Think of it this way: an air fryer is like the poor man’s convection oven, and boy, are we glad we’re poor! It’s best attribute? Crispy quickly and with minimal oil. Curious?
Air fryers essentially work by circulating very hot air to evenly and quickly brown and cook all kinds of food as long as they are not liquid based. You don’t want to use your air fryer to make soup or chili. What you DO want to use if for is to cook meats, potatoes, veggies and even baked goods in less time with better-for-you results.
If you’re getting excited, join the club. And use these tips to integrate air frying into your everyday life.
Oil You Need to Know
You want a high smoke point oil, so not olive oil and especially not extra virgin olive oil. You want avocado, safflower, vegetable, soy, peanut: anything with a smoke point over 450°F will work. Otherwise, you will end up burning the oil, which does not add a pleasant flavor. Trust us.
It is best to apply your oil with a mister. But you can simply pour the oil into a spray bottle and use that. You want to add oil to keep from sticking, but very little. For instance, you can make two pounds of French fries with only a tablespoon of oil. Whatever you do, do not use an aerosol spray. Say goodbye to PAM.
Also, add any seasonings to your oil, so they coat evenly, too.Shop Vegetable Oil
If you are trying to go oil-free, we recommend you line the basket with parchment paper or foil, but remember, there is hot air blowing around in there, so you want to make sure it is weighted down with whatever you are cooking. A liner is also helpful with clean-up when you are cooking something saucy like wings.
Space & Time
Never overcrowd your fryer. Leave ample room for the food and air to circulate for a crispy texture. Half full is probably the most you want to try. When cooking larger foods, like chicken thighs, do not layer. It’s worth cooking in batches to avoid soggy results, defeating the whole point of using an air fryer.
Also, air fryers cook faster than conventional ovens. Bear this in mind when cooking recipes not specifically made for the fryer. Just check a little more often. Use the timer!
Give Grease a Chance
Air fryers are actually fabulous at cooking greasy foods like bacon. However, the drippings can burn and smoke. To avoid this, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the fryer before you turn it on. The water will trap the grease. Or, if your fryer has a basket, place a piece of bread beneath to soak up the grease. Seriously, bacon in your air fryer is every Sunday breakfast dream.
Fry, Fry Away
Beyond doing lovely things with vegetables and meats, air fryers are exceptionally good for tasks like:
You will be surprised just how many uses your air fryer has and in all cases, is quicker, cooks more evenly and is an energy saver.
On the Air
Just a couple more tips and we’re ready to give you some of our very favorite air fryer recipes: