OK, so I’m late to the Air Fryer party. But I’m here now and I want to share some super quick and easy Air Fryer snack ideas that my teens love and so hopefully yours will too. Because teens… they eat a lot and they cost a lot, right? And if your household is anything like mine, this next scene will be all too familiar.
It’s 3.30pm. The door crashes open and in slump two starving (their words, not mine) teenagers, who like a plague of locusts start buzzing around my kitchen, opening cupboards, leaving a trail of crumbs and wrappers in their wake. My food bill has pretty much doubled over the past year. And sure, a big reason for that is the soaring cost of everything going up, but it’s also because my teens eat for Britain. I honestly don’t know where they pack it away (hollow legs as my grandparents would say) but somehow they do and it’s costing me a fortune.
Pre-packaged snacks like cereal bars, chocolate bars, popcorn, crisps, dried fruit etc., are expensive. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not as though they’re fussy, they like their fruit and veg, but fresh food is proper expensive too, so you can’t win. As a working mum I don’t have time to be baking and making stuff from scratch all the time, certainly not at the rate these two pack it away, so that’s why I wanted an Air Fryer. Well, one of the reasons anyway. Because truthfully, I wanted to see what all the hype about Air Fryers was. And hey, if it means I also stand a better chance of filling my kids up with something that a) I’ve made, b) hasn’t taken me ages to make, and c) saves me a few pennies in the process, then it’s worth giving it a go, right?
Before I share my Air Fryer snack ideas with you, I want to firstly talk you through a few features of the Air Fryer that I have and also explore some of the benefits of using this form of cooking.
The Features And Benefits Of Using An Air Fryer
Every model of Air Fryer will come with its own features, but I’ll tell you about the one I’ve got, so that it gives you a rough idea of the kind of things they can do. So, I’ve got the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer, which is a slightly larger model as it comes with 2 drawers instead of 1, but means it’s much better suited for a family of 4. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t overly sure where on earth to start with it when it first came, but the guide that comes with it is so easy to follow. There’s also an Air Fryer Cooking Chart, which breaks down key food types like for instance salmon, chicken breasts, potatoes, various vegetables, frozen foods, etc., and tells you how long they need and how you should prepare them based on the weight of the product. And do you know what, once you’ve got to grips with it and used it a couple of times, even my workshy teens have got it sussed now.
The Ninja Foodie Dual Zone comes with 6 cooking programs:
- Max Crisp – Good for frozen foods like oven chips, chicken nuggets, fishfingers etc. – crisps up beautifully with zero sog!
- Air Fry – Good for fresh foods like chicken wings, salmon fillets etc.
- Roast – Good for roasting vegetables and meats.
- Reheat – Clue’s in the name really, this is for heating up your leftovers.
- Dehydrate – Good for making vegetable crisps, jerky, fruit crisps.
- Bake – Good for making cakes, baked desserts, bread products etc.
Aside from the 2 drawers there are also 2 crisper plates that sit inside the drawers and help get the food even more crispy. Those are the only things you’ll ever need to wash up and let me tell you, they are an absolute joy to wash up. No scrubbing needed, no awkward bits for food to get stuck in, simply wipe in hot soapy water and they’re good to go.
My Air Fryer uses DualZone Technology, which means you can set the 2 drawers to either cook at the same time and temperature, or you can set them to different programs but synch them so that they finish at the same time. This means you can use your Air Fryer to cook whole meals if you want, and the food will all be piping hot at the same time. For today I’m obviously going to focus on Air Fryer snack ideas, but I know my mum has used hers to do roast dinners and she raves about it.
OK, so these are the main features of what you can expect to see on an Air Fryer, but why use one? I mean let’s be honest, they take up a fair amount of workspace, so why choose to invest in one of these when you’ve already got an oven? Well, the key benefits are that Air Fryers cook food quicker than your bog-standard gas or electric oven. A smaller cooking chamber means that the heat is aimed more directly at the food. It can reach higher temperatures and therefore cooks the food often up to two times as quick as it would in the oven. Aside from the convenience factor, what this also means is that you use far less energy, because you’re cooking for a shorter length of time. And overtime you should start to see a reduction in your energy bills, which heaven knows we need right now! Air frying also cooks your food more healthily, as it requires the use of far less oil. For example, if you’re cooking chips in an Air Fryer you only need a tablespoon of oil, as opposed to a whole vat of it if you were to cook them in a deep fat fryer. But the result is equally as tasty, crispy, fluffy chips. Air frying also accumulates far less washing up, which I think we can all get on board with, right!?!
