These instructions for How to Air Fry Stuffing are incredibly simple. Packet stuffing like Paxo is a really quick and easy side dish and a brilliant way to bulk out a meal. The biggest trick to air frying it successfully is which dish you use – of course I’ve included everything you need to know in this post!
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This is the quickest and simplest version on every front. Packet stuffing mix is rehydrated with a little added butter, placed into a dish and air fried to crispy topped perfection.
This option is quicker than oven cooking and doesn’t require the addition of any meat. Useful for vegetarian diners and of course budget friendly.
Most supermarkets sell an own brand version and a value version of packet stuffing. So whilst I’ve used branded Paxo stuffing, any other version can be prepared and cooked in exactly the same way.
Air Fryer Christmas Dinner Recipes: Turkey, Trimmings & More
For more air fried recipes to make the perfect Christmas dinner (or any roast dinner for that matter), check out this handy post where I’ve collected all my recipe in one easy place.
Everything is included from three different cuts of turkey – breast, crown and whole leg, three types of stuffing – regular packet stuffing, packet stuffing balls and balls with added sausage meat and vegetables like carrots, parsnips, carrots and parsnips(!) and of course sprouts to two types of pigs in blankets – chipolata sized and with cocktail sausages, roast potatoes and a few alternative ideas like bacon wrapped sprouts and roast pork loin.
To Stuff or Not to Stuff?
Stuffing is most traditionally served with Roast Turkey and Roast Chicken. It’s also very common served with Roast Pork. Of course it is truly traditional to actually stuff the stuffing into the cavity of a roasting bird. Or you can stuff a piece of pork in various ways.
There are a few reasons that I don’t generally do this. Firstly it hinders the cooking of the meat. This is generally less of an issue with nice pieces of pork but chicken and turkey are easy to dry out in parts while other parts remain undercooked.
The second reason is that the stuffing really does add flavour to the meat. That can obviously be a glorious thing in many ways but I feel like it can really narrow down how any leftovers can be used. Do I want to use sage and onion flavoured turkey to make Leftover Turkey Fried Rice? No, not really!
The last reason is that the stuffing absorbs lots of the meat juices during cooking. This makes for glorious stuffing! But then you end up with very little or no juices available for making gravy. And that’s just a tragedy.
How to Serve
Naturally thoughts are going to turn to a classic roast dinner when thinking of how or when to serve stuffing. But don’t overlook making some for other weekday meals and even lunches.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with a roast meat and stuffing sandwich in a lovely bap. If you’ve got some gravy available for dunking then even better.
Don’t miss my comprehensive collection of ideas for classic Christmas sides. I’ve included simple basic recipes and ways to level up each dish.
There is everything from roast potatoes, numerous stuffing ideas and red cabbage dishes to cranberry sauces and even a veggie gravy option.
Packet Stuffing Mix
You can cook any kind of stuffing mix in this same way. Paxo is the major main brand in the UK. But there are others like Aunt Bessie have branched out from frozen yorkshire puddings and now have a stuffing mix range.
Almost every supermarket makes their own version. From their premium own brands right down to their value brands.
By far the most common flavour is a combination of sage and onion. But often there are others released like chicken and bacon flavour, lemon and herb, chestnut and cranberry, garlic and herb, apple and even sausage meat flavour. Some are seasonal and others are limited editions. It’s always going to be worth trying the options available but I am a sage and onion girl through and through.
I’ve based the recipe on the instructions for making Paxo sage and onion stuffing. Except that I’ve added more water. I just find making up as directed is too dry. So if you use a different brand, use the instructions but make sure it is a nice consistency that drops off the spoon before cooking.
This really is entirely optional. You don’t need to add butter but there is little in life that isn’t improved by it. And I do find the extra fat does help with the finished texture of the stuffing.
I’ve used boiling water to make up the stuffing mix in this recipe. But if you want to take it to the next level, use hot chicken stock. A really good strong homemade stock is best but one made up with a stock pot or cube will still be good.
Obviously don’t do this if you’re planning on serving the stuffing to any vegetarians.
This recipe is free from egg and nuts. But you should check the ingredients of the packet stuffing you are using thoroughly as some brands could vary.
