20 Quick and Healthy Snacks You Can Make in Your Air Fryer
Published on May 14, 2020
Last updated March 13, 2022
By Rachael Link, MS, RD, Aly Walansky, and Jess Novak
In the past couple of years, air fryers have gone from “trendy kitchen appliances” to “basically essential” for a whole lot of home cooks — and we’re super on board. Air fryers not only help us achieve that golden, crispy texture we crave from fried foods without a ton of added oil, they also slash cooking time by a massive amount. Talk about a win/win.
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With the help of an air fryer, many traditionally fried foods like chips, fries, and wings can be transformed into totally healthy snacks that retain their crunch while preserving nutrients. Whether you’ve just gotten on board the air fryer train or you’re an air fryer pro looking for exciting new recipes, we’ve found 20 excellent healthy air fryer snacks to experiment with.
Parsnips’ firm texture makes an excellent imitation of a French fry: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. In terms of flavor, they boast a carrot-like sweetness combined with a nutty earthiness, and they work with a wide variety of dipping sauces. For a healthier version of this recipe’s recommended sauce, simply swap Greek yogurt for the recommended mayo, or opt instead to dip them in hummus.
As recipe author Sue notes, Korean chicken wings are typically not just fried, but twice-fried to get them extra-crispy. We fully admit that the classic version is delicious, but it’s not exactly the most healthful option out there. However, this air fryer version makes the wings pristinely crisp with hardly any added oil. This recipe makes use of some brown sugar in the sauce, which you can swap out by adding some more honey, if you’d like.
We love sharing a plate of fried calamari as an appetizer, but we also know that deep-frying totally negates the health value of eating squid, which is an otherwise great-for-you seafood choice packed with omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium. Grab a bag of frozen calamari rings (or opt for fresh from your local fishmonger, if you can get it!) and make your own DIY version — it’s easy and delicious.
One of our favorite healthy air fryer snacks, these air fryer butternut squash cubes are ready in under 30 minutes, and just involve a bit of olive oil and seasoning. The recipe calls for “Everything but the Bagel seasoning” which also makes this a really fast snack.
Vegan jerkies are trending right now, and with good reason — made well, they’re incredibly nutrient-dense, satisfying, and great for when you’re on-the-go. For a really excellent DIY option, consider this oyster mushroom jerky recipe. Compared to many other common mushrooms, oyster mushroom are especially rich in beta-glucans, which have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Tofu is a complete protein source known for its ability to soak up any flavors you add to it, so feel free to adjust this recipe to add any flavors you like — some orange juice would be great here. At its most basic, this crispy air fryer tamari tofu is made with only four ingredients: Just toss in the tamari, a bit of nutritional yeast, and cornstarch for crispiness, and then air fry for about 15 minutes. Finish off with some sesame seeds and green onion, and this will be a perfect golden, crispy snack. We love that this recipe is gluten-free and uses almost no oil.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are very versatile, and can be used as a finishing touch on salads, dips, and all sorts of entrees, or on their own as a quick, tasty snack. You can save time and clean-up energy by simply making them in the air fryer: They take just 20 minutes from start to finish. For an extra little kick, toss with chili powder, or for a pumpkin spice vibe, combine with dried cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove before air frying.
Brussels sprouts are continuing to enjoy a popularity spike, and while there are a million ways to enjoy them — from frying to roasting — they come out especially delicious in the air fryer. These Brussels sprouts are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and just involve slicing and trimming Brussels sprouts, tossing them in a bowl with some olive oil and your seasoning of choice, and heating in the air fryer for 15 minutes. While this recipe calls for pairing with a balsamic dressing, the possibilities are truly endless (and honestly, they taste fantastic with no dressing at all).
For anyone on a keto diet, this one’s for you. It’s a healthier, unbreaded, unfried version of the classic bar snack. And for those of us who aren’t on keto — or can’t even look at that much bacon — consider some stuffing alternatives. One great choice: this healthier crab dip, which would be delicious stuffed inside a jalapeño.
