Find out how to cook leeks in the air fryer as a perfect side dish option to add to your meal plan. For something extra special get our recipe for delicious fried leek rings (thanks Alton Brown for the idea). Our recipe uses a flour/cornmeal batter (thanks Ina Garten for that idea) without any bread crumbs.
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I love me some leeks!
Not just because they are great for jokes, such as there is a leek in the bag, but for their fantastic flavor.
Leeks are a member of the onion family (or alliums) and I prefer them over onions for many applications. The nice thing about them is that they can be used as a vegetable, not just something to season your food with.
My favorite way to cook leeks is in my air fryer. You can make them on their own or coat them in batter and make leek rings, which I love better than onion rings.
🌬️ How to Cook in Air Fryer
Here is what you want to know to make air fryer leeks. You have the option of cooking them on their own or include them with something else, like potatoes.
Here are our instructions:
- Slice the leeks into 2 inch pieces.
- Place them into the basket of your air fryer
- Spray with oil and season with kosher salt
- Cook at 390 degrees for about 7 minutes or until the leeks are softened and browning on the outer layer.
You can eat these leeks as a delicious side dish on their own. If you like serve them with some ranch dressing, maybe a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Or add them to a cheese sauce. Or you could serve them on top of some soup. The sky is the limit!
Listen to our podcast episode on air fryers to find what type of air fryer I use.
🥔 Air Fryer Potatoes & Leeks
Another option is to cook them with potatoes. Potato leek soup is one of our family's favorite soups so I know how well leeks and potatoes go together.
Here is what you will need:
- 2 medium sized or one large leek
- 1.5 - 2 pound bag of small potatoes (I used Melissa's Baby Dutch Yellow potatoes that I got at Trader Joe's)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Here is how to make them:
- Cut potatoes into cubes.
- Add to the air fryer basket and spray with oil.
- Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
- While they are cooking, slice your leeks into 1 inch rings.
- After the 10 minutes, shake the basket and add your leeks.
- Cook for 7-10 more minutes or until the leeks are soft and the potatoes are starting to brown.
The combo is just so define. But we haven't got to my all time favorite way to prepare leeks....
❓ Why Leek Rings
I got the idea for making leek rings from Alton Brown. There is a huge advantage to leek rings. Leeks don't contain as much moisture as onions.
Have you ever had an onion ring and had the batter separate from the onion when you bite in? You won't have that problem with leeks.
Not to mention leeks rings are smaller so they cook faster. The fresher "green" taste (kind of like green onions) of leeks is really nice.
🛒 Leek Rings Ingredients
Here is what yo will need in your shopping cart for the leek rings.
- Leeks (4 medium sized leeks)
- Salt and pepper
- Spray Cooking oil
I like to go with a medium sized leek. A large leek is not going to be as tender. And a small leek is going to have rings that are too small, creating more work for you when it's time to batter them.
For the cornmeal I always reach for a stone ground cornmeal that will have more flavor than the cheap stuff from the store. Bob's Red Mill is always reliable
Cake flour is a better choice than all-purpose as it's finer and I think actually works better for this. You aren't trying to make bread! If you want to make them gluten free, you can sub in a gluten free flour easily.
For the spray oil, I recommend picking one of these oils
- Grapeseed oil (which is also great for salad dressings)
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
I don't like coconut oil because it tends to clog up the sprayer so you have a hard time getting anything out after several uses. Vegetable and canola oil are cheaper but I don't trust the quality of them.
If you skip the oil the leeks won't brown as well. And they are more likely to dry out. You don't need as much oil at all compared to deep frying them.
💡 Top Tip
In order to separate the rings, start by cutting the leeks into ½ inch slices.
Then take each cut leek section and push the leeks upward to separate like I am doing in this picture.
Any pieces that are too small or aren't rings I just set aside for another use, such as dicing them up for soup.
📋 Leek Rings Instructions
You want to use the white part and light green part of the leek. The darker green tops are going to be too tough, but that doesn't mean you have to throw them out.
RELATED - What to Do With the Green Parts of Leeks
Cut off the root end.
Soak the leeks in a bowl of water to help remove excess dirt. You may be surprised how much dirt gets stuck in these things.
For the air fryer I recommend 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Check them after 4 minutes to see how they are progressing. Try not to overcrowd the air fryer basket, they should be in a single layer. You can keep them hot in a 200 degree oven if you need to make them in batches.
Got leftovers? Save them in the fridge in an airtight container. Then just warm them back up in the air fryer for a 1 minute or 2.
🍽️ More Recipes to Try
Here are some other recipes I think you would enjoy.
- Bacon Potato Leek Soup
- Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings
- Panko Fried Shrimp
- Fried Biscuit Donuts
- Blue Cornmeal Muffins
Crispy Air Fried Leek Rings
- 4 small to medium leeks cut into rings
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ stone ground corn meal any color
- 1 quart frying oil peanut, canola, or vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Take off the dark green parts of the leeks. Slice the leeks into rings. The rings don't need to be separated.
- Soak the leeks rings in a bowl of water to remove dirt (they should sink to the bottom).
- Soak the leeks in the buttermilk for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Combine the flour, corn meal, and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
- Dredge the rings into the flour mixture, Then add to your air fryer basket. Don't overcrowd them. They should be in a single layer. It's better to work in batches.
- Spray each ring with cooking spray and cook for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Check them after 4 minutes to see how they are progressing.
- Add any additional salt to taste when you remove them from the basket.
- Heat your oil to 350 degrees in an electric deep fryer or a Dutch Oven with a fry thermometer attached.
- Fry the rings for 60-90 seconds or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and add additional kosher salt if needed.