I’m loving my air fryer right now, and I’ve been collecting vegan air fryer recipes for quick-and-easy breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks. Below is a growing list of vegan air fryer recipes, plus a little FAQ, in case you need help choosing or using your air fryer.
What is an air fryer?
I know, you don’t need yet another kitchen gadget taking up pantry and counter space. I hear you. I was like you. And then, one afternoon I threw caution to the wind, ordered my air fryer and haven’t looked back.
I’ve posted a few air fryer recipes here, but if you follow me on Instagram, you probably have a better idea of the true depths of my air fryer obsession.
If you’re wondering how an air fryer works and what makes it special (besides sheer cooking speed), check out this ode to my air fryer that I wrote for Care2.
Air frying is, of course, healthier than oil frying, but it’s the convenience that really appeals to me. Air frying is less messy and faster than oil frying or baking. I tend to shy away from deep frying, because cleaning up fried oil is such a hassle.
One challenge for me as a freelancer is that I suck at making lunch. When you work at home, packing a lunch seems silly, so then every day at lunch time, you end up staring at the fridge, hoping that something quick and easy and at least slightly maybe healthy will appear.
My air fryer has made this SO much less of a challenge. Because of the way it cooks food, everything cooks up super fast. And it’s a hands-off gadget, except for one quick shake mid-cooking, which means I can throw my food into the fryer, turn it on, and get back to work until lunch is ready.
My go-to has been making air fried tofu and throwing it over salad greens with a mix of fresh and air-fried veggies. I’ve been eating like a queen at lunch lately.
If you’re shopping for an air fryer, the Air Fryer FAQ can help answer some of your burning questions. Below that, check out dozens of amazing vegan air fryer recipes. Enjoy them!
Air Fryer FAQ: Shopping for an Air Fryer + More
A lot of folks have been asking me air fryer questions via email, Facebook, and Instagram since I first published this list, so I thought I’d include a little air fryer FAQ here for you!
What kind of air fryer do you have/recommend? (updated 4/9/2018)
I have tested many brands of air fryer. Seriously, I have purchased, returned, and exchanged about a dozen air fryers on my quest to find a favorite one.
My air fryer journey is long and meandering, so I’m just going to cut to the chase here. There are two air fryers that I recommend:
- The GoWISE USA 4th Generation 3.7qt Air Fryer, and it is hands-down my favorite, from a function perspective, and the price is right. I did not like any of the half-dozen air fryers I’ve tried as much as this one.
- The Philips. the Philips air fryer is consistent and reliable. It costs a bit more, but I think it’s higher quality than the GoWISE. I do not like the basket design as much – the mesh bottom is not my favorite – but it works well. I am just incredibly picky.
What about combo ovens?
If you’re looking at a combo oven that includes the air fryer function, it’s not a bad option. I used to have the The Cuisinart Toaster Air Fryer. I found the air fryer function a little bit inconsistent, and it was harder to clean than my other air fryers.
Combo ovens cook a lot more quickly than conventional air fryers, so you need to check in more frequently when following a recipe. Otherwise, you may end up burning your food! If you do get a combo oven, I found that the convection option actually works better when following air fryer recipes than the air fryer function.
What size should I get?
Like I mentioned above, we had the 3.7qt GoWISE. It has worked great, size-wise, for my family of three!
If you have a larger family, I’d suggest considering a larger size. My Power XL was 5.3 quarts, and we didn’t really need all of that space for the three of us. As my son gets older (and starts eating more!), I think the extra room may come in handy.
If you’re cooking for one or two, a two quart, like the Black and Decker, should do the trick for you. The downsize to the two quart is that most generic air fryer accessories are made for three quarts and larger, so if you’re an accessories person, you might want to get a larger one, just for that.
Do I need to preheat?
This is a question I get a lot, because some air fryer recipes specify a three minute preheat.
Unless a recipe specifies preheating, I always skip it. Part of an air fryer’s beauty is that it’s small, so it heats up super quickly.
Do I really need to soak the potatoes for my fries? Soaking takes forever!
