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From entrées to sides, appetizers, desserts, and snacks, you can enjoy fried food without the oil thanks to the air fryer. It’s been all the rage lately and personally, I’ve been loving trying out recipes that have all the crisp without the mess of frying in oil. Today, I will share a few tips on how to use your air fryer, as well as a decadent Easter recipe for you to try! Let me show you how I made these light and crispy chocolate-dipped donuts using an air fryer!

What is an air fryer?

The air fryer is a countertop convection oven that uses extremely hot air to create those crispy, crunchy dishes we all know and love, minus the deep fat frying. You can choose from plenty of brands that vary in price. Some can be found for as low as $70, while others can go as high as $600. Whichever you choose, the same tips apply as to how to use them for best results. Here are a few:
  1. Place the air fryer in an appropriate part of your kitchen. You want to make sure it is on a levelled, heat-resistant countertop, leaving a few inches of space between it and the back wall for the exhaust fan located at the back.
  2. Preheat your air fryer before adding food to the basket. Simply set it to the desired temperature and start the timer for 2-3 minutes. Once it beeps, open the preheated basket. This helps ensure the food cooks evenly and that more time is not required at the end.
  3. You can add a bit of oil to certain foods for a good crisp—even if you don’t, it will still taste good, but it might not be as crispy. Using a kitchen spray bottle in which you add your own oil is best, as certain store-bought aerosol cans contain agents that can break down the non-stick surface of your air fryer.

Tips for making donuts in the air fryer

Start by making the yeast dough. To activate the yeast, sprinkle it over lukewarm soy milk, add a little bit of cane sugar, and gently stir with a fork. Next, let the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes. It should be frothy and smell like yeast. If you don’t see anything happening after 15 minutes, your yeast is probably no longer active—either because it is too old, or because the milk was too hot. You want to make sure you get that step right, as it will determine if your dough rises. After making sure your yeast is well and active, add the remaining dough ingredients and knead the dough, in a stand mixer or by hand, until it is elastic, smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a pre-greased bowl. Don’t worry if it is a little sticky. Gently move the dough around in the bowl so it gets coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put it in a warm, draft-free spot. Let the dough rise until it has doubled. Test the dough by making an indentation with the tip of your finger—if the indentation remains, it’s proofed long enough. These air fryer chocolate donuts made from scratch with yeast dough taste like the real deal—better than baked, and with less fat than deep-fried!

Vegan chocolate-dipped donut recipe

Yields a dozen donuts Total time: 2 hours 30 min Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups vegan milk, room/slightly warm temperature
  • 1½ tsp. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup + 1 tsp. coconut sugar, divided
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Avocado oil for spraying the donuts prior to cooking
  1. Whisk the milk, yeast, and 1 tsp. of sugar together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside for 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. In a medium bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter and remaining sugar on high speed for 1 minute or until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt.
  3. Start adding yeast mixture slowly a bit at a time while mixing at low speed.
  4. Begin adding the flour in small batches to avoid splashing. Switch to a spatula or spoon when the dough becomes too hard to mix with an electric mixer.
  5. Continue adding flour until a soft ball of dough forms.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
  7. Set the dough in a bowl, in a warm spot, with a damp tea towel over it. Let rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
  8. Once it has doubled in size, punch the dough down and roll it out on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick.
  9. Use a round shaped cup or cutter to make your donuts. I use a drinking glass and a shot glass for the donut holes.
  10. Transfer the donuts to a parchment paper covered with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for an hour to let them rise.
  11. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F and wait 3 minutes.
  12. Put two donuts in your air fryer basket and spray with oil. Set the temperature to 350 and the timer for 5 minutes. Cook the donuts.

For the chocolate frosting

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
In a double boiler, melt all the ingredients and mix until well combined. Dip the cooked donuts into the mixture and put on a wire rack for glaze to set. If you want to add sprinkles, now is the time to do so, while the chocolate coating is still sticky.