The only reason I have an air fryer is because my pressure cooker, the Foodi, is also an air fryer. I wanted the appliance for its pressure cooking ability and thought the idea that it could brown food, too, would be a nice bonus.
But I never thought I’d use it too much for its air frying capability.
I guess the idea of an air fryer just seemed too As-Seen-On-TV and not something I really wanted to give up real estate on my countertop for.
So let’s just say…I was a skeptic.
One football Sunday, my husband and I decided to go all-out with our snacks and, of course, that meant wings were part of the menu.
Though I’ve always been a Meat On The Side kind-of-girl, I can’t ignore my Buffalo roots—and my ingrained cravings for good wings.
The problem is I hate frying.
Not solely because of the calories, but also the inconvenience and cost of putting a whole bottle or more of oil in a pan, heating it up, trying not to splatter grease all over your floor—and then waiting until the oil is cool, finding a container to pour it into, and throwing it away.
Now yes, you could use your oil again, but I’m not frying often enough and I feel like it always goes to waste.
We have baked wings before, but they honestly aren’t that good, so this time I decided to give the air fryer a whirl.
I made my wings by tossing them with salt, pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of canola oil, then air frying them at 390°F for 24 minutes.
When the cooking time was up, I lifted the lid and was pretty shocked at the almost fried-looking quality of the wings. These were light years better than baked! Sure, not quite as good as straight-up fried, but just a small step below.
I guess we will be making wings more often!
Following the success of the wings, I thought about what other meats I’m always disappointed with when baking them instead of frying.
The first things that popped into my mind were chicken parm and chicken cutlets.
So I ran my pounded-out chicken breasts through flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, and put them in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 390°F…
The result was beautiful!
Yes, still not exactly fried, but way, way, way better than baked—crispy, brown, and still moist in the middle.
Feeling pretty good about this whole air fryer thing now, I knew I had to make one more thing…
Yesterday I ditched my husband last-minute on a Saturday to go play with Damaris at a horse race.
Though he totally supported me going and is more than capable of wrangling three kids all day, I still felt like I threw it on him at the last minute and wanted to say a small “thanks” in the way of some of his favorite coconut shrimp.
Because shrimp cook faster than chicken, there is not as much time to get the coating brown, but I thought the air fryer still did a great job. Again, no, not exactly fried, but 85 percent of the way there.
And with a crap-ton less calories and effort, I’ll take it!
In the end, I definitely support the air fryer.
For me, it’s really a matter of keeping it out on my countertop and remembering to use it. If it’s not out and I’m just cooking for myself, I’ll get lazy and just use the toaster oven (or whatever).
It does feel like another weapon in my arsenal for making company-worthy food.
A grill, my new more powerful gas range, and the air fryer/pressure cooker make me feel like I can pretty much crank out anything restaurant-quality.
Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Honey Pineapple Sauce
servings: 26 to 30 shrimp
Spicy Honey Pineapple Sauce:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¾ cup dry plain bread crumbs
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound (26 to 30 per pound), uncooked shrimp, peeled + deveined
Spicy Honey Pineapple Sauce:
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, pineapple juice, sriracha, and soy sauce in a medium bowl until combined, then set aside.
- Add the flour to a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk the eggs, along with 1 tablespoon of water. In a third medium bowl, combine the coconut, plain bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
- Coat the shrimp in the flour, shaking off any excess; then dip it into the egg mixture, turning to coat all sides and allowing any excess to drip off; and finally into the bread crumb mixture, making sure the crumbs coat all sides of each shrimp.
- Place the air fryer basket in the pot, add half of the coated shrimp to the basket, and spray with cooking spray. Select AIR CRISP, set temperature to 375°F, and set time to 6 minutes. Cooking is complete when the shrimp is crispy and golden brown; if the shrimp is not brown and cooked through, continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Once done, remove the shrimp and repeat this step with the remaining shrimp.
- When cooking is complete, add the shrimp to a serving dish. Serve with the Spicy Honey Pineapple Sauce for dipping.