I have soaked my potatoes exactly one time, the first time I made air fried French fries. It’s supposed to help get rid of some of the starch, and technically you’re supposed to do the same thing for oven fries.
I honestly don’t feel like it makes enough of a difference in the finished fry, considering the added time. If you want to soak, go for it! If not, don’t! To make fries in my air fryer here’s what I do:
- Slice 1-2 russet potatoes into fry shapes. Steak fry, regular fry, and home fry shapes all work with this method, though cooking times may vary (see note). You can use other types of potato to make your fries, but I feel like russets work best.
- Toss in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and any seasonings I want.
- Air fry for 15-20 minutes at 400F, shaking and checking progress after 10 minutes.
- Note about cooking time: The thinner you cut, the less cooking time you’ll need. If they seem like they’re starting to brown when you shake after 10 min, check again at the 15 min mark. They might get done faster!
Is it easy to clean?
Usually, yes! Though, of course, this depends on the model.
Make sure that you choose an air fryer with a basket that comes apart for easy cleaning (if it has a basket).
With both the GoWISE, you can pop the inner basket away from the outer basket, so you can easily wipe away anything that falls through the holes and clean the bottom of the inner basket. The Philips and Power XL work the same way.
The Cuisinart Combo Oven tray comes out completely, and you can wash it with the soft side of a sponge. I did find that oil stuck onto the lower tray, so if you do use oil in your air fryer, this is something to consider.
If something is stuck on, just soak your basket until it softens enough to wipe away with a sponge. DO NOT use an abrasive cleaner or abrasive sponge to clean your air fryer, because you don’t want to damage the nonstick surface.
Regular dish soap and a regular sponge are all you should need to clean your air fryer.
Are you working on an air fryer cookbook?
I’m not, but there are two that I’m very excited about!:
- My friend, Kathy Hester, just released her air fryer cookbook, Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer, and I have two recipes in it!
- JL Fields released her air fryer cookbook, The Vegan Air Fryer, in 2017, and it’s great.
Vegan Air Fryer Recipes
1. Air Fryer Avocado Fries – Use this as an appetizer with dipping sauce, or stuff it into a tortilla with lettuce and salsa for quickie tacos.
2. Apple Chips – Don’t these looks light and crispy? I need them!
3. Crispy Tofu – This tofu recipe is the one I’ve made the most in my air fryer. It’s great over salads or served with your favorite starch and veggies.
4. Veggie Fries – Julie Hasson is a kitchen superstar, and these veggie fries she made are a revelation!
5. Bacon-Wrapped Breakfast Burritos – Kristina is killing me with these. She wrapped a tofu scramble in rice paper bacon, and promptly air fried it. Amazing!
6. Potato Chips – I love potato chips, and I’m so excited to make healthier ones in my air fryer! I think I want to try to do a salt and vinegar situation soon.
7. Ranch Kale Chips – You guys, I can’t stop making these! If ranch isn’t your thing, you can season with whatever you like. I ran out of dried dill, so lately I’ve been just doing nooch, oil, and salt. It’s delish!
8. Onion Bhaji – Veganopoulous provides air fryer instructions for making onion bhaji in the air fryer. Also, I’m pretty much in love with Titly, who created the original recipe video for these.
9. Fish Taco Crisp Wraps – Another awesome recipe from Kristina! These look so good with that sweet, sweet mango salsa for dipping. Being vegan is so hard.
10. Cheesy Dill Polenta – JL is working on an air fryer cookbook, so you know her recipes are on point. She cooked up these crispy polenta bites in her air fryer, and they look so good!
11. Crispy Cauliflower – Doesn’t recipe this look amazing? You could even toss these in buffalo sauce when it’s done for quickie buffalo cauliflower.
12. Churro Bites – OK, so this recipe from GoWISE isn’t vegan, but it is SO easy to veganize. Just use 1/2 cup plus a tablespoon of aquafaba instead of the 3 eggs, and use vegan margarine instead of butter. And roll in vegan sugar at the end. Boom! Pow!
