Air fryer kielbasa with peppers and onions is a quick meal that tastes delicious and makes for the perfect easy dinner recipe. Air frying the smoked sausage and vegetables versus sauteing helps eliminate almost all additional oil, making it a healthy, quick clean-up meal.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been in love with my air fryer oven for a few years now, and use it almost daily. I also love dishes with any type of sausage in it! See this sausage and seafood sheet pan dinner. Or this orzo pasta and sausage one pan meal. The great thing about cooking foods in the air fryer is how quickly they are ready. And for foods like kielbasa, which is already a bit fatty, it allows for a nice browned sauté without any additional oil. The flavor combination of the peppers, onions and polska kielbasa makes the most delicious and easy meal!
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy recipe with the best results! 20 minute one pan meal from prep to finish. Fast cook and even faster clean-up.
- Low carb, high protein meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor even though almost no oil is used!
- Really great high-protein option for lunch meal prep or make ahead main dish for busy weeknights.
- Whole kielbasa, either cut into coin like small pieces or for fun, make it a hasselback technique. It doesn’t matter if you use a beef or all pork kielbasa, but I will explain a bit about type of sausage and kielbasas to use below.
- Sweet peppers and yellow onions, sliced thin and lightly tossed or sprayed with just a bit of olive oil.
- Garlic powder and balsamic vinegar for flavoring the peppers and onions
- Optional favorite dipping sauce and garnishes include whole grain or Dijon mustard, barbecue sauce or sauerkraut.
Making this air fryer polish sausage meal couldn’t be easier! Once you’ve prepped the onions and veggies, add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. Set on the air fryer tray in a single layer.
Slice the kielbasa into coins or small shallow slits to make it hasselback style. Place kielbasa on the tray, nestled in with the veggies, and cook for 8-10 minutes at 370 degrees f.
Note that cook time for air fry meals can vary quite a bit depending on the make and model of your air fryer. This is why getting to know your air fryer is important, as well as testing food early. You can always cook things longer, but once the food is overcooked, it’s hard to go back!
Because most kielbasa is already cooked before packaging, food safety is less of a concern, so it’s more about personal preferences. How crunchy or tender you want your veggies will guide cooking time more than anything. To make sure the kielbasa is at least warmed through though, the internal temperature should be about 160 degrees.
Enjoy this quick dinner as is, or to make it a more hearty meal, serve alongside white rice, sweet potatoes or pasta.
Expert air-frying tips
Never overcrowd your air fryer basket or tray. The air must properly circulate throughout to cook/crisp up your food perfectly.
If tossing foods in a bit of sauce/oils first, like the onions and peppers in this recipe, allow the tray to sit in the sink or on a sheet of parchment paper to drain off excess. This only takes a couple minutes and prevents excess liquid from dripping into the air fryer, which can create smoke.
Speaking of smoke and cooking properly, make sure your air fryer has enough space on the countertop to breathe while cooking. It should have about 5″ of breathing room all around the unit. The unit sits flush against the backsplash when not in use, and is pulled out a few inches when in use.
Why air fry when you could sauté or roast?
It would be just as easy and the same amount of clean up if you made air fryer kielbasa in a sauté pan or roasting pan, so why air fry? For a couple of reasons actually!
Air frying isn’t just for “frying foods.” It’s actually a great way to cook up foods very quickly, as it’s like a convection oven on steroids. First, the small size allows them to heat up really quickly! Air fryer fans are large and operate faster than convection fans. The food is also positioned closer to the heating elements, which encourages food to cook quicker. All these reasons enable a shorter cooking time for just about any food. Dinner faster is always a good thing!
The cooking process of an air fryer also allows for less oil absorption. The air fryer basket allows fat to drip onto the drip pan. This results in less oil absorption, which minimizes calories and becomes crispier since it is more dry. With a food like kielbasa, which can be quite fatty, it allows for more fat to drip out rather than the sausage just sitting in it.
Lastly, most foods require very little if any oil to crisp up and get a nice sauté to it. I added just about 1 tsp of olive oil to the veggies and none to the kielbasa.
Most kielbasa is pretty low carb and gluten-free, but many brands have lots of added sugars and preservatives. If you’re trying to be more health conscious, definitely take a look at the ingredients. Buy the best kielbasa with simple ingredients, the lowest fat content and added sugars. Some brands have 2-3x’s as much fat as others, so they can really vary!
Kielbasa is the Polish word for sausage, so kielbasa is really just a type of smoked sausage. It’s best known for its distinctive strong garlic and spice flavoring. Kielbasa can be made using pork, beef or turkey or even chicken sausage. It really doesn’t matter which type you use in this recipe. You can also use a different type of smoked sausage not necessarily named kielbasa. The texture will be the same, it will just have a different flavor than smoked kielbasa.
Air Fryer Kielbasa with Peppers & Onions
- 1 Air Fryer
- 1 Kielbasa sausage
- 1 Onion sliced lengthwise
- 1 Sweet pepper sliced lengthwise
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
- Slice the pepper and onion. Add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. Set on the air fryer tray in a single layer.
- Slice the kielbasa into coins or small shallow slits to make it hasselback style. Place kielbasa on the tray, nestled in with the veggies, and cook for 8-10 minutes at 370 degrees f.
- Enjoy this quick dinner as is, or to make it a more hearty meal, serve alongside white rice, sweet potatoes or pasta.