Can You Cook Indian Food In An Air Fryer? (With recipes)

Air fryer

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From the age-old traditional recipes to the modern fusion techniques, Indian food has come a long way. It’s now avidly becoming more adapted to newer cooking technologies, which begs a ubiquitous question among millennials – can you cook Indian food in an air fryer?

Yes, you can! Air fryers are designed to minimize oil consumption and utilize heat convection. So, if you can tweak your recipe a little and be ready to make some very minor compromises to the original texture, air fryers can be a viable alternative to traditional stoves for cooking Indian food.

It’s a radical kitchen appliance that will help you save time and prevent making any mess in the kitchen. So, let’s dig in to find more about the gadget and how it can help you serve your favorite Indian cuisine!

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

Automated air fryers have one core principle – minimizing oil consumption while maximizing heat convection with the use of airflow. 

The intuitive kitchen appliance is a handy little gadget that can usually fit on top of any standard kitchen counter. 

A frying basket and fan inside the device allow hot moist air to circulate within the frying chamber. This brings about the crunchy, crispy texture on the food that’s usually reached by frying directly in heated oil. The whole process involves a minimal amount of oil (and in some cases, none!)

All in all, air fryers work rationally well for cooking any Indian food that requires frying in oil. And as a bonus, it’s less time-consuming and far less messy than traditional stoves. It’s simply a hassle-free solution that’s fit for the busy lifestyle of the millennials.

Cooking Indian Food In An Air Fryer

Indian cuisine is famous all around the world. This is because the dishes are incomparable when it comes to flavor and texture. There’s just no beating the dishes for their uniqueness. And if you’re curious to find out what Indian dishes you can cook in your air fryer, then good news is that there are plenty of recipes that you can try. 

Here are a few of the most coveted Indian dishes you can serve up using an air fryer.

Appetizers & Snacks

Vegetarianism is almost an inherent trait of most Indian dishes. That’s why, In the case of entrees or appetizers, Indians prefer vegetables like Okra or Kurkuri Bhindi. You can air fry the spice-marinated veggies and serve it up with some rotis.

Moving over to the crispier side of the spectrum, air fried Samosas, Onion Pakodas, Namak Pare, Nippattu, or Hara Bhara kabab with oats spinach peas are a great hit. You can even try Methi Muthia, Dahi Vadas with spiced yogurt, or Chana Dal Vadas. Air fried with Fenugreek leaves and lentil mash spiced with a few herbs and spices; these taste great during teatime breaks. 

Karela Chips from bitter gourd and Mirchi Bhajji can be made in an air fryer. Banana, plantain, and Yuca chips come out crispy with a nice texture too. While you’re at it, don’t forget about classic Aloo Pakora air fried with sliced potatoes dipped in a chickpea flour batter.

As a slightly heavier snack, Kachche Kele Ke Kebab made by air frying plantain patties, Paneer Tikka, and Aloo Tikki Chaat are heavily popular as Indian street food. These are made with cottage cheese marinated in onion and tomatoes with tandoori masala. Urad Dal Kachori with spicy lentil filling can also be cooked in an air fryer.

Air fried Sabudana Vada with Tapioca fritters are a healthy choice containing no oil at all. Gur Makhana with air fried Jaggery Foxnuts is a nutritiously tasty option too, just like caramel popcorn!

Main Courses

Air fryers work wonders when cooking healthy oil-free main dishes from Northern India like Baingan Ka Bharta, which is roasted aubergine mash tempered with spices. Bagara Baingan represents its Southern counterpart and has more of a curry-like texture.

If you’re a health buff, Bharwan Karela and Bharwan Bhindi will check all your boxes. Stuffed bitter gourd and whole okra are simply air fried to crispy perfection and served with rotis.

Apple gourds come into the picture with Bharwan Tinda and Bharwan Capsicum. You can achieve monumental levels of taste and crunch out of green peppers after air frying. Tindora Fry made with ivy gourd is a good choice too.

Moving over to mellower and less-spicy dishes, Sabudana Khichdi made with delicate tapioca pearls can be a treat to the tastebuds. Punjabi Kadhi made with chickpea flour dumplings dipped in sour yogurt can help you consume fewer calories if you cook them in an air fryer.


