The Clever Tip To Use Up Leftover Juices From Your Air Fryer Foods

When you really think about it, creating waste-free meals is more than feasible. Even the least desirable bits and byproducts of the cooking process can be repurposed into something delicious, which means more food in your belly, more money in your pocket, and less trash in the bin. For example, leftover chicken carcasses can be turned into soup; meanwhile, pork skin can be transformed into a crunchy snack. So why should the leftover cooking juices from air fried foods be any different?

When turkey drippings gather at the bottom of a roasting pan or steak juices collect in a cast iron skillet, you might be inspired to make a gravy or sauce. Let the juices that accumulate in your air fryer inspire the same idea. Whether you've just cooked up some lip-smacking air fryer BBQ ribs, hearty beef meatballs, or spiced chicken thighs, the liquids left behind are going to be chock full of flavor. Rather than neglect their savory potential, using leftovers to craft something tasty is a no-brainer.

Along with cutting down on needless waste, making a gravy or sauce can elevate your meal in a matter of minutes — minutes that you can easily spare thanks to the efficiency of a speedy air fryer. Unsure where to start? We're here to help.

Tips for transforming leftover juices into incredible sauces

As foods (especially proteins) cook in the air fryer, fat and juices drip from the basket into a drawer below. This allows meats to develop an ultra crisp exterior as moisture is wicked away during cooking. To make use of these leftover liquids, all you need to do is simply remove the basket component when it's laden with the juices, set it aside, and round up a handful of other ingredients.

A word of advice, before adding any juices to a pan, take care to remove any burnt bits; they will make gravies and dressings taste bitter. Likewise, if there's an abundance of grease, skim the top and dispose of it accordingly. (Or use it to transform fried eggs.) When you're satisfied with the quality of your drippings, it's time to proceed with sauce-making.

Over medium heat, warm drippings in a pan until they've browned slightly. Deglaze with something acidic like a splash of wine before pouring in some broth and letting the mixture reduce. Add a pat of butter or splash of cream to finish and voilà, you've successfully made a pan sauce. Alternatively, for gravy, you'll first make a roux. Then you can whisk in the leftover juices before adding broth and spices, simmering until fully thickened. Pan sauce or gravy, the results are drool-worthy whenever air fryer juices are involved. So, the next time you've got them, let leftover juices reach their full potential in a savory sauce.