Have an air fryer or thinking of getting one? If you have one, your air fryer can be your Thanksgiving hero! If you don't, what are you waiting for? An air fryer provides an extra cooking appliance to help you put a feast on your table, saving valuable oven and stovetop space for the Thanksgiving heavy hitters like turkey and pie.
Once you've cooked a few Thanksgiving recipes in your air fryer, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. So show your air fryer some love as you're planning this year's Thanksgiving menu. Include at least a few air fryer Thanksgiving recipes in your plans and let this miracle-working small appliance reward you with fast-cooking deliciousness. It will provide an assist not only on Thanksgiving day, but it's a whiz with all the leftovers too.
Tasty Thanksgiving Air Fryer Appetizer Recipes
The main course might be the focal point of Thanksgiving dinner, but don't overlook the importance of appetizers. Your guests are sure to enjoy a selection of air-fried nibbles and noshes while they're waiting for the main event.
Air Fryer Appetizer Sausages
Even if your stove and oven are maxed out, you can put your air fryer to work cooking up some bacon-wrapped sausages for your guests to nibble (or scarf) before the main meal. Simply wrap bacon around cocktail sausages and cook in a 360°F air fryer for half an hour. Open the air fryer after the first 20 minutes to flip the sausages, then continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
Air Fryer Stuffing Stuffed Jalapeños
Enlist your air fryer to help you prepare a super-Thanksgiving-y take on stuffed jalapeños. Simply halve lengthwise and de-seed some jalapeños (use the tip of a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and ribs), then spoon some of your already-cooked stuffing inside and top off with shredded cheese. Cook in a 370°F air fryer for six to eight minutes. You can serve this for Thanksgiving dinner or use this recipe to repurpose leftover stuffing after the big day.
Air Fryer Cranberry Baked Brie
Chances are you have some cranberry sauce chilling in the fridge. Pinch a little bit of it to whip up a tasty baked brie appetizer in your air fryer. Just slice a wheel of brie in half horizontally, drizzle cranberry sauce on one half, then place the other half on top of it. Finish it off by adding more cranberry sauce and chopped pecans or walnuts to the top of the second layer. Air fry at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Serve with crackers for a creamy Thanksgiving treat.
Easy Air Fryer Options for Thanksgiving Mains
Sure, you can't cook an entire turkey in an air fryer, but who says that's the only option for Thanksgiving? You might want to serve a different main course instead of - or in addition to - a full-sized turkey. For instance, you could cook a turkey in your oven but offer vegan and vegetarian guests a tofurky that you cook in your air fryer. It's up to the task.
Air Fryer Roast Turkey Breast
This miracle-working small appliance is just right for roasting a three- to four-pound turkey breast. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F. While it's heating, brush oil or melted butter on the outside of the turkey breast. Sprinkle with herbs and spices of your choice (such as rosemary and sage for a traditional taste or red pepper flakes for a spicy flair) along with salt and pepper. Cook for 7-10 minutes per pound, flipping halfway through. Use a meat thermometer to verify that it is done; it needs to reach 165°F.
Air Fryer Ham
Your air fryer is ideal for heating a small (up to four pounds) pre-cooked ham. Whether you have a spiral sliced ham or one that's uncut, it will heat to perfection in your air fryer. Just wrap it in foil and cook for 15-20 minutes per pound at 340°F. If you're using a glaze, brush it on before sealing the foil. Once you've reached the right time based on weight, open the foil, brush with more glaze, and return to the air fryer for five more minutes without sealing the foil.
Air Fryer Roast Chicken
Roast chicken is a delicious alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving, and it's easy as pie to roast chicken in an air fryer. Pat dry a whole chicken (three to four pounds), then simply spray or rub with olive oil and sprinkle it with your favorite poultry seasoning. Place in a 350°F air fryer, breast side down, and cook for 30 minutes. Open the air fryer and flip the chicken, then cook for another 25-30 minutes. It's done when a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165°F.
Spectacular Air Fried Thanksgiving Sides
Once the appetizers are done, your air fryer will be free for cooking up some scrumptious side dishes. After all, the more side dishes you have, the better Thanksgiving dinner is sure to be. Your hungry crowd of family and friends will love these air fryer Thanksgiving recipes for sides brimming with flavor.
Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes baked in an air fryer are a great alternative (or addition) to super-sugary sweet potato casserole. This is the easiest holiday side dish ever. Simply use a fork to poke several holes in the number of sweet potatoes you plan to cook, then place them in the air fryer basket. Cook at 370°F for 30-45 minutes. Time varies by size; start checking at 30 minutes to see if they are soft or if additional time is needed. Serve with butter, along with sugar and cinnamon.
Air Fryer Potato Wedges
Potato wedges are also a tasty Thanksgiving side dish to cook in your air fryer. Simply cut potatoes (any kind) into wedge-shaped chunks, brush them with oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley, and any other herbs or spices you want. Place the wedges in a single layer in your air fryer and cook at 400°F for 10 minutes. Check to verify if potatoes are soft before removing them; larger wedges may take a few more minutes.
Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
No Thanksgiving feast is complete without at least one corn dish. For a modern spin on traditional roasted corn on the cob, cook fresh ears of corn in your air fryer rather than in the oven or outdoors over an open fire. Rub or spray shucked ears of corn that have been cut to fit your air fryer with melted butter, avocado oil, or olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook at 370°F for around 15 minutes. You may need a bit more time, depending on the size of each ear of corn.
Air Fryer Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Even those who claim not to like brussels sprouts may gobble down these delightfully crispy, garlicky veggies just as fast as you can air fry them. Fortunately, it doesn't take long. Slice fresh brussels sprouts in half, put them in a bowl, and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder liberally over the top along with some salt and pepper, then toss until everything is well combined. Place the sprouts in your air fryer basket in a single layer and cook at 375°F for around 10 minutes. Shake basket and cook for five more minutes.
Air Fryer Green Beans
If you love fresh green beans, you're going to adore cooking them in your air fryer. Prep your green beans by washing them, snapping off the ends, and then patting them dry. Place the beans in a bowl and drizzle with olive or avocado oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss so the beans are lightly coated with oil, then put them in your air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 375°F for five minutes, then flip the beans and cook for another four to five minutes.
Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower
As a cool weather veggie, cauliflower makes a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Rather than putting it in a casserole, use your air fryer to cook up some flavor-packed crispy cauliflower. Start by cutting a head of cauliflower into florets and placing them in a bowl. Drizzle in some olive oil or avocado oil, along with a mixture of salt, pepper, and paprika. Toss to coat, then put the cauliflower in your preheated air fryer in a single layer. Cook at 380°F for 11-14 minutes.
Air Fryer Mixed Vegetables
No matter what else you're serving for Thanksgiving, it's always a good idea to include a simple side dish of peppers and onions that are dressed up for the holiday with the addition of cherry tomatoes. Your air fryer will make short work of cooking this yummy, goes-with-everything veggie mixture. Just cut up the peppers and onions and put them in a bowl with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, spray with olive oil, and toss. Cook in a 400°F air fryer for 12-15 minutes.
Sweet-as-Can-Be Thanksgiving Air Fryer Desserts
Air fryers aren't just for savory recipes. You can also whip up a variety of sweet treats in this handy kitchen gadget to add to the Thanksgiving dessert table or to serve alongside the other dishes for your Thanksgiving feast. Turn a few basic ingredients into amazingly sweet decadence with these easy recipe ideas.
Air Fryer Roasted Figs
Looking for a simple way to add a bit of elegance to your Thanksgiving spread? Cut some fresh figs in half and sprinkle a bit of sugar (or a combination of cinnamon and sugar) on the cut side. Place them in an air fryer that has been preheated to 400°F and cook for 40 minutes. Serve these indulgently delicious figs on their own or add them to a charcuterie board. If desired, drizzle honey on top for a bit of extra sweetness.
Air Fryer Roasted Bananas
Air fryer roasted bananas are a delightful gourmet delicacy that more than deserve a spot on your Thanksgiving table. For this decadently delicious dessert, simply peel some ripe (or even overripe) bananas, then slice them in half lengthways. Lightly spray or brush them with avocado oil or another cooking oil with a neutral flavor, then place them in your air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 375°F for four minutes, then flip and cook for another four minutes.
Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls
Don't have oven space to spare for cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving Day? That's okay; your air fryer makes it super-easy to prepare refrigerated cinnamon rolls from the supermarket. Simply place the cinnamon rolls in your air fryer basket in a single layer, then cook them at 350°F for 10 minutes. When you pull out the basket to test for doneness, your kitchen will suddenly become cinnamon-scented. If they need to cook longer, return to the air fryer for two minutes at a time until done.
Air Fryer Cinnamon Apples
Speaking of cinnamon, you can use your air fryer to whip up a batch of cinnamon apples. Core some apples and cut them into chunks. Place them in a bowl, then sprinkle cinnamon or apple pie spice on top and drizzle with oil. Toss until the apples are lightly coated, then air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes. These make a tasty dessert or side dish (think Cracker Barrel). You could even pack them inside a pre-baked pie crust to improvise an easy apple pie.
Amazing Air Fryer Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers
Not only is Thanksgiving dinner great - but so are the leftovers. Since there are always leftovers at Thanksgiving, it's prime time to put your air fryer to good use. It's super easy to reheat smallish plates of leftovers in your air fryer, but you can also use it to put together creative leftover combinations. Try these hacks to make leftovers taste amazing so you can keep on being thankful for Thanksgiving food all week.
- Pilgrim pie - Take out whatever meats and veggies you have left over and combine the ones you like in a small baking dish. Stir in some gravy or heavy cream, then top off with leftover mashed potatoes and heat in the air fryer.
- Cordon bleu - If you have leftover ham and either turkey or chicken, layer it with some sliced cheese and air fry it at 320°F for 10 minutes. It'll be warm, melty, and delicious.
- Stuffing balls - Form some leftover stuffing into hush puppy-like balls, mist with olive oil, and air fry for four minutes at 350°F. Flip them over and continue cooking for four more minutes.
- 'Tater nachos - Have some leftover sweet potatoes or potato wedges? Cut them into bite-size chunks and top with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Air fry for 10 minutes at 320°F. Top with sliced green onions and sour cream.
- Cheesy apples - If you're a fan of dishes that combine sweet and savory and you had some cinnamon apples left over, top them with sharp cheddar cheese and heat in the air fryer. Eat with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Cinnamon sugar twists - Roll out any extra pie dough and cut into long strips. Sprinkle both sides with cinnamon sugar, fold the strips in half, and twist. Air fry at 400°F for 7-10 minutes. Serve with caramel sauce or whipped cream for dipping.
Tips for Max Air Fryer Effectiveness
Having an extra appliance can save your bacon on turkey day. And since it's a special day and you just may be feeding a few guests (or a lot of them), you'll want to be sure that your air fryer game is on point. Air fryers are easy to use, but there is a bit of a learning curve, so you'll probably want to practice with it a time or two just to see how yours works instead of using it for the first ever on Thanksgiving day. So, when you're practicing before turkey day and when you're using it to feed the masses, make sure you get the most out of this handy dandy appliance.
- Don't overcrowd the basket. Overcrowding can prevent crisping, cause uneven heating, and lengthen cook times significantly. Air fryers cook with air, which needs to circulate around the food in order to be effective. Think about it like this: if you deep fry a clump of food in oil, the food gets browned on the outside of the clump and stays raw on the inside. The only way to prevent that is to leave lots of room in the deep fryer basket to allow the oil to circulate and surround the food. Substitute the air for oil, and the principle is the same in an air fryer. Circulation is critical for even cooking and crisping.
- Place food in an even layer on the bottom of the basket (not stacked). This may mean that you need to cook in batches.
- Use oil...not nonstick spray. Nonstick sprays in an air fryer result in sticky food. While sticky food isn't necessarily a bad thing (hello honey-glazed ham), you don't want most of your Thanksgiving foods to have the same texture as a movie theater floor.
- Don't preheat your air fryer unless a recipe tells you specifically that you should. Why? Because it could change your cook time, resulting in extra crispy (or perhaps extra char-y) results.
- Keep your air fryer away from the walls or anything that might melt, or your amazing Thanksgiving aromas may wind up smelling like melted tupperware.
- Shake the basket during cooking, just like you would with an oil fryer. Shaking redistributes the food in the basket, making space for the air to flow more effectively around it and allowing for a more even cook. Do this for veggies and other small bites, but not for something large like a whole chicken or turkey breast.
- Check food about two minutes before the suggested done time, and then check every minute thereafter to avoid overcooking.
Add Air Fryer Recipes to Your Thanksgiving Feast
Air fryers aren't just for cooking everyday dinners and making short work of heating up your leftovers. This tiny but mighty small appliance packs a powerful punch, even when it comes to cooking holiday meals. Once you add some air fryer Thanksgiving recipes to your holiday menu, you'll never want to face another turkey day without one. Be sure to clean your air fryer properly once Thanksgiving is done so it's ready to rock as soon as the next holiday celebration rolls around!