How to Use an Air Fryer


air fryer use

Air Fryers have grown in popularity as a simple and health-conscious cooking option. Unfortunately, many prospective buyers and owners don’t know how to work an air fryer and even more, are unaware of all the different uses these small appliances have.

X missing a small summary of how to use the air fryer. A quick recap of the steps so that when readers continue on, they will find the more in-depth steps. This should be a paragraph format summary because the list is below. 

If you’ve ever looked up instructions for the air fryers and want to learn more about how to use an Air Fryer, then stick around to give this article a read – you walk away knowing exactly how to use an air fryer. 

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Step 1: Preheat Air Fryer

Unlike conventional ovens, Air Fryers only need a few minutes to preheat. Manufacturers recommend undergoing a pre-heating process; it isn’t necessary and those who skip the preheating process will only wait a few minutes longer for their food to be cooked.

Step 2: Load Cooking Basket with Food

Once the Air Fryer is heated to the correct temperature, it’s time to load the cooking basket with the food you plan to cook. . It is not uncommon for people to add 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil.

It’s recommended to always use the grate as it allows heat to circulate freely within the cooking basket, producing a more even cook. Failure to utilize the grate when using an air fryer will lead to an uneven cook for your food. 

Air Fryers come with a food capacity between 2 to 10 quarts. The amount of food you can cook at once will depend upon the available volume the air fryer can hold. 

Small or thinly sliced food items such as fries, small chicken wings, or banana slices can be stacked without affecting the air frying process. By contrast, larger food items, like chicken breasts or steak, shouldn’t be stacked because they can affect the cooking process.

Those cooks looking to air fry multiple chicken breasts or other large food items simultaneously should invest in additional air fryer racks.

Step 3: Set Temperature and Time

Air Fryer cooking times range from between 5 to 30 minutes and use temperatures ranging between 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cooking time and temperature required to cook your food will time depend on the type of food and what the receipt calls for. For example, if are air frying asparagus strips the cooking time required is about 5 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, a 4 oz boneless chicken breast will require approximately 11 minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to learn more about how to air fry specific foods, Air Fryer videos on YouTube are a great resource.

Step 4: Sit Back and Let it Cook

At the sit back and cook stage,  stage, all that’s left to do is wait for the Air Fryer to work. With foods like steak, fish, and large chicken breasts, it may require the air fry process halfway to turn the food over to cook evenly.

Step 5: Remove Food and Clean the Cooking Basket

Once the air frying process is complete and you’ve achieved the desired cooking results for your food, it’s time to remove the food and clean out the cooking basket.

Air Fryers build up oil after each use. When left unclean, this oil can cause the food to smoke during cooking. If there is a heavy build-up of oily gunk then handwashing the basket may be necessary. Most Air Fryer cooking baskets are dishwasher friendly.

What Should You Know Before Using an Air Fryer

Let’s start with what is an air fryer. An Air Fryer is a countertop appliance that uses convection heating to produce a deep-frying effect without the use of oil.

The main advantages of an Air Fryer include the following:

  • The lack of oil makes food cooked within an Air Fryer significantly healthier compared to deep-frying.
  • The mix of convection heating and a fan system results in fast cooking times
  • An entire meal can be cooked in an Air Fryer with minimal food preparation. Air Fryer can cook more than 50 different types of food.

Although countertop convection ovens have been around since the 1940s, the name ‘Air Fryer’ didn’t catch on until the mid-2000s when Philips released its AirFryer line of countertop convection ovens. Today, the term Airfryer is used generically to refer to all household convection ovens.

Given the increased focus on diet and healthy living, Air Fryers have enjoyed a significant rise in popularity due to their ability to produce deep-fryer results without the use of oil. Today, it is estimated that nearly 40% of US households own an Air Fryer, a number that is increasing each year.

For more information on Air Fryers, visit here.

What Are the Stages of Using an Air Fryer?

Using an Air Fryer can be broken up into three stages: Loading, Cooking, and Cleaning.

Loading Stage: The loading phase takes less than 30 minutes and involves food prep required to add into the air fryer. 

Cooking Stage: Unlike stovetop cooking, Air Fryers don’t require any supervision or involvement on the part of the user. Set the time and temperature on your air fryer and wait until the cooking time is achieved.  food items like chicken breast or steaks may need to be flipped.

Cleaning Stage: Cleaning an air fryer involves removing the basket to rinse and/or place into the dishwasher. Cleaning your air fryer may involve scrubbing before adding to your dishwasher. 

Does the Air Fryer Type Affect the Usage Stages?

While there is some variance in the types of Air Fryers available, they all function essentially the same.

Some Air Fryers can hold more food than others. Furthermore, some Air Fryers are equipped with more than one rack station, meaning more large food items (especially animal proteins) can be cooked at once.

Is Using an Air Fryer for Chicken Better Than a Convection Oven?

