My husband questioned the need for an additional appliance but when I saw a good deal on an air fryer, I couldn’t resist. I didn’t totally understand what an air fryer was but the promise of crispy textures with minimal oil won me over. So let’s start with the air fryer basics.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is basically a convection style oven. It circulates hot air around a metal basket which creates a crispy outer layer. Not to get all scientific here but there is something called the Maillard reaction, which is the chemical reaction that gives food a browned or crispy crust. An air fryer basically makes that reaction happen.
What this means for you is that you can get browned, crispy crusts without having to truly “fry” anything. An air fryer can mimic the texture with just a tiny bit of oil.
What should I look for in an air fryer?
The main thing to consider is size. When you’re cooking in an air fryer, you don’t want to crowd the pan or basket. Since I’m often just cooking for two people, I didn’t need a huge basket. But if you wanted to make larger servings, you may want to get a larger oven. Some ovens contain multiple racks for larger servings. Mine is just a single basket but it’s big enough for most of the things I cook. Affiliate links to my air fryer picks are below.
- Here’s the exact Chefman air fryer that I have.
- I’ve heard great things about The Ninja brand air fryer.
- If you plan to cook a lot of food at once, this style has multiple racks for larger servings.
But if you’re just getting started, a basic air fryer like mine costs around ~$50.
What can you make in an air fryer?
I use it for everything from chickpeas to frozen spring rolls. Alex and I both love Alexia’s chipotle sweet potato fries and the air fryer gets them unbelievably crispy. But chickpeas are the thing I’ve made the most. It’s just so easy!
Learn how to make crispy chickpeas in an air fryer with minimal oil! Add your favorite seasonings then add these chickpeas on top of a salad, in a wrap, or served on their own!
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons of oil (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Optional: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or za’tar seasoning
- Preheat the air fryer to 450 degrees. (See note)
- Spread the chickpeas onto a paper towel and gently pat dry.
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with oil and seasoning.
- Cook in the air fryer for 10 minutes, then remove the basket from the fryer and stir or shake to toss the chickpeas.
- Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until crispy
Feel free to use olive oil, avocado oil, or any neutral oil. If you want to use less oil you can use a spray olive oil to evenly coat the chickpeas before tossing with the seasoning.
Some air fryers don’t have an indicator for when it’s preheated. I usually give it about 10 minutes to heat up.
Keywords: Air fryer chickpeas
You can play around with whatever spices you have in your pantry. It’s an easy way to change the flavor without having to create a whole new dinner idea! If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for salt-free seasoning blends from brands like Mrs. Dash.
Spice ideas for air fryer chickpeas
- Garlic, salt, and pepper is a good place to start
- Chili powder, cumin, and black pepper give you a spicy “taco” flavor
- Oregano, basil, and garlic powder create more of an Italian blend
You can always add a little extra seasoning once they’re finished cooking, but the spices will stick better before cooking. If I’m putting my chickpeas in a pita, I love using za’atar seasoning because it adds so much flavor! If I’m keeping things simple, I’ll just use a little bit of garlic salt and then add a squeeze of lemon once it’s done cooking. Chickpeas and red potatoes make a deliciously simple meal. Just add some greens on the side!
Looking for more air fryer ideas? Try these air fryer buffalo cauliflower tacos!