Gluten Free Air Fryer Stuffing: You can buy gluten free versions of stuffing fairly easily now. Paxo do their own version (correct as of October 2023). I would recommend not veering from the packet instructions for how much water to add as the rate of absorption will be much more finely balanced than with regular wheat stuffing.
Dairy Free Air Fried Stuffing: The only dairy in this recipe is the added butter. Simply use a dairy free substitute.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
What Dish to Use in the Air Fryer for Stuffing
A 170g packet of Paxo mix with 475ml of water perfectly fills a 500g/1lb dish. I prefer to use thin metal dishes in the air fryer.
Heatproof glass like Pyrex doesn’t seem to conduct heat well in an air fryer at all. I also don’t love using ceramic dishes for the same reason. So thin metal or an enamel dish like I used is preferable.
One of the biggest considerations will be whether the dish fits in your air fryer. You need to make sure there is sufficient air flow around and under the dish that it cooks thoroughly.
If you don’t have a suitable dish, you can make one out of foil. You may need to use multiple layers to fashion something with a little rigidity. Or you can use takeaways style foil containers. These can be very useful for air frying.
How Long to Air Fry Paxo Stuffing
I prefer to make sure that the stuffing is properly cooked though and not just hot with a crispy top.
So I suggest cooking at a lower temperature for 17 minutes before raising the temperature to crisp the top more for the final 3 minutes. So the total cooking time is 20 Minutes.
How to Air Fry Stuffing From Frozen
You can make up the stuffing, freeze it and then cook it. But it would take more effort than leaving the packet in the cupboard until just before you were ready to cook.
If there is another unusual scenario where you find yourself with frozen uncooked stuffing, I would recommend allowing it to defrost thoroughly before cooking as normal.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for around 5 days. They can also be frozen. Freezing cooked stuffing does make sense to me! It is probably advisable to freeze it in portions so you can take just as much as you need out at a time.
I generally prefer to reheat stuffing in the microwave. I often add a drop of water to the dish to make sure it doesn’t become dry.
You can air fry to reheat but you might find that it does dry out this way. It is best to put it in a dish not much bigger than the amount you are reheating and again potentially add a drop of water. A little foil packet can be useful for reheating smaller portions.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve since bought this version to use for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I used for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked also has a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls. I’ve now actually retired by Actifry in favour of having my two basket type fryers.
Mini Oven Air Fryers
These usually have a glass door, shelves and overall are really quite large. You can cook quite a decent quantity of food in them so are best if regularly cooking for multiple people. They often come with extra features like a rotisserie spit or kebab skewers.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is often necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori models have a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c/400f for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c/390f because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c/450f and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which many people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different. And there are occasionally exceptions to the rule.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although most come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
When I do want to collect the juices, I mostly use some foil, or occasionally a foil tray which can be washed and reused.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry Stuffing (Paxo)
- Baking Dish – Small 500ml/1pint
- 170 g Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix
- 25 g Salted Butter
- 475 ml Boiling Water
- Vegetable Spray Oil
- Put a kettle of water on to boil.
- Measure 170g Stuffing Mix into a mixing bowl.
- Add 25g Salted Butter.
- Pour over 475ml Boiling Water.
- Stir until all of the stuffing mix has absorbed the water and the butter has melted and mixed in.
- Leave the stuffing to sit for 5 minutes so the water hydrates the mix.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, start this now.
- Spoon the stuffing into your dish. You must make sure that it fits into your air fryer with enough room to get it in and out.
- Rough up the top so there are nice craggy bits to get crispy and crunchy. Spray with a little Vegetable Spray Oil.
- Place the stuffing into the air fryer.
- Air fry for 17 minutes at 170c/340f. This longer slower cooking is so the insides of the stuffing is properly heated and cooked.
- Air fry for a further 3 minutes at 200c/390f to colour and crisp up the stuffing top.
- This recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm, 24cm on the diagonal and 11cm deep.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can fit a 500ml/1pint dish in with sufficient room to get it in and out. The size is 16cm x 4cm deep.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit a smaller or larger dish in. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.