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The best Thanksgiving air fryer recipes this holiday

A dinner table at Thanksgiving
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Thanksgiving is almost here, and the highlight is most certainly the delicious food you get to share with family and friends. If you don’t fancy cooking a whole turkey or you're only hosting for a select few, why not cook Thanksgiving recipes in an air fryer this year? 

Cooking in an air fryer is the perfect option for preparing those small-batch, Thanksgiving recipes, especially if you’re short on time. What’s more, the best air fryers offer a more healthy(ish) way to cook, as they use very little oil compared to the traditional deep fat fryer. Although if you're planning on buying an air fryer this Black Friday, you should make sure you get the model that's right for you. 

So, whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or simply want to downsize your portions, check out these easy air fryer recipes to impress your guests this season. And be sure to check out our Black Friday air fryer deals for discounts on the top models. If you're a fan of all things Ninja, then we've also found the best Ninja Foodi Black Friday deals.

If you love to play Animal Crossing, don't forget to check out the rewards you can get on Animal Crossing Thanksgiving 2021 as well. 

1. Air fryer turkey breast

Turkey breasts cooking in an air fryer

Turkey breasts cooking in an air fryer (Image credit: Shutterstock)

What’s Thanksgiving without a traditional turkey? If you don’t want the hassle of roasting a whole turkey, you can always air fry a couple of turkey breasts instead. 

First, preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While it's heating, rub your turkey breasts on both sides and under the skin with seasoning. This could be a simple herbed butter mix containing rosemary, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper, but if you need more guidance, we've researched how to season a turkey. Then, place the turkey breast into the air fryer basket, skin-side-down to cook for 20 minutes. Once time is up, turn the turkey breast to skin-side up for another 18 minutes or until your best meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

This will taste just as succulent and crisp as an oven-roasted turkey, and will take you less time to prepare — a plus if you don’t want to wait too long for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Check out the full recipe on how to make air fryer turkey turkey breast.

 2. Air fryer sweet potato fries 

Sweet potato fries on plate

Sweet potato fries on plate (Image credit: Shutterstock)

For fans of sweet potato fries, an air fryer is a quick way of cooking this crunchy delight. Simply peel and slice a few sweet potatoes into ¼ inch sticks. Coat and season your sticks in a mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika and salt. 

Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, spread the fries in a single layer in your air fryer basket and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to flip halfway through the cooking process. What’s more, air fried sweet potato fries have fewer calories than your standard French fries, so it’s a win-win.

Read on for the full recipe on how to make air fryer sweet potato fries.

3. Air fryer macaroni and cheese balls 

Mac and cheese balls on a plate

Mac and cheese balls on a plate (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Macaroni and cheese is a favorite this season, and a quick dish to rustle up in an air fryer. Simply take a couple of spoonfuls of leftover macaroni and cheese and roll it into a ball. Create a coating by whisking eggs and milk in one bowl, and then in another, combine panko breadcrumbs with salt, garlic salt and chopped bacon. 

Take the mac and cheese balls and submerge in each mixture. Once coated, put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit before placing the balls into your air fryer to cook for up to 10 minutes. This is an ideal side dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal.

Check out the full recipe here for how to make air fryer macaroni and cheese balls.

4. Air fryer mini pumpkin pies 

Mini pumpkin pie

Mini pumpkin pie  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another great Thanksgiving recipe is mini pumpkin pies. You can either make your pie dough by combining all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, butter and water or use a pre-made dough. Next up, whisk together your pumpkin pie filling until well blended. The filling mainly consists of one cup of pumpkin puree, one egg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice.  

Next, roll out the dough and cut out 10 circles with a cookie cutter. Lay the circles onto a flat surface before spooning your pie mixture into the middle of each circle. 

Place another circle of dough on top of each and seal around the edges with a fork and a little water. Then, cook the mini pies in your air fryer at 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 to 16 minutes. Make sure to flip the pies halfway through for delicious results.

Check out the full recipe on how to make air fryer mini pumpkin pies here. 

5. Air fryer brownies

Chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate brownie? The good news is, you can make this dessert in an air fryer, and it will take half the time compared to baking in an oven. Simply whip up your brownie batter before transferring to a 6-inch prepped cake pan. 

Then, place the pan in the air fryer basket to cook for about 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the perfect dessert for a delicious Thanksgiving and beyond.    

Check out the full recipe here for how to make air fryer brownies.

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!