10 Air Fryer Tips for Smarter Air Frying

air fryer

An air fryer is a great appliance to have in your kitchen and can be a healthy way to cook.  Here are ten tips to keep your air fryer in good condition and to cook safely.

1. Use as little oil as possible.

When using oil on foods to cook in your air fryer, make sure to use as little as possible.  Excess oil can drip to the bottom of your air fryer and might start to smoke when cooking. You can use a brush to put oil on the food, which helps to use less. If the food already has natural fat, like chicken with the skin on, you may not need any oil.

2. Use oil with a high smoke point.

Olive oil is excellent for different cooking methods but not for air frying because it has a low smoke point. Olive oil will smoke in an air fryer before it even gets up to temperature, and it can also give your food a bitter taste. Oils such as vegetable, canola, and peanut are the best choice.

3. No need to grease or oil the tray.

It sounds like a good idea to grease or oil the basket before cooking, but that is unnecessary.  The basket has a nonstick coating, and cooking spray or oil can damage the finish over time.  The oil should be added directly to the food before cooking.  This will make sure the food browns nicely and not stick to the tray.

4. Give your food some space.

The air fryer itself can be quite large, but it doesn’t hold a lot of food. You may be tempted to put as much food in the air fryer as you can, but that will prevent your food from getting crispy and brown.  The best thing to do is to make sure your food has ample space inside the basket and cook your food in batches.  This will ensure crispy and well-browned food every time.

5. Shake that basket.

One of the most important things to do when air frying is to pull out the basket and give it a shake periodically.  This will ensure that your food will brown evenly. Many recipes instruct you to shake the basket every five minutes. For larger items, like chicken breasts, you should flip them instead. If you forget to shake or flip your food during the cooking process, it’s not the end of the world.  But your food will not come out as good as it can.

6. Your judgment is better than the timer.

Most air fryers have a dial that you can turn that acts as a timer, which will stop the air fryer when the time expires.  The timer is a great idea, but some of these timers are not very accurate, and recipe times may not always be exact.  A great rule of thumb when using the air fryer timer is to check on your food periodically.  In many cases, your food will be finished perfectly before the timer is done.

7. Pull food out of the drawer with tongs or a spoon.

When cooking is finished, you should remove the food with tongs or a spoon and not dump it out of the drawer.  There can be excess oil in the bottom of the drawer, and if you turn the drawer over to remove the food, the oil can make a big mess or even burn you.  Be careful!

8. Have a hot pad handy for the drawer.

When the air fryer has finished cooking, the drawer will be very hot.  You don’t want to set that directly on your countertop as it may get damaged.  A good idea is to keep a hot pad next to the air fryer to put the drawer when you take it out.

9. Keep your hands off the air fryer when cooking.

Parts of the air fryer can get very hot while you are cooking.  It’s not a good idea to put your hands all over the air fryer while cooking.  Of course, you can grab the drawer handle, but that should be it. 

10. Keep your eyes on the air fryer.

Air fryers are pretty easy to use.  You just put the food in it and turn it on.  With that being said, you should still keep an eye on it while cooking.  If it starts to smell funny or makes a weird noise, you should shut it off.  Also, it would be best if you were close by anyway to shake that basket.

I hope this article helps you to be a better air fryer cook.  Check back for more tips and tricks for air fryers and other smart kitchen tools.