Can You Cook Frozen Food in an Air Fryer? (And Frozen Pizza Too?)

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There’s no denying it – the air fryers are taking the world by storm. Sure, you can use this machine to make crispy, salty fries or ravioli, but you can also use it to whip a perfect dinner, crisp up pumpkin seeds, and even make baked goods! The best part – air frying is quicker than oven cooking and the food always comes out crisp and tasty.

New to the hot air machine, but really don’t know where to get started? Just start with the frozen foods in the fridge.

Can You Cook Frozen Food in an Air Fryer?

You can air-fry almost any frozen food especially, classics like pizza rolls, chicken tenders, and fish sticks. In general, portion-sized or bite-size frozen foods are made for the air fryer.

The air fryer does a great job of making pre-fried frozen foods crispy because of the convection function. This feature also allows hot air to surround the food, cooking it faster and even.

The air fryer cooks food faster than the oven, therefore, the suggested cooking time on the package has to be adjusted. As a rule of thumb, use the same temperature as you would in an oven but slash the cooking time.

How Long Do You Cook Frozen Food in an Air Fryer?

The air fryer’s manual usually contains a handy table of cooking times and ideal temperatures for all food items.

Some foods take a lot of time while others like bite-sized rolls take shorter periods. For example, frozen chicken breast takes about 20 – 25 minutes exclusive of preheating time; thick French fries take 15-18 minutes.

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Do not always trust the timer of the fryer. Keep resetting it until the food is cooked well and is up to your liking. 

Manufacturers recommend preheating, but there’s no harm in skipping preheating. If you are starting frozen food in a cold air fryer, the cooking time might be four or five minutes longer.

Remember, the less food in the fryer basket, the shorter the cooking time will be; the more food, the longer it will be.

Can You Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer?

Cooking veggies in the right way is important to get all the nutrients they offer. Some vegetables are good to fry, some need sauteing, and some others need steaming.

As with frozen veggies microwaving, roasting, or steaming generally results in a pile of veggie mush. Air frying, on the other hand, is the perfect way to cook frozen veggies. Nutritionists suggest opting for cooking methods that expose food to heat for a shorter period to retain nutrients.

In an air fryer, the basket prevents the food from coming in direct contact with the heat source, thereby preventing too much nutrient loss. Plus, air fryer cooks food faster than other methods.

Talking about the air fryer settings, it varies from one veggie to the other. For frozen Brussel sprouts and broccoli, the recommended cooking setting is 12-15 mins at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Can You Cook Frozen Pizza in an Air Fryer?

Absolutely! Cooking frozen mini pizza in the air fryer is as easy as ABC. Just follow the frozen pizza heating guideline – the entire process will take hardly 20 minutes and just two ingredients: a frozen bag of pizza and cooking spray. Add extra toppings if you’d like.

All air fryers are different. Some cooks much hotter and faster than others. Also, cooking time may vary depending on the size and weight of the pizza. Mini 6-inch frozen pizzas cook in about 5-8 minutes. A medium pizza roll needs 15-17 minutes to cook.

The best way to determine the cooking time is, to begin with, a shorter time, then adding additional minutes to make the pizza crispier.

Once you air fry your first pizza, you’ll know what works the best.

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What are the Best Frozen Foods to Cook in an Air Fryer?

Most of the frozen foods are perfect for air fryer. Here are some of the best frozen foods that you can air fry. 

1. Frozen Chicken Tenders

For a quick, tasty meal, preheat the air fryer to 360°F. Place frozen chicken strips in the basket and cook them for 11 to 12 minutes. Don’t forget to turn the strips once halfway through cooking.

2. Frozen Mozzarella Sticks

Crispy on the outside, cheesy on the inside, frozen mozzarella sticks are one of the many reasons to own a good air fryer. For a perfectly cooked mozzarella stick, preheat the air fryer to 350°F, layer the sticks in a single layer, and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

3. Frozen French Fries

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Spray the fryer basket with cooking oil of your choice. Depending on the capacity, add frozen fries to the basket. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until crispy and golden.  

4. Frozen Egg Rolls

Frozen egg rolls taste amazing if cooked in an air fryer. When cooking in a conventional oven egg rolls may become soggy or soft. This is because the wrapper absorbing moisture from the filling. But with an air fryer, moisture gets absorbed immediately by the hot air, keeping the wrapper crisp.

Place frozen egg rolls in the basket, apply egg wash, and air fry at 340 – 360°F for 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Frozen Salmon Fillets

Yes, you can air fry frozen salmon fillets. Simply take out the fillets from the bag and layer them in the basket. Cook for 5 minutes at 320°F, then flip and cook at 360°F for another 3-5 minutes or until the meat flakes easily. It’s healthy and tasty!

6. Frozen Dumplings

Dumplings are a quick and easy snack for the family. While re-heating frozen dumplings, remember to add oil spray on them so that they do not dry and cook crispy. If they aren’t oiled enough, the wrappers may dry out and becomes tough.

7. Frozen Garlic Bread

A perfect appetizer, garlic bread can be toasted from frozen to perfection. Thin slices will require 400° F for 2-3 minutes. For thicker slices, add 1 or 2 minutes more. For extra, crispiness, cook it for a few more minutes and serve it with a side of mac and cheese.

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8. Frozen Meatballs 

Air frying frozen meatballs is super easy and quick. Place the frozen meatballs in the air fryer basket making sure they don’t touch each other. Cook at 400°F for 8-10 minutes until soft. Glaze it with BBQ sauce and serve hot. 

9. Frozen Bagel Bites 

A quick and easy snack you’ll love. Pop them into the air fryer and in less than 8 minutes you’ll be snacking tasty bagel bites. 

10. Frozen Brussel Sprouts 

Brussel sprouts also cook well in an air fryer. Turn the air fryer to 390F and set it for 5-8 minutes. The air fryer helps the little sprouts get crispy without dealing with too much oil or greasiness. 

11. Frozen Cookies 

When it comes to frozen cookies, you don’t have to preheat the fryer. Just place the cookie dough balls in the air fryer basket, set the temperature at 300°F, and in less than 10 minutes you can enjoy yummy cookies. 

What Cannot be Cooked in an Air Fryer?

1. Battered Food

Nothing can set a liquid batter in an air fryer. It will drip through the basket while cod, chicken, or pork chops cook. If you’re after crunch, coat them in the flour-egg-breadcrumb mixture. 

2. Most Leafy Greens 

Put any leafy greens in the air fryer, it will fly around the basket due to high-speed hot air. Plus, the greens remain unevenly cooked. So, try air frying the greens into crispy chips, kale chips, for example. Just make sure to coat them well in olive oil so they’ll hold up to the windy environment inside the air fryer and come out crispy. 

3. Whole Chicken 

Placing whole chicken in the air fryer means overcrowding the machine and poorly cooked meat. Besides, the sides of the bird closest to the heat source will dry out or burn before the other sides cook. Dried out the chicken with a hard, burnt exterior is a no-no. 

4. Fresh Cheese

When put in an air fryer, fresh cheese will ooze out and create a stuck-on mess. Unless it is frozen, you shouldn’t use cheese in air fried recipes. 

5. Grains That Need Lots of Water

The air dryer is meant for dry food items. Grains such as rice that need to be submerged in boiling water can’t be cooked using an air fryer. 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/air-fryer

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/best-air-fryers-recipes-ncna1114616

About Sylvette Brown

Sylvette is a homemaker and is passionate about cooking and other kitchen-related stuff. She also loves to do home improvement related tasks and keeps on writing about food and cookware on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her 2 little kids. :)