10 Perfect Best Meats To Cook In A Deep Fryer

Author: Jenny J. Brown
May 31, 2023

Do you enjoy indulging in some deep-fried goodness every now and then? If so, you might wonder what types of meat work best in a deep fryer. Let’s face it, not all meats are created equal when it comes to deep frying, and choosing the wrong one can result in a greasy, unappetizing mess. 

Few types of meat cook best in the air fryer. Chicken breasts are one of the best meats to cook in a deep fryer; They come out perfectly to make the tummy happy if you cook it perfectly. However, there are a few more types of meat that can be cooked perfectly in the air fryer.

I’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the top meats to cook in a deep fryer. Whether new to deep frying or a seasoned pro, these recommendations will help you achieve a perfectly crispy, tender, and delicious result every time.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into deep-fried meats and discover the best ones to cook in your trusty fryer.

Here are 10 Perfect Best Meats to Cook In A Deep Fryer

1. Chicken Breasts

The chicken breast is an incredibly versatile and flavorful food to cook. Not only can it be cooked up in a stovetop, oven, or air fryer, but the results can be surprisingly delicious with the latter.

Using an air fryer for chicken breasts can create juicy and flavorful meals that leave you wanting more.

One of the best tips on cooking chicken breasts in an air fryer comes from Jess Dang of Cook Smarts, who states that these compact kitchen appliances are better at retaining moisture due to less room for juices to evaporate out of the meat.

An added flavor bonus comes from Stephanie Pixley of America’s Test Kitchen, who suggests lightly glazing your chicken pieces before putting them into the air fryer. 

To back up this claim in an even greater measure, Briana Riddock from Cooking Light put equal parts of sauce and unbreaded chicken breast into an air fryer with delicious results – browned and crispy on the outside yet still moist on the inside.

Prepping boneless skinless chicken breasts in an air fryer gives one a savory meal that can’t be beaten.

2. Steaks

Flipping the perfect cut on a grill or pan can require some skill and practice when cooking a steak. Unfortunately, when it comes to using an air fryer, even those with top-notch steak-cooking abilities may find that getting the doneness just right is much more difficult.

Guga Foods recently tested using an air fryer for steaks and noticed that they were not properly cooked; there was a gray band of over-cooked meat around the edges of the cut and an overcooked cap on top.

This is likely due to inconsistent temperatures from within and around the air fryer, causing parts of the steak to become overcooked while leaving other parts undercooked. If you want them done just right, special care must be taken when trying to cook juicy and tender steaks using an air fryer.

3. Pork Chops

Pork chops might be one of the most underestimated meats for air fryers. When cooked in a traditional oven or stovetop, pork chops can become dry and tough; but when cooked in an air fryer, they come out perfectly tender and juicy.

Cooking Light recommends prepping these tasty cuts of meat with garlic powder and paprika for

ply Pat the chops down with a paper towel to dry off the excess moisture, then season each side with a generous portion of garlic powder and paprika. Place in the air fryer for 15-20 minutes at 400°F, and your pork chops will come out perfectly tender and juicy every tie.

4. Whole Chicken

Cooking an entire roast or chicken in an air fryer can be a challenge due to the lack of space within the gadget. An average home air fryer ranges between 3.7 to 5.8 quarts, which may not be enough for larger cuts such as whole-cooked chickens or roasts.

To provide enough room for larger items, an air fryer basket should have over 6 quarts of capacity. Even so, families often have to make multiple batches to feed everyone, and even then, the pieces may not fit in a single batch.

The Taste of Home reminds us that with an air fryer with enough room for a large cut of meat, one can successfully cook an entire chicken in one go. However, it may not always be practical to go out and buy a bigger machine – especially if you’ll only use it once in a while.

Knowing this trick will give consumers more options besides cooking smaller batches – which can be tricky (especially timing each) – when they want to prepare a heavy meal in their trusty air fryers.

5. Bacon

Cooking bacon in an air fryer may seem like a great way to make a healthier version of the salty, fatty meat, as it is heated in its fat. According to Chef Abbie Gellman, the extra grease and fat drip down to the bottom, leaving leaner strips of bacon with fewer calories and saturated fat per serving.

However, air-frying bacon can also have some drawbacks. Elizabeth Laseter from Cooking Light reported thick white smoke from her air fryer, which is apparently common for meats with high-fat content.

Air-fried bacon can also be extremely messy since they cause the grease to splatter throughout the device due to the circulating hot air inside it.

If you’re looking for crispy, lean bacon without all that grease, then you may need to temper your expectations when using an air fryer.

6. Chicken Wings

Nothing screams carnivore like chicken wings, especially when deep-fried to perfection. That’s why air-fried wings present a lighter alternative to the ever-so-popular deep-fried counterpart.

Not only are they faster to prepare and easier on the waistline, but if done correctly can be just as juicy and crispy as their deep-fried sister.

The key to making air-fried wings delectable is rendering the fat properly without overcooking them. You want the chicken to be nicely browned and deliciously crispy on the outside yet succulent and juicy on the inside.

