Whoever invented the air fryer probably did so looking around their oil-soaked kitchen in those dispirited moments after hosting a big game day bash. Sink teeming with dirty pots and pans, a river of canola snaking its way across the stovetop, dripping down to the linoleum floor below.
There’s got to be a better way…
There is. A good game day spread relies on the presence of at least some fried food—this is America after all—but frying can be a messy, not to mention, unhealthy affair. Enter the air fryer which uses super convection heat technology to achieve similar results as frying, where the outside of the food is baked to a crisp but done fast enough that the insides stay moist—with far less oil (if any).
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Plus, when you air fry everything is cooked in a (dishwasher safe) basket so there’s almost nothing to clean up after, and certainly no nasty oil reservoir to dispose of and that means more time to taunt your opponents or sulk over your own team’s loss.
From game-day classics like buffalo wings and french fries to a few less obvious but equally genius party snacks like empanadas and Japanese fried chicken, these are the best game-day air fryer snacks you can—and should—make on the biggest Sunday in sports.
Related Reading: The Best Air Fryer of 2020
These are classic game day food. Its wings, man. You gotta have wings. There are countless schools of thought on how to get the best wings: oven on high heat, low and slow, Crock-Pot. But don’t sleep on air frying for truly one of the moistest inside, crispy outside methods with very little mess and oil to worry about. Get the Air Fryer Chicken Wings recipe.
To get our buffalo fix without the meat we turn to cauliflower as we have so many times before. This popular recipe keeps things simple, especially if you’re using store-bought wing sauce. Just four ingredients and your vegetarian friends will be in hot “wing” heaven. Get the Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites recipe.
French fries are one of the world’s most perfect game day foods but you don’t see them at house parties very often. Unless said host operates a deep-fryer, good homemade french fries are pretty hard to pull off. That is until now. Air frying these beautiful sweet russets (always russets) not only means crispy and delicious fries but none of the oily mess. Get the Air Fryer French Fries recipe.
Just be conscious this recipe post has two versions: one deep-fried and one air fried. The key to this heavenly appetizer is finding a good Japanese seven spice seasoning (shichimi togarashi) and making or buying wasabi mayo for serving. Fresh lemon cuts through all the salt and spice when serving. Get the Air Fryer Japanese Fried Chicken recipe.
These guys are a hand-held home run (wait…no, touchdown?). Use either lean turkey, ground beef, chicken, beans, or even plant-based alternative meat for these pockets. The air fryer makes them all kinds of crispy without saturating them with oil. Get the Turkey Taco Empanada recipe.
Mini meatballs are a high-protein, low-carb snack you can make in your air fryer with no mess and far fewer calories than pan-frying. Some fresh herbs and tangy feta give these balls some fresh flavor. Serve on their own or with a creamy red pepper sauce. Get the Air Fryer Mini Meatballs recipe.
And don’t sleep on dessert for your game day spread. After all that salty and spicy, tongues will be craving a little sweet so hit them with these light and crispy churros with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Serve with melted Nutella or a homemade chocolate sauce. Get the Air Fryer Churros recipe.
Header image courtesy of Chowhound.