Skip to Content

Can you cook meat in an Actifry?

The Actifry is a popular kitchen appliance that uses hot air and a rotating paddle to cook food with little to no oil. It has become a favorite for making healthier versions of typically fried foods like french fries, chicken wings, and more. A common question about the Actifry is whether or not you can cook meat in it. The short answer is yes, you can absolutely cook meat in an Actifry! However, there are some tips and tricks to getting the best results when making chicken, beef, pork, and other meats.

How Does the Actifry Cook Food?

To understand how to cook meat in the Actifry, it helps to first understand how the appliance works. The Actifry has a heating element and fan that blows hot air at a high speed to quickly cook food. The rotating paddle constantly stirs and flips the food as it cooks, ensuring even cooking on all sides. This combination of hot air and movement means the Actifry can cook food very quickly without the need for added oil.

Tips for Cooking Meat in the Actifry

When cooking meat in the Actifry, there are some things to keep in mind:

1. Cut Meat into Small, Evenly Sized Pieces

Cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces allows it to cook quickly and evenly. Having consistently sized pieces prevents some meat from being undercooked while other pieces are overdone. Aim for around 1-2 inch pieces for meat to cook properly in the Actifry.

2. Brush or Toss Meat with a Little Oil

While the Actifry doesn’t require a lot of oil, using a small amount can help the meat brown nicely and prevent sticking. Brush poultry, beef, pork etc with a light coating of oil or toss the meat pieces in just 1-2 teaspoons of oil before cooking.

3. Cook in Batches to Avoid Overcrowding

Trying to cook too much meat at once can lead to uneven cooking. Cook meat in batches to allow proper air circulation for browning. This also lets any juices from the meat drain away so the pieces don’t stew.

4. Turn or Shake Halfway Through

Stir, flip, or shake the meat pieces about halfway during the cooking time. This ensures the pieces cook evenly on both sides. Use tongs or the Actifry spatula to easily turn meat as it cooks.

5. Allow Meat to Rest After Cooking

Like with oven roasting or grilling, meat cooked in the Actifry should rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat for juicier, more tender results.

Cooking Times for Different Meats

Cooking times can vary widely depending on the size and thickness of the meat cuts. Here are some general guidelines for how long to cook common meats in the Actifry:

Meat Cooking Time
Chicken breasts, 1-inch cubes 8-12 minutes
Chicken thighs, 1-inch cubes 10-15 minutes
Pork chops, 1/2-inch thick 10-14 minutes
Pork tenderloin, 1-inch slices 6-10 minutes
Steak, 1-inch cubes 6-10 minutes
Burgers, 1/2 pound patties 18-22 minutes total**
Sausages 12-15 minutes

** Flip burgers halfway through cooking time

Check meat is fully cooked by taking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Poultry should reach 165°F, beef at least 145°F, and pork 140°F. If meat is undercooked, put it back in the Actifry for a few more minutes.

Marinades and Rubs for Flavor

One concern when cooking meat in the Actifry is it coming out a bit bland and dry. Using marinades and spice rubs is an easy way to infuse the meat with lots of flavor.

Marinade Tips:

– Marinate meat for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.
– Use acidic marinades like yogurt, lemon juice, or vinegar-based dressings. The acid helps tenderize the meat.
– Try flavorful oils like olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil for moisture.
– Dairy-based marinades like buttermilk or yogurt keep meat juicy.
– For poultry, marinate in flavorful liquids instead of dry rubs which can burn.

Spice Rub Ideas:

– Coat meat in dry rubs just before cooking for best flavor.
– Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, paprika all add lots of spice.
– For Asian flavors try five spice powder, ginger, or brown sugar.
– Mediterranean rubs with oregano, thyme, rosemary are tasty on lamb and chicken.
– For heat use spicy mixes with cayenne, chipotle, ancho chile powder.

What Kind of Meat Turns Out Best?

While you can cook almost any meat in the Actifry, some types are particularly well-suited for this cooking method:

– Chicken – The hot air crisps up chicken skin wonderfully. Pieces stay juicy on the inside.

– Firm fish like salmon, cod, tuna – Fish cooks up flavorful and moist without overcooking.

– Sausage and kielbasa – Gets evenly browned and delicious.

