Our Best Air-Fryer Appetizers Are Almost Too Tasty to Share

Can we just go ahead and adjust the serving size to “1”? 🤣

Mozzarella Sticks and marinara sauce on yellow plate
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Our best air-fryer appetizers are crunchy, craveable, and sure to fly off your party appetizer recipe spread. Including easy air-fryer appetizers like brat bites and spiced nuts, as well as restaurant-style mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, egg rolls, and more, our best air-fryer appetizers will steal the show at your next gathering (or, you know, your next solo night in).

01 of 13

Air-Fryer Jalapeño Poppers

Caitlin Bensel

Some of the best air-fryer appetizer inspiration can be found on bar and brewpub menus. The side dish and snack selection is often overflowing with fried and crunchy items that can easily be recreated in the air fryer. Case in point: These pint-sized stuffed peppers. Our rendition features chicken and cheese in the filling to give the snack even more staying power. The panko coating—and the convection heat—amplify the crunch factor.

02 of 13

Air-Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella Sticks and marinara sauce on yellow plate
Jason Donnelly

If you’d prefer to let the fromage step into the spotlight even more, consider adding this air-fryer appetizer to your line-up. We adore this mozzarella cheese-focused recipe’s parsley-spiked bread crumb coating, its 3-minute cook time, and its flexible timeline. To prep the mozz sticks ahead, bread the cheese sticks, then cover and chill for 2 hours or freeze for up to 30 minutes. This will not only trim down on party-time stress, but will also reduce the risk of the cheese overflowing from its crunchy coat.

Related: 18 of the Best Cheese Dishes Ever Created in Our Test Kitchen

03 of 13

Air-Fried Bratwurst Bites with Spicy Beer Mustard

Victor Protasio

Ideal for tailgates, neighborhood potlucks, or part of a snack dinner (just add a hummus and veggie platter), this easy air-fryer appetizer recipe offers everything you adore about the ballpark staple in a bite-sized format. While the crisped-up brat bites are tasty and juicy, the real star here might just be the homemade condiment. Mustard, dark beer, allspice, turmeric, and honey team up for a wild and wonderful flavor explosion that we hereby want to spread on every sandwich, burger, hot dog, and brat.

04 of 13

Air Fryer Egg Rolls

Air-Fried Egg Rolls
Caitlin Bensel

Savor this popular Asian-inspired starter without investing the time and money in ordering takeout. It’s easy to make audibly crunchy, well-seasoned pork-stuffed rolls right at home.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you’re hosting a crowd, assemble multiple batches of this air-fryer appetizer recipe in advance, then refrigerate so you can cook in waves to keep the snack selection stocked.

05 of 13

Crunchy Air-Fryer Corn Dog Bites

Crunchy Air Fryer Corn Dog Bites
Jennifer Causey

BHG editors adore pretty much everything about the state fair—especially the food. This easy air-fryer appetizer recipe is our healthy-ish recreation of one of our all-time favorites, corn dogs, just in a smaller-scale format and with far less fussy instructions. Instead of a drippy batter, we call for a crushed cornflake coating that performs better in the air fryer and yields an ultra-crunchy finished exterior.

06 of 13

Air-Fryer Jerk Pork Skewers with Black Bean Mango Salsa

Air Fryer Jerk Pork Skewers with Black Bean and Mango Salsa

Kabobs of any kind make for an ideal potluck party addition. And since it’s full of punchy tropical colors and flavors and can easily be multiplied to feed a crowd, this air-fryer appetizer idea is one of our go-to kabob recipes. A coating of shredded coconut and Jamaican jerk seasoning infuses the pork tenderloin as it cooks. As it does just that, simply toss together the black bean and mango salsa to serve on top or alongside.

07 of 13

Air-Fryer Chicken Wings

Air-Fryer Chicken Wings

Score pub-style “fried” chicken wings with far less fat but just as much crunch and kick. Among our best air-fryer appetizers, according to our Test Kitchen tasting panel, the secret to the craveable texture is patting the chicken dry with paper towels before allowing them to air-fry sans-sauce. Just before serving, toss the wings with a sauce featuring sambal oelek chile paste, lime, ginger, and garlic. 

08 of 13

Air-Fried Buffalo Cauliflower

Air Fried Buffalo Cauliflower
Matthew Clark

For an even lighter remix on the concept of chicken wings, try this air-fryer appetizer. Simply toss florets with a Buffalo-inspired blend (cayenne pepper sauce, a bit of butter, vinegar, and garlic powder). Cook in the air fryer until crispy, shaking every 5 minutes to ensure even crisping, and serve with blue cheese or ranch; there’s no wrong answer among those two sauce selections, if you ask us!  

09 of 13

Air-Fried Soy Ginger Shishito Peppers

Antonis Achilleos

You need just 5 ingredients and 17 minutes to add this easy air-fryer appetizer to your menu. The soy sauce-scented peppers are on repeat any night BHG editors order takeout sushi or ramen. The blistered exterior lends a lovely smoky quality, while the sweet honey, tangy lime juice, and salty-savory soy sauce in the coating hit all the taste buds.

10 of 13

Air-Fryer Avocado Fries

Jennifer Causey

Because potatoes shouldn’t get all the glory, our current snacktime MVP features something you might be more familiar smashing on toast. Yep, this air-fryer appetizer recipe is all about avocados—and the ample coating of panko that hugs each inch thanks to an egg-based dredge. They’re delightful dipped in classic ketchup or mayo, but get even better when you mix those two with a dash of sriracha and apple cider vinegar.

Related: How to Soften an Avocado 4 Ways (Plus 2 Ways to Never Try)

11 of 13

Air-Fryer Spiced Walnuts

glass dish of spiced walnuts on blue background
Jason Donnelly

Toasting nuts in the oven is one of our favorite tricks to amplify the flavor of everything from almonds to walnuts. The heat circulation in your countertop appliance can help you score similar results, just in less time and using less energy. We mean it when we say less time; this quick and easy party recipe takes a mere 9 minutes per batch. And the roasty, rich walnuts only get better when you realize the easy air-fryer appetizer comes coated with cinnamon, sugar, and cloves, too.

12 of 13

Air-Fryer Pickle Chips

Air-Fryer Pickle Chips
Matthew Clark

Our Test Kitchen is full of so many pickle fans, you’ll find them featured in Cubans, chicken sandwich brine, cream cheese wraps, and so much more. This air-fryer appetizer allows the slices to steal the show. You’ll be treated to 90 chips in just 30 minutes if you follow our easy instructions to pat the pickles dry, dunk them in sriracha-spiked buttermilk, finish with panko. Air-fry in the pickle snack in batches in golden, then comes the toughest part: not eating every single one before the rest of the crew joins the party.

13 of 13

Pretzel-Crusted Air-Fryer Crab Cakes

Pretzel-Crusted Crab Cakes on board with lemon wedges and dill garnish
Jason Donnelly

For one of the best air-fryer appetizers that can double as a main dish (serve two over a bed of greens or inside a hoagie roll, and voila: dinner!), crisp up some crab cakes. Instead of bread crumbs, we call for coating these Old Bay-seasoned patties with crushed pretzels to add texture and just-enough salty flavor. Make them bite-sized for cocktail parties, or share slightly larger with a dollop or swoosh of sauce for a sit-down dinner.

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