Does Air Fryer Need Oil To Cook Fries, Wings & Other Foods

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The advent of air fryers has encouraged many households to abandon their traditional ways of cooking and shift to this contemporary way of preparing food.

But what makes cooking food in an air fryer healthy?

The answer is simple! 

Cooking in an air fryer does not require oil to cook food. You can get a perfectly crispy and golden-brown exterior without adding oil. However, brushing the food with a little oil before cooking can bestow an even crustier, mouthwatering texture and improve the overall taste of the food.

How Does An Air Fryer Work Without Oil?

An air fryer uses a convection mechanism to circulate hot air to cook food from all sides equally.

A heating coil present on the top provides the heat while a big fan placed under it circulates the heat.

Since it has so much air all around, it does not need oil for cooking.

| READ NEXT: Can you use butter instead of oil in an air fryer?

How Do You Use Oil In An Air Fryer?

How do you use oil in an air fryer

In a skillet, you would normally put a large quantity of oil before putting your food for deep frying.

However, you don’t need to pour oil into an air fryer basket.

Instead, it is added to the food before or after putting the items in the basket.

3 Ways To Use Oil In An Air Fryer

  • While using an air fryer, you can season the food with a tablespoon of oil before tossing it in the air fryer. For instance, consider spicing up salmon with a little oil before air frying or greasing veggies before roasting them to allow better crisping.
  • Add the oil to marinate before applying it to the food. For example, when making the batter for air frying Buffalo chicken wings or chicken breasts, add the oil to the batter before applying it to the chicken.
  • For those wanting to reduce oil use, using an oil mister/spray or brush to coat the food lightly is an option.
How to use oil in the air fryer

Oils That Can Be Used In An Air Fryer

Oils That Can Be Used in an Air Fryer - Best Oils for Air Fryers

The best oil for an air fryer has a high smoke point and doesn’t release toxic smoke when heated at high temperatures.

Some of the healthiest oils for air fryer are:

  • Grapeseed Oil — 420F
  • Sesame Oil — 410F
  • Peanut Oil — 450F
  • Soybean Oil — 460
  • Avocado Oil — 570F
  • Extra Light Olive Oil — 468F
  • Vegetable Oil — 400F

In addition, you can also use butter.

However, when using butter in an air fryer, use it in molten form, as it will not melt properly if added in cubes.

Butter adds an indulgent flavor to your food and enhances its aroma.

Oils To Avoid In An Air Fryer

Oils You Should Avoid Using in an Air Fryer

You should avoid using certain oils in an air fryer due to their low smoke points.

The oils to avoid are:

  • Partially hydrogenated oils
  • Extra virgin oil
  • Non-Stick Sprays
  • Walnut oil
  • Lard
  • Unrefined coconut oil
  • Margarine

These oils can release smoke when the cooking temperature surpasses their smoke point.

For more such tips about air fryers, keep following KitchenHanker.Com.


Where do you put the oil in an air fryer?

You can put oil in the food by brushing its surface, spraying it, or applying it by hand. Spraying oil with an oil mister allows you to add a minimum quantity. However, you must not put the oil in the basket as it can come in contact with electrical components.

What happens if you don't add oil to the air fryer?

Skipping oil altogether can make your food overly dry and even hard. On the other hand, adding a little oil makes your air-fried food crispy, coating it with a golden brown exterior.

Can you use coconut oil in an air fryer?

No, you shouldn’t use coconut oil, as it burns easily because of its low smoke point. Hence, it releases smoke when the temperature reaches 350F.

Can you use oil spray in an air fryer?

Many people use aerosol spray oils in an air fryer. But you must avoid using these sprays as they cause chipping in air fryer baskets. The chemical agent in these oil sprays burns easily and destroys the non-stick coating.

Does the Ninja air fryer need oil?

Most types of food, such as French fries, potato cakes, beef patties, steaks, etc., in the Ninja air fryer do not need oil. Butfoods with a coating, such as marinated chicken breast and pork neck, need a thin layer of oil on the surface.

Does the instant pot air fryer need oil?

There is no strict requirement for using oil in the instant pot air fryer. But using a teaspoon of it helps retain a brown color and crispy texture. You can put oil on chicken in an air fryer if you admire the thick crust on the exterior.

Does chicken need oil in the air fryer?

Yes, cooking chicken in an air fryer requires a few tablespoons of oil. You can spray oil on both sides of the chicken before putting it in the air fryer. Alternatively, you can drizzle a small amount of oil and then use your hands to apply it all over the chicken.

Do you put oil in the air fryer for fries?

Yes, you need to put a small quantity of oil in the air fryer for making fries. You can coat fries with a thin layer of oil— a couple of tablespoons would be enough to grease a pound of fries.

Does Nuwave air fryer need oil?

Cooking in a Nuwave air fryer does not need any oil, though you can add a small quantity if you prefer the taste. Only season the food with a spoonful or use an oil mister.

Does the power XL air fryer need oil?

It is not necessary to use oil in a power XL air fryer. But, if you prefer the taste and aroma of oil in your food, you can add a tablespoon of it or season the food before adding it to the air fryer basket.

Does the Philips air fryer need oil?

Adding oil when cooking food in a Philip air fryer is only required when making food from fresh ingredients such as freshly peeled potatoes, fish, beef, or chicken.

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Wrapping Up!

An air fryer does not necessarily need oil for cooking, but culinary gurus often recommend its use. Foods like broccoli may become smoky or hard when made without oil. Therefore, adding just a couple of tablespoons of oil to grease the food can enhance its taste and fragrance and retain its color.

The preferred methods to put oil in an air fryer are spritzing, brushing, or directly applying it to the food by hand. It also helps in better heat transfer and achieving a crispier exterior. The best oil for air fryer use should have a high smoke point and a mild flavor, ensuring it does not alter the taste of the food.

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