Air Fryer Thanksgiving Side Dish Experiment: The Good, the Bad, and the Deliciously Stylish

Effortlessly Delicious 5 Thanksgiving Sides Transformed by the Incredible Air Fryer

I used my air fryer to make 5 Thanksgiving sides, which made preparing 3 dishes a breeze.

chelsea posing with air-fried thanksgiving side dishes I made five different side dishes in my air fryer. – Chelsea Davis

Cooking a proper Thanksgiving feast is almost always stressful. I mean, making sure everything is timed properly is crucial to the happiness of your guests. But fear not, my fashionista foodies! As someone who’s obsessed with their air fryer, I decided to take on the challenge of making five traditional holiday side dishes in this fashionable gadget.

I started off by making seasoned green beans

green beans in a bowl in front of an air fryer These beans couldn’t be any easier to make. – Chelsea Davis

Let me just say, these green beans turned out to be the Kendall Jenner of side dishes – simple, elegant, and a total game-changer. I followed a basic recipe that couldn’t have been simpler to follow. After cleaning and trimming the tips off the green beans, I poured a splash of olive oil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a saltless seasoning blend. Then, they went into the preheated air fryer where they transformed into perfectly cooked, tender, and ever-so-slightly blistered beauties. Verdict? If you want to add a touch of high fashion to your Thanksgiving table, these green beans are a must.

Next up, I tried an air-fryer stuffing recipe

chopped cabbage, celery, and carrots on a kitchen counter Normally I don’t even like stuffing. – Chelsea Davis

Now, stuffing can be a hit or miss. But this air-fryer stuffing recipe, oh my couture! It called for both soft and dried bread chunks, which intrigued me. I diced the leeks, carrots, and celery and sautéed the mix in butter until it was cooked down. Then, I added the spices and the two types of bread – dried chunks meant for stuffing and fresh cubed ciabatta loaf for the soft ones. The mixture was moistened with a decent amount of broth and then placed directly into the air-fryer bin. The result? A stuffing with a rich flavor and the right texture that tasted like it came from a gourmet fashion show. I’m giving it two thumbs up with a runway-worthy strut.

I continued my experiment with mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes ingredients on a kitchen counter This recipe didn’t work great. – Chelsea Davis

Oh darling, the mashed potatoes! This recipe claimed to be the ultimate air-fryer mashed potatoes, but it fell flat on the runway. Maybe the model tripped on her heels or something. The instructions seemed promising, but after air-frying the potatoes for 25 minutes, they were still underdone. I had to rescue them by popping them into the microwave for a quick fix. Once softened, I added cream cheese, chives, and seasonings. But, oh dear, they were too dry and chunky for my taste. I had to add whole milk slowly until the texture became more fluffy and creamy. The final result was somewhat saved by the addition of garlic seasoning, which paired perfectly with the butter. But darling, let’s be real, I don’t need a recipe for mashed potatoes! Just microwave the spuds, add a splash of milk, a few tablespoons of butter, and any seasonings you desire. Voila! Mashed potato perfection without the hassle of an air fryer.

I moved on to the second potato dish, candied yams

sweet potato casserole ingredients on a kitchen counter Candied yams are one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. – Chelsea Davis

Oh, sweet candied yams! This dish was a total head-turner. The recipe I followed was ridiculously easy and could be done in both an oven and an air fryer. I opened a can of yams and reserved some of the liquid. Then, I placed the yams in the air-fryer bin and whipped up a sugary, spiced liquid concoction in a small pot. Butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and a touch of yam juice sizzled together until they reached a bubbling perfection. I poured this heavenly mixture over the yams, cooked everything in the air fryer, and topped it off with large marshmallows. After a few minutes, the marshmallows turned golden brown and everything tasted like a glorious Thanksgiving dream. I’m giving this dish a standing ovation and a top spot on the Thanksgiving catwalk.

The last side dish I tried was an air-fried pull-apart bread

pull-apart bread ingredients on a kitchen counter I was excited to try this one out. – Chelsea Davis

Last but not least, the fashion-forward pull-apart bread! Now, I must admit, I’ve never baked bread with yeast before, let alone in an air fryer. It was a risky fashion choice, but I’m always up for a challenge. The measurements in the recipe were a bit confusing since I accidentally had the imperial system on. But hey, fashion knows no boundaries, right? I rubbed the butter into the flour, heated the milk and oils in a pan, and kneaded everything into a doughy masterpiece. Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow the exact instructions as my air fryer and oven didn’t go as low as it required for “proofing” the dough. So, I took a slightly different route and left the dough to rise in a propped-open oven at a cozy 170 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, it was back to the air fryer for the final act. The bottoms of the rolls were a tad doughy even after the recommended cooking time, but the tops were beautifully golden and crunchy. This bread needs a little tweak for a perfect fit, but with some adjustments, it’s ready for the fashion runways of your next stylish gathering.

Overall, the air fryer made all of the dishes easier, but only 3 of the recipes were winners

thanksgiving side dishes on a counter The air fryer did its job, and I’d give it an A+. – Chelsea Davis

The air fryer, my dear fashion aficionados, did not disappoint in terms of making our Thanksgiving sides more fashionably fabulous. It shortened the cooking and clean-up times and allowed me to multitask like a pro. With my double-basket model, I could whip up two dishes simultaneously without breaking a sweat. Plus, once your dish is in the air fryer, you can focus on other fashionably important matters while occasionally giving it a chic shake or two.

Now, let’s talk about the real stars of the show. The green beans, stuffing, and candied yams were the shining fashion gems of this air fryer experiment. They brought glamour and flavor to the table, leaving everyone in awe. However, the mashed potatoes need a major fashion makeover, and the pull-apart bread needs some adjustments to its fit. But don’t worry, my stylish friends, I’ve got some fabulous tips up my sleeve for turning those recipe missteps into runway-worthy triumphs.

In conclusion, the air fryer deserves an A+ for its role in creating a stress-free and fashion-forward Thanksgiving experience. With a little bit of experimentation and some tweaks here and there, you can elevate your holiday side dishes to haute couture status. So get cooking, my fashionistas, and let your culinary creativity shine on the runway of Thanksgiving delights!

This story was originally published on November 15, 2021, and most recently updated on November 21, 2023.