21 Diabetes-Friendly Recipes You Can Make in the Air Fryer

air fryer okra
Photo: Jacob Fox

Snacks, starters and suppers: all it takes to make these easy recipes is to pop them in your air fryer. These dishes include complex carbs like whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, and air frying makes them lower in saturated fat and sodium compared to traditional breading and deep frying, so they can be enjoyed by those following a diabetes-friendly eating pattern. Recipes like our Air-Fryer Zucchini and Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Scallops will make you want to keep your air fryer on your kitchen counter.

01 of 21

Air-Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi with Marinara Dipping Sauce


These tasty bites are perfect for anytime you need an easy appetizer or side dish. Cauliflower gnocchi get a crispy, cheesy coating on the outside and a tender middle in an air fryer. Marinara is the perfect complement for dipping.

02 of 21

Air-Fryer Crispy Chickpeas


Air-fried chickpea snacks are intensely flavored and incredibly crunchy. Drying the chickpeas is essential to a good crunch, so don't skip this step. If you have time, leave them out on the counter to dry for an hour or two before frying.

03 of 21

Air-Fryer Zucchini

air fryer zucchini
Jacob Fox

Zucchini crisps up nicely in this simple air-fryer zucchini recipe. The interior is creamy and soft without feeling mushy, with the outside remaining crispy. A squeeze of lemon after cooking adds brightness and tang.

04 of 21

Air-Fryer Shrimp

air fryer shrimp
Jacob Fox

This ultra-quick air-fryer shrimp recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner—or add it to pasta or use as a salad topper. More crushed red pepper sprinkled on after cooking adds a kick.

05 of 21

Air-Fryer Plantains

air fryer plaintains
Jacob Fox

This air-fryer plantain recipe is where the air fryer shines—not sacrificing flavor or texture but saving time compared to cooking them in a deep fryer or on the stovetop. These air-fryer plantains are sweet and salty, with a deliciously crispy crust.

06 of 21

Air-Fryer Carrots

air fryer carrots
Jacob Fox

Air-fryer carrots are an easy side dish that pairs with just about everything. Here the carrots are tossed with a touch of brown sugar and spices, with Parmesan cheese adding a savory note. Go even cheesier with a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese for garnish, if you like.

07 of 21

Air-Fryer Chicken Breast

air fryer chicken breast
Jacob Fox

This air-fryer chicken breast recipe is sure to become your new favorite way to cook chicken! Brining helps the breasts stay moist while a simple combo of seasonings allows you to pair them with just about anything. Or slice and store them for later to add to a salad or sandwich.

08 of 21

Air-Fryer Fish Tacos

air fryer fish tacos
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer fish tacos get their kick from a crispy breadcrumb coating that's spiked with chili powder. Avocado crema helps balance the flavors, while shredded cabbage slaw adds crunch. These easy air-fryer fish tacos are finished with fresh tomato, but feel free to add your own favorite toppings to the mix.

09 of 21

Air-Fryer Eggplant

air fryer eggplant
Jacob Fox

This air-fryer eggplant is crispy on the outside with a tender middle. You can fit more slices in the basket when you use smaller eggplant. Dip these crispy slices in marinara or pesto, or drizzle with balsamic glaze.

10 of 21

Air-Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

air fryer bacon wrapped scallops
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer bacon-wrapped scallops are the perfect last-minute appetizer to throw together for a gathering. Medium-size scallops and bacon cut on the thinner side work best here. You can enjoy these bacon-wrapped scallops on their own or jazz them up with a drizzle of maple syrup.

11 of 21

Air-Fryer Green Bean Fries

air fryer green beans with harissa yogurt red pepper dipping sauce
Jacob Fox

These crispy air-fryer green bean fries come with a zesty dipping sauce flavored with harissa paste and roasted red peppers. Panko breadcrumbs give them a crunchy outer coating, and smoked paprika adds a smoky flair.

12 of 21

Air-Fryer Okra

air fryer okra
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer okra "fries" are irresistibly crispy thanks to their cornmeal-based crust. Cutting the pods in half lengthwise helps the coating stick. We dip them in a creamy-spicy dipping sauce. If you really like the heat, add the optional Cajun seasoning to give them more kick.

13 of 21

Air-Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs

a close-up of hard boiled eggs
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer hard-boiled eggs are a fuss-free way to cook hard-boiled eggs without boiling water. Having some hard-boiled eggs on hand is great for meal prep or an easy grab-and-go snack.

14 of 21

Air-Fryer Beets with Feta

air fryer beets with feta
Jacob Fox

This air-fryer beets with feta recipe is a great way to enjoy beets. It's super easy to throw together, and it's just as good eaten cold as part of a salad as it is warm on its own.

15 of 21

Air-Fryer Chicken Tenders

chicken tenders on a white plate
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer chicken tenders will have you ditching the store-bought version in no time. Lightly flavored with Italian seasoning, these chicken tenders cook up extra crispy in the air fryer. We love them paired with honey mustard, but ketchup or ranch dressing will work well too.

16 of 21

Air-Fryer Broccoli

air fryer broccoli
Jacob Fox

The Parmesan cheese in this air-fryer broccoli gives this easy side dish a savory flavor, while a squeeze of lemon over the top after cooking adds brightness and acidity.

17 of 21

Air-Fryer Blooming Onions

air fryer blooming onion
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer blooming onions are tender on the inside with a combination of spices and a slight amount of heat adding to the crispy outside. The creamy sauce is perfect for dipping.

18 of 21

Air-Fryer Sweet Potatoes

air fryer sweet potato
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer sweet potatoes are nicely crisped around the edges and tender on the inside. Ground sumac adds a nice tang to the spice mix, but paprika can be used in its place.

19 of 21

Air-Fryer Meatballs

air fryer meatballs
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer meatballs cook quickly and stay juicy in the air fryer. Seasoned simply with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese and paired with your favorite marinara sauce, they make the perfect weeknight meal.

20 of 21

Air-Fryer Spaghetti Squash

air fryer spaghetti squash
Jacob Fox

This simple air-fryer spaghetti squash takes on a nice roasted flavor from the air fryer. You can enjoy it plain or dress it up with your favorite sauce or grated cheese.

21 of 21

Air-Fryer Fried Green Tomatoes

air fryer fried green tomatoes
Jacob Fox

These air-fryer green tomatoes have plenty of crunch thanks to a crispy mixture of panko breadcrumbs and cornmeal. We serve these "fried" green tomatoes with a classic rémoulade, but any creamy dipping sauce will pair nicely.

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