Air fryer tips and tricks are what it's all about today. If you haven't noticed - which is highly unlikely - I love my air fryer. I will cook any and everything possible in it. It makes fried foods crispy and so much healthier. It makes baked goods so delicious with a bit of crispness on the outside. Basically, air fryers just make everything better, but not everyone has used one.
I realized this and I thought it would be nice for my readers to get a good understanding of air fryers, what they can do and some great tips and tricks, as well. And here we are. LOL. So let's take a look at the ever-amazing air fryer and more than 50 of our favorite recipes.
All About Air Fryers
Air fryers are everywhere and in all different models and sizes. From small ones (4L) to larger models (8L) that actually allow you to cook entire meals at once and everything in between, there's an air fryer to suit every lifestyle. However, they all boil down to cooking the same way, which is where we're going to start.
How Air Fryers Cook
Despite their name, air fryers don't actually fry food. In reality, these appliances are more like small convection ovens than frying appliances. They use hot, circulating air to cook evenly and create a crispy outer later on battered foods and a nice texture on baked goods. Even simple vegetable dishes that involve nothing more than a little seasoning come out amazingly well in the air fryer thanks to its impressive uniformity of heat which leads to fast, uniform cooking.
Air Frying is Healthier than Pan or Deep Frying
Air frying is healthier by far than pan or deep frying. Instead of a pan full of oil or a deep fryer full of even more oil, you only need a scant amount to make crispy fries, chicken, fish, and more. Of course, like oven-fried food, air-fried food has a deep fried-adjacent flavor. It's not exactly the same, but it's still tasty.
Preheating the Air Fryer
Air fryers do have to be preheated, but it's an incredibly quick process. Unlike ovens which can take upwards of 15 minutes to preheat, depending on how hot you need it, air fryers preheat in next to no time.
That being said, while I am a firm believer in preheating the air fryer, I have friends who simply put in their food and skip the preheating process. They swear it makes no difference, but I just like mine preheated.
Air Fryer Capacity
A standard air fryer can hold enough food for between 2 and 4 servings, although there are some models that are larger. That means that if you're making large amounts of something, you'll have to cook it in batches. If you subscribe to the "no preheating" idea, be sure to check the food in your second batch, and it will most likely cook faster since the air fryer is already heated up.
Air Fryer Attachments - Convenient but not Required
Some air fryers come with attachments like racks and pans and some have them available for purchase as separate items. While these extra bells and whistles can and do make cooking easier at times, you absolutely don't have to go out and buy them.
Cleaning the Air Fryer
Most of the removable parts of the air fryer like the drawer and basket of most models are dishwasher safe. This makes total sense because the air fryer was designed to be convenient. That being said always check your user manual first. You never know. You might own a brand that doesn't have dishwasher safe parts - although it's highly unlikely.
To clean the interior of your air fryer - which should be done every so often - simply use mild detergent and a damp sponge. Damp, not wet. And of course, don't try this with a hot air fryer. After you've cleaned the interior of your air fryer, simply run it to dry it out. Done.
General Air Fryer Tips and Tricks for Cooking
Although I often call the air fryer a magical appliance, it isn't. Too bad, isn't it? You do have to do a few things to make sure that your food comes out exactly as you either imagined it or the recipe said it would be. So while we're talking about how air fryers cook, let's look at some air fryer tips and tricks for that cooking.
Plenty of Room
Air fryers cook using hot, circulating air. The key word here is "circulating". If you pack your air fryer, there isn't enough room for that hot air to circulate. An overstuffed air fryer will steam the food rather than browning or crisping it, the kiss of death if you're making a "fried" recipe.
How to Encourage Browning
And speaking of browning, here's a tip. Toss your food with a scant amount of oil - just enough to lightly coat it. Pat your food - especially raw meat - dry with a paper towel and then add enough olive oil to achieve a light coat. Olive oil is a healthy fat, and the moisture will allow the food to brown or crisp up nicely. You'll find that almost every air fryer recipe will help you out by giving you specified amounts of oil to use for any given recipe.
You can also use honey or other sugary glaze brushed on to encourage browning. Sugar browns up incredibly well.
Extra Crunchy Breading
To get an extra crunchy breading, especially if you're using panko, simply mix them with a little oil and pretoast them in the microwave. You'll end up with an extra crispy, extra delicious coating.
Rotate Your Food
One of the most important things to remember with these air fryer tips and tricks is that air fryers are amazing, but they aren't 100% auto-pilot machines. You still have to do a little bit of work when cooking. Emphasis on "little". One thing to remember is that although air fryers cook by circulating hot air, that heat source for that air is at the top of the fryer. That means that you'll need to rotate your food about halfway through cooking.
Simply flip your meats or pour your veggies, fries, and other smaller foods into a bowl, give them a quick toss, and then it's back into the air fryer.
The Lincoln Log Kebab Method
When cooking kebabs, try stacking them Lincoln Log style. This helps improve airflow across all your kebabs to ensure the best cooking and browning.
Keeping Your Food From Sticking
There are two ways to ensure that foods that are likely to stick - breaded meats or fish filets - don't. The first is spraying the basket lightly with cooking spray. The second is using foil. Foil is nice for certain foods because it keeps them from sticking and makes cleanup super easy.
Smoke or Odd Smells
There's usually one major answer to smoke or weird smells coming out of your air fryer... You need to clean it! Excessive smoke or a burning smell - along with food that isn't burnt at all - is a sure sign that your air fryer is overdue for a cleaning.
Of course, if you check your air fryer, and it is clean, you probably should have it looked at before using it again. Learn from "This is Us", folks!
Advanced Air Fryer Tips and Tricks
I call these advanced air fryer tips and tricks, but it might be more accurate to say specific tips. The following air fryer tips and tricks will help you cook up steaks, chops, fish, and chicken to absolute perfection even if you aren't using a recipe.
Steaks and Pork
When cooking large steaks or pork tenderloins, cut them into smaller pieces. You can then put more meat into your air fryer while still allowing the air to circulate freely and cook up your beef and pork so nicely.
Adding a rub is also a great way to boost both the look and the flavor of your steaks and chops. A rub with a nice kick of flavor will add color to the outside of your meat, extra flavor, and extra juiciness. My general rule of thumb is to almost always use a rub when I cook beef or pork in the air fryer.
Fish and Seafood
Of course, we all love how fast air fryers cook with that intensely hot circulating air, but it's not always advisable to crank up the heat. When cooking fish, it's far better to dial it back a bet and let the fish cook longer over a lower heat. This allows their tinder protein to cook more slowly, making for fish that is fully cooked and with a browner crust.
To ensure that your fish doesn't stick to your air fryer basket, I prefer to use foil rather than simply spraying the basket with non-stick spray. I've found that even with the spray, fish can still stick.
When it comes to smaller varieties of shellfish like scallops, oysters, mussels, and clams, skewers are your best friend. They make it easy to get the meat in and out of the air fryer.
Although air fryers cook by circulating hot air, that heat source comes from above. Because of this, you should always cook your chicken with the skin side up. This ensures skin that is far more crispy and delicious.
For thick bone-in chicken breasts, begin cooking skin side down and then flip it skin side up about halfway through. Chicken thighs and split cornish hens should be cooked skin side up from the start to ensure a lovely browned skin that is super crispy and full of flavor.
Finally, when cooking chicken thighs that are on the fatty side or drumsticks, poke a few holes in the skin with a skewer to help render the fat. This will allow the chicken to self-baste and help brown the skin more evenly.
You can cook complete meals in your air fryer! I'll be you didn't know that. All you have to do is layer.
Place your vegetables at the bottom and then top with your chosen protein. The meat will come out tender and juicy, and thanks to the juices being able to drip down over the veggies, they'll come out wonderfully flavored and perfectly cooked, as well.
Air Fryer Tips and Tricks with 50+ Recipes Video
Give These Air Fryer Tips and Tricks a Try
Now that you know how to use an air fryer, it's time to put these air fryer tips and tricks to good use. Find one of my many air fryer recipes on the site to start. I have listed some of our favorites below.
After you've gotten comfortable with your air fryer, it will be time to venture out on your own, using your own creativity and knowledge of how air fryers work to create your own delicious recipes!
There's nothing like cooking with an air fryer so I do hope you'll give it a shot.
(Almonds and Pecans work too!)
Air Fryer Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Recipes Every Time
These air fryer tips and tricks will help you make the most of your air fryer each and every time you use it. Whether you're new to air frying or a long-time pro, you're going to find something to help you up your game here!
Don't forget to let us know if these tips helped you get more out of your air fryer and air fryer recipes.