There are so many fun cooking gadgets available these days! Not only do we have Instant Pots, but we also have Air Fryers! Air fryers are a lot of fun. Like the Instant Pot, they can be used to create breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks.
And no, not everything in an air fryer has to come out fried (it’s not a deep fryer!). Air fryers can also bake, roast and grill foods, making it a good way to cook healthy meals. To help you get started with your air fryer, read my guide on How to Use an Air Fryer!
And check out my helpful air fryer cooking times printable near the end of the post! Also- if you missed it, here’s my top Air Fryer recipes for 2017!
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How to Use an Air Fryer
Many different makes and models of Air Fryers are available. It’s a good idea to read the manual that applies to your air fryer first, just in case your model has any particularities or the manufacturer has any specific recommendations/tips. Your model may even have come with a little recipe book!
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How an Air Fryer Works
The first thing you should know is how an Air Fryer works. This magic contraption does exactly what the name states – it fries via air. Only a little bit of oil is needed- if any and it’s used to help the food brown and to keep it from sticking to the air fryer’s basket.
It’s pretty amazing! It’s kind of like a traditional convection oven, but designed to create a final result that is closer to what you’d get from deep-frying. (Moroccan Meatballs)
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Preparing to Cook in Your Air Fryer
One of the most important things to remember when learning how to use an air fryer is to not add a lot of oil. Only use 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. You can also spray your food lightly with oil (this is the best way to oil battered foods).
For extra protection against battered food sticking, you can also spray the fryer’s basket/rack. If you used too much oil, or had your food in an oily marinade, you’ll want to blot any excess oil from your food before you start.
But don’t skip the oil completely! You need the oil for the food to get crisp and golden-brown! Here is an oil sprayer I love-
The exception to this is if you’re cooking frozen pre-cooked food, then you actually don’t need to add any oil. But it’s still okay to spray the food and basket a bit to prevent sticking.
Also, don’t crowd your air fryer. Because it cooks via air, there needs to be space around all the pieces of food for the air to circulate and touch everything.
Small foods (like fries) can be stacked on top of each other without much issue, but larger foods should be placed in a single layer on the air fryer’s rack (or in the basket, if yours doesn’t have a rack).
Overcrowding your fryer will make it take longer to cook the food, and it won’t be as crisp as it could be. See how I have space below for these Salmon Croquettes?
Like a traditional oven, you should let your air fryer pre-heat before you add in your food. But unlike an oven, pre-heating an air fryer usually only takes around 5 minutes or less.
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Cooking in Your Air Fryer
A very important tip when using an air fryer is to remember to redistribute the food at least once during the cook time (usually at the half way point).
Redistributing it every 5 or so minutes is ideal, especially for densely packed foods (like a basket full of fries). You can redistribute the food by flipping it over if it’s a large piece of food, or simply shaking the basket if it’s small. (Pig In the Blankets)
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Once you get the hang of air frying with the accessories that came with your air fryer, you may want to buy any additional parts that let you grill, bake, and roast in the fryer. And don’t be afraid to experiment!
Every meal you cook in the air fryer may turn out great, but don’t give up. In fact, in some cases you’ll get better results with frozen versions than fresh versions. But you won’t know until you try! I had no idea how a frittata would turn out till I tried!
Or my Empanada’s which I am getting TONS of positive feedback on! So don’t be afraid to just jump in and get started!
To make it easy to figure out what temperature to use and how long to cook things in your air fryer, here’s a helpful air fryer cooking times printable! Just click the box below to print yours out.
For foods not listed on the printable, set the temperature to what you would use in the oven, but check them when they should be 70% done (so a 10 minute food, check it at 7 minutes). Air frying usually cooks faster than conventional oven cooking.
Cleaning Your Air Fryer
If you cooked something that dropped fat to the bottom of the fryer, make sure to clean that out before it gets baked on. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape it out if the fryer is still hot.
If your air fryer has dishwasher safe parts, your clean up is simple. But if not, you’ll have to clean it by hand. If anything is stuck on the fryer, soak the parts first in water mixed with a dish soap (like you would with a regular pot).
Then clean as normal. You can clean the outside and inner parts of your air fryer with a moist sponge with a bit of dish soap on it. Don’t submerge the fryer in water. And don’t use an abrasive pad to clean the air fryer, either.
An air fryer is a handy little cooking gadget that’s surprisingly versatile. And as you can see, it’s not that difficult to use! Cook a few things in it (especially french fries, which it excels at), and soon you’ll be an air frying master! I have a lot of great air fryer recipes you can start with!
What are you most excited about cooking in your air fryer?