25 Best Air Fryer Main Dishes for Dinner

breaded pork chops with roasted peppers and couscous
Photo: France C

You may already be in on a little secret. Sure, the air fryer makes amazing appetizers and fried foods with a lot less fat. But it's also a magnificent machine for making main dishes for dinner. And the same benefits are in play: the air fryer gets main dishes done with less fat, less mess, and quick as lightning. We've gathered together some of our very favorite dinner recipes for the air fryer, featuring crispy Cajun-style salmon, stuffed chicken breasts with Mexican flair, beautiful BBQ ribs, amazing meatloaf, breaded pork chops, and more. Here are the dinner recipes you crave, ready for the air fryer!

01 of 25

Cajun Air Fryer Salmon

Cajun salmon with carrots and rice
France C

A salmon dinner is ready in about 10 minutes in the air fryer. "This moist and delicious salmon is full of flavor with a hint of sweetness," says France C. "You may want to add salt before serving if you are using an unsalted Cajun seasoning."

02 of 25

Mexican-Style Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Mexican-Style Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Easy meets impressive, with delicious results. "Just over 10 minutes in the air fryer gives you juicy, tender chicken breasts filled with spicy veggies," says Buckwheat Queen. "Serve with fresh pico de gallo and tortillas."

03 of 25

Air Fryer Turkey Breast

sliced air fryer turkey breast on cutting board

Turkey, it's not just for Thanksgiving anymore. You can have turkey dinner anytime! Bibi says. "This recipe gives the flavor of an oven-roasted turkey, but in much less time, and with much less fuss! Use any combination of fresh herbs that you and your family will enjoy!"

04 of 25

Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs

baby back ribs with mint garnish on a white plate

Yoly asks and answers, "Who would have thought you can prep and cook your ribs in less than an hour? Well now you can using an air fryer. Quick and easy for a weeknight dinner."

05 of 25

Air Fryer Meatloaf

slices of air-fried meatloaf with mashed potatoes

Get ready for meatloaf in under an hour! "So good and so easy," raves Susan. "The loaf was moist & tender, held its shape & tasted yummy. I'll be repeating this experience again."

06 of 25

Breaded Air Fryer Pork Chops

baby back ribs with mint garnish on a white plate

Dinner's on the table in no time! "Perfectly tender and juicy pork chops are what you'll get in just 10 minutes using your air fryer and basic pantry ingredients," says France C. "Play around with different crouton flavors for variety."

07 of 25

Air Fryer Salmon Patties

Air-fried to crispy, golden-brown deliciousness, these minced salmon cakes are ready in less than a half hour. "Fresh salmon patties are cooked golden in an air fryer and paired with a zesty aioli dipping sauce for an easy dinner," says Bren.

08 of 25

Air Fryer Chimichangas

Air Fryer Chimichangas

"Now you can have chimichangas just as crispy as deep frying, minus the calories," says Yoly. "Plus they are quick to make in an air fryer and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Top with salsa, sour cream, avocado, and cheese."

09 of 25

Air Fryer Coconut Chicken

"These coconut-panko crusted chicken strips are crispy, crunchy, and oil-free," says Yoly. "The chicken strips are double dipped in egg and in the coconut-panko mixture to ensure crispiness. They are moist and tender on the inside. Cooked in an air fryer, dinner's ready in just a few minutes. Serve with or without your choice of dipping sauce."

10 of 25

Air-Fried Crumbed Fish

air-fried fish fillets on a plate

"Crumbed fish is one of my favorite fried items," says Launa, "and this air-fried version gives me great flavor without the fat." White fish flakes easily with a fork after about 12 minutes.

11 of 25

Air Fryer Blackened Fish Tacos

Air Fryer Blackened Fish Tacos
Photo by Soup Loving Nicole. Soup Loving Nicole

"Blackened fish tacos made simple in the air fryer," says Soup Loving Nicole. "Cooking the fish quickly at a high temperature in the air fryer results in a crispy, blackened crust while the fish stays moist and flaky."

12 of 25

Air Fryer Chile Verde Burritos

air-fried chile verde burritos
Soup Loving Nicole

"While thinking of a way to use up leftover pulled pork, I remembered a dish I often had growing up in Colorado. While not quite the same, it inspired this recipe which was different and a great way to use it up. Serve with additional salsa verde for dipping if desired."

13 of 25

Air Fryer Apricot-Glazed Chicken Breasts

Air Fryer Apricot-Glazed Chicken Breasts
Air Fryer Apricot-Glazed Chicken Breasts | Photo by lutzflcat.

