How to cook five Christmas sides in an air fryer

If you’re concerned about having enough space in your oven this Christmas (who isn’t?), cooking some or all of your roasties, sprouts, carrots, parsnips and pigs-in-blankets in the air fryer is a great solution. The ever-popular kitchen gadget produces crispy parsnips, burnished sprouts and roasties with as much crunch as your heart could desire.

Find our guide to the perfect air fryer Christmas sides below.

How to cook five Christmas sides in an air fryer

When it comes to cooking your Christmas side dishes in your air fryer, you can treat them exactly the same way as you would if you cooked them in the oven – you’ll just be able to cook things much more quickly and with more control than  if they were squashed in with everything else. Find timings for the classic roasted Christmas sides below…

Can you cook your turkey or chicken in the air fryer?

Unless you have an incredibly small turkey, you’re unlikely to find you can fit one inside even the largest air fryer. And, while it’s possible to cook a turkey crown or your chicken in the air fryer, we think it’s better roasting your bird in the oven. Why? Because there’s space to use a larger roasting tin so you can add vegetables, herbs and wine that will all enrich the juices and help create a magnificent gravy – and while the bird is cooking in the oven, you can cook all your sides using the air fryer.

How to make air fryer brussels sprouts

To air fry your brussels sprouts, there’s no need to chop them (unless large), just take off any undesirable ends and outer leaves with a small sharp knife, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little lemon zest. Cook in your air fryer at 180°C for 14 minutes or until golden brown to your liking.

How to cook pigs-in-blankets in the air fryer

For the perfect pigs-in-blankets, roast them in your air fryer at 180°C for 18 minutes, tossing half way through, until well browned and cooked through in the centre.

How to make the perfect air fryer roast potatoes

When we tested roast potatoes in the air fryer, we found we got the best results when sticking to the same technique as if you were oven roasting. Peel and chop your potatoes (keep them in nice large chunks), put in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until par-cooked. Drain, then leave to steam dry for at least 10 minutes while you get the air fryer up to temperature.

Roast potatoes

Add the oil and butter or other fat (we like 30ml fat per 1kg potatoes) and allow it to heat up. Add the par-cooked potatoes to the fat along with salt to season (plus bay leaves, pink peppercorns and garlic, if you like), then roast in the air fryer at 200°C for 30 minutes, shaking halfway through.

How to roast carrots and parsnips in the air fryer

To make perfectly roasted carrots and parsnips in the air fryer, just toss peeled and chopped batons in your chosen oil (we like rapeseed oil or olive oil for this), then season well and add 2-3 tsp honey. Roast in a single layer in the tray of your air fryer at 180°C for 18 minutes. Toss halfway through and feel free to add poppy seeds or sesame seeds at this point along with a little grated clementine zest. They’re ready when they’re richly golden brown and tender all the way through.


Tips for timing on Christmas day

If you’re cooking for a big crowd, we recommend getting the chicken, turkey, or other main dish in the oven first, and then air frying your Christmas sides in this order:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots and parsnips
  • Pigs-in-blankets
  • Roast potatoes

This is because the roast potatoes taste best when they’re as freshly crisp as possible, while the brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips and pigs-in-blankets all reheat well, so you can place them in the bottom of your oven for  10 minutes or so to heat back up while the turkey rests before bringing everything to the table to serve.

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