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Are you tired of wilted leftovers or the hassle of dealing with excessive oil? During my years in the culinary industry, I’ve discovered that air fryers are the secret to making amazing food that’s good the next day. Here are healthy air fryer meal prep ideas to try this week.
- Air Fryer Recipes with Chicken
- Vegetarian Air Fryer Recipes
- Seafood Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Healthy Ideas for Lunch
- Air Fryer Desserts
- Air Fryer Breakfasts for Meal Prep
- What Are The Benefits Of Air Fryer Meal Prep?
- Is Air Fryer Good For Meal Prepping?
- What Size Air Fryer Do I Need to Meal Prep?
- Air Fryer Side Dishes
- Frequently Asked Questions
Air Fryer Recipes with Chicken
Chicken is a classic air fryer food that’s popular worldwide. Using an air fryer makes it easier to cook things like chicken wings and french fries at home in an air fryer as well as healthier!
- Air-Fried Chicken Sandwich: This juicy buttermilk “fried” chicken has to be among my favorite healthy chicken fryer recipes. It’s a must-try sandwich to satisfy your fried chicken craving! The chicken breast and breading are well-seasoned and easy to put together. These air fryer recipes also gives you a chance to make use of any leftover coleslaw you may have in your fridge. Win-win!
- Air-Fryer Mexican Chicken Tenders & Avocado Sauce: These air fryer chicken tenders can be served as a game day appetizer or as an easy weeknight dinner. Tortilla chips are used to give the breading a great taste on its own. The dip is both healthy and delicious, featuring avocados that provide healthy fats and greek yogurt, which is a great source of protein.
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets: This air fryer chicken nuggets recipe is sure to be a favorite amongst you and your family! They’re also freezer-friendly and can be reheated if you have extra nuggets leftover (which is doubtful because they’re so good!).
- Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos (or Flautas): Leftovers don’t have to be boring. Cook these chicken taquitos next time you have some chicken breast left in the fridge! The tortilla shells crisp up nicely in the air fryer. These are also freezer friendly; just place them in an air-tight container and you can air-fry them another time.
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs: Chicken thighs are commonly “favored by cooks because of their superior flavor, and this recipe will have you seeing why! Cooked to sizzling perfection, with crispy skin on the outside, and tender and flavorful on the inside, this is hard to resist! The thighs have a cajun dry rub on it, as well as BBQ sauce (which you can omit to reduce carb content). These chicken thighs are one of my favorite cheap meal prep ideas!
- Air Fryer Everything Bagel Chicken Roll-Ups: This unique air fryer recipe consists of rolled up chicken seasoned like an everything bagel. There’s no actual bread in this air fryer recipe! This meal is high in protein and also an excellent source of healthy fats thanks to the seeds.
- Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken Parm: I don’t think I’ve ever seen chicken parm air fryer recipes that managed to stay low in carbs and fat. In order to do that, the chicken breast is stuffed with skim-milk mozzarella and topped with a light marinara sauce and grated parmesan. Not only is it delicious, it’s also a great protein source!
- Air-Fryer Chicken Potstickers: Wonton wrappers crisp up nicely in the air fryer, so it’s only natural these types of air fryer recipes are included. These wontons with chicken breast make for great appetizers. They’re made so quickly and can be whipped up last minute when you have a lot of guests to feed!
- Air Fryer Bang Bang Chicken Wings: Cooking chicken wings in the air fryer is convenient since it’s faster than an oven and not as messy as a traditional fryer. These chicken wings are breaded with egg whites and potato starch to keep the calorie content down, then tossed in a flavorful sweet chili Bang Bang sauce that has quite the kick! If you’re looking for a good high calorie meal prep idea, this chicken wings recipe is the one for you.
Vegetarian Air Fryer Recipes
Looking for vegetarian air fryer recipes? Here are 13 of vegetarian air fryer recipes – Some air fryer recipes are stand-alone main dishes, while other air fryer recipes are sides.
