We have to admit that when it comes to game day, sometimes we’re more excited about the food than the teams playing. After all, it’s the perfect reason to serve up some irresistible appetizers. And whether we’re hosting the party or bringing along a treat to a tailgate, we turn to our own all-star — the air fryer — to whip up bar-food favorites. We love how it uses a lot less oil than deep frying, plus cooks up food super-fast with minimal mess. That’s why we tallied up our best recipes for air-fryer appetizers to bring the ultimate flavor at your next gathering. Keep scrolling and get ready to score rave reviews!
3 tips for mastering the air fryer
The air fryer makes it easy to cook up crispy, golden foods without lots of oil or messy splatters. And for best results, here are our favorite tricks:
1. Pick the best cooking spray.
While coating your air-fryer basket with cooking spray helps prevent food from sticking, certain oils with lower smoke points can cause burning. The save: Simply opt for a cooking spray with a higher smoke point, such as avocado oil. It can withstand the heat of air-frying to crisp up food without the messy aftermath.
2. Shake this way for even crisping.
For air-fryer foods that mimic your deep-fried go-to’s, it’s important to shake the basket during cooking to prevent uneven browning and a soggy texture. Simply pull out the basket periodically during cooking and shake to gently toss the food, distributing it so each piece is exposed to optimal heat.
3. Clean up sticky messes in a jiffy.
Forget stressing about foods sticking to the basket — silicone perforated liners act as a nonstick surface, plus their holes allow the heat to surround the food for quicker cooking. Another option: Line the bottom of the air fryer with aluminum foil before cooking. Once your food is done and the air fryer has cooled, remove the foil and toss. (Click through for more tricks to clean an air fryer fast.)
15 air-fryer appetizers guaranteed to wow
Whether you’re looking for game-day appetizers, a movie-night treat or a tasty way to make any day more fun, these air-fryer recipes are just the ticket. And for even more bites, click through for air-fryer snacks.
1. Air-Fried Ravioli
These squares — a St. Louis favorite — have double the cheese for triple the fun.
2. Cheesy Rice Balls
We double-coated these delicious bites in a mixture of breadcrumbs and crushed cornflakes for extra crunch.
3. Sweet Potato “Fries”
These spiced spuds pair perfectly with our lime-kissed dipping sauce.
4. Pretzel Nuggets
These delights prep up quickly, thanks to store-bought dough — we love ‘em with cheese dip, but you can also set out your favorite mustards. (Click through for an easy recipe for homemade cheesy pretzel dip.)
5. Pigs in a Blanket
These 4-ingredient wow-itizers are a cinch to wrap up with prepared crescent dough sheets.
6. Air-Fried Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffing mix and shredded fontina add richness to these tasty gems.
7. Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños
You can prep these cheesy-good bites ahead and store covered in the fridge until ready to make. (For more bacon-y goodness, check out this air-fryer recipe for bacon-wrapped hot dogs.)
8. Crouton-Crusted Zucchini Sticks
These low-carb veggie “fries” get their crisp coating from crushed-up garlic and butter croutons.
9. Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Our creamy buttermilk-blue cheese dipping sauce is the perfect cool complement to these kicked-up nuggets.
10. Air-Fried Avocado Wedges
A bit of Parmesan in the coating is the secret to achieving irresistible nutty flavor in these heart-healthy bites.
11. Parmesan Kale Chips
Lemon zest adds zing to these crunchy, good-for-you snacks that speed to the table in just 15 minutes.
12. Turkey Burger Sliders
Our easy from-scratch Thousand Island dressing can be made up to a week ahead — mix up a double batch to use as a condiment on sandwiches or for a tangy dressing for salads.
13. Air-Fried Veggie Spring Rolls
Convenient coleslaw mix makes it a snap to roll up these crunchy bites of mmm.
14. Bow-Tie Pasta Chips
We gave these pasta chips Italian flair with an easy spice mix — these would also be delicious tossed in Ranch seasoning.
15. Air-Fried Mozzarella Balls
Freezing the cheese after breading ensures these gems turn out with the melt-in-your-mouth texture everyone craves.
For more tempting appetizers perfect for a crowd, check out the stories below: