What Is an Air Fryer – Everything You Need to Know About Air Fryers

what is an air fryer

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a countertop appliance that uses hot air to cook food. It has a heating element on the bottom and a circulating fan on top.

The circulation of hot air makes it possible for you to have golden-brown, crispy fried foods without the need for added oil or unhealthy cooking fats!

Because an air fryer does not use oil, your food is considered “fried” even though it’s actually cooked in only hot air.

Think of it like baking something in the oven except that there isn’t any heat rising from below, which means there really isn’t any convection happening either.

Instead, the food just changes color by getting tossed around by the circulating hot air until it’s done.

What Is an Air Fryer – Everything You Need to Know About Air Fryers

Table of Contents

 

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

An air fryer uses convection to cook foods. The unit has a fan that blows hot air around the food, which is usually sitting in a basket.

Because the oven’s heating element and its circulation fan are both located underneath the metal wire basket, it’s possible for fats and oils from your food to drip down into them.

As these drippings warm-up, they rise up through the basket and swirl around with the circulating hot air until either dropping back on top of your food or dripping onto the bottom tray (which catches any spills).

Your vegetables or main dish will be placed into a metal wire rack inside an open-faced enclosed chamber that resembles a dumbwaiter.

This lets you position your foods vertically so that there is more surface area from which the hot air can circulate around.

The circulating hot air cooks your food by making it crisp and dry, thanks to a process called “convection.”

For instance, when you put raw chicken wings into an oven, they will cook without turning crispy because there is no way for heat or fat to escape.

But if you were able to turn on the broiler instead of just baking them in the oven, then some of them would become crispy and lightly browned.

This same principle applies to how an air fryer works.

Food that’s cooked in hot air circulates all around inside its metal wire basket which prevents steaks, fries, fish fillets or whatever else you’re cooking from sticking together as it dries out.

How To Use An Air Fryer

Okay, so you just bought an air fryer and wondering how to use it for the first time? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

1. Read The Manual!

You may think the manual is some sort of secret that manufacturers insist you read before using their air fryers, or worse yet a waste of valuable time.

But they really do contain useful information which will make cooking easier for you.

If nothing else, then at least check out how much oil its manufacturer recommends using with each recipe (it’ll be somewhere in there).

You should also know that not all pre-programmed settings will work for every kind of dish; if you’re cooking frozen foods, for example, make sure you choose the frozen setting instead of the baking one.

2. Check The Temperature Readings

It’s also a good idea to check where the temperature is coming from on your fryer’s digital control panel before you plug it in and start cooking.

You don’t want to accidentally cook something using too much heat just because you didn’t realize that you had turned up its temperature dial!

So take a moment now to check this out — if there are any instructions as to how to tell what each icon means, be sure to read them first before touching anything else on your air fryer!

3. Set Your Timer And Preheat Your Air Fryer First

On some units, there will be an option to set the timer before you begin cooking.

This can be very convenient if you know that your guests will be arriving in a couple of hours, but it’s certainly not a requirement since most units can automatically shut off after a certain amount of time anyway.

If there is an option to preheat the air fryer first, then by all means do so and don’t just plug it in right away like the instructions indicate!

Preheating actually takes some time but this is a good thing because it will help increase the temperature inside your air fryer before your foods go in (as opposed to dropping down from 500°F or more).

4. Shaking Your Air Fryer Before You Cook On It​

You should always shake your air fryer before using it to redistribute any fat that may have dripped down as the basket orbits around or where you’ve placed your foods vertically.

This will ensure evenness both on top and bottom of whatever you’re cooking.

This is especially important for foods that contain sauces, marinades, and gravies — ensure that these get thoroughly mixed in with the rest of your food before putting them into the basket!

5. Choose The Correct Cooking Temperature For Your Foods

Always choose a setting that matches up with how crispy or cooked-through you want your foods to be when they are done cooking.

If unsure, err on the side of caution and start lower than what you need since air fryers cook faster than regular ovens so there’s less chance of overcooking your food.

6. Turn Your Food Over Half Way Through To Ensure Even Cooking

If you’re following a recipe card or cooking times for the recipes that came pre-stored on your air fryer, then there’s no need to turn them over until it tells you to do so.

But if you’re at all unsure, just give it a flip part way through and take note if one side seems to be cooking faster than the other.

This will save you from having to ventilate some sides more than others using whatever methods you come up with yourself!

7. Don’t Forget To Check The Condition Of Your Air Fryer From Time To Time​

It never hurts to check on what’s happening with your air fryer from time to time.

You’ll know it’s done cooking when the timer you set has gone off and if you want a little more confirmation that it’s safe, then just use some kitchen tongs to test out a piece of food for yourself.

If you have any doubts then just leave it in there for a bit longer — your foods won’t really burn unless you unknowingly left the temperature knob turned up too high!

8. Never Use Water Or Any Other Liquid To Reduce Dripping Smoke!

More than often, water or any other liquid can actually make things worse because they will encourage fat or oil to splatter all over the inside of your air fryer instead of being absorbed into whatever absorbent paper you’ve got in there.

So just use a kitchen towel or paper towels to sop them up instead!

9. Remove Your Food Surfaces From The Air Fryer Right Away!

Once your food is done cooking, don’t forget to remove the trays and internal basket from your air fryer as soon as you can so that you won’t have to keep ventilating it since this will just make things smoky again!

Use the clean setting if possible (or store them for later cleaning)

Or at least just leave them on some paper towels until they cool down enough for you to pick up with your bare hands.

Once removed, wipe out any excess fats using whatever absorbent material you find around the house such as paper towels, dry kitchen towels, and a bit of vinegar (which will get rid of the smell)

Then just wash them according to the instructions given on your manufacturer’s manual.

10. If You Want Your Foods To Cook Faster Or Slower Than The Time Listed On The Recipe Card​

Then go ahead and adjust it for yourself as you please accordingly.

In most cases, increasing or decreasing the temperature by 10°F or so should do the trick nicely!

But if you want more precision with this, then consider buying an oven thermometer to use along with your air fryer to help you get a better feel for how much each knob really changes things.

This is particularly useful in air frying because its recipes are based on infrared heat and temperature instead of broiling as a regular oven does.

11. In Order To Achieve The Best Results From Your Air Fryer​

Make sure to always bring your internal air fryer basket up to room temperature before cooking anything in it, so that the foods won’t be pulled down by their weight towards the bottom of the devices which will just make things worse!

Make use of any recipe cards or cookbooks that came with your air fryer.

But try not to rely too much on them as you need to get a feel for what is happening inside your air fryer anyway so that you can adjust its settings accordingly if necessary.

12. Clean Your Air Fryers Regularly For Optimal Performance​

Just because the food doesn’t stick to the surface of your air fryer’s baskets or trays doesn’t mean that you can just let things sit there without cleaning them.

The reason why is because as a result, the accumulated fats and oils from past meals will eventually start to spread out into your air fryer’s internal cavity where it can get in the way of cooking performance.

Especially if these are left for long periods of time without being cleaned first!

13. Use Your Foods’ Own Excess Fat & Moisture To Cook Them In​

As strange as this may sound, never hesitate on using any excess oil from your meat dishes (such as duck fat) to cook other meats like chicken or turkey instead so that you don’t have to resort to any additional oil or butter that can potentially ruin your meal.

But this is really best done with foods that have been cooked in a fryer basket as opposed to within an air fryer’s cooking trays.

14. Don’t Use Your Air Fryers To Dehydrate Food Because They’re Not Built For It!

Just because you want to use your air fryer for quick, easy meals doesn’t mean that it should also be used as a food dehydrator (or oven) instead which means you don’t need to use the “fries” setting when using it for things like popcorn chicken and fries either.

Just stick with the regular one and make sure not to overdo things too much or else you’ll just end up with a bunch of blackened mess on your hands!

15. Use An Air Fryer To Bake, Roast, Broil And Grill Foods Easily​

If you have an air fryer that is capable of doing the above things then feel free to use it for as much baking, roasting and grilling as you like.

But just be sure not to overdo it so that your food won’t turn into charcoal!

But this can also double as a “cold” smoker too if you really want that smoky barbecue flavor from items like nuts and cheese.

If you don’t want to go through all the hassles of using an ordinary grill or oven while still getting excellent results then consider using your air fryer for the time being!

16. Preparing A Meal In An Air Fryer Is Quick And Easy So Use Them For It​

Air frying is one of the fastest ways to cook things in a kitchen or on a grill because you don’t have to wait as long for it to preheat and you’ll also spend less time flipping and turning your foods around inside of its heated cavity.

But if you’re using it for something simple then all that matters is how fast it can cook your food into a perfect golden brown color without drying out its contents and this means use only one tablespoon of oil per serving so that your foods can be cooked right in their own oils and juices instead!

17. If You Want To Make Fried Foods Without The Oil Then Do It In Your Air Fryer Instead​

Use an air fryer to make fried foods without having to include any oil or butter because most of it flows right out the bottom and the rest will drop off the baskets.

But if you want some extra crispiness then create little nooks in your food with a fork or some kind of another utensil which will also make your cooking time shorter while producing better results too!

Also, try using smaller amounts of sauce on things like vegetables and reduce them down using a bit of salt before serving them instead so that they’ll be cooked through quickly.

Just remember not to overdo this either or else you might end up with something burnt garbage!

18. Spread Out Varying Amounts Of Cooking Oil Inside A Basket To Maximize Your Food’s Exposure To Heat And Speed Things Up​

Do this by spreading out a small amount of cooking oil (or butter) in your basket before adding any food and then adding a larger amount on top of that but just be sure not to place too much inside because it can’t all be exposed to the air fryer’s heating element at one time.

But if you really need something fried or browned after it has been cooked.

Then you’ll have to transfer the food over into your frying pan for a little bit so that the results should come out right!

19. Drain Some Of The Excess Water Out Of Freshly Caught Fish So That It Can Be Cooked Through In A Shorter Amount Of Time​

Be sure to drain any excess water out of your fish fillets or steaks before adding them into the cooking basket so that they will cook faster and result in a crispier finish too.

If you’re using a special sprayer then this should take no longer than 5 minutes.

Just be sure not to use anything like olive oil on top of your fish because it will burn!

If you don’t have access to a microwave, air fryer or some other way of quickly defrosting things then stick with cold water instead.

But only use fresh caught fish for this because frozen ones won’t work as well.

20. Use An Air Fryer To Make Perfectly Seared Foods That Are Cooked Through And Browned At The Same Time​

Do this by pouring a few tablespoons of oil into your basket and then using something that’s been dipped in flour (or spices) to dredge the pieces of meat around before placing them inside so you can get them cooked evenly.

But if you want things to be done even faster then cut your food up into smaller portions first because it will heat up quicker too.

Just be sure not to overwork anything like ground beef or other sausages because they’ll end up turning out tough!

Also try cutting your vegetables and meats up into slices, cubes, and chunks instead for an even better result.

Just remember not to overcook anything either, or else it might end up rubbery and disgusting to eat!

21. Don’t Over-Fry Foods Or Cook Them For Longer Than You Need To In An Air Fryer​

Do this by sticking the basket inside and then choosing your cooking time but just be sure not to overdo it or else you’ll end up with a burnt mess that’s only fit for the trash can.

Instead, just do small batches at a time so that things don’t get overly dried out while you wait for them to finish cooking too.

Also, try putting something underneath the basket in case any excess grease leaks out during the frying process because if it lands on your countertop it could burn onto it and never come off again!

22. Try Cooking Raw Fish In A Wet Paper Towel Before Adding It To The Basket So That The Fish Doesn’t Stick​

Do this by taking a paper towel, wetting it, and then wrapping it around the fish before cooking it otherwise, the fillet will probably stick to the basket afterward unless you want to do some scrubbing later.

But if that’s too much work for you then just be sure to use an ample amount of oil or butter in your basket beforehand so they’ll cook evenly instead.

Remember that different oils burn at different temperatures though so just experiment with what works best for you!

23. Get A Crispier Finish With Breaded Foods By Taking Them Out Of Your Air Fryer And Then Placing Them Back In Again After They’re Done​

Do this by draining the majority of the grease out so you don’t have anything dripping everywhere and then pour your bread on top of the food inside the basket before placing it back in.

But if you’re using a special sprayer, brush, or some other type of grease shield to prevent this from happening then just make sure not to use too much oil on top because it might turn soggy by the end!

24. Let Foods Sit In The Air Fryer If They Are Taking Too Long To Cook Through​

Do this until they are done cooking (just be sure not to leave them in for too long otherwise they’ll start burning) but never let anything sit there longer than an hour or else it will go bad!

25. Use A Fan To Speed Up The Cooking Process On Foods That Have Been Thick Cut​

Do this by placing a fan right above your air fryer and then cooking the food if you want it to cook faster or else just wait for it to finish heating up on its own.

26. Try Tying Up Meats By The Bone Before Baking Them In An Air Fryer To Keep Them From Twisting​

Do this by starting at one end of the bone (or skewer) and then wrapping the string around and around until you get back down to where you started from, making sure that everything is nice and tight so they don’t untwist while they’re cooking inside!

But just remember not to wrap them too tightly or else you might cut off their circulation!

27. Use A Toothpick To Poke Holes In Foods Like Potatoes Or Pineapple In Order To Prevent Sogginess​

Do this by inserting a toothpick into your food of choice and then repeating until you get them all the way through but just make sure they don’t break off in there or else you’ll be fishing them out afterward!

28. Place Non-Stick Tinfoil Underneath Your Basket Whenever You’re Cooking Greasy Foods So That They Don’t Make Your Non-Stick Coating Mucky​

Do this whenever you’re cooking something that might spill over during the smoking process because otherwise, grease will leak right onto your non-stick coating, ruining it for good! But if that’s not an issue then feel free to just leave it the heck alone!

29. Try Hand Mixing Ingredients If You Don’t Want To Worry About Things Being Scrambled While They Fry​

Do this by just placing whatever you’re trying to cook in your basket, covering it with some more ingredients, and then mixing everything together with your hands before cooking.

After all, there are no rules when it comes to air frying other than having fun while doing it!

30. Use A Tofu Press To Drain Extra Liquid Out Of Your Baked Goods So That They Cook More Crispier And Healthier​

Do this whenever you use a recipe that asks for tofu by pressing out as much excess liquid as possible beforehand so that they don’t become floppy or soggy by the time they finish cooking.

But just remember that you’re going to want to adjust your spices and seasonings after doing this otherwise everything might taste a little bland!

31. Use A Wooden Spoon Or Fork To Flip Recipes Like Chicken Wings, French Fries And More​

Do this by inserting whatever utensil you’re using right underneath the basket and then flipping it over until all of them are finished cooking (just don’t stab yourself with it or else that might get a little tricky!)

You can also use tongs for things like burgers as well if they are still too hot to touch afterward!

32. Try Cooking Food In Baskets That Are Bigger Than Your Air Fryer’s Normal Sizes If You Want To Create A Larger Batch

Do this by just placing your food through the basket’s holes one at a time, each onto their own individual cooking sheet because otherwise things might fall through or get caught inside while they are cooking!

33. Use Food Covers If You Don’t Want Your Foods’ Condensation To Make Everything All Mucky Inside​

Do this whenever you think condensation is going to be an issue for whatever food you are making because otherwise water droplets will drop down and make everything soggy. But if you don’t care about that then do whatever makes sense.

