17 Useful Air Fryer Tips For Beginners To Use Like A Pro

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Whether you are a beginner or a pro cook, you must know the hacks to get you most out of using an air fryer for making enjoyable recipes.

So, today we have decided to share some air fryer tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of it.

How To Use An Air Fryer Like A Pro?

To use your air fryer, set up the unit and configure the time and temperature settings according to your air fryer recipe.

If mentioned in the air fryer instruction manual, preheat the unit before adding food contents into the basket.

Don’t forget to shake and turn the sides of the food midway through the timer.

1. Avoid Overcrowding The Basket

Despite all the space they occupy in your kitchen, air fryers are not very spacious from the inside. 

 For best results, we suggest avoiding stacking food in the air fryer.

Stacking or overcrowding may impede heat circulation, preventing the air fryer from cooking or reheating evenly.

Always place the food in a single layer with a little space between the food contents.

2. Don’t Pull Out The Basket Unnecessarily

It is okay to remove the basket to shake the food during cooking, but avoid doing it when not needed.

Unnecessarily opening the basket will waste hot air, decreasing the cooking chamber’s internal temperature and prolonging the cooking time. 

4. Choose The Right Temperature/Time Settings

Choosing the right temperature and timer is necessary to avoid overcooked and burnt food.

The air fryer instruction manual often mentions the right temperature/time settings for cooking various foods.

You can rely on those or stick to the recipes found on dependable sources (websites, food magazines, etc.)

5. Handle The Basket With Care

The basket is an indispensable part of an air fryer; therefore, caution must be exercised when handling it.

Always press the safety release button present on the air fryer basket handle when taking it out of the drawer.

Don’t use any steel or metal spatula to take the food out; metal can destroy the non-stick coating on the basket.

Instead, use a silicone spatula and tongs to add and remove food.

6. Avoid Using Oil Sprays

Oil sprays such as PAM have additives that can disintegrate the non-stick coating on the air fryer accessories.

Therefore, always prefer an oil mister or homemade oil spray over aerosol sprays or use a brush to apply oil on the food surface.

7. Shake The Food Halfway Through The Timer

When cooking small pieces such as Brussels sprouts, French fries, wings, broccoli, etc., shake the food items midway through the timer to cook them evenly from all sides.

For larger food items such as whole chicken, steaks, breaded fish filets, salmon, etc., turn the sides/rotate the food to cook it from all sides.

8. Don’t Put Wet Food In The Air Fryer

Moisture may hamper your goal of cooking crispy food. Hence, don’t put wet food in the unit—it will produce steam, making the food soggy.

Pat dry the food with a paper towel before adding it to the air fryer basket. 

9. Remove The Air Fryer Plastic Smell

Sometimes, new air fryers give off a plastic smell during the first few uses when the chemical coating on the surface of their accessories burns.

If you experience this smell, you can remove it by following the instructions below.

  • Wash all the air fryer accessories, including the rack, basket, drawer, etc., a few times.
  • Dry everything with a clean, dry towel.
  • Run the air fryer empty for about 10 to 15 minutes. Now, your air fryer is ready to unfold its true cooking power.

10. Don’t Put Too Much Oil

Use a light hand when using oil in the air fryer.

Remember that your air fryer does not cook food like a deep fryer, so putting oil in an air fryer in large quantities is not necessary.

For best results, you can add a few spoons to enhance the food's taste.

11. Use Oil With A High Smoke Point

Don’t use oils with a low smoke point when cooking in your air fryer, as it will produce smoke at a higher temperature. For instance, instead of using coconut oil with a smoke point above 350F, use avocado oil with a 570F smoke point.

12. Don’t Put Anything At The Back Of The Air Fryer

Air fryers have a heat vent at the back. They release hot air through this vent and regulate their cooking chamber’s internal temperature.

Putting anything at the back of the air fryer can obscure the heat vent, overheating the air fryer.  

13. Don’t Touch The Unit While Cooking

When cooking food, an air fryer can get extremely hot from the outside, especially from the back. Therefore, avoid touching the unit with bare hands. 

14. Put Cardboard Under The Air Fryer

Even if your kitchen counter is made with heat-resistant material, being cautious is always beneficial. To protect your countertop from the air fryer’s heat, place a piece of cardboard underneath it.

Also, place a pot holder or a piece of cardboard over the counter before placing the hot basket.

15. Use A Toothpick To Hold Down Lighter Things

Since an air fryer blows hot air at high speed, lighter food items, such as toast, broccoli, etc., may fly around in the air fryer basket. To prevent this, use a toothpick or a utensil, such as a fork, to hold the item down. 

16. Don’t Dump The Air Fryer Content Into A Bowl

During cooking, excess oil and food juices collect under the crisper plate.

When you flip the air fryer basket to put the cooked food into a bowl/dish, all this oil and grease comes along.

Therefore, instead of flipping over the basket, take the food out with a spatula or tongs.

17. Clean The Air Fryer After Every Use

Cleaning your air fryer after each cooking cycle keeps it in mint condition for a longer time.

Basket-style air fryers have a removable basket, an outer drawer, and a crisper plate you must wash.

Although these accessories are often dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended as it protects their non-stick coating and increases their useful life.

How To Reheat Food In Air Fryer

A rule of thumb for reheating your food is to set the temperature 30 degrees lower than its initial cooking temperature.

For reheating pizza, set the air fryer at 320° F instead of 350F and reheat the slices for 3-5 minutes. Don’t put one slice over the other, as they will stick to each other, and heat will also not pass through them.

For reheating chicken wings in an air fryer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for a couple of minutes.
  2. Arrange the chicken wings in the basket in a single layer and let the air fryer run for 2 to 3 minutes until warmed.
  3. Add a few spritzes of oil if necessary.

Find The Best Recipes For Air Fryer

If you are a newbie, some great air fryer recipes are waiting for you to try. Below, we have provided some cooking suggestions.

  • Ranch Potatoes
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Shrimp with Lemon and Pepper
  • Cookie Cake
  • Buttered Toasts
  • Roast Beef
  • Quesadilla
  • Baked Sweet Potato
  • Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Turkey Legs
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Chicken wings
  • French fries
  • Cupcakes
  • Salmon
  • Chicken thighs
  • Steaks

Always Shop For The Best Air Fryers

The quality of your air fryer plays an important role in the quality of the food you cook in it.

Therefore, whenever buying an air fryer for your kitchen, choose a brand known for high-quality appliances. Some air fryer brands you can consider are the following:

  • Cosori
  • Ninja
  • Instant Pot
  • Cuisinart
  • Nuwave

Why Should You Get An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is the best thing to get if you are a fitness freak or even just prefer healthy eating.

Features like auto-shutoff and shake-remind enhance your convenience. You will know when the food is cooked and ready to be served or when it is time to shake it.

The price can be an issue for some of you. There is no denying that the high-quality and best large air fryers do not come cheaply, but with some search, you can get a good air fryer under 100; pretty affordable, right?

Besides, they are a one-time investment; they are long-lasting and do not require frequent maintenance. 

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Using your air fryer carefully can increase its useful life and help you get full use out of it. The above-mentioned essential cooking tips for using an air fryer for the first time will help you avoid commonly made air fryer mistakes.

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