Your Air Fryer Is The Secret To Perfectly Crisp Chickpeas

Crispy seasoned chickpeas in a bowl
Crispy seasoned chickpeas in a bowl - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Chickpeas are no stranger to the snack table. Whether in the form of hummus with crackers or pita bread, or marinated with fresh herbs on crostini, these little spherical beauties make exceptional small bites.

Given their perfect size for popping — roughly around the same as a peanut — there's an opportunity to turn them into something more akin to a bowl of popcorn. When you spring them straight from the can, though, they're soft and tender, lacking the satisfying crunch factor of similar snacks. Fortunately, they also crisp up nicely and maintain a fluffy, contrasting interior when they do. That said, getting that crunchiness down pat can be problematic at times, with home cooks reporting issues with soggy or mealy results when baking them in the oven.

Fortunately for air fryer owners, the solution is already sitting on your counter. For the chickpea snacks of your dreams, all you need to do is fire up this contraption, and in less than 10 minutes, your air fryer crispy chickpeas will be prepared for snacking.

Read more: The Best Kitchen Gadgets You Can Buy

How Your Air Fryer Makes Chickpea Magic

Crispy chickpeas in ramekin with chives
Crispy chickpeas in ramekin with chives - Irina Rostokina/Shutterstock

Achieving optimal crunch factor for your chickpeas is crucial to their enjoyment. Using an air fryer makes this possible thanks to its unique design. Essentially, an air fryer is a miniature convection oven that delivers high heat in a speedier fashion than traditional counterparts, thanks to its small, contained size. The perforated basket in which your ingredients sit means that hot air can reach each piece of food evenly on all sides — just make sure to spread your chickpeas in an even layer and refrain from overcrowding them, and stop to shake the contents about halfway through.

That said, if you're not in possession of an air fryer, you can turn to a few strategies for ensuring maximum crispiness from a conventional oven. Some cooks say it helps to pat your peas dry with a paper towel after rinsing them, and then to do a dry roast prior to adding any oil. Pausing periodically to shimmy them around your pan will help "turn" your chickpeas, promoting a more even crispiness (similar to shaking your air fryer basket). A last bit of advice is simply about perseverance: Don't pull that pan from your oven until your peas are crispy.

In either case, a little cornstarch is the secret for perfectly crispy chickpeas; it can help lock out moisture and maintain that crunch. Once you have them perfectly crisp, you can turn your attention to the tasty part — flavoring.

Customizing And Serving Your Crispy Chickpeas

Crispy chickpeas on avocado toast
Crispy chickpeas on avocado toast - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

Whether you use an air fryer or make do with a standard oven-roasting process, selecting a seasoning for your crispy chickpeas is one of those limited-only-by-your-imagination scenarios. The mild, subtly nutty natural flavor of these little bites makes them an ideal canvas for your favorite flavors.

Think about crispy chickpeas the way you might a bowl of nuts or popcorn. Salt and pepper work well if you want to keep it simple, but a spice blend or even an all-purpose dry rub that features salt and brown sugar, along with cayenne for a kick, makes a compelling coating for your new snack. You can also make them sweet by tossing them in cinnamon and sugar — they're even super tasty with cocoa powder, nutmeg, and coconut oil. On that note, utilizing some different finishing oils — like chili-infused olive oil or a nutty pistachio oil — adds depth, while a blizzard of grated cheese brings salty, creamy goodness.

You can serve these in a bowl along with an Aperol spritz for a perfect aperitivo hour snack, or make them a part of your home movie screening spread. You can even toss them into a salad as a substitute for nuts, scatter them over avocado toast, or garnish your bowl of hummus when you're looking for a little texture. With your air fryer, these crispy chickpeas are the secret to satisfying any craving.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.