We all love the convenience of takeout and delivery after a long day. But if you're trying to cook at home more to save money or eat healthier, skipping the takeout temptation can be tough! That's why air fryer ovens are such a game-changer for home cooks. These popular appliances can recreate many crispy, crunchy restaurant favorites with less oil and calories.
Keep reading to learn why making takeout swaps at home saves you money and how to get the best results. I’ll also share some of the most popular restaurant foods you can easily air fry for delicious yet budget-friendly meals.
The Benefits of Cooking Takeout Favorites at Home
Cooking at home more often can yield some great benefits for your wallet and your health:
- Saves money - Cooking at home costs a fraction of takeout and delivery, which really adds up over time. Air frying uses inexpensive ingredients you likely already have on hand.
- Healthier versions - Takeout is often loaded with extra oil, salt, and calories. Air frying uses little or no oil, and you control the ingredients.
- Customize to taste - Don't like certain veggies or want extra spice? Cook to suit your preferences.
- Fun activity - Turn cooking into quality time with others or relaxing “me time.”
- Learn new skills - Expand your cooking abilities and air frying technique.
Popular Takeout Favorites to Make in an Air Fryer Oven
The air fryer oven lets you recreate that crispy crunch you love from fried foods without all the oil. Here are some favorite restaurant-style meals and snacks to air fry at home:
- Chicken wings - Get perfectly crispy wings with juicy, tender insides. Cut wings into drumettes and flats. Toss in olive oil, spices, and baking powder. Air fry at 400°F for 18-22 minutes, flipping halfway, until browned and crispy. Toss in your favorite wing sauce.
- French fries - Fry up fresh or frozen fries with just a mist of oil for crispness. Cut fresh potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch fries. Rinse and dry completely. Toss fries with a tablespoon of oil. Air fry at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, shaking basket halfway through.
- Eggrolls - Crunchy wrappers and tender fillings, no deep frying needed. Wrap filled eggroll skins tightly. Brush with oil before air frying. Cook at 375°F for 10-12 minutes until browned and crisp, turning halfway.
- Chicken nuggets - Satisfy kid cravings with homemade nuggets. Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, coat in breadcrumbs or panko, and mist with oil. Air fry at 375°F for 8-10 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Serve with favorite dipping sauces.
- Fajitas or burritos - Quickly cook sliced protein and veggies for easy Mexican dishes. Toss chicken or steak strips with sliced peppers and onions in oil and fajita seasoning. Air fry at 400°F for 8-12 minutes until chicken is cooked through and veggies tender-crisp. Wrap in tortillas.
- Pizza - Top individual pizzas and crisp up the crust nicely. Prepare small pizza crusts with sauce and toppings. Air fry at 375°F for 6-10 minutes until hot and crust is crispy.
Tips for Adapting Takeout Classics to the Air Fryer Oven
Recreating your favorite restaurant foods at home takes a bit of experimentation. Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Adjust cook times from deep frying. Air frying takes 10-15 minutes at 400°F for many foods.
- Use a small amount of oil to help foods get crispy in the air fryer vs. deep in oil.
- Preheat air fryer oven properly before cooking for best texture and browning.
- Nonstick sprays or liners can reduce sticking if needed.
- Cut ingredients to uniform size for even air frying.
The results are worth the small effort - crispier and healthier versions of dishes you'd normally order in or get for takeout.
Next time you have a craving for wings, fries, eggrolls or other favorites, give air frying a try. You'll save money and may even discover you like these homemade versions better. Air frying makes it easy to cut down the takeout budget and have fun cooking at home.