- Crunchy Baked or “Air Fried” Zucchini Fritters: There are many ways to enjoy zucchini, but these air fryer fritters have to be one of my favorite! This air-fryer recipe takes just 15 minutes in the air fryer, and makes for a great snack or appetizer. Grated parmesan is great both on top or in the batter of these delicious zucchini fritters.
- Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Dijon Aioli: Air fried brussel sprouts are pretty popular, and for good reason. This vegetable gets that crispy, golden finish in the air fryer, and they’re super simple to cook. You’ll definitely want to make the dijon aioli – it only takes a minute to whip up and it complements the sprouts nicely. This is one of my favorite healthy air fryer recipes!
- Italian Cauliflower Bombs with Pesto Dipping Sauce: These air fryer recipes with cauli-bombs are simply air fried rice balls made with cauliflower rice. The creamy pesto dip is excellent and the two combined make for a tasty party dish. Just to give you an idea of how much faster using the air fryer is: similar to the air fryer buffalo cauliflower, the air-fried version has a ten minute cooking time, while the oven-baked version takes 30 minutes!
- Air Fryer Corn (Corn Ribs): Air Fryer corn ribs make for the perfect snack, appetizer, or side! Ready in 10 minutes, light oil with a delicious sweet rub. Whip them up and bring them to your next backyard barbecue and even the meat lovers won’t be able to resist!
- Air Fryer Asparagus (Whole 30, Paleo, Vegan, Keto): Asparagus is another veggie that works great in the air fryer. As with other air-fryer veggies, less is more; these are seasoned only with olive oil and salt. This air fryer recipe works great as a side dish, especially if you’re on a Whole 30, Paleo, or Keto diet.
- Air Fryer Baked Sweet Potatoes: I find baked sweet potatoes to be more flavorful than their non-sweet counterparts. With this air fryer recipe, you can make baked sweet potatoes very easily using your air fryer. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside! Sweet potatoes are a super healthy source of carbs making them the perfect macro friendly meal prep idea.
- Baked Turnip Fries (+ AirFryer): Turnip french fries are a low-carb twist on the traditional potato french fries. They are also lower in fat too, thanks to the air fryer. The texture and taste of turnips is fairly similar to potatoes, especially when they’re fried. Just look at the photo in the link – it’s shocking that those aren’t “real” fries!
- Air Fryer Arancini (Risotto Balls): This is a clever way to repurpose your leftovers into a delicious new meal! This air fryer recipe uses leftover risotto to make arancini (Italian rice balls). Risotto works great here but you could get away with using any leftover rice – it just won’t be as creamy on the inside.
- Cheesy Garlic Wonton Poppers: These wonton poppers are sure to be a hit next time you’re hosting an event at your place. They make for a delicious appetizer and require just ten minutes of time. They also require only two ingredients (minus the cooking oil)!
- Crispy Air Fryer Apple Crisps: These apple crisps are a delicious snack and a great air fryer alternative to potato chips. Also, the prep couldn’t possibly get much easier. Just thinly slice the apples and toss the slices in the air fryer! One serving of these crisps is only 95 calories.
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries: I’ve been baking sweet potatoes in the oven and find they get soggy from all the oil. That isn’t the case with these air fryer sweet potato fries! These are quick to whip up, requiring less than 10 minutes of time. The air fryer recipe even includes instructions on making two different condiments: a fry sauce and garlic aioli.
- Air Fryer Baked Potato: Baked potatoes come out great in the air fryer and take much less time than they would in the oven. It’s a win-win air fryer combination! Serve with your favorite toppings like bacon, avocado, salsa, or chilli – baked potatoes are so versatile, there’s no need to stick to just plain old sour cream. This is one of my favorite lazy meal prep ideas because it’s so stinking easy to make.
- Air Fryer Pizza: This recipe goes to show just how versatile air fryers truly are. You can actually use it to make a pizza from scratch! The base recipe is vegetarian (sauce and cheese) while the toppings are up to you. Be mindful if you add raw meat as a topping that it’s cooked through. It should be cooked by the time the pizza is done, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.
