an air fryer in an article about easy cooking for college students
Illustration by Alex Suarez, Columbia College Chicago

11 Foods To Cook With Your Air Fryer This Semester

This compact, versatile kitchen appliance is perfect for college students, and these simple recipes make for much healthier alternatives to deep-fried foods.

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an air fryer in an article about easy cooking for college students
Illustration by Alex Suarez, Columbia College Chicago

This compact, versatile kitchen appliance is perfect for college students, and these simple recipes make for much healthier alternatives to deep-fried foods.

Air fryers have become a popular kitchen appliance in the past few years thanks to their compactness and versatility. This also makes them the perfect kitchen appliance for college students who may not have much counter space in their kitchens. Air-fried foods are also a healthier alternative to deep-fried foods, which many college students resort to eating in order to save money. However, investing in an air fryer can save you a lot of money in the long run and you may even spend less than you would when buying greasy fast food or frying food on your stove.

If you don’t already have an air fryer, invest in the Ninja AF101, which is currently $94.99 on Amazon. The Ninja AF101 can air fry with up to 75% less fat than traditional frying methods, making it a great option for healthier cooking. Some air fryers also double as toaster ovens, saving even more counter space. A great air fryer toaster oven to invest in is the Bella Pro Series Digital Air Fryer Oven, which is currently on sale at Best Buy for $129.99. The Bella Pro Series provides a versatile cooking experience, as it can air fry, roast, broil, bake and reheat your favorite meals. You can make hundreds of delicious meals with your air fryer, and if you’re not sure what to cook first, here are 10 foods that are perfect for college students on a budget.

1. Chicken

You can cook almost any variation of chicken in your air fryer. Whether you’re in the mood for chicken tenders, chicken wings or a chicken breast, your air fryer can easily get the job done. Check out this list of 20 chicken recipes to get you started!

2. Fries

Fries are probably one of the easiest foods to cook in your air fryer. Air frying frozen fries or homemade fries is much cheaper than buying fries from a fast-food restaurant. Try out this recipe for the best French fries.

3. Pizza

Many air fryers can cook a pizza, although you have to be mindful of the size. You can either buy a frozen personal-size pizza, such as DiGiorno’s four cheese frozen personal pizza, or you can make one from scratch to get the perfectly sized pizza for your compact kitchen appliance.

4. Meatballs

If you like cooking meatballs to go with your weeknight pasta dinner, check out this recipe for juicy meatballs. Air frying your meatballs is not only healthier, but they will cook in almost the exact time you take to boil your pasta!

5. Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is another quick and easy food to cook in your air fryer. It can be the perfect addition to your pasta and meatballs dinner, or you can eat it on its own. This simple recipe for garlic bread allows you to customize your bread to your own taste, so you can add as much garlic or cheese as you’d like.

6. Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are perfect as an appetizer, side dish or even a main dish. Air frying your potatoes is much faster than baking them in the oven, and you’ll get the same results — if not better! Try out this recipe for crisp and tender baked potatoes.

7. Shrimp

Another easy food to cook is shrimp. You can air fry this nutritious meal in as little as eight minutes, making it perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. This recipe will give you plump, juicy and perfectly seasoned air-fried shrimp.

8. Hot Pockets

Cooking Hot Pockets in an air fryer instead of the microwave is not only healthier but tastes better too. If you’ve been struggling to make the perfect Hot Pocket, your air fryer is the answer you’ve been searching for. This recipe will give you perfect Hot Pockets that are crispy on the outside but also hot and cheesy on the inside.

9. Breakfast Burritos

Lunch and dinner aren’t the only meals that your air fryer is good for. Breakfast burritos are just one of the many breakfast foods you can make. You can fill a tortilla with your favorite breakfast ingredients then put it in your air fryer for the perfect crispy breakfast burrito.

10. French Toast

Another breakfast food to add to your menu is French toast. French toast is easy to prepare, and the air fryer makes it quick to cook. To make this delicious breakfast treat, try out this recipe for French toast sticks.

11. Doughnut Holes

Doughnut holes aren’t the healthiest food to begin with, but making them in your air fryer can at least cut off a few calories. Whether you want to eat them for breakfast or dessert, these homemade doughnut holes are a delicious treat that you won’t be able to get enough of.

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Cassandra Jenkins

Temple University
Journalism

Hi! My name is Cassandra and I’m a senior journalism major at Temple University. I love reading, writing and playing video games.

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