Buffalo cauliflower bites are a delicious plant-based variation on wings. This recipe calls for butter — which is a traditional component of buffalo sauce — but feel free to swap it out for a vegan butter or some avocado oil to keep things vegan (and a little healthier). Then just toss all the ingredients in a bowl and air fry for 15 minutes — it doesn’t get much more simple than that.
Okra gets a bad rap for having an unappealing, slimy texture — and we’re perfectly willing to admit that it’s earned that reputation when it’s stewed or steamed. However, when you pickle or fry this lantern-shaped little vegetable, you’ve got a magically different experience on your hands: It’s crispy and crunchy, with a mild, grassy flavor reminiscent of green bell pepper. Okra is naturally full of antioxidants that can help you fight inflammation, and this recipe boosts that inflammation-fighting power further by incorporating turmeric.
Sweet, crunchy, and full of fiber and polyphenols, apples are a fantastically healthy sweet treat — and in turn, apple chips are among our favorite air fryer snacks. This recipe is beyond simple: the only ingredients are thinly sliced apples, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. It all comes together in just 10 minutes — you can’t get much easier (and healthier) than that.
Chickpeas are a healthy, satisfying snack that are incredibly easy to carry with you — whether you’re on your way to work or you’re taking a long flight. This crispy air-fried version is simple to make and rich in fiber and protein. They’ll cook in the air fryer in just about 15 minutes, but you’ll want to check midway through and shake the basket so all those chickpeas get cooked evenly. We like to sprinkle them with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and cumin, but they’d also be great with a Cajun blend or spices evoking the flavors of shawarma.
If you’re trying to avoid traditional French fries but really want to hit that French fry craving, the absolute best substitute is also one of the most popular healthy air fryer snacks: sweet potato fries. Air-frying sweet potatoes avoids using tons of oil, and upgrades white potatoes to more nutrient-dense sweet potatoes. Just slice, season, and start air-frying for an easy snack that’s ready in less than 20 minutes.
This roasted almond recipe is a simple, vegan, low-carb snack — and a great way to make this super-healthy protein’s natural flavors pop. At its simplest, this healthy recipe requires just one ingredient — almonds — and can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, but it also lends itself to a ton of different flavor combinations. Consider tossing with tajin seasoning, rosemary and sea salt, or furikake.
Shishito peppers are one of our favorite appetizers, striking just the right balance between smoky and sweet — and every once in a while, you get a spicy one that really kicks things up. Just pop some shishito peppers into the air fryer with a bit of olive oil and sea salt, serve with a spritz of lemon, and enjoy. For a flavor twist, shake a little everything bagel seasoning over top, or drizzle with some Indonesian sambal.
Hard-boiled eggs have long been a favorite option for a quick, high-protein snack. However, they can be rather time-consuming to prepare, and when you’re relying on the traditional method, it’s easy to have them turn out less-than-perfect. Air frying is the simplest solution to making hard-boiled eggs quickly and without fuss. If you want to change up the flavor profile, swap out classic salt and pepper for za’atar or smoked sea salt.
If you’re craving a flavorful, crunchy chip, potatoes are not the only game in town: It’s time to break out beets for a colorful chip that has the same crisp and crunch — with more nutrition. Beets boast a long list of important micronutrients, including vitamin C, folate, fiber, and potassium. Slice the beets thin, and mix with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. After 20 minutes in the air fryer, you have a batch of beet chips ready to dip in guac or hummus.
Whether you want to enjoy edamame as a tasty appetizer or as a simple snack, roasted edamame is seriously easy to make in the air fryer: Just spray with some oil and toss with a bit of sea salt, then air fry for 8-10 minutes. This can even be done with a bag of frozen edamame without the defrosting step — just add a few minutes to the cooking time. To elevate the flavor a bit, you can toss them with a little soy sauce and some sesame seeds, and if you’re craving a bit of spice, add a touch of sriracha or gochujang, too.
Kale chips are another crunchy, tasty chip variety that’s easy to prepare and very satisfying. Kale is low-carb, low-calorie, and brimming with important nutrients like vitamins A and K, and it’s so easy to make. All you need is a few cups of rinsed, loosely-packed kale, a few teaspoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and whatever seasoning you most enjoy — we’re fans of garlic and nutritional yeast.
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