Cooking in college just got a whole lot easier.
When you think of college meals, you’re probably picturing instant ramen noodles and greasy takeout pizza. Those “meals” might have cut it when your parents were in college, but today’s college students have found endless ways to improve what they eat at school. Specifically, the recent invention of the air fryer has made cooking at college easier and quicker than ever.
When my roommate bought an air fryer for our apartment at the beginning of this school year, I was admittedly skeptical. I’ve seen air fryer recipes all over TikTok, as I’m sure many of you have as well, but I had a hard time believing that this machine could cook almost anything in just 10 minutes.
I was proven wrong on my first night back at school when my roommate cooked dinner using only the air fryer. It took less than 30 minutes, and it tasted amazing. Since then, we’ve used our air fryer almost every night for quick and delicious dinners.
Here are three of my favorite air fryer recipes that have taken my college meals from fast food to restaurant quality.
Trust me on this one. I know salmon in an air fryer sounds a little weird, but it’s by far my favorite thing I’ve made. It’s so quick and the salmon comes out perfectly tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
The only ingredients you’ll need are a few salmon filets and a teriyaki sauce of your choice. I like the Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki. Let your filets marinate in the teriyaki sauce for a few hours, and then it’s time to cook! Set your air fryer to 400° and cook for 10 minutes. Just like that you have an amazing (and healthy!) dinner.
When it comes to veggies, just about any kind will cook perfectly in an air fryer. I’ve tried everything from broccoli to french fries and they’ve come out crispy and delicious every time. Say goodbye to mushy vegetables and say hello to your new favorite side dish.
Like the salmon, this recipe is super easy. All you’ll need is a vegetable of your choice (brussel sprouts and zucchini are really good), some kind of oil and your favorite spices/flavorings. First coat your veggies in oil. I personally like avocado oil spray, but any oil will work. Then sprinkle on some salt and pepper, along with any other spices that you like. Garlic powder and paprika are usually my go-tos. Set your air fryer to 375°, and you’ll have the best crispy veggies in only 10 minutes.
Yes, cake. This one sounded really strange to me at first, but after seeing its increased popularity on TikTok, I knew I had to try it. As it turns out, baking a cake in an air fryer is super easy and comes out exactly as it would in an oven. It does take a bit longer than 10 minutes, but it’s still faster than using an oven and tastes just as good.
If you want to be fancy, you can bake your cake from scratch, but it’s definitely easier to use a boxed cake mix. Follow the instructions on the box or a recipe of your choosing to make the cake batter. For a boxed mix,the ingredients usually consist of eggs, water and oil.
After your batter is prepared, you’ll need to find the right pan. Some air fryers come with a pan that has a solid bottom, as opposed to the slotted tray inside. If yours doesn’t come with a pan, you can use a cake pan that fits inside of the air fryer. Bake your cake at 350° for 17 to 18 minutes and then frost with your favorite frosting for a quick dessert to complete your meal.
Cover image credit: How to Fry Vegetables in an Airfryer, cooksmarts.com