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How to use an air fryer


How to use an air fryer

Faster than an oven and using less oil than a deep fryer, an air fryer is a great way to get crispy foods in a healthier way. Since they cook in a slightly different way than other appliances, an air fryer can take some getting used to, so you’ve come to the right place for tips.

From setting up, preheating, stirring, oiling, cleaning, and more, you’ll be a true air frying master in no time. However, before we dive in, it’s worth covering the basics. What exactly is an air fryer?

All in all, air fryers are a much healthier alternative to traditional fryers. Instead of using large amounts of oil or fat to cook and brown food, air fryers use hot air. As small but mighty ovens, they can produce everything from crispy chicken wings to perfectly cooked vegetables, french fries and even whole roast chickens.

Although the results are a bit different than frying in a tub of hot oil, they are still comparable and much, much healthier. And with thousands of air fryer recipes available, you can make everything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between.

So with the decoration set, here’s everything you need to know.

Table of Contents:

what we use

These steps should apply to virtually all brands of air fryers, especially those with built-in baskets (as opposed to all-in-one electric ovens with built-in air fryer chips). We used Cosori’s 5.5 Liter Premium Air Fryer for this article, but you can find other options in our guide to the best air fryers.

the short version

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    Find a suitable place

    The first thing to do if you are setting up your air fryer for the first time is to find a convenient and safe space in your kitchen. Ideally, you’ll want to leave generous space between walls and corners (at least 5 to 8 inches).

    Other things that can affect where you put an air fryer are distance, such as TVs and where the kids do their homework, which can be quite noisy. If your kitchen is cozier, you won’t be able to escape the noise, but the end result is worth it.

    Oh, and as with most kitchen appliances, be sure to place it out of the reach of little hands, as some parts, like the back, can get very hot.

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    clean the parts

    If you’ve unboxed a new air fryer, you’ll want to wash the removable parts like the basket, rack, and drawer. Some manufacturers may also recommend that you turn it on for about ten minutes to remove any fresh plastic smell. Fear not as these will fade after a few uses.

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    As with ovens, you’ll find differing opinions on whether you need to preheat a deep fryer before cooking. We recommend it, because there is no harm in doing it and you will get more consistent results.

    Some air fryers like those from Cosori and Ninja have a dedicated preheat feature, while others can simply be turned on for 3-5 minutes to reach the desired temperature. Check the directions for the recipe you are using for best results, and leave the basket in the air fryer while it heats for maximum effect.

    Generally, you’ll want to lower the temperature of your fryer by 20-30°C if you read the standard instructions for your oven. Cooking time should also be reduced by about 20%. The key is to check as you cook and turn the fryer off sooner if your food is cooked.

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    Add the oil

    You don’t necessarily need oil for many frozen foods like French fries and fish sticks, but fresh ingredients like French fries and homemade sausage will, and some foods will benefit from a little extra oil. It pays to experiment while cooking to see what gives you the best results. The advantage of an air fryer is that you need much less than other cooking methods.

    Often a tablespoon of oil is enough to ensure foods stay moist and crisp while cooking. You shouldn’t need more than three tablespoons of oil for foods that need it, like French fries. It is better to coat the food directly rather than pouring oil into the fryer as this will give you more reliable and consistent results. If you’re using a spray oil, make sure it doesn’t contain soy lecithin, as it can be difficult to clean and can even damage the fryer’s nonstick surface.

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    fill the drawer

    Unless otherwise specified in recipes, such as with French fries, you should always cook most foods in a single layer. If things bunch up, the hot air won’t have as much room to circulate and the results will be below average or even partially raw. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s worth getting right.

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    Set the timer, cook and stir

    If you haven’t yet set a timer based on your recipe, do so now and place your drawer/basket full of food in your air fryer. Once cooking has started, it’s usually a good idea to occasionally open the drawer and shake things out.

    If you’re cooking small ingredients, a shake will probably suffice, but if you have a stack of fries or a full basket, you’ll want to do this step more often. This process ensures an even, crispy finish throughout, rather than a mix of overcooked and undercooked items. The stirring process also allows you to visually monitor how your food is browning/crispy, letting you know the perfect time to stop.

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    Remove cooked food

    It’s never a good idea to dump a basket of hot fried food with possible puddles of hot oil splattering. Invest in a pair of silicone tongs, slotted spoons, or slotted spoons to easily remove cooked food without scratching or damaging the internal nonstick surface.

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    Always clean after your air fryer has cooled down. Baskets and drawers can be soaked and most can be put in the dishwasher, although it is always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions.

    The other internal areas should be kept relatively clean, but it’s always worth cleaning with water or mild non-abrasive cleaning solutions to keep things fresh. The same goes for the outside as well.

  • frequent questions

    How do the cooking time and temperature differ from the oven instructions?

    In general, you should reduce the recommended fan cooking temperature by 20-30°C and the cooking time by about 20%.

    What are the high temperatures of some air fryers for?

    Some air fryers can go as high as 220C or 240C. With these cooking modes, you can cook faster and get crispier results for certain foods. Potato croquettes, for example, work well if cooked quickly at a higher temperature: we found that 12 minutes at 240°C is perfect.

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