10 Most Useful Air Fryer Meal Prep Hacks

Author: Jenny J. Brown
December 27, 2023

Do you hate spending hours in the kitchen meal prepping for the week? What if I told you there was a way to cut down on prep time and still have delicious, healthy meals for the week? Enter air fryer meal prep hacks.

Air fryers have quickly become a popular kitchen appliance because they can cook food quickly and with less oil. But did you know you can also use your air fryer to meal prep? Not only does it make meal prep faster, but it also saves space in your oven and reduces the number of dishes to wash.

In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite air fryer meal prep hacks and recipes that will save you time and hassle in the kitchen while still enjoying flavorful and healthy meals throughout the week.

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Here Are the 10 Most Useful Air Fryer Meal Prep Hacks

Air fryers are versatile kitchen appliances that simplify your meal prep and create delicious, healthier dishes. Here are 10 useful air fryer meal prep hacks to help you make the most of your cooking:

  1. Batch Cook Proteins: Prepare a large batch of proteins like chicken breasts, salmon fillets, or tofu in the air fryer. Season them with your preferred spices and herbs, cook them in batches, and store them in portion-sized containers for easy protein options throughout the week.
  2. Pre-Cut Vegetables: Chop vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or broccoli, and store them in the refrigerator. When cooking, toss them in the air fryer with a little oil and seasoning for quick and healthy roasted veggies.
  3. Crispy Snacks: Air fryers make crispy snacks like kale chips, chickpeas, or homemade potato wedges. Pre-make these snacks in bulk and store them in airtight containers for a healthier alternative to store-bought snacks.
  4. Freezing Prep: If you have limited time during the week, pre-cut and freeze ingredients like onions, garlic, or ginger. They can be used directly from the freezer in your air fryer recipes, saving you time on chopping and prep work.
  5. Meal-Prep Foil Packets: Create foil packets with protein and veggies seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices. Place these packets in the air fryer and cook them all at once. This method allows for easy cleanup and keeps flavors and juices sealed in each packet.
  6. Reheating Leftovers: Use your air fryer to reheat leftovers instead of the microwave. Air frying can help revive the crispiness of previously cooked dishes like pizza, fries, or even fried chicken, giving them a fresh and crispy texture.
  7. Customized Frozen Meals: Make your frozen meals by assembling ingredients like meatballs, stuffed peppers, or enchiladas. Cook them in the air fryer until done, let them cool, and then freeze them in individual portions. When you’re ready to eat, reheat them in the air fryer for a convenient and homemade meal.
  8. Dehydrating Foods: Air fryers can also be used as dehydrators. Slice fruits like apples or bananas, and dry them in the air fryer at a low temperature. Store the dehydrated fruits in airtight containers for a healthy and portable snack.
  9. Breakfast Options: Air fryers are great for preparing quick breakfast options. Make egg muffins or frittatas by whisking eggs with your choice of vegetables and proteins and then cooking them in the air fryer. Portion them and store them in the refrigerator for a grab-and-go breakfast.
  10. Toasting Nuts and Seeds: Instead of using a stovetop or oven, toast nuts and seeds in the air fryer. Simply place them in the air fryer basket, toss them occasionally, and cook them until they turn golden and fragrant. This enhances their flavor and provides a crunchy texture for salads, toppings, or snacking.

These air fryer meal prep hacks can help you save time, reduce kitchen mess, and enjoy flavorful and healthier meals throughout the week. Remember to adjust cooking times and temperatures based on your specific air fryer model and the ingredients you’re using.

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Is Pre-Made Meal Healthy?

When it comes to pre-made meals, there is a lot of debate as to whether or not they are actually healthy. On the one hand, pre-made meals can be convenient and time-saving, and they require minimal effort to prepare.

On the other hand, they can often contain preservatives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats that could impact your health.

Pre-made meals can vary in terms of their healthiness. While some pre-made meals are designed with nutrition in mind, others may contain more preservatives, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

Reading the labels and choosing pre-made meals with wholesome ingredients and balanced nutritional profiles is important. Look for meals that include lean proteins, whole grains, and a variety of vegetables. 

Additionally, be mindful of portion sizes and avoid meals that are overly high in calories, saturated fats, or added sugars. Supplementing pre-made meals with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious sides is always a good idea to ensure a well-rounded and healthy diet.

Ultimately, making informed choices and understanding the nutritional content of pre-made meals can help you select healthier options that align with your dietary goals.

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Is it OK to Stack Food in An Air Fryer?

While it is generally okay to stack food in an air fryer, it’s important to do so correctly to ensure even cooking and optimal results. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Allow Air Circulation: Ensure the stacked food items do not completely block the air vents in the fryer. Sufficient air circulation is crucial for cooking evenly and achieving a crispy texture. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket or tray, which can hinder proper airflow.
  2. Adjust Cooking Time: When stacking food, cooking may take slightly longer than a single layer. You may need to increase the cooking time or adjust it as necessary. Keep an eye on the food and check for doneness using a food thermometer or visually inspect the texture.
  3. Flip or Rotate: To promote even cooking, consider flipping or rotating the stacked food items halfway through the cooking process. This helps to ensure that all sides are exposed to the hot air and evenly cooked.
  4. Similar Food Sizes: When stacking food, try to use items of similar size and thickness. This helps to ensure that they cook at a similar rate and avoid overcooking or undercooking certain portions.
  5. Consider Accessories: If you frequently stack food in your air fryer, use racks or skewers. These accessories can help create additional space and allow for better airflow, resulting in more consistent cooking.

Remember to consult the guidelines and recommendations your air fryer’s manufacturer provides for stacking food.

It’s also helpful to experiment and adjust cooking times and techniques based on your specific air fryer model and the types of food you are preparing.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Can I Stack Food In An Air Fryer? 

You can stack food in an air fryer, but it should be done properly. Avoid blocking the air vents to ensure proper airflow and even cooking. Adjust cooking times and consider flipping or rotating the food to promote even browning and crispiness.

2. Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking?

Preheating the air fryer is not always necessary, but it can help achieve optimal cooking results. Preheating for a few minutes can help ensure even cooking and crispy textures, especially for certain foods like fries or breaded items.

3. Can I Use Aluminum Foil Or Parchment Paper In The Air Fryer? 

You can use aluminum foil or parchment paper in the air fryer. They can line the basket or tray to prevent sticking and facilitate easier cleanup. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and avoid covering the entire basket or blocking the air vents.

4. How Do I Clean The Air Fryer?

Cleaning an air fryer is generally easy. Allow the air fryer to cool down, remove the basket or tray, and wash it with warm soapy water. Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to avoid scratching the non-stick coating. Wipe the interior and exterior of the air fryer with a damp cloth. Refer to the user manual for specific cleaning instructions.

5. Can I Cook Frozen Food Directly In The Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook frozen food directly in the air fryer. Air fryers are known for their ability to cook frozen items to perfection. Adjust the cooking time and temperature as instructed on the packaging or based on your recipe. It’s a convenient way to prepare crispy and delicious frozen foods like fries, chicken nuggets, or spring rolls.


Air fryer meal prep hacks can save time and make cooking easier. Consider flipping or rotating the stacked food items halfway through the cooking process, using items of similar size and thickness, and using accessories like racks or skewers to promote even cooking. Preheating may be necessary for certain foods, while aluminum foil or parchment paper can line the basket or tray and facilitate easy cleanup.

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