Air fryers have been gaining popularity in recent years, as they eliminate the need to use oil while cooking. In addition to not getting your house as greasy as deep-frying does, they’re great at crisping up food that you want to make delicious and healthier than it would be if you fried it in oil.
With air fryers, you don’t have to worry about splatters or unpleasant odors in your home. Here are 10 of the best air fryer tips and tricks from top chefs that will help you get the most out of your air fryer!
10 Must-Try Air Fryer Tips
- Get the Right Temperature
You’ll want to adjust your temperature setting to match what you’re cooking. For example, the suggested temperature for cooking chicken breasts is 325 degrees Fahrenheit, but in certain situations, it can burn your food. A better starting point is to adjust your air fryer’s heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit – the default setting.
You can also use an instant-read thermometer; just poke it into one of the larger cuts of meat. If there are no clear juices running out of your chicken when you poke it, take it out and let it rest for about five minutes before cutting into it.
The correct temperature is important not only for meats but also for other foods like French fries. Thankfully, if you don’t know how to air fry frozen French fries and in what temperature mode, you can get the instructions on the packaging.
- Cook in Batches
According to many in the know, one of the biggest mistakes you can make with an air fryer is overfilling it. Food likes to steam, not fry; if there’s too much material in your basket, your food won’t have enough space to crisp up properly and will come out soggy.
Such food can include French fries or any similar smaller items. Other than that, just be careful not to overload your basket and you should be good to go!
- Use Cooking Spray
To avoid food getting a crusty texture, use as little oil as possible. Try greasing your food with cooking spray instead of oil, which is also a healthier way of using it rather than brushing it on.
- Use a Basket or Rack
While many foods do fine on a baking sheet, as you experiment with your air fryer, keep in mind that a basket or rack can help move heat around inside. While it’s not crucial to proper air frying (and may not be an option on some models), it might help cook food more evenly.
You don’t want food sitting directly on metal or plastic because those materials can cause hot spots that lead to uneven cooking. If your model of air fryer doesn’t have one, try using foil or parchment paper under whatever you’re air frying for a similar effect.
- Space Out
To avoid loss of uniform heat circulation, leave enough space in between the items for an even cooking.
Make sure that your chicken pieces are not too crowded; you want each piece to have enough room to cook properly.
A crowded air fryer will not only cause issues with cooking, but it can also lead to additional problems, such as smells coming through your vents.
- Drain Excess Fat
When cooking meats or other foods high in fat, an air fryer can easily become a grease trap. Make sure to drain excess fat by tilting your fryer at an angle over a container until all of it has drained off.
If there are still some that won’t budge, you may need to disassemble some parts for additional cleaning (check with your manual). This tip is particularly important if you’re planning on making deep-fried items in your air fryer.
- Marinate Before Frying
In addition to soaking up all those deep, rich, sweet flavors you love, many of which can’t be achieved with traditional methods, marinating before frying is a great way to tenderize tough cuts of meat. After trying it once or twice, you may never go back to cooking a steak any other way!
- Preheat the Air Fryer
Remember that preheating is important because it helps distribute heat evenly around each piece of food. One of our favorite tricks for using an air fryer is to preheat it. This helps ensure that your food cooks at a steady temperature, reducing any risk of over-or undercooking.
Depending on what you’re cooking, we recommend you preheat your air fryer to anywhere between 370 and 400°F. We know that’s a wide range, but each recipe has its own specific needs.
The best way to figure out how long you should be preheating? Start with 370°F and see if your food is done by then. If not, just crank up the temp a bit higher!
Your recipes will come out more evenly cooked and crisper overall.
- Add Seasoning After Frying
One trick that professional chefs use with air fryers is to season food after frying. Many recipes recommend tossing it in a dry rub before baking.
If you’re using an air fryer, try placing seasoning on your cooked food after it comes out of your machine. It will impart great flavor without losing any crunch.
Spices will stick more easily if you try oil-based seasonings such as curry or ranch dressing mix. Toss them on and let them sit for five minutes so they can sink into all sides of your dish.
- Give It a Shake While It Cooks
You may have heard that it’s a good idea to shake your air fryer halfway through cooking time. But why does that help?
It’s because, with an air fryer, you’re not just relying on heat to cook your food. The basket inside spins like a convection oven, and there are also little hot spots where some oil will be spattered onto one part of your food while another part is in colder parts of the air fryer.
So, if you have multiple pieces of food in your basket, consider shaking once or twice during cooking to make sure they get cooked evenly all around.
Cleaning the Air Fryer: Chef’s Tips
Cleaning an air fryer isn’t terribly difficult, but it does take a bit of effort. Here are some simple steps for how to clean an air fryer at home.
- The first step is to unplug your air fryer or turn off its power source. If you don’t do so, you could risk electrical shock when cleaning your machine with water. Next, remove any food that may be left in your machine (if there is any). This will help prevent food residue from getting into places where it shouldn’t be during cleaning.
- Take out any removable parts, such as baskets or trays.
- Fill up your sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap (this will make cleaning easier).
- Place all removable parts in your sink filled with warm water and mild dish soap; allow them to soak for 10 minutes while you clean other areas of your air fryer.
- Scrub away any food particles or grease buildup on your removable parts using a soft-bristled brush.
- Rinse all parts thoroughly under running water until they are completely free of soap suds.
- Allow your air fryer components to dry completely before putting them back together again; this will ensure that no moisture remains inside, which can cause mold growth if not dried properly.
- Wipe down any non-removable parts of your air fryer with a damp cloth. Be sure to wipe down every surface area, including heating elements and vents.
- Once you’ve finished wiping down your air fryer, plug it back in or switch on its power source once more and let it run for about five minutes to help dry everything out even further.
Don’t think about it as cooking in an air fryer; think of it as creating dishes in a hot air environment. This is a great way to eat healthier without losing any of the flavors from your favorite foods!
As you can see from this article, chefs are always looking for new ways to improve their cooking and make use of healthier cooking methods. That’s why, air fryers have become a much-loved way of making delicious meals without the extra calories from oil.
Choose healthy eating, choose an air fryer!
- What foods can I cook in an air fryer?
You can fry an egg, potato, and even bacon! The possibilities are endless. Use an air fryer for everything (or almost everything), and save yourself time.
On average, it takes around eight minutes to make fries in an air fryer vs 20 minutes in a regular deep fryer or pan. Why waste your time when you can spend it on more important things?