By now, almost everyone has heard that an air fryer is a great cooking appliance to have in the kitchen. It allows you to make delicious, healthy food with little to no added oil. But, what if you’re focused on time and convenience? Can you air fry frozen food? Yes, you can! Let’s take a look at how it works.
Air fryers are the perfect way to cook frozen food quickly. (And that includes all of the inexpensive air fryers you’ll find these days!) The heating mechanism and fan are housed in the top section, and the food is placed in a fryer-style basket. When the air fryer is switched on, hot air is pushed rapidly down and round the food, creating a frying effect without the oil.
Having access to frozen food can really speed up your time preparing meals – whether it’s a food you already bought frozen or freezer meals you prepared yourself. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about cooking frozen food in an air fryer so that you can go forth and use your air fryer with confidence.
Can You Air Fry Frozen Food With Ease?
Nothing could be simpler than cooking frozen food in an air fryer. Basically, all you need to do is load the frozen food in the basket, cook, and enjoy. But we have a few suggestions for ensuring that it is a great success when you are cooking frozen food in the air fryer.
- If you are cooking breaded food, remove any excess crumbs before cooking.
- Toss the food into the air fryer basket, but don’t overcrowd it.
- Check the recommended cooking temperature and set your air fryer temperature accordingly.
- You can spray pastries or some other frozen foods with a bit of extra virgin olive oil to allow for some extra crisping.
- You don’t need to be afraid to open up the basket to check on the food occasionally to avoid overcooking it.
- Then, shake the food around and flip it over during the cooking process.
Can You Air Fry Frozen Foods an Still Get Great Benefits?
- Without a doubt, time-saving is one of the best benefits for cooking frozen food in an air fryer. Air fryers heat up and cook food quickly, far quicker than a conventional oven. Food also doesn’t need to thaw first before cooking.
- We don’t need to use loads of oil for cooking, making healthy foods even healthier when cooked in the air fryer.
- Air fryers are generally very easy to clean, and we suggest that you clean your air fryer after every use.
- The dry air that circulates in the air fryer removes moisture and crisps up frozen foods beautifully. Compared to other cooking methods, such as the microwave, the air fryer is a winner for improving food texture.
- Air fryers take up very little counter space.
- Air fryers are energy efficient – far more so than a conventional oven.
- Air fryers tend to be safer because you don’t run the same risk of spilling, splashing, or touching hot oil as you would when using a deep fryer.
Best Frozen Foods To Cook In An Air Fryer
Most frozen foods are ideally suited to cook in an air fryer. Let’s look at a few ideas:
Any frozen appetizer, such as dumplings, wontons, and meatballs will work well in your air fryer. Basically, anything that you’d usually bake or pan fry can be tossed in the air fryer with excellent results. This makes them just great for last-minute guests or to allow you to relax and have fun with your friends without slaving away in the kitchen.
Chicken is probably hands down everyone’s favorite meal in the air fryer. Frozen chicken nuggets, wings, tenders, strips, and popcorn chicken – these are all very easy and quick to cook in the air fryer.
You can also cook frozen chicken portions in the air fryer. First, ensure that you choose a few pieces of a similar size to make sure that they cook evenly. Then, just add a little bit of oil for moisture and some seasoning for flavor, and away you go.
Many people avoid fish and shellfish at home because they can be challenging to cook. Well, that can be a thing of the past with the air fryer. You won’t need to worry about thawing frozen shrimp and fish. Thin fish fillets, such as Tilapia, can be cooked in less time than it would take for you to preheat the oven. Breaded fish comes out perfectly crispy, and you don’t need to add any oil. For inspiration, check out this air fryer recipe for frozen seafood medley.
We bet you didn’t think of this one. Frozen pizza is great in an air fryer – perfect for the teenagers for an after-school lunch. Or really, anyone in the house. The air fryer works excellent to reheat leftover pizza. The cheese gets melty, and the crust gets crispy. Far tastier than sticking last night’s pizza in the microwave.
There are a variety of frozen side dishes which you can cook in the air fryer, so you don’t need to juggle mains and sides.
Frozen vegetables cooked in the air fryer turn out much like fresh roasted veggies, complete with crispy edges—no more soggy, cooked-from-frozen vegetables.
Cooking your vegetables in an air fryer makes them delicious. It might be more appealing to kids who usually shy away from the green stuff.
Other than frozen veggies, frozen hash browns, fries, tater tots, and onion rings all cook well in the air fryer.
Can You Air Fry Frozen Food Like Steak And Other Meat?
Yes, you absolutely can cook your frozen steak and other raw meats in the air fryer. The frozen meat can be heated in very little time and cooked perfectly.
Are There Any Frozen Foods That You Might Want To Avoid In An Air Fryer?
We can’t think of many frozen foods which you cant cook in an air fryer. So, generally speaking, frozen foods are ideally suited for air fryer cooking.
We suggest that you stay away from cooking giant whole frozen chickens or roasts in the air fryer. These can be a challenge to cook evenly. Instead, experiment with a smaller chicken to start with.
Dangers Of Cooking Frozen Food In The Air Fryer
Just because air fryers don’t use significant amounts of oil doesn’t automatically make them healthier. Convenience foods like breaded chicken and fries should always be eaten in moderation.
For health, we should always focus on a diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. Air fryers can be advantageous as we can cook veggies and lean protein with very little oil.
Air frying can create other harmful compounds such as acrylamide formation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heterocyclic amines. These compounds have been associated with cancer risk, but scientists need to research this.
Cooking times for frozen food in the air fryer
Because the air fryer cooks food faster than in a conventional oven, you must adjust the time suggested on the package. It is also a good idea to consider the size and power of the air fryer when you are looking at cooking times. For example, a larger air fryer might be more powerful than a smaller one and cook slightly faster.
For frozen convenience foods, for example, spring rolls or chicken nuggets, we suggest that you use the same temperature as for an oven but cut the cooking time in half. This is a personal preference, though, and although most people cut the cooking time by 50%, some people might prefer to only cut by 25%.
For your convenience, below is a guide for cooking times and temperatures for some common frozen foods. But remember, each air fryer is different, so you may need to experiment with yours to get perfect results.
|Frozen Chicken Tenders||10 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Chicken Strips||12 minutes||390F|
|Frozen Onion Rings||8-10 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Hamburgers||13 minutes||360F|
|Frozen Sausage Rolls||13 minutes||360F|
|Frozen Fish Fingers||8 minutes||360F|
|Frozen French Fries (Thick)||18 minutes||400F|
|Frozen French Fries (Thin)||14 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Shrimp||9 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Chicken Breast||20-25 minutes||390F (Preheat)*|
|Frozen Pizza Rolls||7 minutes||380F|
|Frozen Corn Dogs||10 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Chicken Wings||9 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Mozzarella Sticks||8 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Burritos||10 minutes||400F|
|Frozen Tater Tots||10 minutes||400F|
Converting Recipes To Use In An Air Fryer
You won’t find instructions for air fryers on most food packaging, so you’ll have to convert the recipes to make your food more suitable for cooking the air fryer.
We suggest that you always start by following the “same temperature, half the time” rule and adjust as you go. Some experts suggest reducing the temperature by 25 degrees and keeping the time the same. Whatever you do, don’t use the microwave instructions. Your food will most likely be a disaster.
How do you know it’s ready?
People are often afraid to open their air fryers while cooking to check on the food. We suggest that you check on your food a few times while cooking. Just pull the basket out, give the food a shake, flip over if necessary. And make sure that after moving the food around within the basket, you’ve left enough space between the food.
We also encourage a meat thermometer if you like your meat to stay moist. You can use a meat thermometer to check that your chicken is cooked to the minimum safe temperature of 165°F.
Tips for getting the best results
- Again, when cooking frozen foods in an air fryer, be generous with the space you leave between each piece of food. This allows for even cooking and prevents pieces from sticking to each other.
- It is good to shake the basket halfway through the cooking time to prevent the food from sticking to the basket.
- Add a sauce or dressing to any frozen food that isn’t breaded or wrapped before cooking in the air fryer. This prevents dryness and helps with the flavor.
- Generally, you will not need to preheat your air fryer because it heats up so quickly. Chicken breasts, however, could benefit from a preheated air fryer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Cook Frozen Hamburger Meat In An Air Fryer?
If you are cooking hamburger patties, then the air fryer is perfect. But large blocks of meat require more care. If you’re cooking a typical pound of hamburger meat, break the ground beef up first before cooking.
Do I Need Oil When Using My Air Fryer For Frozen Food Cooking?
You don’t need much oil, but some foods could benefit from a spritz of vegetable oil to add to the crispness when cooking in the air fryer.
At What Temperature Should I Set My Air Frying Oven For Frozen Foods?
Go with the recommended temperature on the packaging, but halve the cooking time.
Can You Put Microwave Meals In An Air Fryer?
Yes – you can put a microwave meal in the air fryer. First, though, check if the microwave container is oven safe. If it is oven safe, it will be safe to put in your air fryer. Then, check whether it will actually fit in your air fryer basket. Be aware that it won’t cook as quickly as in a microwave, and if you don’t want the top to become crunchy, then cover in foil while cooking.
Frozen foods and the air fryer are a match made in heaven. Any convenience foods you would deep fry or cook in a conventional oven can be cooked in an air fryer with very successful results. Frozen meats can also be cooked successfully in an air fryer, as can microwave meals.
When cooking frozen food in the air fryer, remember the golden rule of “the same temperature, half the time” to ensure that your food doesn’t overcook. So the only question remaining is – what’s for dinner?
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