– Thin pork chops – Lay flat and cook evenly. Avoid thick chops which may undercook.

– Burgers – Can make up to four 1/2 pound burgers at once.

– Steak cuts – Best for thin minute steaks. Thick cuts won’t cook fully.

– Bacon – Fry up crispy bacon easily with less splatter than stovetop.

Cooking Meat and Vegetables Together

A great advantage of the Actifry is you can cook meat and veggies together as a full meal. Here are some tips:

– Cut veggies slightly smaller than meat to ensure they cook through.

– Add vegetables that take longer to cook like carrots, potatoes, cauliflower first.

– After 10-15 minutes, add quicker cooking veggies like bell peppers, zucchini.

– When cooking a meat protein like chicken with veggies, drizzle a little oil over everything first for even browning and distribute evenly in the Actifry.

– For stir fries, partially cook meat first, remove from Actifry, then stir fry veggies. Mix together to serve.

Cleaning the Actifry after Cooking Meat

It’s important to properly clean the Actifry after cooking meats to avoid any bacteria build up:

– Unplug and allow the Actifry to cool completely before washing.

– Remove paddle and wash by hand with hot soapy water. Use a bottle brush to clean grooves.

– Wipe down lid, basket, other surfaces with a non-abrasive sponge and hot water.

– To remove stuck on food residue, fill basket with hot soapy water and let soak before scrubbing clean.

– For tough grease stains, use a small amount of baking soda.

– Rinse all parts and dry thoroughly before storing.

Common Problems and Solutions

Cooking meat in the Actifry can sometimes lead to problems. Here are some common issues and how to avoid them:

Problem: Meat is undercooked in the middle

Solution: Cut meat into smaller, more evenly sized pieces. Cook in smaller batches. Extend cooking time.

Problem: Meat is dry and overcooked

Solution: Avoid overcrowding which causes moisture loss. Brush meat with oil. Marinate meat before cooking.

Problem: Meat sticks to basket

Solution: Lightly oil basket first. Make sure not to overload. Cut meat uniformly to cook evenly.

Problem: Meat doesn’t brown

Solution: Brush meat with oil before cooking. Cook in smaller batches for better air circulation.

Problem: Burn or error message appears

Solution: Ensure lid is secured properly. Do not overfill basket past max fill line. Keep appliance properly cleaned.

Types of Meat Dishes You Can Make

From juicy chicken dinners to savory kebabs, here are some of the endless meat dishes you can whip up in the Actifry:

Chicken Recipes:

– Buffalo wings – Toss chicken wings in buffalo sauce then Actifry for crispy wings without frying.

– Chicken parmesan – Bread chicken cutlets then Actifry until crispy. Top with tomato sauce and cheese.

– Chicken fajitas – Season chicken breast strips and Actifry. Wrap in tortillas with veggies and flavorful toppings.

– Jerk chicken – Marinate chicken in a spicy jerk sauce then cook. Great in tacos or over rice.

Pork and Beef Dishes:

– Sweet and sour pork – Actifry pork strips or meatballs then toss in a flavorful sauce.

– Mongolian beef – Sear Actifry beef strips then wok fry in a savory sauce.

– Carnitas – Transform tender pork shoulder into crispy carnitas in the Actifry in just 20-25 minutes.

– Teriyaki kebabs – Assemble beef and veggie skewers then cook in the Actifry basted in a sticky, sweet glaze.

Sausage Meals:

– Corn dogs – Skewer sausage links and Actifry for 10 minutes until hot and browned.

– Kielbasa and peppers – Brown kielbasa then add sliced bell peppers for the last 5 minutes.

– Sausage rolls – Wrap sausages in crescent roll dough then Actifry until golden and flaky.

– Breakfast sandwiches – Actifry sausage patties and assemble on biscuits with eggs and cheese.


The Actifry is a versatile appliance that allows you to cook moist, tasty meat dishes using little to no oil. From juicy chicken breasts to crispy bacon, the hot air and circulating paddle ensures meats cook up evenly browned and full of flavor. Just remember to cut meats into uniform pieces, use a little oil or marinades for moisture, and adjust cook times as needed. Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll be serving up amazing meat meals from your Actifry in no time. Enjoy experimenting with all kinds of delicious meat recipes!