"Fruit preserves work beautifully for glazing certain meats and fish, and apricot is one of the best for chicken," says lutzflcat. "Serve over white rice."

14 of 25

Air Fryer Cheeseburgers

Air Fryer Cheeseburgers
Air Fryer Cheeseburgers | Photo by Yoly.

Yoly says, "I like the fact that by air frying my burgers I avoid grease splattering all over my stove top. I make 1/2-pound burger patties but you can easily make them into four 1/4-pound patties. Serve with all the fixings on the side."

15 of 25

Air Fryer Tacos de Papa

Air Fryer Tacos de Papa
Air Fryer Tacos de Papa | Photo by Soup Loving Nicole.

"Crispy potato tacos made simple in the air fryer," says Soup Loving Nicole. This recipe calls for instant mashed potatoes but it's also a great way to use up leftover homemade mashed potatoes. Drizzle salsa verde over tacos and top with cotija cheese.

16 of 25

Air Fryer Mustard-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Green Beans

pork tenderloin with potatoes and green beans on a white plate
Soup Loving Nicole

The air fryer helps you get a meal of perfectly cooked mustard-crusted pork tenderloin, potatoes, and green beans on the table in under an hour.

17 of 25

Air Fryer Rib-Eye Steak

rib-eye steak on a white plate with potatoes
Soup Loving Nicole

Marinated rib-eye steaks cook quickly in the air fryer. They turn out beautifully tender and delicious. "My husband was so upset I was putting our rib eyes in the air fryer...until they came out!" sys TBurgess. "He was amazed. I used my own seasonings. The timing on this is perfect!"

18 of 25

Air Fryer Ranch Pork Chops

pork chops on a white dish
France C

"What could be simpler than ranch seasoning mix and 10 minutes in the air fryer? I prefer my chops slightly pink to ensure juiciness, but feel free to add an extra minute on each side for well done," says France C. "Try different varieties of ranch mix (like spicy or bacon) to change up the flavor." Have it on the table in under 30 minutes.

19 of 25

Air-Fried Sesame-Crusted Cod with Snap Peas

two plates of cod and snap peas garnished with orange wedges

Cod fillets are lightly coated with sesame seeds and air-fried in this easy dinner recipe featuring sugar snap peas and orange wedges on the side. "Perfect as written and a great combination of flavors!" says Soup Loving Nicole. "The cod had a nice crisp on the outside and the inside was tender and flaky. The sesame seeds did not overpower and complimented the snap peas perfectly. Great recipe!"

20 of 25

Air Fryer Turkey Fajitas

turkey fajitas with orange and red peppers
Buckwheat Queen

"Marinated turkey breast is air-fried with vegetables for a no-fuss, no-mess, Tex-Mex dinner," says Buckwheat Queen. "I don't add any salt; the spices, vegetables, and lime are bursting in flavor. Serve with your favorite salsa and fresh tortillas."

21 of 25

Crumbed Chicken Tenderloins (Air Fried)

air-fried chicken tenderloins on a plate with potatoes
Buckwheat Queen

Crispy, crunchy chicken tenders. "These beat chicken nuggets any day and the recipe is so simple," says Launa. "I tend to use chicken tenderloins but you can use sliced chicken breasts if easier." Great for making chicken sandwiches, too!

22 of 25

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Shrimp

basket of air-fried shrimp with lemon

"These easy-to-make air fryer shrimp can be served with a salad or on top of rice or pasta," says bd.weld. "Also great as a cold appetizer."

23 of 25

Air Fryer Shrimp a la Bang Bang

air-fried shrimp over lettuce with a side of dipping sauce
Soup Loving Nicole

"This is my take on a popular dish from a restaurant chain," says Soup Loving Nicole. "My version is made in an air fryer instead of the deep-fryer. The end result was perfectly crispy sweet and spicy shrimp."

24 of 25

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

air-fried coconut shrimp with dipping sauce on a white plate

Flaked coconut and panko bread crumbs create an extra-crispy crust in the air fryer with a little help of cooking spray; no oil needed. "Quick, easy, and tasty," Yoly says.

25 of 25

Air Fryer Chicken Katsu with Homemade Katsu Sauce

chicken katsu with sauce over rice on a white plate
Soup Loving Nicole

"Air-fried chicken katsu that is crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. The sauce is a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, and complements the chicken perfectly. Serve over rice if desired," says recipe creator Soup Loving Nicole.

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