So, we’ve been having a bit of a dabble with it, and I wanted to share our favourite Air Fryer snack ideas that are teen friendly, both in terms of how easy they are to make, but also in how tasty they are to eat.
Air Fryer Snacks
These 10 Air Fryer snack ideas are all really easy to make, require very little effort, use up any leftover bits and bobs you’ve got hanging around, and all taste incredible too. In fact, because most of them are so quick and easy, the chances are you’ll be able to get your teens to make these themselves. And once they really get into it, they’ll probably even come up with their own Air Fryer snack ideas or will definitely be finding recipe ideas on TikTok!
All of these Air Fryer snack ideas will help you to reduce your food waste, save energy, save money, and feed your hungry teen all at the same time. Let’s check them out:
1. Flavoured Tortilla Chips
These flavoured tortilla chips are a great way to use up any leftover wraps that have started to go a bit hard around the edges. Simply brush or spray with oil then sprinkle with the flavour of your choice. For savoury we love smoked paprika, and for a sweet option we think cinnamon sugar works really well. Once you’ve sprinkled on your flavouring, cut the wrap into triangles using a pair of scissors. Lay the triangles flavour side up into the drawer of your Air Fryer and cook on Max Crisp for 4 ½ minutes at 240ºC. If your Air Fryer doesn’t have a Max Crisp setting, you can still cook it on Air Fry mode you may just need to leave them in for slightly longer to get them super crispy. Eat them on their own or serve with something to dip them in.
2. Veg Peeling Crisps
Let’s face it most of the time leftover food waste ends up dumped in the bin, or maybe on the compost heap if you’re slightly more conscientious than me. In most instances however, this food could be put to much better use. Like these delicious crisps, which are made from leftover vegetable peelings. Potato peelings work best, but carrot, parsnip, and sweet potato peelings are super yummy too. Pat your vegetable peelings with some kitchen towel to take off any excess moisture and then spray with oil. Season with salt and pepper and then place in a single layer in the drawer of the Air Fryer. Air fry at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes, making sure to give them a shake halfway through cooking. Aside from how tasty these crisps are, and the fact you’ve scored some serious eco points for using food that would have otherwise gone to waste, they’re also way healthier than shop bought crisps (vegetable skin is where most of the nutrients are found).
3. Crunchy Chickpeas
Everyone has a tin of chickpeas lurking in their cupboards, right? And now I’ve only got teens in the house, we’re way past the stage of being able to palm it off at a school harvest festival. So, instead of leaving them to fester on the shelves, let’s put them to good use. Drain and rinse a 400g tin of chickpeas. Tip them into a bowl with 2 tsps sugar, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of olive oil. Stir to coat the chickpeas. Tip into one of the drawers of your Air Fryer and set to 210ºC for 15 minutes on Air Fry mode, making sure to give them a shake every now and again to ensure they crisp up evenly. You can also put a bit of cinnamon in there if you like, or some cocoa powder. The chickpeas sort of pop as they cook and then turn super crunchy. Yummy and incredibly moreish, your teens will love them!
4. Banana Chips
OK, so this one takes more time and will require you to make them in advance of your little darlings getting in from school. However, the beauty of an Air Fryer is that you can leave it to its own devices, so there is very little effort required. This particular snack requires your Air Fryer to have a Dehydrate setting, which most of them do have but double check yours does before starting. This is a great snack for when you’ve got bananas that are on the turn and you’re fed up of using them for banana bread (we all kind of got a bit sick of that stuff during lockdown didn’t we!?!). Firstly, slice the bananas into similar sized pieces to ensure they dehydrate evenly. Toss the banana pieces in a small amount of lemon juice (this stops them turning brown) and then lay them out in a single layer in your Air Fryer drawers. Set the Air Fryer to 60ºC on Dehydrate mode for 8-10 hours. You’ll need to keep checking them and giving them a shake every hour or so, but other than that you can leave them. Perfect for after school snacks, night time nibbles, or scattered on top of cereal or porridge in the morning.
5. Cheese On Toast
You’ve not had cheese on toast unless you’ve had Air Fryer cheese on toast, it is an absolute game changer. It takes just 8 minutes to make the crunchiest, ooziest cheese on toast you have ever tasted. And the teens blinkin’ love it! Butter 2 slices of bread (any bread is good, but really who even are you if you aren’t using anything other than tiger bread. Lay the bread butter side down in the tray of the Air Fryer and air fry at 200ºC for 3 minutes. While that’s cooking, grate your choice of cheese. After the 3 minutes, sprinkle the cheese on top of the bread and cook for a further 5 minutes. And that’s it. It’s like a cheese toastie you’d get from a toasted sandwich maker, but without all the hassle of cleaning it and all that spillage. Plus, it uses up any stale bread you’ve got hanging about and can be jazzed up with a bit of pesto or pizza sauce underneath the cheese. Simple, quick, and cheap.
