All kitchen appliances have some sort of a learning curve. With air fryers, you want to make that curve as short as possible. You’ve got food, oil, and hot temperatures – this isn’t the time to experiment or learn as you go. Once you’ve picked out the right air fryer for you, read through these common mistakes so that you don’t have to make them.
Don’t Overcrowd The Basket
Air fryers are big, but their baskets aren’t. Even with the largest basket capacity, cooking in batches is the name of the game. Air fryers rely on an unhindered circulation of hot air, and crowding in food will make the cooking take longer and result in soft food. We’re looking for crisps here! You’ll actually cook your food faster if you do it in multiple batches.
Don’t Forget To Shake
The food needs to be rotated about halfway through the cooking time, if not more frequently. For larger items, go with tongs. For other foods, giving the basket a good shake will do the trick. Many recipes actually call for you to shake the basket every five minutes. You can skip this, of course, but you won’t reach a faux-fried-food result if you do.
Don’t Use Too Much Oil
The whole point of the air fryer is to cut down on oil and fats! For some foods, however, oiling the basket is necessary. Meats already have fats in them, and additional oil won’t be necessary. Vegetables, however, will stick to an ungreased basket and won’t achieve the crispiness of fried food. If you over grease the basket, however, the excess oil will go into the drawer and start to smoke.
Don’t Use Olive Oil
While olive oil is a great oil for most cooking purposes, it has a low smoke point. This makes it unfit for air frying. It will smoke at the high temperatures, affecting not only your kitchen but also your food. Go with vegetable, canola, peanut, or any other oil with a high smoke point.
Don’t Use Cooking Spray
How often do we reach for Pam to give a quick coat to our pans before we cook? But most baskets in air fryers have a nonstick coating, and the cooking spray can cause that coating to peel. This not only damages your air fryer, but those particles then get into your food. Instead, either rub down the basket with oil, or toss your food in oil.
Read Also: The Benefits of Using an Air Purifier
Don’t Dump The Drawer
Inside your basket, you’ll probably see a removable grate at the bottom. When you finish cooking, if you simply dump the basket out, then all of the excess oil caught in that grate will be dumped out on top of your food. Fried food is good; greasy food is not. Use tongs to get your cooked food out of the basket.
Don’t Set The Basket Down
The basket is hot. Very hot. Think of it like a pan pulled directly out of the oven. Even if the exterior is cool due to a safety feature, that drawer is hot. Pull out the drawer by the handle only, and have a trivet or potholder handy to set it on.
Don’t Cook Too Long
Even if your air fryer model has an abundance of presets, don’t set the timer and forget it, because air fryers have a tendency to dry out food if you’re not careful. Remember, you’re essentially cooking your food in a small convection oven – not a frying pan. It is better to cook your food at a lower temperature for a longer time, than to crank up the heat and get it over with sooner.