Yes, using an air fryer for chicken is better than using a convection oven. This does depend on your preference, however.  Cooking chicken breast in an Air Fryer has several advantages compared to a convection oven.

The chicken will cook much faster in an Air Fryer than it will in standard convection or conventional oven. Air Fryers are more energy-efficient compared to a convection ovens. And air frying process leaves less mess than the convection process since only the cooking basket requires cleaning.

Air Fryers are popular for giving a chicken incredible texture that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

One downside of an Air Fryer is its noiser compared to a convection oven

cook in air fryer

Is an Air Fryer for Vegetables Better Than a Baking Oven?

Yes, an air fryer for vegetables is better than a baking oven.   Again this depends on your cooking preference. Air Fryers area game-changer for cooking vegetables. When Air Frying vegetables,, the cooking result is similar roasting but with a more crispy texture on the outside.

If the cook adds one or two tablespoons of oil, the vegetables will come out covered in a thin crispy layer similar to the cooking results of a  deep fryer. 

While baking vegetables have benefits, you would be hard-pressed to achieve the same results in a standard baking oven as you would in an air fryer. Furthermore, air frying food is considerably faster than baking and different types of vegetables can be cooked at once.

Is a Paddle Type Air Fryer Better Than a Basket Type Air Fryer for Frying?

A paddle air fryer is better than a basket air fryer for X and Y foods. A basket air fryer is better than a paddle air fryer for A and B foods. Neither air fryer is outright better for frying in general although paddle-type air fryers do have some advantages.

First off, because paddle-type air fryers employ a solid base, they can be used for heating dishes like risotto and some thick stews – something basket-style air fryers are not equipped to perform. 

Paddle-type air fryers come with a large handle that makes them easier to move especially when it comes to flipping and removing cooked food.

Bucket-type air fryers work better for battered foods like onion rings and breaded chicken.

How to Use An Air Fryer for Other Uses Besides Frying Food

Although the word ‘fry’ is in the name, Air Fryers are very versatile and can serve a number of different uses asa listed below: 

How to Use an Air Fryer as a Dehydrator

Of all the many uses of an Air Fryer, doubling as a food dehydrator is one of them. The following steps are how to use an air fryer as a dehydrator:

  1. Place food on a steam rack inside the Air Fryer. Food must be well spaced out.
  2. Use the Food Dehydrator pre-set. If no pre-set is available, set temperature to under 119 degrees.
  3. Let Air Fryer run for several hours, checking on the progress periodically.

Food dehydrators work by slowly removing moisture from food until the food reaches a dehydrated state. Depending upon the type of food being dehydrated, the finished product can be crunchy, chewy, and even brittle.

Many of the best Air Fryers come with a food dehydrator per-set option, making the process easy. Those that don’t can still be used as a food dehydrator so long as they can be set to temperatures lower than 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperatures higher than 113 degrees Fahrenheit will cause food to cook instead of dehydrating.

When dehydrating food in an air fryer, it’s recommended to use a rack insert to allow heat to circulate freely. Unlike air drying, foods being dehydrated require plenty of space; this means that stacking food during the dehydration process isn’t an option.

Lastly, to dehydrate food, you’ll have to keep the air fryer running for several hours instead of the standard 5 to 25 minutes that it usually runs.

How to Use an Air Fryer as a Microwave

One major difference between an air fryer and microwave is that microwaves are used to reheat already cooked food whereas air fryers are more commonly used to cook raw foods. 

Air Fryer can be used to reheat food though the final result of the food will be slightly different from a microwave.

  1. Place cooked/refrigerated food in the cooking basket or rack
  2. Set to the appropriate temperature
  3. Let cook until food reaches the desired temperature

Microwaves work by exciting water molecules in a piece of food causing it to cook from the inside out. Air Fryers, on the other hand, circulate heat to cook food from the outside to inward. Air frying will leave food slightly crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside when compared to microwaving food which will leave food without a crunchy texture.

Air fryers can be used to reheat food. The only exception is when the foods contain a high density of the liquid, like soups and stews, which will not achieve the desired reheating results in an air dryer. When reheating high liquid density foods it’s better to use a microwave.

using air fryer for microwave

How to Use an Air Fryer as a Smoker

Because an Air Fryer is meant as an indoor kitchen appliance, using an air fryer as a smoker is not recommended. However, cooking enthusiasts have made Air Fryer YouTube videos where they detail the process of how to use an air fryer as a smoker.

If you want to avoid potential permanent damage to your air fryer attempting to smoke meat, consider purchasing liquid flavoring smoke instead, and add it to your air fryer during the cooking process. Alternatively, you can marinate meat with liquid smoke before placing it in an Air Fryer to lend that smokey flavor to your meat. The following are the steps to flavor your meat to taste like smoke:

  1. Cover meat in liquid smoke and any other flavors/spices you want to add
  2. Add to air fryer
  3. Cook as normal

Not only will this add a nice smoked flavor, but it will keep your air fryer clean and safe from being damaged.


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