Air fryers can be intimidating. It all can be overwhelming. Don’t let the unknown scare you away from buying an air fryer and using it frequently.
1. Preheating Your Air Fryer
As with any cooking appliance, it is recommended to preheat your air fryer. Preheating your air fryer will ensure even cooking. Most of air fryers under $100 will have a preheat setting. If your air fryer does not, simply turn on your air fryer to the cooking temperature and allow it to heat for about 3 minutes. Preheated or not, your food will turn out wonderful in the end.
2. Grease the Air Fryer Basket or Food with Oil
The myth that air fryers do not require oil is simply a myth. Air fryers do require a little oil. Using Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil or Extra Light Olive Oil which all have a higher smoke point making them ideal for air frying. Grease the air fryer basket prior to inserting the food to ensure food will not stick. If air frying fried foods, and meats, and grilling items, spray or brush the oil on the food directly. If the food you are preparing already contains some fat, little oil will be needed.
3. Aerosol Spray Cans are a No-No
The lower quality oils and additives in aerosol spray cans can damage the nonstick coatings on air fryer baskets. The propellants in the sprays are generally a combination of butane and propane which are used in lighters and portable stoves. Keep your food safe and ingredients natural looking for a non-spray oil
4. Don’t Overcrowd the Basket
Food needs room to breathe! Don’t overcrowd the basket with heaping piles of food in hopes to save time. Overcrowding will lead to an unevenly cooked dinner. Too much food in the basket will keep the food from crisping and browning and no one wants a soggy mushy mess. Yes, it is tempting to throw a ton of food into the basket, but avoiding that temptation will make a meal everyone will love.
5. Shake the Basket
Pause your cooking once or twice during the preparing and shake the basket to redistribute the food and ensure the proper cooking. If you notice even after shaking once or twice during cooking that the food is not cooking evenly, you probably overcrowded the basket. Either cook several batches or consider upgrading to a larger air fryer.
6. Spray Again
Oil can be your friend when it comes to air fryers. While the hot air is racing through the air fryer, without the oil the food can come out dry, burned and leathery. Spraying the food halfway through the cook cycle will make the food crisp. This is especially true if the food is fried and breaded being heated in the fryer. Also, if you notice on your fresh food that there are still flour spots, spray those spots to crisp them up.
7. Avoid the White Smoke
If white smoke is coming out of your air fryer, clean the oil pan. White smoke is an indication of too much fat in the food items being cooked. You can solve the white smoke issue also by placing 2 Tablespoons of water in the bottom of the basket. A slice of bread to soak up any grease in the bottom of your air fryer while cooking will eliminate the white smoke as well.
8. Pay Attention to Small Items
Anything super light will be blown around the air fryer basket. Remember the air fryer is moving air, it is what it does. It may seem like a trivial thing to pay attention to the smaller and lighter food but the food flying around the basket can clog your filter and can eventually lead to a broken air fryer. Find a way to weigh down the lighter items.
9. Cook Foods on the Appropriate Temperatures
It is important to cook the foods at the appropriate temperature for the air fryer. The mentality that more heat cooks faster is not always true. Foods can dry out if cooked two quickly. A rule of thumb is to modify the convention oven cooking time by 20% and temperature by 30 degrees. Your air fryer should come with a cooking time chart. Make sure you reference the chart. Yes, the air fryer will reduce cooking time, but you want to serve food that is crispy and fully cooked not dry and gummy.
Air fryers can be fun and a great way to cook wonderful meals for your friends and families especially when used properly. Experiment with yours to find new twists to the same meals.