without all the oil. It turns out you can make something other than french fries in your air fryer, though! To discover what other delicious foods I could be “frying”, I hunted down the best air fryer cookbook.
Best Air Fryer Cookbook
If you just recently bought an air fryer (or you’ve had one for years like me and have only made fries in it), you really need to get yourself a cookbook. Seriously. There’s so many things that can be prepared in there including meats like chicken.
I’m definitely a cookbook person. I do look online for recipes sometimes, but there’s something nice about not having to drag your phone into the kitchen. Plus I’m always always going to discover some new recipes that I wouldn’t have looked up. In fact, some of my favorite go-to recipes have come from cookbooks!
What’s an air fryer?
An air fryer is kind of like a healthy deep fryer. It makes similar foods, but only uses a small amount of oil (usually a tablespoon). That means that you can eat those “fried” comfort foods like french fries, without all the extra calories. They’re perfect if you’re on a diet!
Instead of a bunch of oil it uses hot air circulating around the food to give it that crispy “fried” texture and taste without being submerged in oil. The results are evenly cooked foods that hold a lot of nutrients and flavour compared to other cooking methods, like boiling.
Is an air fryer healthier?
In short, yes. Because it typically uses just a tablespoon of oil, air frying cuts down the fat and calorie content significantly compared to keep frying. That alone can help you improve your overall health and possible lose weight if you eat deep fried or take out foods often.
Another less discussed health benefit of air frying is the possible carcinogenic effect of deep frying. Apparently deep frying releases a chemical called Acrylamide (a possible carcinogen), where air frying doesn’t.
Of course, just because it’s air fried doesn’t mean it’s healthy. You still have to take into account the calories, carbohydrates, and fats in the foods that you prepare in your air fryer. If you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight, avoid recipes with lots of carbs, packaged foods, cheese, and high calorie meats like bacon.
What can I cook in an air fryer?
Along with “fried” foods, you can also cook a lot of healthy meals in your air fryer. Things like fish, meats, and veggies all come out of the air fryer cooked evenly and deliciously moist. You can also use them to cook packaged foods you’d normally heat in the oven, like chicken nuggets. As a parent, I use my air fryer all the time because I can cook foods my kids will actually eat without the guilt of deep frying.
The cookbooks below, for example, have recipes for everything from stuffed tomatoes and chicken breasts to treats like churros and muffins.
And yes, they make really delicious regular and sweet potato french fries.
Air fryer cooking times
Although cooking times vary for different foods and air fryer brands, generally speaking air fryers take a little longer than a deep fryer to cook foods. French fries made from fresh potatoes, for example, take about 12-15 minutes in the air fry (longer in something like the Actifry), where deep frying would be 5-6 minutes.
Compared to oven cooking, through, most air fryer recipes are going to take around half the time, which makes it a perfect appliance for busy families.
What I look for in an air fryer cookbook
Everyone’s going to have their personal preferences, sure, but these are the things I was looking for when shopping for a cookbook for my air fryer:
- A good variety of recipes (so it has some versatility)
- At least several recipes that I will actually eat, and that fit into my diet
- Lots of pictures, ideally one for every recipe (I love to see what I’m trying to cook and they help with choosing a recipe to make)
- Extra features like cooking tips or substitutions
- Quality of the book itself (will it stand up to repeated use?)
- Value, relative to the price especially
The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook
I’m just going to come out and say it: “skinny” cookbooks are usually made up of a bunch of sad copycat recipes that try to trick you into thinking you’re not deprived. This isn’t one of those books! Because of the calories saved in the air fryer over deep fried, you get all your favourite comfort foods that actually taste just as good as their high calorie counterparts.
- Really clear labelling for different dietary needs, like gluten-free or vegan
- Great quality design and photos
- Additional information for cooking in an air fryer, including safe food temperatures
- Recipes are clear and easy to follow
- A bit too short; could use more recipes
- Not all recipes have a photo
- A lot of fancier meals that aren’t practical for weeknight meals
The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook
This air fryer cookbook is a good choice if you’re looking to pick up just one cookbook. It has a good variety of meal choices, including desserts. Although it’s not specifically a diet book, it does focus on eating well and replacing fast food with healthy alternatives.
- Great recipe layout with clear ingredients
- Each recipe has a tips section at the bottom with cooking tips and tricks
- Prep and cook time are listed separately
- Recipes are labelled based on dietary needs, like “gluten-free” and “vegetarian” so it’s easy to choose at a glance
- Although they’re high quality, there’s not very many pictures
- Many recipes are complex, so it might not be good for beginners
- Too many pre-packaged foods called for in the recipes
Air Fryer Perfection
Instead of trying to give you a lot of air fryer recipes, this cookbook focuses on making sure they’re the best they can be. The results are well tested recipes that turn out well and are cooked evenly, but still make the most of an air fryer. This is also a great resource if you haven’t picked up an air fryer yet; it has instructions for choosing a model.
- Cook time and total time are listed separately making it easy to plan meals
- Each recipe, along with directions, has a “why this recipe works” section that offers more explanation and tips
- Includes photos with each recipe
- Great for air fryer newbies
- Lots of extras like dipping sauce recipes included with the chicken nuggets or directions on how to make cookies in an air fryer
- Some not so healthy meals in this cookbook
- Meals that serve 2 or 4 people are not practical for larger families
- Could use more recipes
Air Fryer Cookbook for Beginners
This air fryer cookbook isn’t only for beginners, it’s also designed for people on a budget. I figured that with 550 recipes there’d be something my family would enjoy making! And it’s true, this book is definitely a great resource for anyone who wants a lot of air fryer recipes on hand.
- So many recipes compared to other air fryer cookbooks
- Recipes include prep time so you know how long they will take to prepare
- Instructions are listed step by step
- No pictures, just recipes, which was really disappointing
- Not enough variety in the recipe (for example, several recipes for the same type of food)
- This “beginner” cookbook might not be simple enough for true beginners
Air Fryer Cookbook
With over 200 recipes this cookbook was a pleasant surprise. The fact that it’s a 3-ring binder with tabbed sections makes it handy to have in the kitchen, too. It’s a great choice for people trying to use their air fryer to replace unhealthy meals, but don’t want to give those up.
- Instead of a typical book, this cookbook comes in a 3 ring binder so it lays flat and includes tabbed sections and splash guards
- Lots of go-to comfort food recipes that you’ll actually want to eat
- Photos with each recipe
- No prep times listed on the recipes
- Lots of recipes that aren’t very healthy, so not great for those on a diet (eg. bacon wrapped shrimp)
- Could use more cooking instructions or hints
So what’s the best air fryer cookbook?
If you’re looking for a great air fryer cookbook these are all great choices to get you started. But, I was looking for something that would be versatile enough to get me away from just cooking fries in my air fryer, while also helping me with my health goals with delicious recipes.
For me, “Air Fryer Perfection” fit this description perfectly. Although the recipes were smaller portions than I would like sometimes, it had the variety I was looking for while still being full of healthy, delicious recipes. I also loved the fact that there was a picture included for each recipe; it makes it so easy to see what I want to cook! I really loved that the recipes were tested thoroughly and all the extra information and cooking tips with each one helped me understand cooking in an air fryer a bit better.
If you’re watching your calories, though, make sure to check out the nutrition information in the back of the book. Having the information on each recipe would have been nice, but at least it’s included somewhere.
Hopefully you’ll pick up the best air fryer cookbook for you (and your family) and enjoy cooking with it as much as I do!