How to use an air fryer

My local grocery store is selling readymade air fryer meals these days. You know what that means: The days of good old oven-ready lasagna are over.

But to be honest, I’m not even totally sure my oven works anymore. I chuck something in my air fryer almost every day, and over a couple of years of regular use (and being a total foodie), I’ve learned the hard way that there are a few pitfalls to air fryer use that are easy to fall into but, luckily, even easier to avoid. If you want to learn how to use an air fryer effectively, you’ll want to take this advice.

Organize the food with dividers or baskets

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One drawback to air fryers is the limited space when compared to an oven. You can just cram everything in there, but it tends to make things go a bit soggy because the air doesn’t properly flow. And then there’s people like me, who simply don’t want their food to touch. There’s a pretty simple solution to this: Basket dividers, or racks, so you can fit more in and/or split foods up into groups. There are tons available, and the best option is to choose a shape which suits the foods you cook most. In my case, it’s one of these so I can do potatoes/chips/veg on one layer and protein on another. And skewer things just for the heck of it too — chicken always tastes better with a stick through it, if you ask me.

Minimize mess with air fryer liners

Mafuken 200PCS Air Fryer Disposable Paper Liners, 6.3In

Mafuken 200PCS Air Fryer Disposable Paper Liners, 6.3In

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Then there’s the mess. My Phillips XXL has a drip tray at the bottom which catches fat, oil, and sauce and is really easy to clean, but I totally get the idea of ​​not wanting to wash anything at all. And sometimes you just want to cook something oily like crispy pork belly, or something saucy like chicken wings. For those days, you don’t have to resign yourself to spattering oil all over your stove top or waiting 40 minutes for your oven to heat up. I like to keep a few of these air fryer liners handy for sauce-emergencies. They stop the mess if you’re really feeling averse to doing dishes that day or if you’re cooking something smothered in sauce and oil.

Don’t use too much oil

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Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Non Stick Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray, 7 Oz

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On that note, it’s useful to keep in mind that air fryers don’t need you to use loads of oil. In fact, it’s one of the main benefits they all when selling – and I won’t deny that one of my favorite things about it is how crispy everything gets even without oil. Seriously, fries come out better than in a deep fryer. Rather than going overboard on the oil, I’ve found the best strategy is to use non-stick olive oil cooking spray. But if you’re not a fan — and lots of people aren’t — you can also use a small amount of normal oil to coat whatever you’re cooking by either tossing them in it or using a pastry brush. Use significantly less than you think you need (Like, half a teaspoon tops).

Experiment with dishes inside the air fryer

Hiware 7 Inch Non-stick Springform Pan with 50 Pcs Parchment Paper - Accessories for Instant Pot

Hiware 7 Inch Non-stick Springform Pan with 50 Pcs Parchment Paper – Accessories for Instant Pot

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A lot of people don’t realize that air fryers aren’t limited to cooking in the “traditional” vessels — the basket is great for chips, wings, pies, pizza, and so on. But I’ve had a huge amount of success with other tins and pans: I’ve cooked quiche, pot pies, and cakes in my air fryer, and have even done things like mac and cheese… it works with anything that fits into a dish that can go into the air fryer. I tend to use a plain old springform pan because they fit most things I want to cook and can squeeze inside my air fryer basket, but you do you! There are even muffin tins specifically for the air fryer.


The best part is that you don’t have to preheat an oven and use tons of electricity for exactly one cake or one serving of pasta. This is another reason why I recommend buying a large air fryer instead of a compact one – it gives you so many more options.

Use your air fryer to proof your dough when baking

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