Chicken is a staple in most households, and for good reason. It's not only versatile, but it's also packed with protein and other essential nutrients. One of the best ways to cook chicken is by baking it, and thanks to the invention of air fryers, it's now easier and healthier than ever before. In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about cooking chicken bakes in an air fryer, from easy recipes to cleaning tips and everything in between.
10 easy and healthy air fryer chicken bake recipes
When it comes to cooking chicken bakes in an air fryer, the possibilities are endless. Here are ten delicious and healthy recipes to get you started:
- Lemon and garlic chicken bake: marinate chicken in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Sweet and spicy chicken bake: coat chicken in a mixture of honey, mustard, hot sauce, and soy sauce. Air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Ranch chicken bake: mix together ranch seasoning, panko breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. Coat chicken and air fry for 12-15 minutes.
- Healthy quinoa chicken bake: cook quinoa, chicken, and broccoli in chicken broth. Top with cheese and air fry for 10-12 minutes.
- Hawaiian chicken bake: coat chicken in a mixture of pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Top with pineapple chunks and air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Garlic and herb chicken bake: mix together garlic powder, dried thyme, dried basil, and salt and pepper. Coat chicken and air fry for 12-15 minutes.
- Cajun chicken bake: coat chicken in a mixture of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Italian chicken bake: coat chicken in a mixture of Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. Air fry for 12-15 minutes.
- Buffalo chicken bake: coat chicken in hot sauce and panko breadcrumbs. Air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Blackened chicken bake: coat chicken in a mixture of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Air fry for 12-15 minutes.
Air fryers are a great way to cook chicken bakes because they use hot air to cook the food, which means you don't need to use as much oil as you would with traditional frying methods. This makes air fryer chicken bakes a healthier option for those who are watching their fat intake. Additionally, air fryers are easy to use and clean, making them a convenient kitchen appliance to have on hand.
How to make crispy chicken bakes in an air fryer
One of the biggest benefits of cooking chicken bakes in an air fryer is the ability to achieve a crispy and golden-brown exterior while keeping the interior juicy and moist. Here are some tips to make your chicken bakes extra crispy:
- Coat your chicken in breadcrumbs or a mixture of flour and cornstarch before air frying.
- Place your coated chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket to ensure even cooking.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before adding your chicken for optimum crispiness.
- Spray your chicken with cooking spray or olive oil before air frying to enhance the crispiness factor.
Another benefit of using an air fryer to make chicken bakes is that it is a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. Air fryers use hot air to cook the food, which means you can achieve the same crispy texture without the need for excess oil. This makes it a great option for those who are watching their calorie intake or trying to eat healthier.
Additionally, air fryers are incredibly versatile and can be used to cook a variety of different foods. From vegetables to fish, you can use your air fryer to create a range of delicious and healthy meals. This makes it a great investment for anyone who loves to cook and wants to experiment with new recipes.
Air fryer vs. oven: which is better for baking chicken?
While oven-baked chicken can be just as delicious and convenient, the air fryer has a few advantages. For starters, it's much quicker to preheat an air fryer than an oven, which means you can have dinner on the table faster. Air fryer chicken bakes also tend to come out crispier than oven-baked chicken since the hot air circulates around the food and removes moisture. Finally, the air fryer uses less oil than oven-baked chicken, making it a healthier option.
However, there are some downsides to using an air fryer for baking chicken. The size of the air fryer basket limits the amount of chicken you can cook at once, which can be a problem if you're feeding a large family or hosting a dinner party. Additionally, the air fryer can be noisy while in use, which may be a concern if you're trying to cook while others are sleeping or working nearby.
On the other hand, oven-baked chicken has its own advantages. You can cook larger quantities of chicken in the oven, making it a better option for feeding a crowd. Oven-baked chicken also tends to be more tender and juicy than air fryer chicken, since the oven's slower cooking process allows the chicken to retain more moisture. Finally, the oven is a more versatile appliance overall, allowing you to cook a wider variety of dishes than an air fryer.
