13 of the Best Groceries to Cook in Your Air Fryer

updated Mar 30, 2020
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Credit: Farm Rich, Buitoni, House Foods, Oster

It’s time for another fun round of “What Groceries Can I Cook in My Air Fryer?” If you have one of these trendy small appliances, I’m guessing you’ve already used it for fries, Buffalo wings, and mozzarella sticks. But maybe you need some more ideas to help your not-so-small machine earn its keep?

I set out on an enthusiastic spin around the grocery store to see what looked air-fryer-worthy, and also tasked myself with looking beyond the usual suspects and experimenting with some unexpected grocery items. The results were pretty fun, by-and-large successful, and sometimes surprising.  

Credit: Katie Workman

As you’d expect, the amount of time varies from product to product and it takes a bit of experimentation to get it right. Most of these items were properly cooked in 4 to 10 minutes. The air fryer is pretty forgiving, so you can check in and if something isn’t done, just add a few more minutes. Err on the side of less time versus more until you get the hang of a particular food.

Credit: Katie Workman

1. Aidells Italian Style Margherita Chicken Links

Sausages are delightful in the air fryer! The outside gets nice and firm, so that when you bite into it, there is a good snap and the inside remains juicy and tender. My testers and I had fun with a couple of the new Aidells’ Whole Blends sausages, which are basically a combo of chicken and plant-based ingredients; we especially enjoyed these Italian Style Margherita Chicken Links.

Buy: Aidells Italian Style Margherita Chicken Links, $5 for four at Target

Credit: Katie Workman

2. Buitoni Cheese Ravioli 

A package of tiny refrigerated Buitoni cheese ravioli took about four minutes to become the cutest little appetizers. The outside becomes sort of crispy-chewy as the cheese inside melts. These would be great served with some marinara sauce for dipping.

Buy: Buitoni Four-Cheese Ravioli, $6 for 20 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

3. Gardein Fishless Filets

Plant-based anything and everything has been filling the grocery shelves — in the snack aisles, the freezer section, and more. Gardein’s frozen fishless filet, it turns out, are perfect in the air fryer. After about nine or 10 minutes in the air frier the tempura-like outside becomes immensely light, fluffy, and super crisp.

Buy: Gardein Fishless Filets, $4.50 for 10.1 ounces at Target

Credit: Katie Workman

4. Del Monte Veggieful Broccoli and Cheddar Bites

After a few minutes in their air fryer, these little cauliflower crust pockets filled with broccoli and cheese have a crispy-but-not-too-crispy texture.

Buy: Del Monte Veggieful Broccoli and Cheddar Bites, $3.99 for 7.5 ounces at Target

Credit: Katie Workman

5. Mrs. T’s 4-Cheese Medley Pierogies

Still poking around in the freezer aisle, I wondered how my son’s favorite pierogis would fare in the air fryer. The answer: Very well. They cooked up much faster than they would have in a pan or in the oven. Next time, I’m going to give them a tiny brush of melted butter.

Buy: Mrs. T’s 4-Cheese Medley Pierogies, $2.66 for 16 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

6. House Foods Extra-Firm Organic Tofu

Surprised? I was. I pressed the liquid out of a block of extra firm tofu, sliced the tofu into 1/2-inch slices, then cut those slices into four square-ish pieces. I brushed them with an Asian basting sauce and after about seven minutes in the air fryer ,they were pretty great. The air fryer gave them a very appealing texture: springy and tender on the inside, bouncy and chewy on the outside!

Buy: House Foods Extra-Firm Organic Tofu, $1.94 for 16 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

7. Deep Indian Kitchen Potato and Pea Samosas

These were a huge hit! Not only was the flavor excellent, but the air fryer brought out the flaky, shatteringly crisp pastry exterior of these generously sized samosas. The dipping sauce that comes in the box was universally liked as well.

Buy: Deep Indian Kitchen Potato and Pea Samosas, $7.54 for four at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

8. Farm Rich Cheddar Cheese Curds

Think of these as a slightly more grown-up version of mozzarella sticks! The air fryer made the breading perfectly crispy and the cheese warm and slightly gooey.

Buy: Farm Rich Cheddar Cheese Curds, $4.99 for 16 ounces at Target

Credit: Katie Workman

9. Carando Italian Style Meatballs

These generously sized meatballs cooked up nicely in the air fryer. The results reminded me of what you’d get by pan frying — only with less hands-on work and less mess.

Buy: Carando Italian Style Meatballs, $4.99 for 16 ounces at Target

Credit: Katie Workman

10. El Monterey Egg, Sausage, and Cheese Burritos

I bought these on a whim and I’m so glad I did: The air fryer crisped up the tortilla, which made the whole thing feel a bit taquito-ish. While the ratio of tortilla-to-filling was a little heavy for my liking, the inside got piping hot, just as the outside firmed up. Eat them as soon as they have cooled enough to bite into.

Buy: El Monterey Egg, Sausage, and Cheese Burritos, $10.98 for 12 at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

11. Birds Eye Broccoli Fries

These need to be cooked a bit past the time you might think: They start frozen, then get soft, then they get crispy. Also, let them to sit for a moment so they firm up and cool a bit before digging in. Follow these directions and you will not be disappointed.

Buy: Birds Eye Broccoli Fries, $2.97 for 12 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Katie Workman

12. Contadina Four Cheese Pizzettas

These were one of my favorite air fryer experiments. They were ready in 7-8 minutes and delicious! But you do need to give them time to cool before you bite in, or else you’ll burn your mouth.

Buy: Contadina Four Cheese Pizzettas, $4.50 for 10 at Instacart

Credit: Katie Workman

13. Twinkies

You know how you see deep-fried Twinkies at state fairs? As I was checking out of the market, I saw some Twinkies in the impulse-buy area near the cash register, and I thought “Let’s see what happens!?” What happens is that the outside gets a bit hard, and the crème filling gets very hot and melty. My whole house smelled like caramel. I wouldn’t go out of my way to do it again, but I do think everyone should try it for themselves.

Buy: Twinkies, $2.86 for 10 at Walmart

Have you successfully made anything surprising in your air fryer recently? Tell us about it in the comments below!