Seasoning a Ninja air fryer -
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How to Season a Ninja Air Fryer? (The COMPLETE Guide!)

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If you’re thinking about buying a Ninja Air Fryer, you may have heard that it needs to be seasoned before you can use it.

But what exactly does that mean? And is there any reason why you might want to take this extra step?

I’ve got all the answers here!

Do you need to season a Ninja air fryer?

If you’re new to using an air fryer, you might be wondering if you need to season it before use. The answer is yes! Seasoning your air fryer helps to create a non-stick surface and prevents food from sticking to the basket. It also helps to improve the flavor of food.

How to season your Ninja air fryer?

Step 1: Gather oil and a paper towel

To properly season your Ninja air fryer the first thing you need to do is to get your oil and paper towel.

You want an oil with a high heat tolerance so that it does not burn while you are seasoning your air fryer.

Refined coconut oil is a seasoning favorite, but peanut oil works well if you do not have any nut allergies, and canola is a great alternative if you want to avoid nut oils.

Step 2: Clean your air fryer basket and dry it

The next step is to clean your air fryer basket totally.

You want to ensure that if there is any sort of factory oil or manufacturing lubricants on it, it is removed and that all food residue is removed as well. You want the basket and the bowl to be as clean as possible.

You also want to make sure you dry it totally as any water is going to prevent the oil from properly seasoning the basket.

Step 3: Preheat the basket to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes

Next, you want to preheat your basket to 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. This is going to open up the pores of the metal so that the oil can get down into them.

Step 4: Spread oil all inside the basket with the paper towel

You then want to use your paper towel to make a thin, even layer of oil all over the air fryer basket.

The Ninja air fryer is popular for a trademark product they call the crisper plate which acts as a plate inside the basket that you leave your food on. It helps enhances the crispiness by allowing more air to flow through and round it.

Make sure you spread oil all throughout this crisper plate as well.

You do need to either wear safety gloves or use oven mitts to protect yourself from the hot air fryer basket.

Step 5: Set the basket back into the air fryer to cook for another 3 minutes

Put your air fryer basket back into the air fryer and let it cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for another 3 minutes.

This is going to help ensure that the layer of oil soaks into the air fryer.

Step 6: Repeat the process 3 to 4 more times to add on layers

If you are happy with one layer, you are done.

If you want to ensure that the air fryer is very non-stick and that your coating is thick enough to handle most foods, you can repeat steps 3-5 a few times to build up the layers of seasoning and to help ensure that the air fryer basket is going to be totally resistant to anything soaking into it.

Do Ninja air fryers come non-stick?

When it comes to buying a new Ninja air fryer, most of them are going to have some sort of a non-stick coating on the basket when you purchase them that is sprayed directly onto the basket.

This is your standard non-stick coating like you would find on a skillet or other pan. It is fine, but it can break down over time and it can become damaged if you use the wrong tools with it.

Putting your own seasoning on it is going to help make it even more non-stick and is going to help keep your air fryer from getting massively dirty.

What is the non-stick coating made of in a Ninja air fryer?

The non-stick coating on the Ninja air fryer basket is a ceramic coating that is made of PTFE which stands for, polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon.

This is a pretty standard coating for an air fryer basket and is what most air fryers are going to have on their baskets to keep food from sticking.

There are some models that have a ceramic coating that does not contain PTFE if you prefer, but the standard coating is PTFE or Teflon.

Benefits of seasoning your Ninja air fryer

If you’re not convinced that you need to season your Ninja air fryer immediately, here are some major reasons why it matters.

First, it helps to prevent sticking. Cheese can be notoriously sticky, so coating the basket with a bit of oil before cooking can help to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.

I do recommend that you season your Ninja air fryer with multiple layers to get the added benefit of non-stick.

Second, it protects the non-stick layer that your Ninja air fryer comes with. That’s right! As I’ve mentioned before, your Ninja air fryer does come with a non-stick coating.

Over time, the non-stick material that your air fryer comes with will eventually peel off. It might even end up in your next meal.

Having a harmless protective layer on top of this material will keep it lasting longer and is perfectly safe even if you accidentally ingest the seasoning layer.

Finally, it helps to keep the basket clean. Seasoning the basket helps to create a barrier between the food and the metal, which can help to prevent staining, rust, and corrosion over time.

This will ultimately help the Ninja air fryer last longer.

Disadvantages of seasoning your Ninja air fryer

One of the biggest issues with seasoning your Ninja air fryer is the fact that it requires extra work on your end. Sure, you have all the benefits of a protected basket, but it does require you to keep and maintain the oil layer.

So, you have to be careful how you wash your Ninja air fryer basket. Using harsh chemicals or an abrasive sponge can accidentally remove the oil layer.

You definitely won’t be able to put your basket in the dishwasher because there is a good chance it will wear off.

Another issue with seasoning your air fryer is the potential for the oil film to smell and smoke. In many cases, if you crank up your air fryer to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you may end up reaching the smoke point of your oil.

The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil chemically breaks down and starts to smoke. Different types of oil have different limitations when it comes to temperatures.

It’s recommended to use an oil with a high smoke point to avoid this issue.

The oil I recommend is refined coconut oil (not to be confused with regular coconut oil), which has a smoke point of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

What happens if you don’t season your Ninja air fryer?

If you do not season your air fryer basket, there is a good chance that the food that you are cooking is going to stick to your air fryer basket.

This is going to make the food taste terrible, it is going to make your food less than crispy and delicious, and it can also leave stuck-on food in the air fryer that is hard to clean and that you then have to scrape and scrub off, which can damage your non-stick coating and can also damage the basket itself.

It is harder to clean an air fryer that has not been seasoned, and you may even have to deal with a basket that is damaged and that is difficult to use.

Not having a seasoned layer on your Ninja air fryer may also leave it exposed to damage and scratches, such as accidentally banging a metal utensil into the walls of your basket.

Over time, the extreme temperatures of running an air fryer take their toll on your basket and its natural non-stick coating, and this may result in the peeling of the paint.

Also, if you are worried about the Teflon possibly leaching into your food, a layer of seasoning can help keep the Teflon from ever coming into direct contact with your food.

How often should you season your Ninja air fryer?

If you take care to clean and maintain your ninja air fryer each and every time you use it, you should only be re-seasoning the basket two to three times a year with multiple layers each time.

The more layers you put on top of your ninja air fryer basket, the more protected and longer-lasting it will be.

I recommend seasoning your basket three to four times in a row.

When should you re-season your Ninja air fryer?

  • When you accidentally scratch your seasoned layer off
  • When you haven’t seasoned your basket in more than 6 months
  • When you first take your air fryer out of the box
  • When you accidentally washed your air fryer in the dishwasher
  • When you accidentally burned your food in the air fryer
  • When you are using extreme heat to cook (over 450 degrees Fahrenheit)

You should consider re-seasoning your Ninja air fryer basket whenever you accidentally scratch the surface of the layer.

From time to time, before and after cooking, take a really hard look at the inside surface of your basket.

Sometimes it may be due to you pressing down onto the sponge too hard, utensils scraping onto it, or the cooking temperature being too high.

A properly seasoned surface should look shiny. It should also have a slightly darker brown or black color.

If you see any areas or spots on the surface of your basket that seem dull and even feel rough, then it might be time to re-season your air fryer.

Chances are that those areas are without a well-seasoned layer.

Do you still need oil after seasoning a Ninja air fryer?

Adding extra oil to your air fryer meal isn’t so necessary if you’re using the oil to prevent the food from sticking.

Adding oil to food can have enhanced non-sticking benefits, but food can benefit from oils by adding flavor as well.

Oil can also help create that crispy outer crust in what’s known as the Maillard reaction.

What kind of oil should you use to season your Ninja air fryer?

1. Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is the best oil to use when seasoning your Ninja air fryer.

It has a high smoke point (approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit), which means it can withstand high temperatures without burning.

Refined coconut oil also has a neutral flavor, so it won’t alter the taste of your food.

However, one thing to watch out for is regular coconut oil which has a smoke point of only 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Grapeseed oil

We recommend using grapeseed oil as a healthy alternative to oil. Grapeseed oil contains vitamin E and is naturally high in antioxidants. It’s also a lightweight oil with a neutral taste and aroma, so it won’t affect the taste of your food.

Grapeseed oil has a smoke point of up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is one of the healthiest oil you can use to season your Ninja air fryer.

This type of oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are known to be heart-healthy and can help in lowering the body’s total cholesterol levels.

Additionally, extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage.

The only drawback is that extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a bit trickier when dealing with cooking temperatures in your Ninja air fryer.

4. Vegetable oil

When it comes to seasoning your Ninja air fryer, the best type of oil to use is vegetable oil.

This is because vegetable oil has a high smoke point (approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit), meaning that it won’t burn as easily as other oils.

Additionally, vegetable oil is a neutral oil, so it won’t impart any additional flavors to your food. It’s also a very common oil at a really affordable price.

5. Canola oil

Canola oil has a high smoke point (between 375 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit), which means it can withstand high temperatures without burning.

It’s obviously one of the oils in this list with the highest smoke point. This makes it ideal for seasoning your air fryer.

Canola oil is also a healthy option, as it is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat.

How to carefully clean a seasoned Ninja air fryer?

After you have seasoned your air fryer it is important to learn how to properly clean it so that you do not remove the seasoning when you are cleaning it.

For the most part, if you did clean it properly you are not going to have to do a ton of scrubbing to remove anything from the basket.

It is easy enough to remove the food from the basket if you have it seasoned well, so, at the most, you should be able to clean it with warm, soapy water and a soft sponge.

Can you put a seasoned Ninja air fryer in the dishwasher?

If you are seasoning your air fryer basket it is not recommended to put it in the dishwasher for a few reasons.

First, if you put a seasoned basket into the dishwasher, you are going to have to deal with the chemicals from the detergent, the high heat, the very hot water, and the jets.

This can remove your seasoning very easily and very quickly. If you are looking to remove the seasoning you have on it and maybe do it again, a dishwasher is a great option.

If you are just trying to wash it so that you can use it again, you want to hand wash it.

If you do not have anything on your basket, you can always put it in the dishwasher as there is not really any way that the dishwasher is going to damage the Teflon or the ceramic coating.

Is it too late to season your Ninja air fryer?

If you didn’t season your Ninja air fryer before your first use, you can still season it now and enjoy all the benefits of seasoning your Ninja air fryer.

One thing you should do is to make sure you thoroughly clean and remove any debris, including rust and corrosion, that might have ended up on the surface of your air fryer basket.

If there is any type of rust or corrosion on your air fryer basket, then we recommend using a combination of natural ingredients such as mixtures of baking soda, lemon, and vinegar.

Using these natural ingredients will not only be effective against corrosion but will also help protect the manufactured non-stick coating that is already on your ninja air fryer basket.

Also, make sure your ninja air fryer basket is completely dry before attempting to season it for the first time.

To season your Ninja air fryer, simply coat the inside of the basket with cooking oil. Then, run the air fryer on its highest setting for about 30 minutes.

Allow the basket to cool completely before using it. Seasoning your Ninja air fryer is easy and only takes a few minutes.

It’s worth it to do this step so that you can enjoy all the deliciousness that comes with air frying!

Should you still use parchment paper after seasoning your Ninja air fryer?

You can use parchment paper to help make sure that your food is really not going to stick in any way, but if you have seasoned it properly, you are not going to have to worry about anything sticking and you can just go right ahead and cook in your air fryer with ease.

Safety precautions you need to follow when seasoning your Ninja air fryer

There are some safety things that you need to keep in mind when working on seasoning your air fryer basket.

First, the basket is going to be very hot. You need gloves or a pot holder to help keep your hands from getting burned.

Hot oil and hot metal can quickly burn you.

You also need to keep in mind that if you use an oil that has a low burn point, you may end up having smoke which can be bad for you to breathe and can also make your smoke detectors go off.

Make sure you protect your hands and stay close during the seasoning process.

Does seasoning your Ninja air fryer affect your food?

There’s some debate on how different types of oil affect the outcome of the meal.

Even though this may be true, the general consensus is that seasoning is not going to change the flavor or the texture of your food in the air fryer.

This is because the seasoning is baked on and is actually almost sealed to the air fryer, so it is not going to come off on your food if you have done it properly.

What’s the best temperature to season your Ninja air fryer

The most popular temperature to season your ninja air fryer basket is usually a round 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most experts will usually recommend 400 degrees Fahrenheit to be the standard.

However, it’s not always that simple. The temperature you should keep your seasoning to should also depend strongly on the type of oil you’re using as well.

If you’re choosing to go with refined coconut oil, then 400 degrees Fahrenheit should be perfectly fine to season your air fryer.

However, oils like regular coconut wouldn’t be able to withstand temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for very long since their smoke point is closer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Neglecting these smoke points will end up in disaster if your oil begins to burn.

In this situation, what you want to do is lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and increase the cooking time by a few minutes.

The goal is to create a slippery layer of waxy and slippery oil on the surface of your ninja air fryer basket. And the only way to do something like this is to use high heat.

But if the type of oil you’re using cannot tolerate heat levels beyond 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then I recommend lowering the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and adding an extra 2 minutes to the cooking process.

How long should you leave your Ninja air fryer on to season it?

The first thing you’ll have to do is make sure you pre-heat your ninja air fryer basket before spreading oil all over it.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to set it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes.

Once your ninja air fryer basket is at temperature and ready for seasoning, you’ll want to leave it in the air fryer for about 3 minutes.

Don’t forget to adjust the temperature and time according to the smoke point of the oil.

After three minutes, you can take it out, spread more oil onto the basket’s surface, and put it back into the air fryer for an additional three minutes to create a second layer.

I recommend you repeat this process up to four times to create a thick non-stick outer layer on your ninja air fryer basket.

Other ways to prevent food from sticking to the Ninja air fryer?

Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is an option, but it might not be the best. Aluminum foil is going to get hot in the air fryer, which means it is going to change the temperature while the food is cooking.

This also means that if you are wrapping your food in foil or you have lined the basket in foil, your food may burn.

Another thing to keep in mind is that aluminum can block the airflow, which might result in food that is not perfectly crispy. So, you can use foil, but be careful.

Parchment paper

You can also use parchment paper.

This is a great option as it is not going to change the heat of the air fryer or how fast the food cooks, and it is not going to really make a huge difference in the overall airflow.

You can cut the parchment to fit the basket, or just to fit under the food.

Silicon baking mat

You can also get a silicon baking mat. These are, again, not the best because they do block the airflow.

If you are using a mat, you want to make sure you use a very small one that does not block the airflow to the food.

Disposable paper liners

One of the best options for your air fryer is to use paper liners that are designed to work with the air fryer.

These liners are going to be designed with the air fryer in mind and are going to be great if you want a liner that is easy to use and that is not going to damage the air fryer.

Spray oil

Spray oil is another option but it does have the potential to damage the coating that is already on your air fryer.

Lecithin is an ingredient found in cooking sprays like PAM. Although it’s safe to use on most pots and pans, lecithin has the undesirable property of adhering to nonstick surfaces. It clings so tenaciously that it accumulates and becomes extremely difficult to remove, damaging the cooking surface and making food stick.

If you want to keep the coating that the air fryer came with, you might want to avoid using spray oil or you can just use a oil mister. If you season it properly, you can avoid using any sort of oil or any other non-stick items to keep food from sticking.

Can you preheat a seasoned Ninja air fryer?

You can preheat a Ninja air fryer that has seasoning on it.

The seasoning is going to be baked on and is going to be semi-permanent. In most cases, the seasoning is not going to come off unless you are intentional in taking it off.

You can use this seasoning to keep the food from sticking and your air fryer is going to be easy to use. You should not have to worry much about it if you have done it right.

If you have not done your seasoning properly, you may have to deal with a damaged seasoning. For the most part, it is going to be fine.

What temperature is too hot for a seasoned Ninja air fryer?

The maximum temperature you can cook a seasoned ninja air fryer for would largely be determined by the type of oil you used to season your basket.

With that being said, the maximum temperature that you should set your ninja air fryer to is probably going to range around 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for most types of popular cooking oils.

It’s true that the seasoning on the surface of your air fryer is more tolerant of higher temperatures, but it may not last long under heat that surpasses its designated smoke point.

Remember, the smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which its quality begins to deteriorate, denature, and burst into smoke. Your efforts to bond the oil to your basket’s surface will be for nothing if the oil you’re using to season it is burned off in the process.

You don’t want your oil to vaporize and leave the surface of your ninja air fryer basket. Before reaching the smoke point of your oil, you want it to dry and adhere to the basket’s surface.

I recommend that you maintain a temperature just below the smoke point to ensure complete polymerization and solidification of your oil onto the surface.

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