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Need air fryer tips? We’ve gotcha’ covered with these ten tips for air frying great food.
Air fryers are becoming ever more popular as time goes on. People are starting to catch on to the convenience of these countertop appliances and love the results they get, particularly with the use of so little oil.
For many, it’s a health conscious thing. Cooking with less oil means fewer calories and less of a negative impact on your overall health. And in fact, many healthy foods can be cooked to perfection in an air fryer in half the time it takes to cook in a conventional oven.
Learning the nuances of cooking with an air fryer can feel a little overwhelming at first. But don’t let that stop you! While there may be small things that you learn as you go, overall, air frying is a very simple process. And some air fryers make it easier than other with pre-programmed buttons for different foods.
But even with the conveniences of some air fryers, there are still air fryer tips that everyone can learn or keep in mind as they get more and more into air frying. So here are the 10 best air fryer tips to help you air fry with ease and confidence.
Best Air Fryer Tips
- Managing smoke – Most air fryers will smoke a little bit during cooking. It’s normal. But some smoke more than others. Some of this has to do with the fat content of the food you are cooking. The fattier the food, the more smoke there can be. Particularly if that fat drips down into the grease pan below. To remedy this, you can either put a small amount (1-2 tbsp.) of water in the tray, or you can put a piece of bread in the drip pan to absorb some of the grease coming off your food. You’ll sacrifice a slice of bread, but you won’t waste foil on a single batch of food either. Bread is cheaper than foil. You’re welcome.
- Shake, shake, shake! – Air fryers are not set-it-and-forget-it appliances. You need to shake/toss/flip/turn your food during the cooking process to evenly cook everything. “Shaking” is the term typically applied to basket style air fryers because it’s easy to simply pull the food basket out and give it a shake to toss the food. In toaster oven air fryers, you’ll need to use tongs or a spatula to flip or turn your food. Paddle air fryers do this for you. They have their disadvantages, but they are definitely more of a set-it-and-forget-it type of air fryer. Flipping/turning/shaking your food is an important step in air frying and should be done at least 1 or 2 times during the cooking process.
- Avoid aerosol sprays – It’s easy and very tempting to pick up an aerosol can of cooking sprayer to spritz your air fryer basket or tray with. But don’t! These aerosol sprays can actually destroy the finish on your air fryer. Want to to know what works better? Check this out.
- Preheat – If your air fryer has a preheat function, use it! It’s there for a reason and can make a big difference in how some foods cook. While it’s not critical with things like frozen onion rings or cheese sticks, it becomes far more important with other foods. So your best bet is to get in the habit of preheating, just like you would your oven. The only difference being that preheating an air fryer takes MUCH less time! Depending on your air fryer, you’ll want to start preheating about 2-5 minutes before your food goes in.
- Don’t overfill – Putting too much food in your air fryer at once is the leading cause of food not cooking correctly. Understand that air fryers cook with air flow. If you cut down on air flow by overfilling your air fryer, the hot air can’t get to your food in order to cook it properly. So even if you have to cook in multiple batches, make sure you are cooking in single layers with some space in between. Yes, even with fries. (Although, with enough shaking/tossing of the fries, you can get away with about two layers. But they may not be as crisp as you’d like when they are done). With larger items like chicken breasts or steaks, cook only in single layers with space in between and flip them half way through the cooking process.
- Spices – If you have trouble with spices being blown off your food by the air fryer, mix those spices with oil first and then baste your food with that oil. In many cases, you can simply spray your food with oil first and then sprinkle on your spices. But for some foods, this won’t work as well as putting the spices in the oil first.
- Accessorize! – Air fryer accessories can truly extend the list of types of foods you can make in an air fryer. But you have to get accessories that are size properly for your individual air fryer. To name just a few, you’ll benefit from an air fryer accessory set, good tongs, a meat thermometer, an oil sprayer, and basic kitchen accessories such as a good knife, measuring spoons and cutting boards.
- Starch – For extra crispy foods like homemade fries, consider a light dusting of starch over dry food. You can spritz oil over that, to keep it on your food. But starch will ensure a nice crispy texture on many air fried foods. Particularly, french fries.
- Clean – You should be cleaning your air fryer after every single use. It’s easy for grease to build up in an air fryer if you don’t. And once it does, cleaning becomes a much more difficult task. The good news is, if you clean it after every use, the cleaning will remain pretty easy to do. And on many air fryers, the removable parts are dishwasher safe. Check your user manual to be sure.
- Take note – Cooking times will vary from air fryer to air fryer. Even the cooking temperatures sometimes need to be adjusted for your own, individual air fryer. We have found that the best way to help with this is to do two things. First, always be willing to adjust the cooking time when cooking something for the first or even second time until you figure out the exact time that works for your air fryer. Second, print out a chart of air fryer cooking times and keep it next to your air fryer with a pen. Every time you make something to perfection, take note of the time and temperature. If it’s different from what’s on the chart, make a note of it on the chart. This way, you’ll end up with a very accurate chart for cooking in your own air fryer.
Meat Thermometers For Air Frying
This small purchase can really up your game with air frying. Make sure your meats and other foods are fully cooked with the use of a thermometer. We love this one because it’s easy to adjust calibration using the red cover case. Simply insert the thermometer through the top of the case so the adjustment bold sit firmly in the case holder. Put the thermometer into a cup of well iced water and turn to calibrate to 32F. Easy, and you’ll feel better knowing your food is fully cooked.
These are just ten of the best air fryer tips we can think of. But our posts here on Air Fry Master are full of tips and tricks for air frying different foods in different types of air fryers. So be sure to dive in here! We promise, you’ll leave knowing much more than when you got here.