How to use an air fryer
Moisture is the enemy of crisping, so pat food dry with paper towels before you season, oil, and place them in the air fryer's basket. Leave room between each piece of food for the best results.
Most air fryers have preset programs for different foods. Select the appropriate preset, or manually set the cooking time and temperature that's best for your food. Hint: your air fryer manual should list recommended temperatures for different foods.
Remember to shake the basket every so often to evenly expose your food to the heat for better browning and crisping. Or, for larger items like chicken fillets, flip them over with a pair of tongs.
When your food is ready, use tongs to grab out your meal - it'll be hot!
Always read and follow your air fryer's manufacturer instructions. There are also plenty of air fryer recipes available.
Things to avoid with an air fryer
While cooking with an air fryer can be quick and easy, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid.
Avoid overcrowding the drawer with food. You'll get crispier results if you cook in smaller batches, leaving space between your chips or veggies for the hot air to swirl around properly.
Spray or toss your food with oil instead of greasing the drawer with cooking spray. Since air fryer baskets are typically have non-stick coatings, cooking spray can damage their finish over time.
Finally, treat the air fryer basket or drawer like a hot pan. Only touch the handle, and only set it down on a heat-resistant surface like your cooktop or a trivet.
How to clean an air fryer
Air fryers are generally easy to clean up compared to an oven. And unlike deep fryers, they don’t splatter hot oil around the rangehood and countertop.
Simply unplug your fryer after cooking and wait for it to cool, then empty the oil from the pull-out drawer. Wash any of its removable components (like the basket and drawer) with warm, soapy water on a soft sponge or cloth.
Bits of hard food stuck in the basket? Use a dishwashing brush or a toothpick to poke them out. Next, wipe down the inside of the air fryer, clearing off any grease or food debris on the heating element. Dry everything and reassemble.
Make sure not to use any abrasive cleaning materials (such as steel wool) on your air fryer: you don’t want to scratch its non-stick coating. Check the box or product description to see if your air fryer has dishwasher-safe parts for even easier cleaning.
Is an air fryer worth it? Can an air fryer save me money?
Air fryers can be a worthwhile purchase for time-poor students and professionals, or singles who don’t need an entire oven to cook dinner. The cost of air fryers ranges from under $50 to several hundreds of dollars, and is mostly dependant on how many features and how much cooking space you need from your air fryer.
If you are part of a large household, you may find that air fryers aren’t worth the investment considering their generally small space and high energy consumption when used for long periods of time. In this case, consider whether an induction cooktop might be the best way to conserve energy in the kitchen.