Appliances

Best Air Fryer Tips All Air Fryer Owners Need To Know

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Did you receive an air fryer as a gift recently? Or are you contemplating using your air fryer more? If you are getting on the air fryer bandwagon, then get ready to be completely blown away!

The air fryer is a fantastic kitchen appliance that can completely transform how we cook daily. It is an incredibly healthy way to cook your food, but it also adds depths of taste and texture to your food. Before you get started with your air fryer, here are some of the best tips air fryer owners need to know.

Tip #1: Never Use An Aerosol Oil Spray On Your Air Fryer

This tip deserves to make it to the top as it is a critical tip for all air fryer owners. If you have been researching air fryer recipes, you will see that all air fryer recipes require a small amount of oil to be sprayed on before cooking them in the air fryer. This minuscule amount of oil will help the air frying process crisp up the outer layer of the food you are cooking, giving it a great “fried” like texture.

You will need to avoid spraying cooking spray in aerosol oil spray cans available in stores. These products contain some harsh chemicals that help aerosolize the oil. These chemicals can corrode the non-stick layers of your air fryer pans. 

Instead, consider getting a spray bottle and filling it with unrefined oils with a high smoking point for spraying and seasoning frozen french fries before popping them in the air-fryer.  Good oil to use is avocado oil, as it does not smoke in high temperatures. Alternatively, consider brushing your food with oil with an oil brush.

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Tip #2 Always Pre-Heat The Air Fryer

Just like most cooking appliances such as ovens and barbecues, you should always pre-heat your air fryer before cooking your food in it. The purpose of this is very simple. You need to add your food to a hot air fryer basket to avoid soggy or losing moisture. So, turn on the air fryer for about 5 minutes at the temperature you are looking to cook in before placing your food in it.

Tip #3 Always Oil The Food

Even though using an air fryer is a healthy way to “fry” your food without oil, it is recommended that you spray/brush on a little bit of oil on the food surface before sticking it in your air fryer. This will avoid drying out the surface of the food or burning it. The amount of oil needs to be very little, though – no more than a tablespoon of oil on a serving of fries for two people, for example.

Tip #4 Avoid Crowding The Basket

For an air fryer to work its magic, it needs maximum air exposure to food surfaces. The air frying technology will cook the food surfaces to crisp them up. This means you will need to avoid crowding the air fryer basket/tray with food. Ensure there is space all around each piece of meat, for example, and ensure there is maximum exposure to the hot air.

Tip #5 Check and Adjust Half Way Through

Unlike the oven, where the conventional advice is not to open it too much to check your food, we recommend you check and adjust the food halfway through the cooking time.

Air fryers can come in various power levels and burn food quickly if not attended to. Not all air fryer recipes you will find online are fool-proof because not all air fryers are made the same.

So, check your food halfway through the time you have set it for. Flip and adjust the pieces of chicken wings or fries and make sure none of it is burning or getting too dry.

Tip #6 Spray Water or Oil Mid Way with Some Delicate Items

Because the air frying process is mainly dry heat being applied to the surface of the food at a very high speed, you should check mid-way to ensure that there is enough moisture or oil on the food surfaces still. If needed, spray on a bit of oil or water to ensure no burns or drying out happening.

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Tip #7 Air Fryer Temps And Time to Cook Are Different Than Oven   

The time and temperature tools to cook specific recipes in the oven are very different from air fryers. Be sure to follow the guide the air fryer comes with or on the specifically created recipe for air fryers. A good rule is to cut the time to cook by about 1/5th (or 20%) and lower the temperature by 30 Fahrenheit than what it would typically take the oven to cook.

Tip #8: Water or Bread on the Drip Tray will Avoid Smoke

When cooking greasy foods such as chicken with the skin on, it is normal for the grease to drip to the drip tray. The tray will also get very hot, and the grease will start to smoke. This is very normal with air fryers.

To avoid the smoke from building up too much (or worse, set off your fire alarm), we recommend you put a little water on the drip tray to avoid it from getting too hot and stop the grease from smoking.

Whatever you do, do not try to remove the hot grease tray while it is hot, as that can lead to severe burns and accidents. Alternatively, you can also place a slice of bread to help absorb the grease instead of water.

Tip #9 Get a Good Internal Temperature Thermometer

We recommend you buy a good food thermometer to read the internal temperature of meats. Although the air fryer recipes are a good guide, as we mentioned before, the temperature and cooking time always will vary from one air fryer to the other.

This is why you will need a quick read thermometer to check the internal temperature for poultry, red meats, or pork to ensure it is cooked through evenly. Some thermometers will also have a reader on a heat-proof cable that can be placed in the air fryer to check the temperature inside the air fryer.

Tip #10 Avoid using Parchment Paper

Many cooks prefer using parchment paper to make the mess clean up easier when cooking and baking. We recommend you avoid using parchment paper with air fryers. The reason is that delicate items like parchment paper can quickly burn and, worse, may even get sucked up by the heavy-duty exhaust fan.

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If you need something to protect your bottom basket or grease tray, use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper. If you absolutely have to use parchment paper, set a small rack on top of the parchment paper to secure the paper from flying into the fan.

Tip #11 Parboil Root Vegetables in the Microwave First

To save you some time on cooking root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, and carrots, microwave them for a couple of minutes before popping them in the air fryer. This will cut the time to cook these hard root vegetables in half while you can still get that crispy flavor from the air fryer.

Tip #12 Experiment with Cheaper Foods First

There is a bit of a learning curve when learning how to perfect your air frying skills. There will be recipes you will try out and fail. It is only natural to have a couple of failed attempts. We suggest you start perfecting your air frying skills by experimenting with cheaper food items first – like frozen burgers, for example.

Tip #13 Always Clean The Air Fryer After Every Use

Be sure to always clean your air fryer and clean up all the mess after every use. Be sure to wait until the air fryer is totally cooled off before removing the baskets and trays to wash them.

These days some components of the air fryer are also dishwasher-proof. However, be sure to read the manual to determine if the parts are at all dishwasher safe. Once the heating element has cooled off, be sure to wipe off the heating element with a damp paper towel.

Conclusion

Air fryers can truly transform the way you cook forever. You will learn an entirely new way of cooking that is incredibly healthy and flavorful. The learning curve is easy to get over, but it requires consistent practice. So, get over the initial hesitation of unboxing the air fryer and start with the appliance.

Not only will it cut the calories by reducing the oil you use to cook, but it will also create excellent levels of taste and texture. Who knows, you may end up replacing your stove top entirely and only use your air fryer.  Bon Appetit!

About Chef Lilian

Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at chef@foodwellsaid.com

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