Seafood Air Fryer Recipes
Nothing beats fried seafood! Here are some alternatives to classic seafood dishes that use an air fryer. These seafood options are great air fryer recipes for weight loss. If you like seafood, check out my full list of pescatarian meal prep recipes you can cook with air fryers!
- Air Fryer Skinny Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce: Fish and chips is a classic pub food both in the U.K. and worldwide, consisting of fried fish and french fries! This is a healthy air fryer recipe for classic beer battered cod fillets. The “chips” in this recipe are store-bought frozen fries cooked to perfection in the air fryer.
- Healthier Crab Cake Poppers: You have to give these crab cake poppers with lemon aioli a try. This recipe is grain-free (gluten-free) since it uses almond flour in the breading. The breading on these crab cakes are light and puffy as they should be!
- Salt and Pepper Shrimp: Fried shrimp always makes for a great shareable dish. These air-fried shrimp are just as flavorful as the real thing, but with a fraction of the fat and without that greasy finish. This recipe calls for 20 minutes of prep-time, but you can speed it up by buying your shrimp already peeled and deveined!
- Air Fryer Honey Sriracha Salmon: This air fryer Sriracha salmon recipe blends the flavors of sweet and spicy and tastes absolutely divine! The salmon only takes 7-8 minutes to cook and with the marinade only consisting of simple yet delicious ingredients, this dish is perfect if you’re on a time crunch. This is a great air fryer bodybuilding recipe because it’s so high in protein.
Air Fryer Healthy Ideas for Lunch
Chicken and shrimp aren’t the only stars of the show. You can also make great dishes with beef, pork, and turkey.
- Healthy Air Fryer Turkey Burger: Air fryer turkey burgers are my go-to for a healthy and delicious burger. These burgers are super lean, contain minimal fat, and are perfect for anyone on a low-calorie diet.
- Air Fried Honey Mustard Pork Chops: I was so impressed at how tender these pork chops are, and all thanks to the air fryer! Pork chops are an excellent protein source and they pair deliciously with this honey mustard dressing. This recipe includes two delicious sides; brussel sprouts and mini potatoes.
- Juicy Air Fryer Turkey Burgers :I love turkey burgers because they’re a much leaner alternative to beef burgers. With 28 grams of protein and only three grams of fat per patty, these air fried turkey burgers are a great way to boost your protein intake. This recipe is also great for making larger batches since they freeze so well. You can reheat them from frozen to the air fryer on a busy day! This is one of my favorite ideas with ground turkey!
- Air Fryer Roast Beef: This roast beef recipe really showcases the power of an air fryer. You can air fry a big piece of roast beef in just 35 minutes!
- Less is more when it comes to seasoning this roast beef. It has a dry rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. Give this recipe a try if you want to cook up some healthy roast beef in half the regular time.
- Air Fryer Meat Balls: These tender meatballs are good to serve at dinner, either as an appetizer or part of a main course. You can also add it to your list of healthy air fryer recipes since they’re easy to make, freeze well, and they’re keto-friendly! This is one of my favorite low calorie lunch meal prep ideas!
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers: Jalapeno poppers are a classic finger-food for parties, especially game day! This version is non-breaded and keto-friendly. These are quick to put together and are a relatively healthy side dish. Next time you want to make jalapeno poppers, give it a try using the air fryer!
- Air Fryer Beef and Broccoli: Beef and broccoli is a healthy asian dish, great for both meal prepping and cooking at home. I love the crispy finish the beef and broccoli get from the air fryer! Tip: use a pan from your air fryer accessory kit to prevent the sauce from dripping out and to keep the food juicy.
- Air Fryer Ribeye Steak with Blue Cheese Butter Keto: A grill with an open flame is, without a doubt, the best way to cook a ribeye steak. When you don’t have access to one, or you want to mix things up, it’s good to have other air fryer ecipes up your sleeve. The air fryer can cook a 1-inch thick ribeye to medium rare in just nine minutes! Also, the blue cheese butter makes for both a delicious and keto-friendly topping.
