7 must-try air fryer back to school recipes for kids’ lunchboxes

 Images of zucchini fritters being made
Images of zucchini fritters being made

It can be a shock to the system when it’s time for the kids to go back to school, and not just for them.

From organizing, washing, and labeling uniforms, to managing timetables, remembering school dates, and homework, plus simply getting back into a routine, September can represent a peak mental load for many of us.

Thankfully, worrying about lunchbox treats, snacks, and after-school meals doesn’t need to add to this load with our pick of back-to-school recipes you can make in one of the best air fryers.

I’ve tried, tested, and refined each of these recipes during my many reviews and they’re designed to be easy, quick, and delicious, even for the fussiest of eaters.

Keep reading to discover my 7 must-try air fryer back-to-school recipes.

7 must-try air fryer back to school recipes

1. Air fryer muffins

Having originally discovered these blueberry and lemon air fryer muffins while searching for easy cakes for my son’s birthday, they’ve become an almost weekly occurrence.

The sponge is soft and the blueberries are sweet, adding freshness instead of overpowering the muffins with sourness. The addition of lemon subtly enhances the taste of the fruit while adding moisture.

Due to the way air fryers circulate hot air, these muffins need to be cooked in large muffin cases. This makes the muffins slightly shorter than traditional muffins but that doesn’t impact the texture or taste.

Air Fryer Blueberry Muffins
Air Fryer Blueberry Muffins

2. Air fryer bagels

Bagels are a great pre-school (and pre-work) breakfast because they’re tasty and filling and give you energy for hours. However, they can be expensive, and go-off easily.

One way around this is to make your own bagels in an air fryer, but don’t worry; they’re nowhere near as difficult as you may think. These air fryer bagels are made using just two ingredients – flour, and Greek yogurt. Make the dough, shape them into rings, and bake in the air fryer for 10 minutes. That’s it!

You can add any seasoning, and filling you want. Plus, they’re higher in protein and lower in calories than most shop-bought bagels, too.

Making Air fryer bagels
Making Air fryer bagels

3. Air fryer empanadas

These air fryer empanadas offer an ideal mix of crunchy pastry, salty filling, and an (optional) kick of spice.

I’ve made them using a mixture of fillings, including the traditional picadillo recipe, as well as chicken and vegetables. You can buy empanada discs, or use pie pastry and if you don’t have an empanada machine, pinching the edges with a fork will do too.

They’re the perfect comfort food as the nights start drawing in and the temperature drops, and you can make large empanadas for meals, or small empanadas for snacks or parties.

Homemade air fryer empanadas
Homemade air fryer empanadas

4. Air fryer fritters

These zucchini air fryer fritters are the only recipe in this list that I wouldn’t describe as quick because you have to put a little extra effort in to make sure the zucchini is drained properly. However, they are easy to make and taste great.

The zucchini is a great alternative to potato, and the addition of ricotta cheese makes these fritters light, soft, and creamy. The parmesan then adds a subtle cheese flavor without overwhelming the whole dish.

Eat them as snacks, or serve them as a side dish for a filling, tasty food.

Images of zucchini fritters being made
Images of zucchini fritters being made

5. Air fryer potato chips

Cooking air fryer chips isn’t as convenient as buying potato chips from a store but the extra effort is more than worth it for the fact you can design your own flavors. Not to mention that homemade chips are much healthier.

I’ve made paprika chips, ones coated in Five Spice seasoning, and salted chips, with a garlic dip on the side. You can also cook and store these chips if you want a steady supply of snacks.

The key is to cut the chips so thin that you can almost see through them. This is easier said than done, of course, and while thicker chips do still work, if you can use a mandolin, you’ll notice the difference.

air fryer paprika chips
air fryer paprika chips

6. Air fryer cookies

We’ve successfully made a range of air fryer cookies in recent months and they’re always a popular choice with my children.

The best recipe I’ve made was this chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses gooey chocolate buttons in place of small chips. This gives the center of the cookies a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture while the edges remain crispy.

We’ve also made these gingerbread cookies from Instagram and they’re the perfect Halloween or Christmas treats as we head into winter.

Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer
Ninja Foodi MAX Health Grill & Air Fryer

7. Air fryer egg muffins

If you’re after a high-protein, quick, and easy breakfast snack but don’t want to spend time making the air fryer bagels featured earlier on in the list, these air fryer egg muffins are a great alternative.

The one-pot recipe means you can put all your ingredients into a single ramekin, mix them together, and bake in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes. I like adding ham, cheese, tomatoes, and spinach to my egg muffins but you can add any filling you want – as long as it will be cooked within 10 minutes.

These are also great if you want to make a batch and eat them cold throughout the week.

for air fryer egg muffins
for air fryer egg muffins