If you decide to purchase an air fryer to make healthier foods, it helps to know a little more about how it works and ways to use it. These helpful Use an Air Fryer to Cook tips are going to guide you through some basics and help to avoid common mistakes people make with this appliance.
Video – How to Use an Air Fryer + Healthy Recipe
To get started I would just like to say that like any red-blooded human, I love french fries. I do not, however, love belly fat and dangerously high cholesterol, so I try to regulate how many times per week I indulge. But, that may change thanks to the recent arrival of an air fryer, a kitchen appliance I’d never even heard of until last summer, but now seems to be everywhere. Suddenly healthy(ish) french fries are within my grasp.
And not just fries. Turns out these little convection ovens (which really aren’t fryers at all) are good for all kinds of food prep. Our first tip is going to be about which one to get.
Choose the right size
If you haven’t purchased an air fryer yet, the first decision to make is arguably the most important: size. They’re often measured in quarts, the smallest being around 2.75; the largest, about 10. What you need to consider is how many people you are cooking for and what sort of food you like to eat. For example, it is no good buying a 2.75 Qt cooker if you like to eat Turkey and you have a family of 4 to feed.
Also, before buying, check the measurements of the air fryer itself and make sure you have the counter space to accommodate it. This is easy to do as all you have to do is read through some Air Fryer Reviews or Turkey Fryer Reviews and look through each one’s specifications.
For French Fry Addicts – Invest In a French Fry Cutter
Half the secret to successful air-fryer fries: a uniform cut. The air fryer will do its best work if each piece of potato is a uniform size — challenging at best if you’re cutting by hand. My advice: Buy a cutter.
One More Thing About Fries
Many air-fryer french fry recipes tell you to peel the potatoes first. Many more say you should soak them in water first, from anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours. Here’s what I did: Cut the potatoes, coated them in a tiny amount of oil, dropped them in the basket and cooked them. No peeling, no soaking… didn’t even pat them dry first. They were delicious. Might they be better still after soaking and/or drying? Maybe. Is that extra effort necessary? Nope. Not in my book, anyway.
Video – Perfect Airfryer chips / French Fries from Potato recipe
Adapt oven recipes
Want to make an old favorite in your air fryer? Even if Grandma’s Best Chicken was written with conventional ovens in mind, it’s easy to adapt nearly every recipe for fryer use.
Typically, you’ll just lower the cooking temperature by about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oven recipe says 350 (176 degrees Celsius), the fryer gets set to 325 (160 Celsius). Similarly, you’ll need about 20 percent less cooking time, though this can certainly vary depending on the kind of food, the cooking temperature and so on.
Get the Prep Work Right
The first tip that can really help you use the air fryer to its maximum potential is to be patient and thorough with your prep work. If you don’t do the ‘breading’ right or you fail to preheat the air cooker, your food might not come out exactly right. Make sure the air fryer is a good size where there are several inches between the back of it where the vent is and the wall of your kitchen behind the countertop. If you have shallow countertops, get a smaller air fryer.
You also want to make sure that when you are coating your food to be fried, you start with the flour, then egg, then bread or bread substitute. For low-carb foods, this might be almond flour, egg, and crushed pork rinds or even cheese as the breading. Also ensure the air fryer is preheating until the timer goes off before the food goes in.
Know How to Load Food Into the Air Fryer
When it comes time to air fry your food, you should know the basic techniques for loading it inside. Just like a deep fryer, the air fryer comes with a basket to hold the food in place. You want to make sure there is enough space in the basket so that each food item can be cooked thoroughly.
Try not to overcrowd it, or your foods might not be as crispy as you want. Remember, your air fryer is just a little oven. If you were cooking, say, chicken breasts in a regular oven, you wouldn’t stack them on top of each other, would you? Same deal here, with the aforementioned exception of fries and veggies, spread them out as best you can and don’t overload the basket.
Some fryers come with a rack that lets you add a second layer of food above the basket. Now you can cook, say, four pieces of salmon instead of just two.
Foods should preferably be flipped halfway through cooking as well. Also shake the baskets when you flip the food to distribute seasonings a little better for the remainder of the cooking.
Shake During Use
Be sure to open the air fryer and shake foods around as they “fry” in the machine’s basket—smaller foods like French fries and chips can compress. If you’re cooking fries or something similar (tater tots, chicken nuggets, veggies, etc.), you’ll want to give the basket a good shake at least once during the cooking process.
This will move everything around and allow the hot air to circulate to every surface of each piece of food — important for uniform “frying.” Although many recipes call for shaking halfway through the cooking time, I recommend doing it more often, like every 4-6 minutes.
Video – Air Fryer TIPS
Give Foods A Spray
Lightly spray foods with cooking spray or add just a bit of oil to ensure they don’t stick to the basket.
Keep Food Dry
Pat foods dry before cooking (if they are marinated, for example) to avoid splattering and excess smoke. Similarly, when cooking high-fat foods like chicken wings, make sure to empty the fat from the bottom machine periodically.
Clean the Air Fryer After Each Use
You want to keep your air fryer in good use, which requires regular cleaning. After each use, clean the air fryer and the basket thoroughly. This will help to keep it sanitary and prolong its lifespan. This should not be any more complicated than other cooking appliances, just be careful to wait to clean it until the fryer has cooled off completely.
We hope these Use an Air Fryer to Cook Tips were helpful and we wish you great success with your air fryer cooking.