7 of the best savory snacks to make in the air fryer, according to culinary pros

  • Insider asked culinary experts for their favorite savory snacks to make in the air fryer.

  • Quick, lightly breaded snacks like green tomatoes and pork belly come together easily.

  • If you want a snack that you can make ahead of time and air-fry later, try stromboli pinwheels.

Home cooks aren't the only people who use the air fryer to whip up quick snacks.

Insider asked experts in the culinary field for their go-to savory snacks to make in an air fryer. Here are seven of their favorite creations.

Green tomatoes get perfectly crispy

Air-fried green tomatoes
Air-fried green tomatoes can be a tasty appetizer.Skyler Bouchard

Due to the air fryer's power, precision, and efficiency, culinary expert Skyler Bouchard of Dining With Skyler loves using the tool to make crispy green tomatoes.

To make them, she recommends salting the tomatoes to draw out the moisture 30 minutes prior to the breading process. Once they're patted dry, she coats them in a flour mixture, egg wash, and cornmeal and air-fries them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

"You can keep them in a 160- to 180-degree oven on a sheet pan until they're ready to serve for about 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving," Bouchard said.

Spiced nuts are the perfect easy snack

Meredith Laurence, creator of the blog Blue Jean Chef, makes spiced nuts in her air fryer. She coats pecans, cashews, and almonds with an egg white and a selection of spices, and air-fries them at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes.

She recommends stirring or tossing the nuts a couple of times during the cooking process to ensure that they toast evenly.

"These are addictive," Laurence said. "They make a perfect hostess gift too."

Air-fried pork belly is sure to hit the spot

Air-fried pork belly
If you're a little hungrier, try air-fried pork belly.Patrick Kong

Patrick Kong of Patty Plates said making pork belly in the air fryer is much easier than the typical time-consuming method to create this dish.

"Traditional Chinese roast pork belly usually requires hours of oven time and leaving the skin to dry overnight in the fridge," Kong said. "The air fryer can make this dish just as good as the original in only an hour."

Kong first pokes holes in the skin of the pork belly to help the fat render, puff up, and get super crispy. Then, he coats the meat in Shaoxing wine and hoisin sauce, adds some spices, and air-fries at 200 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Stromboli pinwheels are great for parties

If you want a dish that will impress, Laurence recommends stromboli pinwheels, which are like portable pizza bites. According to the chef, they require a little more elbow grease but the payoff is worth it.

She rolls pizza dough around cheese, salami, ham, and pepperoni to form a log then sprinkles it with oregano or Italian seasoning. Instead of air-frying right away, she places the log in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes, slices it into rolls, and then air-fries them until golden.

"The best part of this snack is that you can make it well in advance and store the individual pinwheels in a bag in your freezer," she told Insider. To reheat them, use your air fryer once more.

She recommends Stromboli pinwheels for a party or impromptu get-togethers.

Top your salads with crunchy potato croutons

Air-fried potato croutons
Air-fried potato croutons are a great salad topping.Skyler Bouchard

Bouchard loves making air-fried Parmesan potato croutons. She begins by evenly coating the potatoes in oil to ensure they stay crispy and moist and so the Parmesan can adhere to the potato.

Once the potatoes are coated in oil and cheese, she adds them to a foil-lined air-fryer basket, grates more Parmesan on top, and cooks them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until they're crispy all over.

If you want something a little heartier, air-fry popcorn chicken

Another of Kong's favorite air-fryer snacks is Taiwanese popcorn chicken. He said his cooking method "requires minimal cleanup" and "tastes amazing."

To make the popcorn chicken, he marinates the meat in a mixture of fermented bean curd, soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, and spices. Kong then coats the chicken in potato starch and ensures each piece of chicken is evenly coated with cooking spray, as it gets the batter light and crispy.

Kong air-fries the chicken starting at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes and finishes the dish with basil and dry spices.

Level up your snacks with charred shishito peppers

Laurence said charred shishito peppers pack a punch and offer big, flavorful results.

"I like to call them roulette peppers because eating them is like playing roulette – one in 10 is spicy, while the others are quite mild," Laurence said.

She coats the peppers in oil and air-fries them at 390 degrees for five minutes for a basic snack. The peppers can be eaten on their own or paired with coarse salt or lemon zest and feta.

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