If you’ve ever perused an air-fryer guide for beginners, then you already know air fryers are brilliant tools for making crispy, crunchy fried-like foods in minutes. With almost zero work, you can have a full fryer basket of French fries, wings, or meatballs on the party platter without dealing with the mess of a deep fryer or heating up your oven. But air-fryer meal prep will be a real game changer for your everyday cooking too.
Using an air fryer for meal prep can be a fantastic way to save time, cook healthy meals, and add a delicious crispiness to your dishes. Here are seven brilliant ways to utilize your air fryer for meal prepping:
1. Crispy Chicken Breasts: Season your chicken breasts with your favorite spices, place them in the air fryer, and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Air frying gives them a crispy exterior while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Prepare several chicken breasts at once and use them in salads, wraps, or as a main protein in various dishes throughout the week.
2. Roasted Vegetables: Cut your favorite vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, into even-sized pieces. Toss them in olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices, and air fry until they are tender and nicely browned. Roasted veggies can be a versatile addition to your meal prep, serving as a side dish, salad topping, or ingredient for stir-fries.
3. Homemade Veggie Chips: Slice vegetables like zucchini, sweet potatoes, or beets into thin, uniform slices. Lightly coat them with olive oil and seasonings, then air fry until they turn crispy. Veggie chips are a healthy alternative to store-bought snacks and can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or added to salads for an extra crunch.
4. Quinoa or Rice Cakes: Cook quinoa or rice according to package instructions and let it cool. Mix in your preferred seasonings, such as herbs, spices, or shredded cheese. Form the mixture into patties or cakes and air fry until they are crispy on the outside. These cakes can be refrigerated and reheated during the week for a quick and satisfying meal.
5. Stuffed Bell Peppers: Cut bell peppers in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Fill each half with a mixture of cooked ground meat (like turkey or beef), cooked grains, veggies, and cheese. Place the stuffed peppers in the air fryer and cook until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through. Stuffed peppers make a wholesome meal on their own or can be paired with a side salad.
6. Protein-Packed Egg Muffins: Whisk together eggs, milk, and your choice of vegetables, cheese, and cooked meat, such as ham or bacon. Pour the mixture into greased muffin cups or silicone molds and air fry until the egg muffins are set and golden. These grab-and-go egg muffins are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack throughout the week.
7. Sweet Treats: Your air fryer can also be used for meal prepping delicious desserts. Make small batches of cookies, brownies, or even mini fruit pies in the air fryer. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature according to the recipe instructions.
Remember to experiment with different ingredients, seasonings, and cooking times to find your preferred results. Enjoy the convenience and versatility of your air fryer for meal prepping!