Picture this. You’ve had a long, hard day at work. You’ve picked up the kids from school, taken them to their after-school activities and you're finally pulling into your driveway. The kids are grumbling for dinner and as you unlock your door and walk into your house, the realization hits you that you didn't take anything out of the freezer for dinner.
It’s a scenario that every parent will encounter once in a while. In our busy lives, it’s impossible to remember everything all the time. If this scenario happens to you, and it will, you have a few options to consider. You can pick up the phone and order something for dinner. You can take something out of the freezer and wait for it to defrost. Or, if you have an air fryer, you can take some of that food out of the freezer and have it cooking in a matter of minutes.
We all know air fryers are convenient and make it possible to have dinner on the table in a short amount of time. What you may not know, is that it is possible to cook frozen food in an air fryer, without waiting for it to defrost.
Why Cook Frozen Food In an Air Fryer?
When you have an air fryer in your home, you don’t need to fear the unexpected as long as you have certain foods in your freezer. Whether you have hungry kids screaming for food, or you have unexpected guests drop-in, you can have something ready to eat in a short amount of time.
Many foods in the freezer section of the supermarket are perfect for cooking in an air fryer. Things like frozen french fries, chicken nuggets, buffalo wings, or mini pizzas can be cooked up in 20 minutes or less. Perfect for when the kids need something quick and easy. There are also a variety of adult foods in the freezer section that are perfect for cooking in an air fryer and can be cooked from frozen. They include things like crumbed shrimp, spring rolls, mini quiches and dumplings. All of these foods go great with drinks and you can put a variety of them in your air fryer and really impress your guests.
Can You Cook Frozen Food In An Air Fryer From Scratch?
Not everyone likes the ready to cook, packaged food from the freezer section, but you can still use your air fryer for cooking frozen food from scratch. Here are some foods that are simple to cook, even if you did just take them out of the freezer.
Steak – It’s always best to defrost things like steak before cooking it in an air fryer, but if you simply can’t wait for the steak to come to room temperature, cooking the perfect steak from frozen in an air fryer takes a few simple steps. Place your steak or steaks in your air fryer, making sure they don’t overlap. Cook them for 5 – 10 minutes at a lower temperature before increasing the heat to finish cooking them. This same principle applies to many other frozen meats like chicken, pork and even fish and seafood.
Vegetables – When you want to cook frozen veggies, place them in the basket of your air fryer and season them as you usually would. Set the time and temperature. To ensure they cook through, without burning, check them after 10 minutes of cooking. Give the basket a bit of a shake and continue cooking, checking every few minutes until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.
Which Are The Best Frozen Foods To Cook In An Air Fryer?
Cooking frozen food in an air fryer is just as convenient as cooking them in a microwave oven with one significant difference. The food will taste better and have a crispy texture when cooked in an air fryer as opposed to the soggy texture you will get when the same food is cooked in a microwave.
If you have kids who are picky eaters, an air fryer can be your best friend in the kitchen. Those quick snacks from the freezer section can be cooked quickly in an air fryer. Things like frozen pizzas, crumbed chicken, fish or even mozzarella bites can be cooked faster in an air fryer, but without the greasiness you’d get from cooking the same foods in a deep fryer. The trick is to keep an eye on the food while it is cooking, making sure you check on it every few minutes and giving the basket a bit of a shake.
Many foods that are wrapped in pastry can also be cooked in an air fryer. Things like burritos, chimichangas, pizza pockets, etc., are quick and easy in an air fryer. To ensure they cook all the way through, wrap them in aluminum foil and cook for 5 – 10 minutes. You can then remove the foil and continue cooking them for a further 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the food and the fillings.
Don’t Overlook Leftovers
Many people like to spend one day on the weekend cooking large amounts of food before packing them into portioned containers and freezing them. Some people also like to freeze their leftovers so they can reheat them on days when time isn't on their side. Reheating frozen leftovers is a breeze in an air fryer. Some can be placed directly in the basket, while with others, you may need to put them in the air fryer's bowl to reheat. Either way, if you save your leftovers or cook meals for the week on your day off, you'll always be able to give your family home-cooked meals by simply reheating them in your air fryer.
Reheating food in an air fryer will take some practice. The instruction manuals are full of useful information, but they don’t usually take homecooked, frozen meals into account. Take it slow and set your air fryer at a slightly lower temperature and check it every five minutes. Once you get the hang of reheating your own special brand of frozen dinners, you’ll be able to set one time and temperature and let your air fryer do the rest.
Frozen Air Fryer Desserts
Who doesn’t love to finish a meal with something sweet? Dessert is the part of the meal most people look forward to. Ice cream is an ultimate go-to dessert, but it's not something you want to eat every day and certainly not in the middle of winter. That's when you want a sweet, comforting, warm dessert. The freezer section of your supermarket has an endless variety of frozen desserts that can be reheated or cooked in your air fryer. They include things like frozen donuts, fruit pies and other delicious pastries. You can also make large batches of these at home and freeze them until you need them. Cookies are also super easy to make and you can freeze your cookies on a single sheet of cling film and only bake the amount you need … or want.
Fresh/Frozen Baked Goods For Breakfast
Breakfast during the week is usually a rushed affair for most people, with some skipping the morning meal or grabbing something on the way to work. Weekends are a different story though. Why not pull out all the stops and do something special on the weekend? You can use your air fryer to cook almost all of the components for an exceptional breakfast. Bacon, eggs and sausages are a definite crowd-pleaser, but you may want to start with the ultimate breakfast comfort food – oatmeal. There are many recipes for cooking oatmeal in an air fryer and they are all delicious.
No breakfast is complete without bread. It can be plain old toast, but you probably have enough of that during the week. Weekend breakfasts are for things like bagels and Danish pastries can be cooked to perfection in an air fryer. All you need to do is place them in the basket at 250°F for about 5 minutes. When this time passes, you should check your bagels or Danish pastries to see if they have defrosted and either finish them off in the air fryer or take them out and serve them. If you like grilled cheese, slice your bagels in half. Cover them with cheese and place them back in the basket of your air fryer until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Air fryers have become a top modern convenience for the family kitchen. Not only can you cook quick delicious meals from a variety of fresh ingredients, you can also cook a variety of snacks and meals from frozen foods. When you can cook food from frozen, you can be sure you can whip up tasty snacks, delicious meals and fabulous desserts without planning ahead. Use your air fryer to cook your favorite frozen foods when you or the kids need quick, tasty meals or impress unexpected guests with a platter of freshly cooked food straight from your freezer.