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    I Just Got An Air Fryer And Here's Everything I've Made With It So Far

    The salmon was perfection, but the cheesecake....

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    I've been considering getting an air fryer for months now. The combination of not wanting to deal with lengthy cooking times, too much cleanup, and constantly seeing the air fryer we put in all our articles finally made me feel like I really needed one (gosh dang it, why are we so convincing??) So...I caved and bought one for myself.

    A red air fryer on a counter top. The air fryer has a handle for pulling out the frying chamber
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    The one I got is from Amazon for $75.99. Air fryers are designed to let you cook with much less oil. I loved the super sleek design of this one, the simple time and temperature features, and of course, the color options. The temperature adjusts from 180–400 degrees Fahrenheit and the time adjusts from 0–30 minutes.

    When I first unboxed it, I was ready to get cooking.

    1. I started off easy with a batch of sweet potato fries. I just used store-bought, pre-cut fries. I set the air fryer at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and ended up with delicious, crisp fries (and I didn't even need to wait for anything to heat up or clean any leftover oil at the end).

    Fully cooked sweet potato fries in the chamber of the air fryer
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    This cooking time was already faster than standing there watching the fries cook in oil, turning them, removing them, adding another batch, and repeating the process.

    Though you don't need as much oil as you'd need if you were deep-frying them, it's okay to add a little drizzle to prevent sticking (I just coated everything in one tablespoon of oil).

    I also loaded the fries directly into the frying pot and still barely had to clean anything when I was done because I used so little oil.

    2. We had a case full of salmon fillets so I decided that would be part of my next air fryer experiment. I seasoned 'em up with salt, pepper, and a multi-herb seasoning and, again, coated them in just a tablespoon of oil. This time, however, I placed aluminum foil in the frying chamber to avoid having any juices leak into the fryer. Twenty-five minutes later and absolute perfection!

    Fully cooked salmon fillets in the chamber lined with tin foil
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    I only used three fillets so as to avoid overcrowding the pan. Considering it normally takes me around 35+ minutes to cook salmon in the oven, I was pretty impressed that this was done in just 25 minutes. It was thoroughly cooked and flavorful, but it wasn't dry (an issue that's easy to encounter when you overcook your food).

    3. Next up: tilapia and potatoes. This time, I wanted to see how'd they cook together. I gave them each their own dose of seasoning, lined the frying chamber with foil and cooked 'em for 30 minutes. I was a little worried that one would be done before the other, but they both seemed to cook evenly. The potatoes were delicious and the tilapia ended up being thoroughly cooked through but not dry.

    Tilapia fillets and potatoes that have been cooked inside the air fryer
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    BTW, if you aren't totally sure how long each of your foods should cook for, it doesn't hurt to just let it cook for additional 5–10 minute increments and check on it in-between. And, you can always pull the frying chamber out at any point to stop the air fryer while it's cooking (don't worry, it won't burn you).

    4. Now I really got ambitious and decided to try making cheesecake in an air fryer. I lined the chamber with foil, pressed in crushed graham crackers, and poured a simple cheesecake base of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. I even used strawberry preserve to top it off. Cheesecake normally bakes in an oven for at least 45 minutes, so — knowing how powerful this thing is — I let it cook for just 30 minutes and the top ended up suuuuper brown!!

    A strawberry cheesecake cooked inside the air fryer, however the top looks a little overcooked
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    It didn't come out exactly as I thought it would, but it was still delicious and the insides looked perfect and were the right texture! It simply didn't bake evenly and the temperature (350 degrees) was clearly too high. I normally bake cheesecake in a water bath to allow it to heat evenly, but an air fryer doesn't really let you do that (it's prob not the best idea to put water inside an electrical appliance).

    I was determined to get it right, so I tried it again but cooked it for 20 minutes and the top came out less brown, but the insides weren't as well-cooked, so it needed to be refrigerated before serving. They both tasted delicious — seriously couldn't just eat one serving — but in the future, I would lower the cooking temperature to around 300 degrees while maintaining the same cooking time.

    5. I returned to the air fryer with my tail between my legs and this time opted for a much simpler, but just as exquisite dish: mozzarella sticks. In 10 minutes, they were crispy and perfectly gooey. No surprises there.

    Mozzarella sticks on a plate with cheese gushing out of them
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    6. Another huge advantage of this air fryer: you can reheat meals for that freshly baked taste and texture without ever turning on your oven. I heated up cooked chicken and mini tortillas for tacos for lunch one day and it was SO much better than just reheating them in the microwave. The tortillas had some crispiness to 'em and didn't taste soggy from the usual condensation of a microwave.

    Reheated chicken pieces and tortillas in the air fryer
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    I popped 'em in the air fryer for about five minutes. I'm not pre-heating my oven just to heat something up for five measly minutes (and in five minutes, it still wouldn't have been thoroughly heated).

    7. I even made an egg omelet in this thing!! This omelet, however, took 20 minutes to cook in the air fryer, but on a stove top, it would've taken less than 10 minutes. In terms of time effectiveness, I'd say the air fryer loses here. But the end result was still light and fluffy.

    An egg omelet looking perfectly cooked with a sprinkle of cheese
    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    8. And, I tried to re-create my mom's fried plantains in the air fryer. She usually deep fries ripe plantain slices and they turn out crispy on the edges and literally fat with flavor everywhere else. I coated them lightly in oil, salted them, and cooked them for a total of 25 minutes. They smelled and looked great but this was one dish that could've benefited from turning over halfway through so they could cook on both sides.

    Jasmin Suknanan / BuzzFeed

    Frying overly ripe plantains is one of my favorite snacks, and these air fryer plantains came out with that same savory, salted outside and sweet, slightly mushy inside — just not as crispy as the ones we make deep-fried. Also, as my dad remarked, "I could've cooked double the amount in 15 minutes in the frying pan."

    So to sum things up: I love my air fryer. It's convenient and makes me feel like I can cook most things with minimal cleanup and with minimal effort since I can just set the time and do other things while I wait.

    Some things do require a little more thought, though (like the cheesecake!!!) and a little effort to flip your food halfway (like the plantains!!!).

    While it's great to already know the exact temperature and cooking times for various meals and snacks, it's easy to just cook by trial and error and add a little more time or remove the dish even halfway through.

    If you're looking for some inspo to get you started, check out our roundup of air fryer recipes.

    Get it from Amazon for $75.99+ (available in four colors).

    The red air fryer on a counter next to plates of fries, chicken, and other foods

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