To achieve this, it’s important to pay attention to temperature: avoid cooking them too low or too high, rather opt for careful monitoring throughout the process for them to turn out flawlessly cooked every single time.

7. Beef Jerky

Prepping beef jerky with an air fryer is possible. Once you’ve chosen a lean cut, such as top round roast or eye of round, you’ll be ready to start the process. Though not all air fryers have a dehydration setting, this shouldn’t stop you from creating delicious homemade jerky.

Choose low-temperature settings on your machine and monitor the progress as the beef cooks and dehydrates.

Overall, making jerky in an air fryer is fairly easy. If you use the correct cuts of meat and monitor the temperature throughout the process, you can get delicious beef jerky each time.

Be sure to look for low moisture content cuts so dehydrating them in your air fryer is easier. Once it’s done cooking, it will be perfectly prepared for snacking – happy eating.

8. Meatballs

Meatballs are an incredibly versatile and popular food that can be served as a snack or a full meal. Luckily, they are also relatively easy to prepare in an air fryer. This cooking method is great for those who want a healthier option than pan-frying the meatballs, as it doesn’t require any additional oil and makes for golden, crispier results.

Additionally, choosing lean meats such as chicken or turkey over beef will ensure that your meatballs remain light and healthy.

When making meatballs in the air fryer, it’s important to remember to coat the basket with non-stick spray before placing them inside and ensuring that the meatballs lay in a single layer.

This will help create more evenly cooked food and allow hot air to circulate around for maximum efficiency. With minimal effort yet maximum flavor, air-fried meatballs make for a perfect snack or meal option any day of the week.

9. Turkey Breasts

Turkey breasts make an excellent dish to cook in the air fryer. They are a lean cut of meat, making them healthier than fatty cuts. Cooking with air fryers requires just a light oil spray to help the skin crisp and give some extra flavor with seasonings.

To cook the turkey breasts in the air fryer, you should set it at 360 degrees for 40 minutes, turning the meat over halfway through. Since they heat from the top down, place their skin side down first for optimal browning.

The result is juicy and delicious turkey breasts perfectly cooked with crispy brown skin on the outside. Once done cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before enjoying it, as it will ensure that all its natural juices stay inside.

This low-fat meal can be enjoyed by everyone no matter what dietary restrictions they have and can easily be whipped up in no time using an air fryer.

10. Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those classic comfort dishes that never gets old. But did you know it can be cooked with a modern twist? Air fryer meatloaf is just as tasty and has almost the same texture, with a much shorter cooking time.

According to My Forking Life, cutting the cooking time from 90 to 45 minutes is possible when using an air fryer. Moreover, the finished product is leaner than traditional oven-cooked meatloaves because the fat drips away from the dish during cooking.

This makes air fryers a great choice for health-conscious cooks or those who don’t want to spend hours in their kitchen. To get the best results, use 80/20 ground beef for your air fryer meatloaf, which will help lock in moisture and flavor.

There are also other creative options, such as adding vegetables into your mix to make your dish more wholesome and flavorful.

So next time you’re looking for a delicious dinner idea, look no further than your trusty air fryer – you’ll have perfectly cooked meatloaf ready in half the time.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Can You Cook Meat In A Deep Fryer?

Yes, you can cook meats in a deep fryer. Meats well-suited for deep frying include chicken wings, chicken tenders, French fries, onion rings, and fish.

These meats can be cooked quickly and easily in a deep fryer to achieve an even golden brown color and crispy texture. Additionally, some cuts of pork, such as pork belly and pork chops, are also great for deep frying.

2. What Is The Best Temperature To Cook Meat In A Deep Fryer?

The ideal temperature when cooking meat in a deep fryer is 375°F. This temperature will ensure that the outside of the meat cooks quickly while still allowing the inside to remain juicy and tender.

Additionally, cooking at this temperature prevents the oil from becoming too hot, which can lead to the food burning.

3. Should I Deep Fry Meats With The Skin On Or Off?

Whether to fry meats with the skin on or off depends on personal preference and the desired outcome. Leaving the skin on can result in a crispy and flavorful exterior while removing the skin might reduce the overall fat content and result in a lighter texture.

4. How Do I Prepare Meats For Deep Frying? 

Before deep frying, preparing the meats properly is essential. This typically involves seasoning the meat with desired spices, marinating if desired, and ensuring the meat is dry. Patting the meat dry with paper towels removes excess moisture, allowing for better browning during frying.

5. What Oil Should I Use For Deep Frying Meats? 

For deep frying meats, it is recommended to use oils with high smoke points to prevent the oil from breaking down at high temperatures. Suitable options include canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil. These oils can withstand the heat and maintain stability during frying.


Deep frying is a great way to cook meats quickly and easily. Meats such as chicken wings, chicken tenders, French fries, onion rings, fish, pork belly, and pork chops are all suitable for deep frying. The ideal temperature for deep frying meats is 375°F to achieve an even golden brown color and crispy texture.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap