How to Use an Air Fryer: The Ultimate Guide!
If you are wondering whether or not it’s time for you to get yourself an air fryer, this article is for you.
Here is every single possible thing you need to know if you’re considering buying or when you buy your air fryer for the first time.
What is an air fryer?
An air fryer is a small countertop convection oven designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. Air fryers use the circulation of hot air to cook food evenly, resulting in a crispy exterior while the inside retains a tender, juicy flavor.
The appliance produces crisp layers in foods via browning reactions such as the Maillard reaction. This cooking method is often seen as a healthier alternative to deep frying because it rarely uses any oil.
With the air fryer feature on an air fryer, you can enjoy your favorite kind of chicken wings guilt-free!
How do air fryers work?
Air fryers cook food with hot air instead of oil, making them a healthier option.
They rely on rapid air technology, in which heat is radiated from the top of the machine and circulated by a fan. This ensures that all the air circulates around the food and that it is heated quickly from all angles.
This method of heating is sometimes described as convection to distribute energy throughout the cooking process. Convection is the transfer of heat by the movement of certain matter (in this case, the hot air molecules). This means that the hot air will move around the food more quickly, cooking it evenly and preventing any one spot from burning.
Air fryers don’t actually fry. They cook with hot air. The term “fry” usually refers to cooking food in oil, but since air fryers don’t use any oil, they can’t really be called “frying machines.”
However, they do produce similar results, such as crisp, browned crusts on food, by using rapid circulation to create a convection effect. This cooks and browns the exterior of the food in the basket even without using any added fat or oil.
Breaded foods like chicken tenders and French fries will brown in an air fryer if the temperature is high enough. If you’re looking to make some crispy chicken tenders, be sure to set your air fryer to at least 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
The cooking chamber is often designed to spin hot air rapidly to reach all surfaces of food and create a crisp crust. This is possible because the perforated basket intensifies the heat of the chamber walls by maximizing contact with the hot air.
Air fryers may also use far infrared waves, which vibrate molecules within food, generating thermal energy and cooking it quicker. The excess fat and residues drain into a compartment below the food, reducing the amount of fat consumed.
All in all, air fryers are an efficient way to cook without using any added oils or fats.
What to expect for the first time with your air fryer
When you first get your air fryer, it’s important to spend some time reading the instruction manual. Different models of air fryers may vary just a little bit, so be sure to read through them before using them for the very first time.
It’s also a good idea to give your air fryer a quick wash and dry with some hot soapy water and a soft dish cloth or sponge before using it. Just don’t stress out about getting every nook and cranny dry because the air fryer can also dry itself.
Make sure that all parts are working properly. You can do this by plugging in the appliance and turning it on. If everything is in order, you should see a light turn on. If not, contact the manufacturer immediately for assistance.
Some air fryers are louder than others, so if you’re particularly sensitive to noise, be aware of this before purchasing an appliance.
If you’ve been cooking something in your air fryer for quite a while, take care not to touch any other part of the appliance except the basket, as they may be hot and therefore dangerous to touch.
Preheating the air fryer, like preheating a pot, is recommended for all foods. Preheating takes about five minutes or less to achieve the optimal cooking temperature and can actually improve food quality.
Air fryers can be a wonderful alternative to grilling, not just a backup for it. Some air fryers come with a cook button specifically for French fries, but other frozen foods may require a different setting or time.
The first time you use your air fryer, it’s important to follow the instructions on the bag. It’s also important to note that most air fryers will not remind you when it’s time to shake the food at the halfway point.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
The popularity of air fryers is on the rise because they are versatile appliances that can cook a variety of different foods.
You can cook chicken, French fries, and other finger foods in an air fryer. You can also use an air fryer to cook vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli. Foods like potatoes and sweet potatoes are also suitable for cooking in an air fryer.
Leftovers can be put back into the dish to create a crispy texture again with the use of the air fryer. Air fryers have earned the reputation of being super easy to use because they’re easy to use and produce great results!
Different types of air fryers available
There are two main types of air fryers: basket-type and oven-type.
The most common type of air fryer is the basket-type air fryer. This type has a heating element at the top and a fan that circulates hot air around the food. The food is cooked in a wire mesh or metal basket that sits on top of the heating element.
The oven style has a heating element at the top and bottom, while the basket style has one heating element that is located at the top of the inner compartment of the machine. If you are looking for a large capacity air fryer, then look for an oven-style model as they tend to be designed with larger compartment space.
What type of air fryer should you buy?
The basket-style is the more popular option because it has a wider selection of models and takes up a relatively small space on your countertop.
If you’re looking for something smaller and still effective, check out the basket-style air fryers. These come in shapes about the size of coffee makers, which means they really don’t take up much counterspace at all. The basket style is smaller than the oven style and has a heating element at the top of the unit, which can create uneven cooking due to food proximity to or lack of airflow.
If you’re cooking for a lot of people and you don’t like cleaning very much, then I recommend you look into an oven-style air fryer. These types of air fryers are usually larger than the basket-style air fryers.
The capacity of the air fryer is a major difference between these two types. The basket style is compact and easy to use, even in small kitchens, while the oven-style is generally larger and wider, making it harder to store.
Another major difference between these two types of air fryers is the type of rack they have available: an oven-style has racks while a basket-style does not have them.
Additionally, some manufacturers have a removable tray to catch any mess that may occur during cooking. The only drawback to this oven-type air fryer is that you often have to clean it out with hot water, just like a regular oven would be cleaned out with soap and water.
When it comes to air fryers, the basket style is the way to go!
How to use an air fryer
Air fryers are a great little tool that can make a huge difference in how you cook I your kitchen. You can use them in nearly any way, but getting the idea of the basics can really help.
- Look at the food that you are going to cook. You first want to consider what you are cooking. If you are cooking frozen foods, you need to adjust the cook time based on that. You also need to keep in mind how much you are putting into the fryer and so on.
- Preheat the air fryer. Depending on the temperature you are going to cook at, preheat the oven for the fryer for a few minutes to help get it ready for the food. This is going to help you ensure your food is crisp all around.
- Add the food to the air fryer in a single layer. You want to make sure that you have a single layer of food that is going to crisp evenly.
- Flip food half way through or move around in the basket. This is going to help you get the most out of your air fryer and will help the food cook evenly and crisp up nicely.
What settings should you use on an air fryer?
There are a few different settings that you do need to keep in mind with your air fryer.
The first setting you want to consider is the temperature setting. Most air fryers have a temperature dial that you use to set your oven. This dial should be adjusted to fit whatever food you are cooking. You can look at the suggested cooking time and temperature to determine what is going to work for you.
The other setting you want to consider is the timer. This is as important as the temperature settings. You need to pay attention to the timer so that you can make sure you are checking your food as you cook.
What size air fryer should you buy?
There are a few different sizes of air fryers from which you can choose.
If you have a large family or you are going to be using it a great deal, you may want a larger air fryer.
If you have a small space to store it or use it, you may want a smaller air fryer.
You should consider how much you are going to be cooking. You also need to consider where you are going to be using it, where you are going to be storing it, and where you are also going to need to consider the overall price range that you have and what you want to spend.
The larger the fryer, the more it is going to cost.
Should you preheat air fryers?
There are a few different schools of thought on this matter. Some people swear by preheating their air fryers, while others think it’s unnecessary. Check out our article on how to preheat your air fryer.
The general consensus seems to be in favor of the idea that you should preheat your air fryer before every cooking session. It’s worth doing and is especially beneficial for recipes that require longer cook times. However, if your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, turning on the air fryer for about 5 minutes or less at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit will work well before actually placing your food into the air fryer.
In any case, it’s important to keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking and avoid over-crispy (burnt) food.
How to properly clean your air fryer
Cleaning your air fryer is a must, and you should know a bit more about the cleaning process to ensure your fryer is going to be well cared for.
- Let the air fryer cool completely. This is important as the basket is going to be very hot when you get done cooking. If you are using an oven style, you also need to let it cool entirely.
- If you have a basket style air fryer, remove the basket and wash it in the sink with warm water and soap. If you have an oven style, wash the pan and rack with soap and water.
- Wipe down the inside of the air fryer.
- Make sure your pan is clean and dry, and then put it back in the fryer. You can also wipe down the exterior of the machine to help get rid of any residual oil that may be on the exterior.
Best tips for beginner air fryer users
Preheat your air fryer before cooking
Preheating is a great way to get your air fryer ready and to help cut down on the overall heating time. If you are preheating while the food is in the fryer, you are going to have to wait a bit longer for your food, and you might not get food that is crispy.
Make sure you hold down the light-weight food
If you have food that is light and that might move around, you may want to weigh it down to help ensure that it is going to cook correctly.
You can still use a little bit of oil
You can use spray oil to help crisp up the food, and this can also help keep the food from sticking.
You may still need to flip your food
If you have a lot of food in the fryer or if you have food that is very large, you might want to flip your food halfway through. This will help to make sure your food is crispy all over.
You put too much food in your air fryer
If possible, you need to ensure that you can put your food in a single layer. You also want to ensure you are not filling your air fryer too full. You want to make sure you do not go over the fill line.
You need to arrange your food properly
You also need to make sure there is plenty of space between each piece of food for ample air circulation.
You don’t need to thaw your food
You can cook frozen food. Just make sure you pay attention to how long you are cooking for and at what temperature.
Don’t cook wet foods in an air fryer
You can not cook foods that you want to stay moist or wet. An air fryer is going to crisp up anything you cook in it.
Air fryer safety standards you should follow
The biggest thing to remember is that you do need to make sure you have plenty of space around your air fryer while you are cooking and that you unplug it when not in use.
Never fill the basket with oil. This is not meant for traditional frying, and it can be very dangerous.
Additionally, if possible, try to use an exhaust vent instead of having the air fryer close to a wall of smoke. This can cause irritation or even create a fire hazard.
Furthermore, don’t cook bacon at a temperature higher than the smoke point of the grease. Doing so could create some dangerous fumes.
Also, don’t cook oils that have low smoke points in your air fryer, or use a lower cooking temperature. Oils with lower smoking points are less resistant to heat and can easily be burned faster. It’s an unpleasant experience.
Air fryers can get incredibly hot, so handle them with care. Always use oven mitts. Trust me, I’ve burned myself more times than I can remember. Even if you touch your skin to the rack for a split second, you’ll end up with a large skin bubble within a few days.
Finally, always clean up any spills outside and follow safety standards while using your air fryer!
Oh, and never set it on the stovetop.
What can you not cook in an air fryer?
Many people are curious about what they can and cannot cook in an air fryer. While this kitchen appliance is versatile and can cook a variety of foods, there are some things you should avoid. Wet batter foods, like fried Oreos and pancakes, cannot be made in the air fryer. The high heat distribution by way of the fan will cause them to become soggy and hard in different places and not taste very good.
Bacon is a popular food to cook in the air fryer, but it requires a few special steps. Bacon should always be cooked on high heat while stirring frequently. Add the onion and garlic after cooking for 1 minute. This will add extra flavor to your bacon.
We have a separate article here that lists a ton of things you should not cook in an air fryer.
Must-have accessories that you need for your air fryer
They allow you to cook multiple items at once, which is perfect if you’re cooking for a crowd. Racks also help to circulate the heat evenly, so your food cooks evenly. Lastly, racks make it easy to remove your food from the air fryer without burning yourself.
If you’re looking for a way to cook more food at once, or if you want to make sure your food cooks evenly, then be sure to get a rack for your air fryer.
Parchment is used to line the cooking surface of the air fryer, making it much easier to clean. It also helps to prevent sticking and makes for an overall better cooking experience. You can buy parchment paper in most supermarkets or online.
One of those is aluminum foil. Aluminum foil can actually help reflect the heat back onto your food, making sure it cooks evenly. It can also help prevent sticking, so your food doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the air fryer and come out looking like a mess. Make sure to cover your air fryer basket with at least one layer of aluminum foil before adding any food. This will help keep your food from sticking and make clean up a breeze!
They make it easy to cook without having to worry about sticking or burning. Silicone mats also help to evenly distribute heat, so your food cooks evenly. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe, so cleanup is a breeze.
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