Gather round as we take a wild dive into the savory side of Indian cuisine. Air fryers are not at all lagging behind in making these chicken dishes tantalize your tongue.

Chicken tikka with boneless chicken cubes grilled with marinated spicy yogurt can be an utter delight when made in an air fryer. Don’t forget about Tandoori chicken, though, as generously spiced barbecue chicken turns out perfect in an air fryer too.

Seafood & Fish

If you’re down for a more traditional Indian taste, seafood and fish come a long way with the Bengali fish curry. Slow-cooked salmon fish fillets with a mellow blend of spices and herbs can come out tasting heavenly from an air fryer.

Shrimps are the one true seafood that’ll always grab your attention. So go overboard with Lemon pepper garlic shrimp and treat your tastebuds like the royalty they are. Air fried with Indian spices; they can make the perfect seafood platter.

Advantages Of Using Air Fryer To Cook Indian Food

Although it might seem like a glorified version of a standard convection oven, air fryers come in handy for several purposes. Let’s look at some of the advantages of using an air fryer for cooking Indian food.

Shorten The Cooking Time

Instead of the regular 2-3 hours needed for cooking up most savory Indian dishes, air fryers bring that down to about 20 minutes. Yes, you heard that right – almost 1/10th of the intended timespan. That’s a win for any millennial in their hyperactive busy lifestyle.

Make The Dishes Healthier With Fewer Calories

As far as health-consciousness goes, far too many famous Indian dishes seem to have thrown that concept right out the window. Owing to the significant amount of oil needed to fry Indian snacks, it’s often not that healthy a choice. 

Air fryers radically bring down the oil consumption level by using little to no oil while frying. You use an oil spray or brush the food with oil. But fret not; there are no compromises on the flavor, and the outcomes are still quite similar. It’s full-on flavor sans harmful calories.

Avoid Making A Mess

Frying foods in oil can be an utter hassle if you’re short on time and don’t just want to put in so much effort. All in all, it’s a messy affair that leaves your kitchen stove with an extra load of cleanup duty. 

But that’s precisely where air fryers swoop in to save the day. Since the appliance uses almost zero oil and processes the food in a compact concealed chamber, there’s absolutely no possibility of creating a mess. You just put in all the ingredients properly and clean the device afterward. Simple as that!

Attain Restaurant-Like Crispiness

Although still not quite mainstream among professional chefs, air fryers are gradually making their way onto recognizable Indian kitchens in restaurants worldwide. As a result, many of the crispy Indian cuisine you enjoy in those places are made using air fryers. 

So, the next time you use your air fryer at home to fry a samosa or make potato chips, you can reasonably compare the crispiness to that of a restaurant dish!

Drawbacks Of Using Air Fryer To Cook Indian Food

Like almost any other technology that’s made our lives easier, air fryers come with certain caveats that are hard to overlook. There are just some cases where age-old tradition triumphs over newer technology.

Air fryers are notoriously expensive. The gadgets are simple in terms of mechanism and principle, but it’s still quite a product. This makes it slightly more costly for an average home consumer. If you want to shoot for the added luxury of air fryers, you’re going to have to dig deep into your pockets.

The space inside air fryers can feel a bit congested when you’re trying to fit in a large batch of food. This is because the devices are designed for minimalistic home use and not heavy-duty frying. So, factor that in when you want to serve your sizeable Indian family or a significant number of guests

Final Words

Like any good chef would agree, cooking is an art, and the more care you give to it, the better the outcome. That rings explicitly true in the case of Indian food. But spending an incessant amount of time frying foods in oil can be utterly inconvenient. That’s why in this article, we tried to propose a viable alternative to the technique and answer the question – can you cook Indian food in an air fryer?

We hope it was adequate in explaining that you can use the kitchen gadget to make almost all your favorite Indian dishes at home. Thanks for stopping by. 

Chef Rooney

I like to cook. It makes me happy, and I know it does the same for others. If you ever want to learn how to make a great dish, just ask!

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