Seasoning food in an air fryer - Family Guide Central
| | |

Seasoning Food In An Air Fryer: Can You Do It And Should You?

Can you season rub your food in an air fryer?

Those new to air frying need to understand a few of the specifics to guarantee the best results. Many cooks wonder if they should season their foods the way they do if not using an air fryer.

According to our tests, air fryers will likely lose the flavorings and spices you add, because of how the air fryer functions. Air fryers move air at an exceptionally rapid pace. This is what helps cook the food. Because of the movement, the spices you add will fly all over the place and not stay on the food items in the air fryer.

Another reason to avoid using fine herbs and seasonings is they can clog up the air fryer. Small particles of food and spices can clog up the filter causing the air fryer to malfunction. The best idea is to coat your food with a light layer of oil to hold the spices in place or flavor your food after it is cooked.

Why is it a bad idea to season food in an air fryer?

According to, one of the main reasons to leave the seasoning out of your air fryer recipes is that the seasoning will not stay on your food. Loose seasons will whip around the inside of the air fryer instead of sticking on and flavoring your food.

Another reason is that loose leafy herbs like parsley, oregano, and rosemary can fly off the food during the cooking process and cause the filter to clog.

While some people prefer to eat seasoned food, those cooking in an air fryer are best to season their food after it has finished cooking.

Why would it be a good idea to season food in an air fryer?

There are times when seasonings can be used in an air fryer, but a little more work is required, than just tossing your food in the air fryer and forgetting about it. states that many great seasonings can be used in an air fryer, contrary to what we stated previously. Some popular seasonings used in air fryers include:

  • Italian Herb
  • Middle Eastern
  • Sweet and Tangy Chinese
  • Honey Adobo
  • Thai Curry
  • Tex-Mex
  • Spicy Chili-Garlic
  • Honey Dijon
  • Indian Curry
  • Cajun Spice

The trick to using these spices is, the spices should be added when you are preparing your food. You will also need to toss it half time through the cooking time. Chefs will also need to add some type of liquid to keep the spices on the food where they should be. Before adding dry spices, add one tablespoon of oil to each pound of food.

Should you avoid dry rub seasoning?

If you are wondering if you should avoid dry rubs altogether, the answer is no! You can use a dry rub in the air fryer, but you may want to season the food in advance and let it set, so the flavors have a chance to soak into the meat or vegetables being cooked.

When you season in advance, the items being air-fried have a chance to absorb the flavor of the rub or seasoning, so even if some rub comes off during the cooking process, it has had the chance to season the food before cooking.

If the seasonings are mild, you can season the food and let it sit overnight. If the flavors are bolder, you can season the food 2-4 hours before cooking.

Most of these recipes will also have additional ingredients that further season the food. For instance, the Italian Herb recipe includes red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, and lemon zest. If you want to add flavor to your air-fried food, you should not add a dry rub seasoning to the food, which is unless you have added vegetable oil to your air fryer in advance. The biggest reason why is that it will not stay on your food during the cooking process and may clog your unit, not to mention the mess it will cause.

3 tips for getting dry rub to stay on your food in the air fryer

If you plan on using a dry rub on your food while air fryer cooking, there are a few things you need to do first, or else your seasonings will not stay on your food.

  • Use oil or mustard to coat your food to help it stick to your food.
  • Place the seasoning underneath the food. The weight of the food, in most cases, will keep the seasoning from blowing off the food.
  • Cooks can also take a crust of bread and anchor leafy foods with toothpicks to reduce movement while cooking.

How much dry rub should you use?

If you determine that you want to cook your food with a rub, you will need to use the same amount of rub as you would normally. Remember, you may lose some of the rubs during the cooking process, so you may want to add a tad more, halfway through the cooking time.

Another option is to taste the food after the cooking process is completed, and you may want to add another shake or two of seasoning or rub if the taste is not bold enough.

How much is over-seasoning and how to avoid it?

If you add vegetable oil or mustard to your food, remember, the herbs, spices, and rubs will stick to the food, so use a light hand with your seasoning, or it may be too strong when finished.

Also, if you are using strong seasoning, use it sparingly. You can always add more seasoning at the end, but you cannot take it off if you use too much.

How should you season your food for air fryer cooking?

When seasoning your food before air fryer cooking, you may choose to marinate the food first to gain some additional flavor. Cooks should follow the manufacturers’ instructions, but you will need to use a liquid or marinade.

Those not using a marinade should use vegetable oil to help keep the seasoning on the food.

What happens if you don’t season your food enough in an air fryer?

Many people make the mistake of not using the seasonings in their air fryers. While this may be perfectly fine for some foods, you will need to season it after cooking.

Those new to air frying may need to experiment a little and learn the best way to season their food before, during, and after the air cooking process.

Other interesting articles: