The air fryer is an all-around handy kitchen appliance. It can pretty much do anything an oven can — provided your ingredients fit on the fryer rack, that is — and tends to yield slightly crispier, less dry results. It’s also a great way to cook traditionally deep-fried recipes with a lot less oil, which makes things a little lighter, and means you don’t have to deal with used oil afterwards.
All of this is great news for anyone hosting a holiday party, since the air fryer excels at making mess-free, crowd-pleasing appetizers like coconut shrimp and mozzarella sticks. Below, we rounded up our top picks for holiday appetizers you can make in the air fryer. If you have a party on the books, be sure to try one out!
1. Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Scallops from Skinnytaste
This two-ingredient recipe is simple to make, but juicy scallops lend a real “wow” factor. To ensure maximum crispiness, you’ll cook the bacon for a few minutes in the air fryer first, then wrap it around scallops and finish everything together.
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Scallops from Skinnytaste
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2. Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
Sure, you could buy frozen mozzarella sticks and heat them in the oven. But why not go the extra mile this holiday season and make your own with mozzarella cheese sticks and an easy breading mixture?
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
3. Air Fryer Tater Tots from 40 Aprons
Here, you’ll start with frozen tater tots — because, frankly, shredding and shaping your own is far more work than you have time for over the busy holiday season.
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Tater Tots from 40 Aprons
4. Air-Fried Sweet Potato Dessert Fries from Cotter Crunch
Lindsay of Cotter Crunch suggests serving these sugar-coated sweet potato fries with dessert hummus, sweet yogurt, or maple frosting for dipping. If you want to go a less-sweet route, you can serve them plain or with a savory cream cheese dip.
Get the recipe: Air-Fried Sweet Potato Dessert Fries from Cotter Crunch
5. Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites from Diethood
If you love Buffalo wings but want to serve a plant-based option, cauliflower is a great alternative. The florets cook al dente, and the Buffalo coating really sticks.
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites from Diethood
6. Coconut Shrimp from Flavcity
Coconut shrimp might seem like something you only get at a restaurant, but the air fryer makes it possible to serve them up at home. Combine shredded coconut with panko breadcrumbs, then use mayonnaise to stick the breading to the shrimp before crisping it all in the air fryer.
Get the recipe: Coconut Shrimp from Flavcity
7. Air Fryer Zucchini Fries from Gimme Delicious
Thanks to rapid circulation of both air and oil, the air fryer can make zucchini fries that are al dente on the inside and crispy on the outside (instead of just soggy all over, the way they sometimes get when you cook them in the oven).
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Zucchini Fries from Gimme Delicious
8. Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers from My Incredible Recipes
Jalapeño poppers aren’t for everyone, but anyone who loves them will agree that the air fryer version is a convincing alternative to its deep-fried counterpart.
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers from My Incredible Recipes
9. Air Fryer Fried Ravioli from Show Me the Yummy
Air frying store-bought ravioli in a DIY cheesy breading is easy enough to do and yields delightful results. Buy your favorite marinara sauce to serve with them, and don’t be surprised if guests ask for more.
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Fried Ravioli from Show Me the Yummy
10. Broccoli-Cheddar Chicken Fritters from Meal Plan Addict
Broccoli-cheddar chicken fritters might not be a holiday classic yet, but try them this year and they’ll become a tradition in your household. The delicious bites are like a cross between a veggie fritter and a chicken nugget, which is absolutely a good thing.
Get the recipe: Broccoli-Cheddar Chicken Fritters from Meal Plan Addict
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