Just remember not to use regular plastic wrap because it will melt from hot foods!

Only use air fryer-safe covers instead of these!

34. Try Cooking On Two Air Fryers At Once If You Want To Create A Larger Batch

Do this by just putting two air fryers side-by-side, each with their own individual baskets because otherwise, you might not be able to cook as many things at once!

35. Use Some Paper Towels In Your Basket If You’re Making Something Like Chicken Wings Or French Fries So That They Don’t Fall Through The Grates

Do this by simply placing some paper towels down in the basket, then your food on top of that, and then another sheet of paper towel (or two) right above them before closing up the lid and getting cooking!

How to Clean an Air Fryer?

Here are some useful tips and tricks on how to clean an air fryer. Once again, sorry for all the repeat information as these are just small tidbits of info that I wanted to make sure you knew about!

1. Step 1:

Clean Your Air Fryer Regularly So That You Don’t Have To Spend Too Much Time On It During The Routine​ Do this by simply wiping down your outside with a cotton cloth or paper towel (or both) whenever it gets too messy (which shouldn’t be very often).

Then do the same thing once every two weeks or so with your inside compartment — here’s what a clean one looks like:

2. Step 2:

Always Open Up Your Lid Before Turning Off Your Air Fryer Because Otherwise Any Steam Left Behind Will Turn Into Water And Make Your Foil Fall Off​ Do this by never, under any circumstances running your air fryer on its own without the lid open first — even if it’s just for a few seconds!

3. Step 3:

Clean Out The Condensation As Soon As Possible Afterwards To Avoid Mold From Growing All Over Everything​ Do this by making sure you clean all of the condensations out whenever you have finished cooking something because otherwise mold will grow inside your air fryer and it might stink once it warms up later!

This means that If you can’t do that right away then at least wipe off or dry off as much as possible until you are able to! But if it’s still too hot afterward (or if there’s just a lot of mold in there) then it’s probably time to get a new air fryer and start over instead!

4. Step 4:

Dry Out The Exterior (And Any Other Watery Parts) Regularly Before Cleaning It Because Otherwise, Mold Might Grow All Over​ Do this by making sure all parts of your air fryer are completely dry before you attempt to clean them, especially the exterior (and any other watery parts inside).

Otherwise, mold will grow on them and that could be really bad for you, which means that you should read up on what happens when food gets moldy or infested here!

5. Step 5:

Don’t Use Sharp Objects To Get Rid Of Caked On Foods Or Anything Like That Because Here Is A Great List Of Things You Shouldn’t Use For Any Reason​ Do this by making sure you don’t use anything like knives or screwdrivers or anything sharp in your air fryer to scrape off food that’s stuck onto it because there are much better ways to handle those situations, as shown here.

6. Step 6:

Clean Underneath Your Air Fryer With A Dry Cloth Or Paper Towel (Or Both) To Remove Pet Hair And Other Lint From There​ Do this by cleaning underneath the outside of your air fryer with a dry cloth or paper towel (or both) whenever you see any pet hair and lint building up down there because if you do it regularly then your stuff won’t get all dirty for too long!

7. Step 7:

Don’t Use Regular Soap Or Dish Washer Detergent To Clean Your Air Fryer, Just Bleach And Vinegar​ Do this by never using regular soap or dishwasher detergent to clean your air fryer because they have too many chemicals that could break it down over time and cause it to leak oil later!

8. Step 8:

Sometimes Stuff Can Get Stuck In The Shaking Mechanism For No Apparent Reason, Especially Raw Onions!

Don’t Worry Though Because Here Is A Video Showing How You Can Fix It​ Do this by checking underneath the filter for any small pieces of food (or larger ones if you’re lucky), then placing a dry cloth or paper towel above the screw in order to catch any condensation from running.

Source: silkroadrestaurant.org

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