Five healthy keto recipes you can make in your air fryer

Succulent beef bites: Skewers made with a simple, tangy keto-friendly marinade.
Succulent beef bites: Skewers made with a simple, tangy keto-friendly marinade. Photo: Aaron Day

The keto diet isn't just about low-carb, high-fat cooking, says nutrition expert Aaron Day. It's also about eating the right kinds of fat – healthy, quality fats such as those found in nuts and olive oil.

"The main benefit of an air fryer is to cook using less fat, and when good-quality fat costs so much more, using less becomes one of the best reasons to use an air fryer rather than deep frying," Day writes in his new collection of recipes Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook.

"Plus, you can still get that crunchy texture to your food you can miss when removing carbs from your diet."

Aaron Day's new book.
Aaron Day's new book. Photo: Supplied

But you don't need refined carbs to make food crunchy, Day says. You just need an air fryer, and the right recipes.

From golden crumbed fish to sunny lemon pound cake, here's a selection of low-carb recipes to get you started.

Beef skewers

Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce make a simple, tangy keto-friendly marinade that will give you succulent beef bites time and time again.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g sirloin steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ red onion, chopped

METHOD

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  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Set the air fryer temp to 175C. 
  3. Alternate threading an equal amount of steak and onion on 4 skewers. (Reserve the marinade.)
  4. Place the skewers in the fryer basket and cook until the beef starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Brush both sides of the skewers with the reserved marinade and then flip. Cook until completely browned, about 5 minutes more.
  5. Transfer the skewers from the air fryer and serve immediately.

Tips: If you're using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes while your beef is marinating so they don't burn. Store the cooked skewers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes: 4 skewers

Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook Beef skewers
Breaded fish
Stuffed jalapeno poppers
Lemon pound cake
Raspberry and vanilla pancakes
This is an edited extract from Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook by Aaron Day, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photo credit: Copyright © Alpha: Aaron Day, 2021
Single use

Pair this dish with a dry white wine. Photo: Aaron Day

Breaded fish

Almond flour and whey protein powder – with a hint of paprika – create a crunchy outer coating for fish. Pair this dish with a dry white wine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp unflavoured whey protein powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 255g boneless fish fillets (cod, flake, or basa)
  • ½ lemon

METHOD

  1. Set the air fryer temp to 180C. Spray the fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, protein powder, paprika, dill, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Dip the fish in the egg and then in the flour mixture. Ensure the fish is well coated.
  4. Working in batches, place half the fish in the fryer basket and cook until lightly golden on the outside, about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  5. Remove the fish from the fryer basket and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fish before serving.

Tips: Make a quick aioli in a small bowl by combining 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Store the cooked fish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Makes: 285g

Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook Beef skewers
Breaded fish
Stuffed jalapeno poppers
Lemon pound cake
Raspberry and vanilla pancakes
This is an edited extract from Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook by Aaron Day, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photo credit: Copyright © Alpha: Aaron Day, 2021
Single use

Absolute crowd-pleasers. Photo: Aaron Day

Stuffed jalapeno poppers

These jalapeno poppers are a fantastic way to enjoy the perfect bite. Heat paired with the creamy cheese filling will make these an absolute crowd-pleaser.

INGREDIENTS

  • 170g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature 
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh jalapenos (or mini bell peppers), seed removed, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese

METHOD

  1. Set the air fryer temp to 180C. Spray the fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, parmesan, onion flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Spoon the mixture into the jalapenos and top each half with an equal amount of mozzarella.
  3. Working in batches, place 10 jalapenos in the fryer basket and cook until the cheese on top is golden and the jalapenos have slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the poppers from the fryer basket and serve immediately.

Tips: If you love the flavour and heat of a chili pepper, I recommend adding half the seeds from the jalapenos to the cheese mixture. This gives the recipe a real kick. Store the cooked poppers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, although they're best eaten fresh.

Makes: 20 poppers

Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook Beef skewers
Breaded fish
Stuffed jalapeno poppers
Lemon pound cake
Raspberry and vanilla pancakes
This is an edited extract from Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook by Aaron Day, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photo credit: Copyright © Alpha: Aaron Day, 2021
Single use

Buttery-rich texture without the sugar and extra carbs. Photo: Aaron Day

Lemon pound cake

"Pound" cake comes from using a pound each of four ingredients, but I'll show you how to get the same buttery-rich texture without the sugar and extra carbs.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup salted butter, melted
  • ½ cup erythriotol sweetener (120g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp gelatin powder

For the icing

  • ½ cup powdered erythritol sweetener
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp lemon zest

METHOD

  1. Set the air fryer on the bake setting and at 155C. Line a 20cm springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the butter and erythritol until lightly fluffy. Add the eggs and continue to beat until well combined.
  3. Add the almond flour, lemon zest and juice, baking powder, and gelatin powder. Mix well. Place the mixture in the pan.
  4. Place the pan in the fryer basket and bake for 30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
  5. In a small bowl, make the icing by combining the powdered erythritol and lime juice. Mix until it resembles icing. Add more lime juice if the erythritol is too dry.
  6. Remove the pan from the fryer basket and allow the cake to cool completely. Top with the icing and sprinkle the lemon zest over the top. Slice into 8 slices before serving.

Tips: Serve this with a scoop of keto-friendly ice-cream or a dollop of whipping cream. Store the baked cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Makes: 8 slices

Raspberry & Vanilla Pancakes Beef skewers
Breaded fish
Stuffed jalapeno poppers
Lemon pound cake
Raspberry and vanilla pancakes
This is an edited extract from Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook by Aaron Day, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photo credit: Copyright © Alpha: Aaron Day, 2021
Single use

Delicious paired with fresh fruit and sugar-free syrup. Photo: Aaron Day

Raspberry and vanilla pancakes

These are super easy to make but do take time. Have patience because these pancakes are delicious paired with fresh fruit and some sugar-free syrup and butter.

INGREDIENTS

  • 255g cream cheese
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp liquid stevia
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 120g fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar-free maple syrup (optional)

METHOD

  1. Set the air fryer temp to 175C.
  2. In a blender, combine the cream cheese, coconut flour, liquid stevia, baking powder, vanilla extract, and eggs. Blend until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.
  3. Coat a sided 22cm round pan with the olive oil and place about ¼ cup of the batter in the pan to make 2 pancakes.
  4. Place the pan in the fryer basket and cook until bubbles appear and the sides are easy to lift with a spatula, about 5 minutes. Flip, then cook until cooked all the way through, about 2 minutes more. Repeat this step for the remaining batter to make 8 total pancakes
  5. Transfer 2 pancakes to each of 4 plates. Serve each plate with 30g of raspberries and ½ tablespoon of butter. Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top (if using).

Tips: Don't worry if your pancake looks strange as you flip it because these pancakes will puff up more than a normal pan-fried pancake will. Store the cooked pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Makes: 8 pancakes

This is an edited extract from Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook by Aaron Day, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Buy now