Even More Air Fryer Goodness
Can you believe that this started as a list of just 12 recipes? Since publishing this in 2016, I’ve been experimenting even more with my air fryer. Here are dozens more vegan air fryer recipes to try.
13. Chonuts – Churros meet doughnut holes in this air fried dessert recipe.
14. Coffee Doughnut Holes – Dip these air fried, cake-style doughnut holes in Maple Coffee Cream. Such a decadent treat!
15. Sweet Potato Fries – I revamped my old recipe for sweet potato oven fries to include air fryer instructions. SO much faster!
16. Tofu Scramble – Make brunches lazy and delicious! This whole scramble comes together in the air fryer, and it’s glorious.
17. Buffalo Cauliflower – This 4-ingredient vegan air fryer recipe couldn’t be simpler. Seriously, I tried lots of more complicated methods before landing on this simple dip-dip-fry technique.
18. Crispy Brussels Sprouts – You can make these with or without the oil, though the version with oil is definitely crispier.
19. Air Fryer Ranch Chickpeas – Roasted chickpeas are so quick and easy in the air fryer. Even my picky, chickpea-loathing preschooler likes these.
20. Crunchy Panko Tofu – This is a new family favorite in our house. It’s so flavorful and crunchy!
21. Air Fryer BBQ Tofu Wings – These are seriously easy to make. They’re rich, sticky, and delicious dipped in Chili-Ginger Tahini Dressing.
22. Air Fryer Sushi – This sushi roll is stuffed with sesame kale salad, but you can use this method to air fry any sushi roll that you like.
23. Whole Baked Potato – Cadry shows you how to bake a whole potato (in half the time!) in your air fryer. She’s a genius, is what I’m saying.
24. Fried Pickles – Yeah, she did! Cadry also experimented with making fried pickles in the air fryer, and they are perfection!
25. Tofu Satay – Tofu Satay cooks up incredibly quickly in the air fryer. It’s perfect dipped in my quick-and-easy, blender peanut sauce. Serve it as an appetizer or entree!
26. Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf with Air Fryer Lemon-Garlic Tofu – Put those kitchen gadgets to WORK! Lemony, garlicky Air Fryer Tofu cooks up quickly and is a perfect Mother’s Day brunch recipe tossed into Instant Pot Quinoa Pilaf with leeks and green peas.
27. General Tso’s Tofu – Who needs takeout? Not you, my friend, Not you!
28. Plantains – Sweet air fryer plantains are great alongside beans and rice or stuffed into a vegan taco!
30. Fried Green Tomatoes – Cadry’s vegan fried green tomatoes are crusted with potato chips! Need I say more??
31. Croutons – What can I say? I love Cadry’s air fryer recipes! You cook these delicious croutons for just 5 minutes in the air fryer!
32. Garlic Roasted Almonds – I made these to go on top of a vegan Caesar salad, but they’re also great for snacking on by the handful.
33. Tofu Buddha Bowls – There are oven and air fryer directions for the tofu in this one-bowl meal.
34. Potato Peels – Never throw away potato peels again! Cadry cooks them up until they’re crispy in the air fryer, and they are to die for.
35. Orange Tofu – Amy’s restaurant-style orange tofu is oil free and absolutely delicious!
36. Roasted Garlic – Cadry shows you how to roast a head of garlic in only 20 minutes in your air fryer!
37. Salty Pistachio Brownies – Use your air fryer to cook up this small-batch brownie recipe in record time!
38. Hush Puppies – Crunchy, cozy Air Fryer Hush Puppies from Kathy Hester’s book, Vegan Cooking in Your Air Fryer, only take about 20 minutes to make. They’re perfect little balls of cornbready goodness!
39. Tofu Piccata – Crunchy, lemony Tofu Piccata cooks up like a dream in the air fryer, and I’ve got you covered with a no-cook sauce to go with it!
40. BBQ Soy Curls – Cadry’s Air Fryer BBQ Soy Curls are legit, y’all! I love them on their own, with mashed potatoes and veggies on the side. But I am also dying to use them to make her Vegan BBQ Sandwich.