The secret to the fast food in the air fryer – without the greasy fingers

You can easily indulge in your favourite foods by cooking at home and opting for fresher ingredients instead of ordering out (Getty)
You can easily indulge in your favourite foods by cooking at home and opting for fresher ingredients instead of ordering out (Getty)

Fried chicken is a favourite cheat day treat, but for those looking to indulge without guilt, an air fryer is your perfect solution.

From spicing up your chicken wings to achieving the perfect crisp on your veggie fries, I’ve got the ultimate advice on creating that crispy, fried texture without the grease.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. You can easily indulge in your favourite foods by cooking at home and opting for fresher ingredients instead of ordering out.

And one of the best things about an air fryer is that you can still whip up delicious-tasting food without the need for deep frying.

Here’s my top tips and recipes for creating the best-tasting fried chicken and fast food alternatives.

Pimp your wings

The secret to achieving great-tasting chicken wings is to marinate your wings a few hours beforehand. Experiment with different flavours such as soy sauce, honey and garlic. Not only will this add flavour, but also make your wings nice and tender.

If you fancy a saucy wing, wait until after you’ve cooked your chicken until you toss them in your coating. Get creative with your glazes, consider a Korean gochujang or a garlic and parmesan topping.

Add a crunchy coating

Add an extra layer of crunch to your chicken wings by coating them with crushed nuts, some panko breadcrumbs or even some crushed pretzels before cooking. Mixing these with a bit of flour and seasoning will elevate the taste that little bit further.

Make your own sauce

Sauces are a must when it comes to eating your favourite fast foods. But when trying to opt for healthier options, they can be your biggest enemy. Pre-bought sauces are often very high in salt and sugar.

Try making your sauces with fresh ingredients such as onions and garlic, adding natural sweeteners such as honey and swapping the cream or butter for a more healthy fat such as olive oil or Greek yoghurt.

Swap your fries for veggies

You can still achieve that deliciously crispy texture of fries by using sweet potatoes or other root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips as a healthier option. Don’t forget to still add your favourite seasonings – try Cajun spice for an extra kick.

Soaking the cut potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes will help remove the excess starch. Make sure to pat them dry thoroughly before cooking to ensure the ultimate crispiness.

Martin’s top fast food air fryer treats

Air fryer spicy Thai chicken wings


Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 18 mins

Serves: 4


4 cloves of garlic

6 shallots

3 red chilli peppers

1 tsp of turmeric powder

20g of galangal

1 tbsp of shallot oil

740g of chicken wings

2 tbsp of fish sauce

2 tbsp of sugar

2 tbsp of rice flour


1. Blend the garlic, shallots, red chillis, turmeric powder, galangal and shallot oil to a paste. Combine chicken wings with the fish sauce, sugar and blended spice paste and leave to marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Add rice flour just before frying.

2. Drain excess marinade from the from the chicken wings. Place the chicken wings in the basket and slide the basket into the air fryer. Start the device at 200C for 18 minutes.

3. Serve the roasted spicy Thai chicken wings with cucumber slices or veggie salad.

Air fryer crispy chicken tenders


Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 16 mins

Serves: 4


400g of chicken tenders (mini fillets)

½ tsp of salt

2 pinches of pepper, ground

40g of all-purpose flour

2 eggs

100g of breadcrumbs

1 tbsp of olive oil


1. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

2. Put the flour in a bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to a third bowl.

3. Coat the chicken tenders with flour on all sides, dip them in beaten eggs and then cover with breadcrumbs. Brush or spray with oil.

4. Arrange the breaded chicken tenders in a single layer in the basket and slide it into the air fryer. Start the device at 180 degrees for 16 minutes.

5. Remove from the device and serve.

Air fryer sweet potato fries


Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 17 mins

Serves: 4


750g of sweet potatoes

2 tbsp of cornstarch

3 tbsp of canola oil

120g of Greek yoghurt

2 pinches of curry powder

2 pinches of salt


1. Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. Cut them into about 1cm thick fries.

2. Soak the sweet potato fries in water for 30 minutes.

3. Once soaked, drain the sweet potato fries well and pat them dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Put them into a bowl.

4. Mix the cornstarch with canola oil and add it to the bowl with the sweet potato fries. Mix well to coat the fries evenly with the starch mixture.

5. Arrange the coated fries in an even layer in the air fryer basket and slide into the air fryer. Start the device at 160 degrees for 10 minutes.

6. Open the air fryer basket and shake the fires well. Restart the device at 180 degrees for 7 minutes.

7. In the meantime, prepare the dip by mixing the Greek yoghurt, curry powder and salt.

8. Once air frying is done, serve the crunchy sweet potato fries with the curry yoghurt dip on the side

Air fryer smash burger taco


Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 9 mins

Serves: 2


200g of ground turkey

4 soft taco tortillas

2 pinches of salt

50g of pickles

2 tbsp of Greek yoghurt

2 tsp of ketchup

½ tsp of mustard

3 slices of cheddar cheese

30g of iceberg lettuce

1 tomato


1. Divide the ground turkey into four equal portions. Place each portion on a tortilla and press to evenly flatten the meat out to the edges, creating a thin layer. Season with salt.

2. Place the tortillas into the basket and slide into the air fryer. Start the device at 190C for 9 minutes

3. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Finely chop the pickles and combine them with Greek yoghurt, ketchup and mustard. Mix well.

4. Wash and finely slice the lettuce. Wash and slice the tomato.

5. Once baked, place one cheddar cheese slice on top of each taco, close the air fryer and let it sit in a turned-off device for about 1 minute or until the cheese metals. Remove the tacos from the device, top them with lettuce, tomato and sauce and serve.

Cajun chicken avocado burger

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 2


1 red onion, small

240g of chicken breasts

1 avocado

1 tsp of cajun seasoning mix

1 tbsp of lime juice

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of mayonnaise

2 tbsp of yoghurt, low-fat

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of pepper

2 burger buns

1 onion, pickled


1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Mince the chicken in a food processor. Halve, destone the avocado and scoop out the avocado flesh. Cut the avocado in 1cm cubes.

2. In a bowl, mix the chopped onion, minced chicken and avocado with Cajun spices. Form a patty for each serving with your hands.

3. Coat the patties with olive oil and place them in the basket of the air fryer and fry them at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Mic lime with olive oil, mayonnaise and yoghurt. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Assemble the burger buns with lettuce, sauce the patty and pickled onion and enjoy.