- The Best Air Fryer Burgers: Cooking burgers in the air fryer is a breeze – they take just ten minutes and cleanup is minimal! The best part of this is that you can make the raw patties in large batches and freeze them. You can cook the raw patties any time from their frozen state in just six minutes!
- Air Fryer Steak Tips and Mushrooms: With this recipe you can cook steak and mushrooms all at once in the air fryer! Veggies are great in the air fryer since the edges get all crispy, and mushrooms are no exception. I like to keep the dish low-carb by adding oven roasted asparagus as a side. This is one of my favorite meal prep ideas with steak!
- Air Fryer Tijuana Street Taco: This air fried beef and pineapple makes for an excellent taco filling. Each taco has an impressive 19 grams of protein. The seasoning on the meat is so flavorful and the pico de gallo with fresh lime is the perfect topping. Add this recipe to your list for your next taco night!
Air Fryer Desserts
Believe it or not, the air fryer is a great tool for making dessert! Here are a few dessert air fryer recipes that utilize your air fryer.
Easy Air Fryer Brownies
Did you know you can effectively “bake” brownies in an air fryer? It is ultra convenient, especially since you may want to have something else cooking in the oven. You will need to use a smaller, 7-inch baking pan, or a purpose-made pan from an air fryer accessory kit. This easy air fryer brownie recipe is pretty standard, and yet they come out moist and gooey – even using the air fryer.
Cinnamon Sugar Air Fryer Donuts
This simple cinnamon sugar air fryer donut recipe can be prepared with just four ingredients. They take just 15 minutes to cook from start to finish. If you save the center pieces of all the donuts, you can fry up some donut holes once you’re done making the donuts!
Air Fryer Fried Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Deep fried desserts have been a rising trend, especially at fairs and food festivals. This savory dessert consists of a chocolate cookie wrapped in a crescent roll, which is then air fried to perfection. Give this air fryer fried chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe a try if you want an easy and delicious “fried” dessert!
Air Fryer Strawberry Cheese Danish
This strawberry cheese danish recipe is another decadent dessert that can be made with the air fryer. It goes to show how the air fryer can replace not only the deep fryer, but the oven as well. This recipe uses store-bought crescent roll dough to save you time, but it tastes as good as homemade – and it is delicious!
Air Fryer Apple Fritters
Apple fritters are a delicious dessert, and this recipe gives you a healthier alternative to the normal version. Each fritter has just one gram of fat! I recommend doubling up this recipe. Prep time is roughly the same, but you’ll have to cook them in two batches.
Air Fryer Breakfasts for Meal Prep
Finally, cooking with an air fryer can be useful for making breakfast. Here are four healthy breakfast air fryer recipes!
- Bacon and Egg Rolls (Breakfast Egg Rolls): Who would’ve thought fried egg rolls went so well with breakfast?This bacon-and-egg breakfast is wrapped inside an egg roll and cooked in an air fryer. You might find wrapping the rolls a little tricky at first, but it’s so worth it once you figure out the technique.
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks: These french toast sticks make for a great snack, either before school or as a quick breakfast for those on the run. It also works well as a side plate for a full breakfast. This french toast is crispy on the outside but soft and flavorful on the inside, and takes just ten minutes to put together!
- Breakfast Potatoes: I love breakfast potatoes, and this recipe offers a very convenient way to make them. This is a great side to accompany your eggs and bacon on a Sunday morning, and it doesn’t make a mess – unlike cooking potatoes on the stovetop!
- Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs: You can even use air fryer hard boiled eggs! This is actually more practical than boiling a pot of water just to cook a few eggs. You can eat them on their own or use them in any recipe that requires them. This is one of my favorite keto breakfast fryer meal prep recipes because it takes about 10 minutes to make altogether!
What Are The Benefits Of Air Fryer Meal Prep?
You can use an air fryer for meal prep in several ways.
One of the best uses of the air fryer for meal prep is to save time and energy in the kitchen. For instance, you can partially cook some proteins such as salmon, shrimp, or chicken ahead of time and finish them quickly in the air fryer for a quick lunch. You can also cook an assortment of vegetables that can be stored and used for lunches or dinners.
Air fryers have much quicker cooking times and preheat faster as compared to conventional ovens. This implies that you can quickly whip up a crunchy and flavorful dinner from the meal prep you had prepared earlier.
Whether fresh food tastes better is a point of contention, but there are days when you just need supper DONE as soon as you step into the house. Air fryers are especially great at reheating meal prep without leaving that leftover taste in your mouth.
Is Air Fryer Good For Meal Prepping?
Using an air fryer to meal prep is beneficial in the following ways:
You always have a meal on hand to satisfy you, and you don’t have to keep figuring out what to buy, cook, and eat. Simply use your air fryer to cook once or twice a week, and you are good to go.
An air fryer is a practical appliance to help you portion your meals to achieve your health goals. Meal preps give you absolute control over the calories and nutrients you are consuming to minimize your chances of overeating.
Gain New Skills
Using an air fryer for meal prep is pretty easy, and there are plenty of recipes for novice cooks. The more you spend time meal prepping, the better your culinary skills.
Air Fryer Temperature Guide
|Recommended Temperature Degrees Fahrenheit(°F)
|Follow package instructions
Please note that these temperatures are general recommendations and may vary depending on the specific air fryer model and personal preference.
What Size Air Fryer Do I Need to Meal Prep?
Whether you are cooking for one person or for a large family, there is an air fryer to fit your exact needs.
- Small air fryers (1.0 to 2.8 quart) are ideal for cooking a small snack or heating a burger for lunch
- Medium air fryers (3 to 5 quarts) aren’t as portable as a small air fryer but can prepare enough food for a single person or two at most.
- Large air fryers (5-10 quarts ) can handle food for between three and five people, but you must do it in batches.
- Large air fryers (10 – 19 quarts ) are big enough to cook for a larger group, typically eight to nine people.
- Commercial-size air fryers (20 – 31.7 quarts) are not ideal for home use. These cook large amounts of food for commercial kitchens only.
Air Fryer Side Dishes
You can make plenty of side dishes using an air fryer. The best part is that you can make them without the grease and other ingredients that make side dishes into unhealthy side dishes.
Crispy Air Fryer Apple Crisps
Air Fryer Apple Chips are a delightful snack. All you require are some apples and cinnamon, and you have a fantastic replacement for potato crips. The best part is that these chips are Weight Watchers Blue-friendly.
Air Fryer Dumplings
If you want a delicious and simple treat, these Air Fryer Dumplings are an exciting option! You don’t have to thaw; simply pop them in the air fryer, and your food is ready quickly.
Air Fryer Corn (Corn Ribs)
Indulge In the delicious meals of these air fryer corn ribs! Ten minutes is all you need to prepare these juicy treats. Enjoy them as a side, snack, or appetizer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Cannot Be Cooked in Air Fryer?
Liquids, such as soups and stews, and foods with high moisture content like raw fruits and vegetables are not suitable for cooking in an air fryer. Additionally, delicate foods like eggs or foods with loose batter may not cook well in an air fryer.
Can I Open the Air Fryer While Cooking?
You can open the air fryer while cooking. Opening the air fryer during the cooking process allows you to check the food, shake or stir it for even cooking, or add ingredients or seasonings if needed. However, it’s recommended to quickly close the air fryer to minimize heat loss and maintain the cooking temperature.
Do Air Fryers Use a Lot of Electricity?
Air fryers are generally energy-efficient appliances compared to traditional ovens or deep fryers. They use hot air circulation and smaller cooking space, which can result in faster cooking times and lower energy consumption.
While the exact energy usage varies depending on the model and cooking time, air fryers typically use less electricity than conventional cooking methods.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.