The air fryers are extremely good and efficient in cooking food, especially frozen fried foods. However, this versatile cooking appliance is capable of much more than just that.
You can take advantage of numerous tips and tricks in order to make the most out of your air fryer. Here are my top 15 air fryer tips for both beginners and advanced users.
- Preheat the air fryer
- Get some useful accessories
- Grease the air fryer basket
- Be careful of small and light ingredient in the air fryer
- Put water below the air fryer basket
- Don’t overcrowd the basket
- Don’t use low smoke point oil (olive oil)
- Refer to an air fryer recipe whenever needed
- You may need a lower temperature
- Feel free to open the air fryer in the middle of cooking
- Shake the basket halfway through your cooking
- Put some oil on your food halfway
- Beware that the basket is hot
- Clean the basket and drawer
- Clean the heating coil periodically
Top 15 Useful Air Fryer Tips
1. Preheat the air fryer
You simply set the timer and appropriate temperature, turn on the air fryer and leave it for few minutes. By preheating your air fryer, you will be able to start cooking the ingredients immediately, ensuring that they crisp up on the outside and cooked throughout.
It is not always necessary to preheat an air fryer but it works best when you want to cook frozen food, crispy food, steak and cakes.
2. Get some useful accessories
You can easily transform an already useful air fryer into a multi-purpose cooking tool by buying a few affordable accessories. One good example is getting a cake barrel, pizza pans, toast rack or paper cups that fit your air fryer size. With these accessories, you can bake cheesecake, chocolate cookies, bread and more.
Other useful add-on accessories like an oil brush, silicon glove, dish plate clip will make you cook more conveniently.
3. Grease the air fryer basket
It is advisable to always brush a tiny bit of oil on the basket mesh so that your food won’t stick too badly, especially when you’re cooking greasy food like chicken and beef. This is an important step to ensure your air fryer basket last long and hygienic.
4. Be careful of small and light ingredient in the air fryer
The air fryer blows strong hot air to cook the food. And this cause problem to light and small food. The strong wind can blow any light food flying everywhere and could even be swept up to the heating element/heating coil.
I once did not realize this problem when air-frying seaweed sheets. The whole seaweed sheet was torn apart and stuck to the heating element. Burnt and causes so much smoke.
To prevent this, you can secure food topping with toothpicks. For toppings like sesame or bread crumbs, you can “glue” them onto your food with a bit of oil.
5. Put water below the air fryer basket
If you’re using an air fryer to cook greasy food like meat, there will be some white smoke coming out of the air fryer. As a result, the grease and fat drip to the bottom of the basket and burn, resulting in smoke.
Simply put half a cup of water at the bottom of the basket can prevent this problem.
6. Don’t overcrowd the basket
Overcrowd the basket is the worst thing you can do with an air fryer. The food could turn out to be uncooked or poorly cooked. Many people also overcook their food because they want to guarantee that the entire basket-full of food is cooked.
7. Don’t use low smoke point oil (virgin olive oil)
Olive oil is popular among health-conscious people. However, virgin live oil has the downside of having a lower smoke point, 160–210°C compare to peanut oil and palm oil (via Wikipedia). As an air fryer heats up fairly quickly, it’s a bad idea to use olive oil. As oil reaches its smoke point, it becomes harmful to us and causes more smoke as well.
8. Refer to an air fryer recipe whenever needed
The preparation method and temperature of air fryer cooking may have to be modified slightly compared to oven cooking or deep frying. Whenever you’re uncertain, it’s always good to check an air fryer recipe that has already been tried and tested by other real users.
There are lots of air fryer recipe groups on Facebook, or you can do a simple search on Google to discover great air fryer recipes.
If you follow a good recipe, you will significantly improve your chances of success when cooking with an air fryer.
9. You may need a lower temperature
When compared to an oven, air fryers heat up very quickly. Air fryer recipes generally require a lower temperature setting than their conventional counterparts.
Therefore, don’t apply what you know about cooking with an oven to an air fryer.
10. Feel free to open the air fryer in the middle of cooking
Due to the fact that air fryers are usually fully covered, you cannot see if the food has started to brown. If you want to ensure they are not overcooked or undercooked, you can remove the air fryer basket while you are cooking.
You won’t have to worry about messed up timing or heating of the air fryer. The temperature is not affected much when you pull the air fryer out for a quick check, since they heat up quickly.
11. Shake the basket halfway through your cooking
In an air fryer, there is usually only one source of heat, which is the blowing fan at the top. Consequently, the top part of food exposed to these heats will be cooked faster than other parts.
Shaking or manually flipping the food halfway through is crucial. It ensures that all sides of the food are evenly cooked.
12. Put some oil on your food halfway
While you’re cooking dry frozen food or fresh vegetables, spraying oil halfway through can help the food brown and crisp up. Simply brush a couple of drops of oil onto your food if you do not have an oil spray.
The oil prevents food from drying out and makes it brown more evenly.
However, you may wonder when you should use oil and when you shouldn’t? It’s really simple. You don’t need to add oil to food that already contains fat/oil. The best examples are chicken thighs, wings, beef, hamburger patties and most meats.
13. Beware that the basket is hot
Your air fryer timer has gone off and your food is ready to be served. Before you’re going to pull the basket out, make sure you have a trivet or heat-resistant mat/pad to place it on.
The hot basket can damage your timber tabletop. So, always be cautious.
14. Clean the basket and drawer
Every time you use your basket, make sure to clean it. Even though you may use it to air fry some nuggets and it appears clean, there is definitely grease and crumbs that stay in there.
Bacteria could grow if it was left unwashed, contaminating the next batch of food.
15. Clean the heating coil periodically
Most people clean the basket and drawer, but not everyone knows that you should also clean the coil of an air fryer. You should clean it once in a while or whenever it starts accumulating grease. It’s even better if you wipe it every time after using it.
By removing the grease, your air fryer will work more efficiently. Additionally, you don’t have to deal with a weird mix of smells when you cook. You don’t want your cake to smell like a fried chicken because of the grease that stuck on the coil.
Here’s a thorough video showing how to deep clean an air fryer.
The air fryer can be dried on its own. Place your basket back in the air fryer after washing everything well and letting it heat for a few minutes.
If black smoke is coming from the air fryer, turn it off and inspect the heating coil of the air fryer. Black smoke is usually caused by food that is blown up and stuck on the coil and gets burned.