How to cook meats…in the air fryer


What should I cook?

There’s a whole world of incredible meals you can cook in your air fryer – I’ve written a whole book on it! This post is one for the carnivores so if you’re a veggie or vegan then this one probably isn’t for you. From Sunday lunches, midweek meals, BBQ favourites and delicious breakfasts, I’ve got it all. Here’s a few of my all time favourite air fryer meats that I cook over and over again.

Beef and lamb

Again, beef and lamb are both ingredients that can depend on the size of your air fryer. For a Sunday centrepiece, I like to use a 1.25kg beef topside roasting joint, roasting at 220ºc/425ºf for 15 minutes with oil, salt and pepper, then turning down to 100ºc/210ºf and cooking for a further 45 minutes for a lovely rare joint, perfect for roast dinners and epic beef sandwiches. Lamb chops are a great midweek meal but they do require a bit of extra prep. I season my lamb loin chops generously with salt and pepper and sear them off in a very hot frying pan until the fat renders out and goes golden, then air fry for 8-10 minutes at 180ºc/350ºf until pink in the middle.



The only limits with cooking poultry is the size of your air fryer basket! In most medium sized air fryers, you should be able to comfortably fit in a 1.6kg whole chicken to roast – I like to push a flavoured butter with garlic, lemon, thyme and rosemary under the skin and cook for 45-50 minutes on 190ºc/375ºf, until the skin is golden brown and crispy and the juices run clear. You can then pour in some boiling water to get all the juices from the bottom of the basket and use this for your gravy! If you only have a small, single portion air fryer then chicken thighs are a great option that cook in around 20 minutes at 200ºc/400ºf, with a perfect crispy skin and juicy meat. We can’t forget about Christmas! I always dry brine my turkey crown with salt, brown sugar and dried herbs for at least 1 day before cooking, then push butter under the skin and squish it out so it covers the whole crown. Cook for 30 minutes at 170ºc/340ºf (the turkey needs to be room temperature – grab it out of the fridge atleast an hour before you want to cook!) covered with greaseproof paper and foil, then remove the paper and foil. Continue to cook for another 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the juices run clear. Cover the turkey with foil and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Or check out my chicken wing recipe for something quick and delicious!


Obviously the first cut of pork that comes to mind is BACON! One of my favourite ingredients to cook with and I love a cheeky bacon sarnie with a mug of tea on a Sunday morning. There’s so much more you can do – if you want to upgrade your weekend breakfast, you can flavour up some pork mince/ground pork with toasted spices, salt and pepper. Form into patties and refrigerate for at least an hour, then preheat the air fryer to maximum. Brush the patties with a bit of olive oil and get them into the basket (leave some room if you can) and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway. Serve in a toasted english muffin with cheese slices and a fried egg – wrap in foil for 10 minutes before eating for that proper Maccies vibe! For a porky show stopper, my pork belly is definitely going to impress your mates. With a 1kg slab of pork belly, season well with flaky salt on the skin and leave uncovered on the bottom shelf of the fridge overnight – this is the key to perfect crackling! When you’re ready to cook, score the skin diagonally with a sharp knife and heat the air fryer to 220ºc/425ºf. In a dry frying pan over medium heat, toast some fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, whatever you fancy! Grind up into a powder and mix in some salt. Rub it all over the pork and cook skin side up for 30 minutes until the skin blisters. Turn the heat down to 160ºc/325ºf and cook for around 1 hour until tender.

If you’ve got fancy guests for dinner, serve my porchetta to really impress.


I love cooking fish in the air fryer. The way the steam circulates keeps the fish moist and flaky, giving you much more control over the cooking than if you do it in a frying pan. Everyone loves my honey soy salmon recipe, which cooks your salmon fillets in 7-9 minutes! Plus there’s a delicious marinade with chilli, soy, honey and garlic that gets brushed over the salmon when it’s cooked. If you’ve got a bigger air fryer and fancy a bit of a showstopper, get yourself a whole seabass from your fishmonger and ask them to gut it but leave it whole. Slice up some lemons and fennel, then lay these out in the cavity of the bass. Season the fish well and drizzle with olive oil, then use a sharp knife to make 3 cuts diagonally on both sides of the fish – this allows more even cooking, plus it looks great. Cook for 12-15 minutes at 180ºc/350ºf, then serve up whole on a bed of rocket, watercress and fresh dill!

Tips and tricks

There’s a few things to keep in mind when cooking with your air fryer. First thing, they like drier cooks – meats, fish, potatoes, cookies etc. Wet marinades work well as they can start to char which adds in great flavour, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to cook something like pasta in there, no one likes crunchy penne. However there is an exception to this rule – if you’ve made a delicious pie filling on the hob then get it into a dish that fits in the basket, top with your pastry or mashed potatoes and top with a bit of cheese if you like (if you’re using pastry then give it an egg wash before the cheese!) and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180ºc/350ºf until golden brown. Because there’s something covering the filling, it won’t dry out!

If you want to get a bit fancy when cooking your fish, you can cook it en papillote! This is just a posh way to say cooked in paper! When you add in a splash of liquid to the parcel it helps to steam the fish and really helps the flavour to get into the flesh.

For more air fryer recipes, check out my book, ‘Poppy Cooks: The Actually Delicious Air Fryer Cookbook