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How To Use An Air Fryer

Are you the proud new owner of an air fryer or considering purchasing one? In this guide, learn all the essentials of how to use an air fryer, how to upkeep it, and the best brands! Pretty soon, you’ll be air-frying everything in sight, from vegetables to bagel bites!

black air fryer

I don’t know what I ever did before I owned an air fryer! Honestly, it has made my life in the kitchen so much easier. I use it every day to make just about anything, like air fryer frozen broccoli, air fryer potatoes, or even air fryer frozen pizza rolls.

You might be wondering if this is just another over-hyped appliance, but I’m here to tell you it’s anything but! It always delivers crispy, delicious foods without having to use much (if any) oil. Plus, it’s such an energy saver! So, are you ready to learn how to use an air fryer?

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is the ultimate piece of kitchen equipment that serves various functions, including frying, roasting, baking, broiling, dehydrating, and reheating. These compact devices are similar to convection ovens but outperform them with faster, more uniform cooking and crisping abilities.

You can purchase two main types, which include air fryer ovens and basket air fryers. Air fryer ovens look similar to toaster ovens and use a wire mesh rack to fry food, whereas basket air fryers are equipped with a removable drawer that houses the food.

air fryer with French fries

You can usually find more features on air fryer ovens, but they take up more room on the counter. If you’re living in a small space, this is something to keep in mind.

How Does It Work?

Air fryers employ a heating element and a fan to circulate hot air around the food in the basket. This method of hot air circulation results in perfectly crispy, golden-brown food.

Additionally, air frying substantially reduces the amount of oil needed compared to traditional deep frying or even oven roasting, making it a healthier alternative. Once you get the hang of how to use an air fryer, you’ll be amazed by how much it simplifies your cooking experience!

How To Use An Air Fryer

Learning how to use an air fryer is much easier than you might think. Remember, it was designed with simplicity in mind, so there are only a few things you really need to know.

Step 1: Keep Food Dry

It’s important that any food going into the air fryer be dry. Of course, you can put frozen foods in there. However, if you’ve washed fresh foods, don’t forget to pat them dry with a paper towel before adding seasonings to achieve the crispiest texture.

Step 2: Keep Food In a Single Layer

If you stack foods on top of one another in the basket, the air won’t be able to circulate freely, resulting in steamed rather than crispy food. Remember to cook in batches if necessary!

Step 3: Lower The Temperature

Typically, an air fryer will run hotter than your oven. With this in mind, set the air fryer’s temperature around 25 degrees F lower than the oven temperature you’d normally use.

Step 4: Shake The Food

It’s always a good idea to check the food halfway through the cooking process. At this point, you can make sure it’s cooking properly and shake or flip it to achieve even browning.

black air fryer with basket

Reheating Food in an Air Fryer

Reheating foods in an air fryer is a great way to crisp them up again. As a general guideline, set the air fryer about 25-30 degrees F lower than the original cooking temperature.

You can lightly coat the food in a bit of oil to help it re-crisp. If the food was originally deep-fried or breaded, this step is particularly important.

After heating the food for about 3-5 minutes, check to see if it’s heated through. If not, continue heating in 1-minute increments until it reaches the desired temperature.

Do You Have To Preheat An Air Fryer?

Most air fryer manufacturers recommend preheating their air fryers before adding food in. This will result in more consistent and accurate cooking times. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to preheat it every time. I’m definitely guilty of this!

If you choose not to preheat your air fryer, the food might take a little longer to achieve your desired crispiness. However, for certain foods (like broccoli or cauliflower) that take longer to cook, preheating may not be necessary.

Tips For Using Your Air Fryer

  • Don’t overcrowd: Avoid overcrowding the basket for the crispiest results. If you add too much food, it prevents air circulation and results in a steamed texture.
  • Use manual mode: Set it to manual mode for optimal control over temperature and cooking time. There are a lot of preset functions, but I find adjusting the temperature and time myself works much better. 
  • Use the right oil: Use oil with a high enough smoke point for the temperature you’re air frying at.

Cleaning Your Air Fryer

Like any kitchen gadget, air fryers require cleaning to function optimally. If you take good care of your air fryer, you can really extend its life. Here are a few tips to keep your air fryer in tip-top shape:

  • Don’t procrastinate: Clean your air fryer soon after use to prevent food residues from sticking and becoming hard to remove.
  • Clean the removable parts: Clean all removable parts with soap and warm water using a cloth or a soft sponge.
  • Focus on the details: For small crevices and hard-to-reach areas, use a toothpick, wooden skewer, or Q-tips to clean them.
  • Check inside and outside: Don’t overlook the heating element and exterior of the air fryer. A lemon can be used to get rid of stubborn grease and odors.
  • Dry the parts: Dry all removable parts as well as the outside of the air fryer before storing them to prevent anything from rusting.

Air Frying Recipes to Try

To kickstart your air-frying journey with this versatile gadget, test it out on some recipes like these:

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