Although you can definitely use air fryers to make an entire meal, they’re also perfect for whipping up snacks.

So Insider spoke to professional chefs about their favorite small bites to make with the popular kitchen appliance.

Buffalo cauliflower bites offer a kick of spice


10 of the best snacks to make in an air fryer, according to chefs
Buffalo cauliflower bites are easy to throw together. BonnieBC/Shuttershock

Chris Curren, executive chef at and owner of The Graceful Ordinary, told Insider that Buffalo cauliflower bites are the perfect air-fryer snack.

“These are a healthier alternative to Buffalo chicken bites,” Curren said. “I like to bread mine to make sure they’re extra crunchy.”

To make these bites, coat cauliflower florets in Buffalo sauce and breadcrumbs and cook until crispy.

Transform leftover pasta into a crunchy treat

Executive chef Garrison Price told Insider that he loves using the air fryer to turn cooked pasta into bite-sized snacks.

“A great air-fryer hack is coating leftover pasta with your favorite seasoning and cooking until you get crunchy, chip-like munchies,” Price said.

If the leftover pasta is dry, coat the pieces with a little oil to ensure they crisp up in the air fryer, then pair the finished bites with a dipping sauce for extra flavor.

Make a quick batch of beignets in the air fryer

10 of the best snacks to make in an air fryer, according to chefs

Beignets are a deep-fried pastry often associated with New Orleans and served with powdered sugar.

“The air fryer is perfect for beignets because you don’t have to mess around with bringing frying oil up to temperature,” Curren said. “They also puff up really well in the air fryer.”

You can adapt a standard recipe for the air fryer by brushing the shaped dough with oil and cooking until golden. Then dust the finished pastries with powdered sugar or a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Air fryers make enjoying candied cashews easy

Making candied nuts often involves deep-frying or caramelizing the pieces on the stovetop, but using an air fryer is a simpler way to create this sweet snack.

“Toss raw cashews with a little water, spices or seasonings of your choice, and a spoonful or two of sugar,” Price said. “Making them this way involves less oil and mess.”

For candied nuts that combine sweet, spicy, and salty flavors, Price recommended trying Japanese togarashi seasoning — a spicy and umami blend of flavors — and a touch of coconut sugar.

Plantain chips are an easy, gluten-free snack

The chef Monti Carlo, a former “MasterChef” contestant, told Insider you could make homemade plantain chips in under 10 minutes by using an air fryer.

“All you need to do is cut a very green plantain into strips, coat with cooking spray and salt, and cook until golden,” Carlo said.

The chef advised that if you’re watching your sodium intake, skip the salt and use nutritional yeast instead.

Empanadas can sport sweet or savory fillings

10 of the best snacks to make in an air fryer, according to chefs

A type of turnover, empanadas are usually deep-fried or baked, but popping them in an air fryer can cut back on the mess.

“Even if you make your empanadas with store-bought dough, the air fryer guarantees your filling will be surrounded by a flaky and crisp pastry,” Price said.

Empanadas can be stuffed with seasoned meat, vegetables, cheese, or fruit, but make sure the edges are completely sealed or the filling may ooze out while cooking.

The air fryer is great for making crunchy chickpeas

Carlo told Insider that crunchy chickpeas are her favorite air-fryer snacks.

“They’re budget-friendly and you can season them with whatever you want,” Carlo said. “I like using fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese.”

Toss soaked or canned chickpeas with olive oil and seasoning then cook them in a preheated air fryer until golden and crispy.

Elote is tasty and customizable

Elote is a Central and South American take of corn on the cob that’s typically grilled and served with toppings like grated cheese, mayonnaise, chili powder, lemon juice, butter, or salt.

“Making Elote in the air fryer is great because you can give the corn that crispiness without having to fire up the grill,” Curren said.

He recommended drizzling the corn with a spoonful or two of melted butter to give it extra flavor and color.

Brussels sprouts come out perfectly crispy in the air fryer

10 of the best snacks to make in an air fryer, according to chefs

Curren said Brussels sprouts made in an air fryer are better than traditionally fried ones.

“A traditional fryer can leave Brussels sprouts greasy and overcooked, but you don’t have those worries with an air fryer,” Curren told Insider.

To make crunchy, air-fried Brussels sprouts, halve or quarter the pieces and toss them with your choice of seasonings, salt, and a small amount of oil. Then cook until the centers are soft and the outer leaves are browned.

Turn leftover pizza into bite-sized snacks

If you have leftover slices in your fridge, use an air fryer to transform them into a plate of crispy pizza bites.

“Unlike the microwave, the air fryer will make the pizza nice and crispy again,” Curren said. “It’s a great way to breathe new life into leftovers.”

Simply cut the pizza into smaller pieces and pop them in the air fryer for five to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.

Looking to get an air fryer of your own? We test and recommend the best air fryers:

10 of the best snacks to make in an air fryer, according to chefs
Jen Gushue/Insider