The best seasoning blends for air fryer chicken bakes
One of the best things about cooking chicken bakes in an air fryer is the ability to experiment with different seasoning blends. Here are some of our favorite spice blends to try:
- Italian seasoning: a blend of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary
- Cajun seasoning: a blend of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
- Lemon pepper seasoning: a blend of lemon zest, black pepper, and salt
- Ginger sesame seasoning: a blend of sesame seeds, ginger, soy sauce, and honey
- Mexican seasoning: a blend of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and paprika
Tips for selecting the perfect chicken for your air fryer bake
When it comes to selecting the perfect chicken for your air fryer bake, there are a few things to keep in mind. Choose chicken breasts or thighs that are not too thick and are roughly the same size for even cooking. Also, make sure to pat your chicken dry with paper towels before coating and air frying to remove any excess moisture. Finally, try to use fresh chicken rather than frozen for better texture and flavor.
How long does it take to cook chicken in an air fryer?
The cooking time for chicken bakes in an air fryer can vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and the recipe you're using. As a general rule of thumb, boneless, skinless chicken breasts will take around 12-15 minutes to cook at 370 degrees Fahrenheit, while bone-in chicken thighs will take slightly longer at 18-20 minutes.
From frozen to fabulous: cooking chicken bakes in an air fryer
If you've forgotten to defrost your chicken, fear not - you can still cook it in your air fryer straight from the freezer. However, you'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, add around five minutes to the cooking time, and for bone-in chicken thighs, add 10-15 minutes.
Creative ways to serve your air fryer chicken bakes
Once you've mastered the art of cooking chicken bakes in your air fryer, the possibilities are endless when it comes to serving them up. You can pair them with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad. Or you can get creative and turn your chicken bakes into tacos or sandwiches. Leftovers can also be used in meal prep for the week.
Air fryer chicken bakes for meal prep: how to store and reheat
Air fryer chicken bakes are perfect for meal prep since they can be made in large batches and stored for later use. To store your chicken bakes, let them cool to room temperature, then place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, simply pop them back in the air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
Gluten-free and keto-friendly air fryer chicken bake recipes
For those following a gluten-free or keto diet, there are plenty of air fryer chicken bake recipes that fit the bill. Here are some of our favorites:
- Almond crusted chicken bake: coat chicken in almond flour and spices, then air fry for 12-15 minutes.
- Low-carb buffalo chicken bake: coat chicken in buffalo sauce and almond flour, then air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Keto broccoli cheese chicken bake: top chicken with broccoli florets and cheese, then air fry for 15-18 minutes.
- Gluten-free parmesan chicken bake: coat chicken in gluten-free breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, then air fry for 12-15 minutes.
How to clean your air fryer after making chicken bakes
Cleaning your air fryer after making chicken bakes is relatively simple. First, remove the accessories and wash them in warm soapy water or in the dishwasher. Then, wipe down the inside of the air fryer basket with a damp cloth or sponge. For stubborn stains, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub the interior. Finally, make sure to dry everything thoroughly before reassembling and storing your air fryer.
Troubleshooting common issues with air fryer chicken baking
While air fryers are generally easy to use, there are some common issues that can arise when cooking chicken bakes. If your chicken is coming out too dry, it may be overcooked, so try reducing the cooking time or temperature. If the breading isn't sticking to the chicken, make sure to pat the chicken dry and press the coating firmly onto the surface. Finally, if you're experiencing uneven cooking, try shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time to ensure all sides are exposed to the hot air.
Delicious side dishes to pair with your air fryer chicken bakes
No meal is complete without delicious sides to go along with your main course. Here are some tasty and healthy options to pair with your air fryer chicken bakes:
- Roasted vegetables: try roasting some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or sweet potatoes.
- Quinoa salad: toss some quinoa with chopped veggies, fresh herbs, and a light dressing.
- Cauliflower rice: sauté some cauliflower rice with garlic and herbs.
- Corn on the cob: grill or air fry some fresh corn on the cob for a sweet and juicy side dish.
- Cucumber and tomato salad: chop some cucumbers and tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
With these tips and recipes, you're well on your way to cooking delicious and healthy chicken bakes in your air fryer. So go ahead and get creative in the kitchen, and don't forget to share your favorite recipes with us!