6. Cheesy Crumpet Garlic Bread
When I made this the other day for the first time, I kid you not the smell of it cooking lured my eldest teen out from his room, down into the kitchen, and before I knew it, he’d snaffled it up to his room. Needless to say, the empty plate that I found in his room the next morning (because seriously, show me one teen who actually brings their used plates down) is testament enough that this recipe is a winner. Slice 6 crumpets in half and put to one side. To make the garlic bread, mix 2 tbsp butter, with 2 cloves of crushed garlic, and season with some salt and pepper. Spread the crumpet halves generously with the garlic butter and then sprinkle grated cheese on half of the crumpets. Lay some foil in the fryer drawer and place the crumpets cut side down, alternating between butter and cheese. Sprinkle with any remaining grated cheese and air fry at 180C for 8 mins. Insane!
7. Boiled Eggs
My son goes to the gym a lot and is always on the hunt for protein. But meat is expensive, right? I can’t afford to make steak and chicken for him as a dinner every day let alone as a snack. And so I turn to a trusty, but comparatively cheap alternative, eggs. Who would have thought that you could boil eggs in an Air Fryer? But turns out you very much can, and like all other things I’ve cooked in there so far, it’s incredibly easy. Carefully place the eggs in the drawer of your Air Fryer and set to 270ºC. For soft boiled eggs you need to cook for 10 minutes, medium boiled for 12, and hard boiled for 15. Once cooked, plunge into a bowl of cold water and then peel once they’re cool enough to hold in your hand. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and et voilà protein snacks for the win.
8. Nutella Pastry Sticks
This is a great one for using up any leftover puff pastry trimmings you might have. And let’s not kid ourselves, I am 100% talking about ready made shop bought pastry here, none of us have got time to be making pastry from scratch now, have we?! Cut the pastry into strips and spread with Nutella. Hold the pastry strip at both ends and twist. Lay the twists in the drawer of your Air Fryer and spritz with oil. Air fry for 6 ½ minutes. Remove carefully, making sure to fish out all the yummy crispy Nutella bits that might have escaped. Dust with icing sugar, then devour and demolish. You’ll be battling the teens for this one!
9. French Toast
Another one of our great Air Fryer snack ideas for using up stale bread and who doesn’t love French toast!?! Whisk 1 egg together with 70 ml of milk. Soak two pieces of bread in the eggy mixture, making sure every last bit of it is covered. Shake off any excess mixture so that you don’t drip it everywhere and then lay the bread in the Air Fryer drawer. Air fry at 180ºC for 2½ minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for a further 2½ minutes. Serve warm drizzled with maple syrup or a sprinkle of sugar.
10. Pizza Wraps
My two love pizza wraps and have got pretty good at making them for themselves. But now we’ve got an Air Fryer, they can make them without making such a dirty great mess of my cooker hob! What you choose to fill your wraps with is entirely up to you. In this instance we’ve gone for pesto chicken and mozzarella, chorizo and cheddar, and margarita. Take a wrap and spread either pizza sauce or pesto on it. Lay your chosen filling out in a strip down the centre of the wrap, leaving a gap at the edges. Fold in the side edges of the wrap and then roll it lengthways, making sure to tuck the top into the bottom. The better you wrap it now, the less chance of it spilling out when it cooks. I can fit 3 wraps snugly into one drawer of the Ninja Air Fryer I have. Spray with oil and set to Air Fry at 200ºC for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the drawer and then slice into 4 pinwheels. Well, that’s what I did anyway, I should imagine if your teenager is making these then they’ll grab and run, which is totally fine too! Great for using up wraps that are starting to go a bit hard, any leftover pizza sauce or pesto you’ve got in the fridge, and any sandwich meat or cheese that’s getting close to its use by date.
If you do a quick Google search there are tonnes of healthy Air Fryer snack recipes out there, but really once you’ve got to grips with how it works and how long certain foods take in it, you can get a lot more confident and creative with it yourself. There’s not much you can’t cook in an Air Fryer, so when your teens next come in from school moaning they’re hungry, just point them in the direction of the Air Fryer and jobs a good ‘un!
Have You Got Any Tasty Air Fryer Snack Ideas?
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