If you’re at all like me, then you may have first cringed at the idea of using an air fryer. Especially when you can cook everything you need in your perfectly capable oven.
But after trying an air fryer, you realised just how easy it was to use. Heck, some even come with Wi-Fi capabilities (like this COSORI air fryer) that allow you to fry from the comfort of your sofa. And to top it all off, it produces amazingly crispy food that is surprisingly healthy.
This amazing kitchen gadget has gotten us all a little obsessed but we are also a little tired of only using it to cook healthy french fries. I love french fries but they can get pretty boring when you eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
That is why I went on the search for exciting vegan air fryer recipes that I am now happy to share with you!
Crispy air-fried tofu
It wouldn’t be a vegan recipe guide without any mention of tofu! It turns out that using an air fryer to cook tofu delivers some of the most satisfyingly crispy results with much less oil than you would usually have to use when frying or baking it.
This particular recipe uses only 1/2 tsp of oil and the tofu still ends up amazingly crisp on the outside with a fluffy inside, hurrah!
The best bit is that it only takes 10 minutes to cook. Once finished, you can serve it with some vegan mayonnaise or add it to a dish like this Vegan Thai Green Curry. Feel free to change the flavourings to suit whatever you are cooking it with.
Vegan air fryer granola
Homemade granola is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I could eat bowls of the stuff with coconut yoghurt. Thankfully, this healthier air fryer granola means I can eat large quantities of the stuff with much less of the guilt.
It is sweetened using maple syrup and brown rice syrup which help the granola to form crunchy clusters once cooked.
Having cooked granola in the oven, I must say that this method is a lot simpler and easier to pull off. I have burnt granola in the oven more times than you can imagine.
Air fryer vegan chocolate courgette cake
You’re probably reading this thinking, chocolate cake, in an air fryer?! I know, I was a little surprised at first, but it really does work. Although you will definitely need the right kind of air fryer to pull this off, with a large enough tray capacity and a baking function, like the Ninja Air Fryer.
The second surprise comes as soon as you see courgette written on the ingredients list. But trust me when I say that vegetables do work in cakes (like in these vegan carrot cake muffins)! It helps add moisture as well as handy hidden nutrients to the bake.
Air fryer buffalo cauliflower
I like many others used to hate cauliflower. I was put off after eating a few too many soggy cauliflower cheese dishes as a kid. But in more recent years I discovered different ways of cooking it, my favourite being to roast it in loads of spices and oil. It isn’t the healthiest, but oh my is it tasty.
That is why I absolutely love this buffalo cauliflower recipe. It delivers delightfully crispy cauliflower that is cooked in a lot less oil than what I would use if baking it in the oven.
The spices are also spot on, but you can change these up to suit whatever you are cooking them with. For instance, if you want to add them to a vegan korma sauce, add some little curry powder spicing instead.
Healthy vegan onion rings
I bet you never thought you’d see the words ‘healthy’ and ‘onion rings’ in the same sentence, but here we are. All thanks to the mighty air fryer!
Amazingly, this vegan recipe uses absolutely no oil to create these crispy rings of oniony goodness. It consists of a plant-based milk batter which is coated in a panko breadcrumb outer. There is even an option to make it gluten-free using chickpeas. Genius!
Air fryer kale chips
It wouldn’t be a list of plant-based recipes without some mention of kale chips. This healthier variation is just as crispy and satisfying but also much easier to pull off than when you cook them in the oven.
If you’ve ever made kale chips in the oven, you’ll understand the pain of spreading out the kale evenly in a single layer across a baking tray. It is a real faff and you only end up with a few handfuls of crispy kale to snack on at the end of it.
This air fryer recipe is much simpler. You don’t need to place them in a single layer, you just need to give the basket a shake a few times during the cooking process. And there you have it, wonderfully crispy kale chips.
Easy air fryer hasselback potatoes
If you’ve never had a hasselback potato before then take this as a sign that you need to try them! They are basically a hybrid of crispy roast potatoes and french fries. Before cooking the potato you create loads of slices from the top to the bottom of the potato so that when they cook the slices go really nice and crispy.
These are lightly brushed with oil or vegan butter and placed inside the air fryer for about 30-40 minutes. Serve them up with your Sunday roast dinner or this delicious vegan beef wellington.
Air fryer frozen sweet potato fries
How many times have you bought a bag of frozen sweet potato fries and cooked them in the oven only for them to stay all wet and floppy or to go as solid as a rock? It has happened to me countless times and it is always so disappointing.
That is where this handy air fryer hack comes in. By cooking them in your air fryer, they go lovely and crispy on the outside and stay really soft a chewy on the inside. Meaning you can elevate those shop-bought sweet potato fries to restaurant quality!
Air fryer chocolate chip cookies
I know what you are thinking, you can’t cook cookies in an air fryer. But think again, because it is very possible! This particular recipe only takes 15 minutes to cook, so you’ll find yourself in cookie heaven in no time at all.
If you have a small air fryer, make sure to cook these in small batches so that the cookies have enough space to grow while cooking!
Easy vegan air fryer cinnamon rolls
Okay, you may be expecting all of the recipes listed here to be nutritious and healthy. But just because you can make healthy fried food using an air fryer, it doesn’t mean that everything you cook is going to be made using healthy ingredients. So, for those days where you need a whole load of sugar, this is the recipe for you!
These vegan air fryer cinnamon rolls are really delicious and actually quite simple to make! Plus you can let the shaped dough rise in the air fryer pot before baking them, meaning you’ll have a lot less washing up to do at the end.
Air fryer sweet potato and kale calzones
These little pizza pockets from Forks Over Knives are wonderfully cheesy (using vegan cheese alternatives) and flaky. The dough cooks to absolute perfection in the air fryer! Just be careful when you take a bite into these after cooking, since they really hold in the heat.
Air fryer vegan cornbread muffins
Some of my British readers may not know what cornbread is, but I’m sure you’ll be happy to make this new discovery! They are an American comfort food made using yellow corn meal and are usually served with a big bowl of chilli, soup, or a stew.
These are completely oil-free and really easy to make. They take about 15 minutes to make in total, meaning they can easily be baked whilst you are cooking your vegan chilli on the stovetop.
Easy air fryer acorn squash
This acorn squash dish could quite easily be used as the centrepiece for your next dinner party or it can be served with some roast potatoes and gravy for your Sunday roast dinner.
It is glazed with maple syrup which really complements the nutty flavour of this squash. Cooking it in the air fryer helps to maintain the moisture inside of the squash whilst also adding a really lovely golden colour to the outside.
Air fryer vegan rolled tacos
This recipe for air fryer tacos shows just how easy it is to create delicious vegan Mexican food. Using corn tortillas, you fill them up before rolling them into little tubes which are then baked inside the air fryer.
You can get inventive with your fillings or even use leftovers!
Crispy air-fried falafel
I usually find making my own falafel to be an absolute faff, but this recipe works like an absolute charm. They are really easy to form into balls and they maintain their shape well during the cooking process.
By air frying them, you get to keep a lot of the moisture inside the mix whilst also creating a crisp outer layer.
Air fryer oyster mushrooms
If you’ve never tried fried oyster mushrooms before, then you really must! With this air fryer recipe, you can eat them quite regularly. Try serving them with a side of vegan mayonnaise or even layer them up inside a burger bun to create a vegan ‘chicken‘ burger.
This recipe uses a vegan buttermilk batter (try out my vegan buttermilk pancakes) which is then coated with a seasoned flour mix. You’ll be amazed at how similar this is to eating battered chicken.
Vegan air fryer empanadas
If you are looking for a more technical recipe challenge then you’ll really enjoy these empanadas. You will be making the corn dough from scratch and filling it with a delicious vegetable mix.
They are lightly brushed with oil before being cooked in the air fryer. They retain their shape well and go really crispy, much crispier than if you were to cook them in the oven!
Air fryer veggie burgers
You may assume that making your own burgers from scratch will require a lot of chopping and careful frying (who else has had veggie burgers fall apart in their frying pan?), but this recipe is so simple to make!
It uses a lot of cupboard ingredients and requires zero chopping, just some mixing together of ingredients. They are then fried in the air fryer, which is a lot easier to do than in a frying pan.
Frequently asked questions
Here are my answers to all your FAQs about air fryers.
Are air fryers good for vegans?
Air fryers are a really useful piece of kitchen equipment for vegans as they can help you to create many tasty dishes using plant-based ingredients. It is a much healthier way of creating vegan junk food in your own kitchen that is going to impress your family and friends. This means you can eat burgers, roasted vegetables, crispy tofu, and much more, with a lot less guilt because they require a lot less oil to cook.
What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?
There is a lot that you can cook in an air fryer, but equally, there is a lot of food that you really shouldn’t put in an air fryer. For instance, you shouldn’t put any wet battered food into the air fryer because that batter won’t cook without being placed inside vats of oil. The same goes for any liquids, which you wouldn’t be able to fry in a frying pan or deep-fat fryer anyway. You should also not cook raw grains and beans as they won’t cook through properly, they should instead be boiled in plenty of water. On top of this, I would recommend avoiding cooking vegan cheese as it would simply melt away and make a huge mess in the base of the fryer.
What is the best air fryer for vegans?
There are many awesome air fryers that are suitable for vegan cooking, allowing you to air fry, roast, dehydrate, reheat, and even bake plant-based cakes and cookies. Here is a list of my favourite air fryers for vegans:
- Ninja Air Fryer Max: great multipurpose air fryer that fries, bakes cakes, roasts, and dehydrates food (read my Ninja Air Fryer review)
- COSORI Smart Air Fryer Oven: another great multipurpose air fryer that air fries, roasts and bakes food with a wifi connection that allows you to control the machine from your phone (read my Cosori air fryer review)
- Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Dual Zone: one of the largest air fryers with two compartments so you can cook different food at the same time at different temperatures
Discover even more awesome air fryers for vegans here: my guide to the best air fryers