How to Fry Vegetables in an Airfryer

We cannot stop frying veggies with our new airfryer. See how easy it is to create tender on the inside and crispy on the outside fried veggies below!

I’m not a big gadget person but a few years ago, one of our Australian meal plan members told me about her airfryer, and I was immediately intrigued.

I love fried food with the best of them but don’t love dealing with the trouble of heating and discarding a big vat of oil and the greasy smell it leaves in the kitchen. Plus, it’s not exactly the healthiest of options.

An airfryer fries food by circulating hot air around it in a small compartment. It’s like a convection oven but much more contained. It seemed like a great way to “fry” foods without all of the downsides of deep frying.

However, my kitchen just didn’t need another gadget but last week, I was finally convinced. A Nourish student showed off golden egg rolls fried in her airfryer. My husband and I ordered the best fried brussels sprouts from Falasophy in the Fourth Street Market in Santa Ana. And I discovered that Trader Joe’s now sells crinkle cut butternut squash, which clearly were screaming, “Fry me, Jess!”


Clearly a higher power was telling me I needed an airfryer in my life, and I had to answer the call immediately.


I couldn’t even wait for Amazon Prime and actually left work early for Bed, Bath and Beyond (with my stack of 20% off coupons in hand of course) and picked up this Philips Airfryer (there were other options but the Amazon reviews seemed best for the Philips).

It’s been just 3 weeks, and I’ve fallen in love. So far, I’ve made butternut squash and sweet potato fries, fried broccoli, brussels sprouts and green beans, chicken drumsticks, breaded chicken tenders, falafel and NY strip steak in it.

Not everything has turned out great and there are some things that really should be just deep-fried, like falafel or fried chicken. My steak cooked evenly but just didn’t get the caramelized exterior from searing in a cast iron skillet.

However, the most successful dishes have been using the airfryer for crispy vegetables.

Pros:

  • They get the crispiness of deep frying without all the oil and are definitely crispier than oven baking
  • Most veggies seem to cook in 15 to 20 minutes
  • Clean-up is easy
  • My little fickle eater has gobbled up all the veggies we’ve made in it – honestly, it’s a mother’s dream come true
  • Plus, you don’t need a recipe!

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Preheat airfryer for about 5 minutes at 360F / 182C degrees.
  2. While the airfryer is heating, prep your veggies. Evenly chop ~1 lb of veggies, toss with some oil (~1 Tbsp / 30mL), salt and pepper. (If making potato or sweet potato fries, soak them in water for ~30 minutes to draw out excess starch for crispier results and then pat dry thoroughly with paper towels before tossing with oil and seasonings.)
  3. Transfer veggies into frying compartment and fry for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring veggies every 5 to 8 minutes or so. Some veggies might need longer and some will need less – just use your judgment when you open the compartment to stir the veggies. You want the outside to be golden and crispy and the inside to be tender.
  4. Enjoy or toss with your favorite dipping sauce when done! If you need sauce ideas, check out 5 of our favorites.

Here’s a video I did on Facebook Live if you want to see it in action.

If you’re now trying to decide whether you should get one too, I wanted to also share the limitations.

cons:

  • Like I said before, some things are just better deep fried so don’t expect to get traditional fried chicken from an airfryer
  • You don’t want to overcrowd the airfryer so it’s not great for large batch cooking. For meats, I found that you really want to keep everything in 1 layer to get the most golden results. This meant I could only fit in 4 drumsticks or 5 chicken tenders. If I was cooking for a crowd, I honestly would have just baked or broiled in an oven on big sheet pans
  • You do want to flip / stir whatever you’re frying every few minutes so this isn’t a set-it-and-walk-away type of gadget, like a slow cooker
  • This wasn’t the cheapest of appliances (close to $200 USD), which is why it took me 2 years to finally bite the bullet. There are several options on Amazon though, but the Philips and T-Fal models seem to be the most popular. However, with as much as I’ve already used it and the fact that we’ll be going through a kitchen remodel soon where I won’t have an oven, I think I will definitely get my money’s worth.

However, the ease of making crispy, toddler-approved veggies has completely won me over.


I can make multiple batches without washing the basket, so we can have a medley of options. Tonight it’ll be “fried” brussels sprouts and butternut squash fries with leftover chicken tenders. I usually prep my own butternut squash, but these crinkled cut ones from Trader Joe’s are just too convenient and too cute to resist.

Do you have an airfryer? If not . . . the holidays are only 11 months away. 😉

Airfried Vegetables

Use an airfryer to cook veggies with perfectly tender insides and wonderfully crispy outsides.

Prep time:10 min

Cook time:20 min

Total time:30 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb / 0.5kg of vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini will all work), chopped evenly
  • 1 Tbsp / 30 mL of cooking oil
  • Some salt and pepper

Instructions

Prep

  1. Preheat airfryer for about 5 minutes at 360F / 182C degrees.
  2. Evenly chop veggies and toss with oil and some salt and pepper. If making potato or sweet potato fries, soak them in water for ~30 minutes to draw out excess starch for crispier results and then pat dry thoroughly with paper towels before tossing with oil.

Make

  1. Transfer veggies into frying compartment and fry for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring veggies every 5 to 8 minutes or so. Some veggies might need longer and some will need less – just use your judgment when you open the compartment to stir the veggies. You want the outside to be golden and crispy and the inside to be tender.
  2. Enjoy or toss with your favorite dipping sauce when done! If you need sauce ideas, check out 5 of our favorites.

A little note: Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links, which means we earn a small percentage from those sales. We use this affiliate revenue to support the continued growth of Cook Smarts. Thank you!


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