And juuuust in case you’re not hip to the air fryer (or need a refresher), these machines are touted as a miraculous kitchen appliance that dramatically reduces the need for cooking fat and, so it goes, the total number of calories off your favorite fried foods. Air fryers turn chicken, fish, vegetables, and—as you’ll soon learn—so much more supercrisp.
The ketogenic diet, also known in shorthand as “keto” is a super-popular (and super-restrictive) diet plan that calls for lots of fat, some protein, and very few carbs. The goal of this macronutrient imbalance to keep your body in a fat-burning mode known as ketosis.
While it may seem odd that someone on the keto diet would want to use a cooking technique that diminishes fat count—after all, the whole point of keto is to increase fats—air frying is actually a great way to enjoy traditionally-fried recipes that are high in carbohydrates, explains Dana Angelo White, R.D., author of the Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook.
For example, you can cut out the typical breading in fried food and opt for keto-approved breading like nuts and seeds, which also lend more nutrients to the dish.
The air fryer is also a convenient and easy appliance for keto dieters who meal prep, she adds.
Give these keto air fryer recipes a shot, and you won’t be sorry.
Even if you’re not in ketosis.
1. Buffalo Chicken Bites
This three-ingredient recipe could not be easier, and it has less than 1 gram of carbs per serving. “Just season diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs with salt and air fry at 390°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the fryer basket and toss immediately in 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce,” says White.
2. Keto Buffalo Wings
These wings taste just like those you’d find at your favorite bar. All you need is about 1/4 cup keto-friendly hot sauce, 1 tablespoon ghee/grass-fed butter, 1 lb. chicken wings/drumettes, and a non-stick oil spray, like Primal Kitchen avocado oil, says keto coach, Karissa Long.
Pre-heat the air fryer to 400°F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the hot sauce and whisk until fully combined. Turn the heat down to low and keep the sauce warm. Add the wings to the air fryer and spray lightly with the non-stick spray. Fry for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, open the air fryer, and rotate the wings using tongs. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the wings are fully cooked and crisp. Remove the wings from the air fryer. Place the wings in a bowl, cover with the warm buffalo sauce, and toss to evenly coat.
3. Kale and Feta Frittatas
“Scramble up 4 eggs, 1 cup chopped kale and 3 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese with some salt and pepper. Air fry at 360°F in a baking pan or egg cups,” says White. This recipe serves two people and has five grams of carbs per serving. You can also make a bunch at once and save for easy breakfasts or protein-packed snacks.
5. Sesame-Crusted Fish
Sesame seeds offer some nice crunch for a more fried texture. “Brush fillets of salmon or cod with 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp honey and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Air fry for 7 to 9 minutes at 360°F,” says White. Enjoy this high-fat and excellent source of protein for a mere five grams of carbs per serving. You can also cook up some cauliflower rice to sub for white rice and consider it takeout.
6. Jalapeño Poppers
Spice, cheese, and bacon—are you drooling yet? “Fill hollowed-out jalapeños with a mixture of cream cheese and shredded cheddar, then air fry at 360°F for 10 minutes. For a meatier spin, wrap in bacon before air frying. Each popper has less than 1.5 grams of carbs,” says White.
7. The Best Bacon Ever
Gather six slices of no-sugar-added bacon and place them in the air fryer basket. Set the temperature at 400°F. Cook for 5 minutes and then check the bacon slices. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until it reaches your desired doneness, and you’re set, says Long.
8. Keto Meatballs
Add these to some zoodles for a keto-friendly Italian dinner. The recipe calls for one pound ground beef, 1/4 cup no-sugar-added marinara sauce, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated, and one egg.
“Pre-heat the air fryer to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all ingredients until fully combined. Take the mixture and form into 12 1-inch sized circular balls. Place the balls in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook in the air fryer for 10 to 12 minutes,” says Long.
9. Asparagus Wrapped With Crispy Prosciutto
Fancy. “Wrap stalks of asparagus with thinly sliced prosciutto and air fry at 360°F for 4 minutes,” says White. There are only 2 grams of carbs per serving.
Chicken steals all the air-fryer thunder. So if you haven’t tried tossing a steak into the magical contraption, it’s time.
First marinate your steaks (rib eye, T-bone, whatever) overnight in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. That’s it—you want the flavor of the steak to shine through. Then set the air fryer to 370°F. Put the steak into the fryer and check on it after 5 minutes. For medium-rare, the inside of the thickest part of the steak should register 135°F with a meat thermometer. Continue frying until you achieve your desired doneness.
11. Zucchini Fries
Because you’re going to need something to eat with your steak. On a large plate, dump some almond flour and season it well with salt and pepper. On another plate, beat two whole eggs. On a third plate, layer some shredded Parmesan cheese. Heat your air fryer to 370°F. Then dredged however many zucchini you’ve cut into fry-like strips into the flour, then the eggs, and then the cheese. Fry till crisp, at least 10 minutes.
12. Coconut-Crusted Shrimp
Who needs Red Lobster? Set up a breading station similar to the one in the recipe above, only swap the almond flour for coconut flour and the Parmesan cheese for shredded coconut. Set your air-fryer to 390°F and sizzle dredged large peeled and deveined shrimp till crisp, about 8 minutes.
13. Spicy Fried Broccoli Bites
They go especially well with coconut-crusted shrimp. Just set your air fryer to 380°F. Then add a handful or two of broccoli florets to the basket, spray everything with cooking spray, and drop them in. Fry until crispy, about 8 minutes, toss about halfway through. Transfer to a plate, season with salt, pepper, and a little cayenne.
14. Garlicky-Lemony Fried Cauliflower Bites
Maybe broccoli isn’t your thing. Totally get that. So, instead, follow the recipe above, but instead of using broccoli use cauliflower and instead of seasoning with salt and cayenne use garlic salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
15. Pork Rind Pickles
Saved the best for last. On a large plate, layer some almond flour and season with freshly ground black pepper. On another plate, whisk two whole eggs. On another crush up about a half cup of pork rinds. Dredge a large pickle slice in the flour, the egg wash, and then the pork rinds. Repeat with however many pickles you’d like, and then drop them into an air fryer set to 370°F. Fry till crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.
16. Kale Chips
Spray both sides of 1/2 lb. kale leaves (any variety will do) with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 tsp toasted ground cumin, 1/3 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp cayenne (add 1/8 tsp for spicier chips), 1/8 tsp salt. Air-fry at 250°F for 12 minutes. Crunch away.
17. Cherry Tomato Poppers
These are easy. Just pop a handful or two stemmed cherry tomatoes into a 400°F air fryer for 4 minutes. Allow to cool and then scatter the oven-sweetened flavor bombs over salads or eat straight-up as a naturally sweet snack.
18. Fennel Crisps
Trim the dense bottom and green stalks from a fennel bulb and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Coat lightly with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, and air-fry for 15 minutes at 350°F. They’re especially good with hummus.
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