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Lighten Up: 6 Air Fryer Favorites

Eating well can be a little overwhelming sometimes. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!

Sometimes making a few healthier choices can be as simple as a swap.

Case in point: air fryer recipes can be a delicious, feel-good alternative for your favorite deep-fried foods. Seriously, if you have a weakness for potato skins, mozzarella sticks and other appetizers from your neighborhood bar and grill, your air fryer just might become your new best friend! It’s a wonderful way to still enjoy the foods you love – without all the fat.

So if you’ve made a resolution to eat a little lighter this year, it’s easy to get started with a few of our favorite air fryer recipes!

1. Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower. Snack smarter with crispy cauliflower, seasoned with your favorite buffalo spices and buttery Parmesan cheese.   

Tip: love a good ranch or chunky blue cheese dressing for dipping? I highly recommend the Bolthouse Farms brand, usually available in the produce area of your local grocery store. Since it’s yogurt-based, it’s creamy and delicious – with only a fraction of the calories!

2. Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs. So smoky. So saucy. So simple.

Ready in only 30 minutes, these crispy BBQ chicken drumsticks make a delicious family dinner on the lighter side. Great for game day when you’re inviting over a few friends, too!

3. Citrus Herb Fish. Perfectly seasoned and succulent, these flaky fish fillets make a heart-healthy dinner full of fresh flavors and crisp-tender textures. Plus, they are ready in 15 minutes flat with your air fryer!

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and paired with asparagus, broccoli or your other favorite garden veggies.

4. Citrus Marinated Chicken. With a light splash of citrus and subtle tang of Dijon mustard, this tender and juicy chicken is perfect for busy weeknights.

Just toss it in the fridge to marinate the night before, and you’ll have dinner ready in only 10 minutes! Serve with rice pilaf and roasted veggies for a healthy, home-cooked dinner.  

5. Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges. Ditch the drive-thru for these crispy sweet potato wedges, naturally high in fiber, Vitamin A and beta-carotene.

With a kick of spicy sweetness, this easy side dish is ready on the table in 15 minutes! Perfect with turkey burgers, lean steak or pulled pork. 

6. Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls. Spicy. Creamy. Crispy. If you love buffalo chicken, try this lightened-up version loaded with cheesy shredded chicken – great for game day or movie night!

Here’s how to make ’em, step by step:

Step 1: Chicken Out

First things first: this recipe is made with Nashville Hot Shredded Chicken, which is my FAVORITE shredded chicken of all time. Seriously, all you need is chicken breasts, Nashville Hot Seasoning and water or chicken broth. BOOM. That’s it

You’ll need two cups of chicken for this recipe, which you can make in advance if you’d like. (Use the rest for quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, wraps, you name it! It freezes and reheats beautifully, too. Still perfectly juicy, succulent and subtly spicy. My kids love it in everything!)

Step 2: Bring on the Buffalo

Now … time to roll up your sleeves and make these egg rolls! In a medium bowl, combine

  • ¼ cup hot sauce (I recommend Frank’s®!)
  • 2 ounces softened 1/3 less fat cream cheese (aka Neufchatel)
  • ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cups shredded Nashville Hot Shredded Chicken

Step 3: Let’s Roll

Grab 12 egg roll wrappers. On your work surface, place one egg roll wrapper with the corner facing you (so it looks like a diamond), and spoon 3 tablespoons of filling onto the bottom third. Using your finger, wet the edges of the wrapper with water.

Lift the point nearest you, and wrap it around the filling. Fold the left and right corners toward the center; roll into a cylinder. Repeat until you have about a dozen egg rolls. Spray all sides lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake in your air fryer at 370°F for 10-11 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly golden brown. Serve with light blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side for dipping, along with celery sticks and baby carrots.

Tip: If you don’t have an air fryer, bake ’em at 400°F for 16-18 minutes, turning halfway through.

If you’re ready to make a few healthy swaps, here’s to keeping it light … and starting the new year on a roll!

Jen