When you are first starting out, just like any new appliance an air fryer can be intimidating. But they are actually really easy to use the more that you experiment and try out new recipes. Here are 20 top air fryer tips for beginners.
20 Top air fryer tips
- 1. Buy the right size for your family
Air fryers are available in various sizes and prices. If you are cooking for 2 people then 3.7 quarts or less will be great. However, if you are cooking for a family of 4 or more, you should choose a bigger capacity of 5.8 quarts or higher.
- 2. Clean your air fryer before use
So, you have purchased an air fryer and you’re excited to start cooking with it. However, the first thing you should do is wash it with a mild detergent with a soft cloth or sponge and then dry it.
- 3. Give it enough space when cooking
An air fryer can warm up to 400°, so because of this, it’s recommended that you make sure to leave 5 inches of space all the way around it. Another quick tip is to put it on a cutting board to protect your countertops from heat.
- 4. Grease the basket
Before you cook anything in your air fryer, a small amount of oil in the bottom of your basket will keep everything looking good and your food should come out golden brown.
It also prevents food from sticking. If you only cook meat like beef, the oil is not essential because of the extra fat already in the meat.
- 5. Don’t use aerosol sprays
Do not use sprays such as Pam as this may cause the basket to peel. It is best to rub oil on or invest in oil mister.
- 6. Avoid turning up the heat
You don’t want to let your food dry out. In order to avoid this, you may need to cook your food on a lower setting. Air fryers get hot very fast and since it’s moving that hot air around, cooking at a lower temperature will help to avoid your food from becoming dry, hard and chewy.
- 7. Don’t overfill the basket
When you are putting food into the basket try not to overfill it, this will help your food to cook quicker and more evenly. When you give your food extra space, it allows the air to circulate more easily so you can get that crispiness on all sides.
Keep in mind that although meat does tend to shrink during cooking, it is still important to make sure that you are not stacking the meat on top of each other. It will cook much better if placed in a single layer in your basket.
- 8. Use a toothpick
Because of the hot air that circulates, it can blow light things around. You can use a toothpick or utensil to hold the top item down. This will work well if you are cooking something like grilled cheese sandwiches so the bread doesn’t get blown off.
If you do decide to use a utensil make sure to use tongs to remove it from the basket before flipping over your food.
- 9. Preheat air fryer
Many people don’t bother preheating their air fryer when they first get one because they have read that it isn’t necessary. However, many recipes suggest that you do. You will find that your food will cook more evenly, faster and come out much better.
If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat button, just turn it on and let it run for 2-3 minutes before you start using it.
- 10. Use the pre-set options
The pre-sets are great when you are just getting started with an air fryer because you don’t have to think about how long to cook your food. The air fryer takes the guesswork out of it, making it much easier for you.
- 11. Find recipes
There are so many great air fryer recipes available online, which is so helpful when trying to figure out what to cook for the first time. You can check out cookbooks, do a Google search or look on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas.
- 12. Turn or shake halfway through cooking
When you are using your air fryer make sure to pause halfway through cooking to shake your food or turn it with a good pair of heat resistant tongs. A quick turn or shake will allow your food to cook more evenly.
- 13. Grease once more if needed
You only have to use oil sparingly but it can be helpful when checking, shaking and turning your food to give it another light spray, especially if you see any flour spots left on your breaded items. However, don’t use too much oil because it could end up making your food soggy.
- 14. Stop white smoke
In order to avoid smoke from occurring when cooking with an air fryer, you can put a slice of bread under the basket. It will catch any grease that may fall, especially if you are cooking fatty pieces of meat such as bacon or burgers.
Another way you can do this is to use a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom before you begin cooking. This will stop the grease from getting too hot causing smoke to occur.
- 15. Check your food
Despite how easy an air fryer is to cook in because you don’t have to watch it as closely as something that is cooking on the stove, you should still always check it at least halfway through. Don’t let your food overcook as it will dry out if left in too long or is cooked at too high a temperature.
A meat thermometer works well for checking if your food is done. Remember that different models may cook differently so you may have to adjust the time it takes to cook your food in different air fryers.
- 16. Learn how to bread your food
Because the fan in air fryers are quite strong, they can cause light items to blow around inside.
When breading your food, it’s a good idea to use the 3 steps breading method. To do this, start by dredging your food in flour first, then dipping in an egg mixture and then pressing the bread crumbs on for best results.
You can also put your breading in a small amount of oil before putting it on your meats or vegetables.
- 17. Cook healthy food in your air fryer
Air fryers are amazing for quickly cooking pre-packaged frozen foods and your favourite fried food healthier. However, an air fryer can also cook homemade food that not only tastes good but is good and healthy for you. Try vegetable dishes for a simple, crisp and nutrient-packed healthy side dish.
- 18. Use for leftovers
Have you ever tried cooking french fries in the oven or tried to warm pizza the next day in the microwave and noticed that they come out soft and soggy? An air fryer makes warming up leftovers very easy. Your food will turn out crispy and delicious, almost like you were eating it just freshly cooked.
- 19. Bake desserts
Now you have discovered how amazing the air fryer is to cook your favourite fried foods in a healthier way, did you know that you can bake desserts in it too?
You can purchase baking pans that will fit inside your basket.
- 20. Always clean your air fryer when finished
Before you clean your air fryer, make sure it’s completely cooled. Then use a mild detergent to wipe clean. A fast and easy way to dry your air fryer is to replace the basket after it’s been washed and turn on the air fryer for two minutes to dry the basket.
You can purchase liners for your air fryer which will make the clean-up even easier.
We hope that these 20 top air fryer tips for beginners help you and give you confidence when using your air fryer, the more recipes you try and cook the easier it will become with your food coming out great every time!