Unlike many new kitchen appliances that tend to become irrelevant after just months of their launch, air fryers are here for the long run. With over 25 million air fryers sold in the last two years, every other household now has one.
Going on a strict diet and giving up on your favorite fried food could be frustrating for many people. Many times, long periods of deprivation lead to people binging out on junk food and gaining more weight than they lost. Hence, holding oneself back from French fries or chicken nuggets will temporarily help shed some weight. Instead, one should develop a healthier lifestyle to enjoy a healthier version of all your favorite meals.
Using an air fryer to prepare your home-cooked meals allows you to cook almost anything without using excessive oil. You can cook everything from steaks, potato chips, pizza, cheese sandwiches, and even cake. Air-fried food has far fewer calories, is healthier, and tastes just as good. Simple everyday air frying tips can help you transform your life and body forever.
Continue reading below to learn about eleven essential tips for using an air fryer for everyday cooking.
Top Eleven Tips for Using a Standard Air Fryer for Everyday Cooking
Select the Right Air Fryer
The air fryer industry has experienced a massive 76% growth in the last two years. With many manufacturing brands stepping in to enjoy the industrial boom, the market has air fryers available in different sizes, colors, designs, and functionalities. You can buy a small, lightweight, 5.7 lbs. air fryer to prepare snacks in a tight-spaced dorm or get a 15 lbs. air fryer to prepare a feast for the whole family. It all comes down to the available kitchen space and your cooking requirements.
Hence, start with selecting the air fryer ideal for your needs. You can also measure the available space to ensure the air fryer fits right in. Moreover, the color options allow you to choose the air fryer that goes with your kitchen’s aesthetics. Furthermore, decide if you want an air fryer for occasional uses or want one that can take care of all your meals. Then, invest in an air fryer with the correct number of features and cooking options.
Clean the Air Fryer Before You Begin Cooking
Proper cleaning is a big part of maintaining your air fryer. Leaving the air frier dirty for too long could rust its grill. Moreover, many foods produce oil as they get air fried, and that oil drops into the bottom of the air pull-out basket base. Accumulated grease can make your air fryer smell; it also makes it harder to clean later. Hence, before you start the air frying process, clean out the air fryer following these simple five steps:
- Take out the metal basket from the pull-out basket base and let it soak in hot water for five minutes
- Take a soft-bristle dishwashing brush and gently brush out any grease or food particles clogging the basket
- Use a sponge soaked in cleaning liquid and water to clean out the basket and the pull-out basket base
- Use a damp towel to wipe the handle, buttons, and the air fryer base
- Let all the parts dry out completely before assembling
Moreover, to ensure an easy washing process, never delay cleaning your air fryer. Putting the chore off will cause the accumulated grease to solidify and harden. The hard grease will clog the basket’s holes and cause the cooked food to smell unpleasant. Furthermore, you might have to scrape off the grease with a spatula, which might damage the air fryer’s insides.
Preheat the Air Fryer
An air fryer needs to be preheated appropriately before cooking – quite like an electric or gas oven. Doing so allows the air fryer to have a uniform temperature, which prevents any side from burning or undercooking. It also allows the food to retain moisture to remain juicy and delicious. In addition to that, preheating will cut down the cooking duration.
However, unlike an oven that needs to be preheated for over ten minutes, an air fryer usually only requires two to three minutes, depending on the food type. Thicker meatloaves and fillet steaks may need almost five minutes of preheating, while fish may need only two.
Moreover, the preheating temperature needs to be set between 325 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is ideal for most food types unless the recipe’s instructions require otherwise.
Furthermore, most air fryers come with an instruction manual that explains the entire preheating process. Reading the manual before using the air fryer helps you set the temperature and choose the ideal preheating duration according to the air fryer’s model and your food type. Hence, always remember to preheat your air fryer for a tasty well-cooked meal that gets served in less time.
Cover the Air Fryer Basket with Aluminum Foil or Butter Paper
Although placing the food in the air fryer’s basket can conveniently cook the food, aluminum foil and butter paper can help improve the process. Covering the air fryer basket base with aluminum foil or butter paper prevents oils and liquids from dripping into the air fryer’s base. This helps keep the air fryer clean and makes the washing process easier.
Moreover, some foods like fried chicken or garlic bread may need a few drops of oil or melted butter to cook properly. The oil or butter application becomes more manageable when the food is on the foil or paper. Otherwise, the oil or butter might glide off the food and drip into the air fryer base.
Furthermore, some foods taste better when cooked in their own juices. For example, a marinated beef steak releases liquids and flavorful marinade during cooking. The aluminum foil or butter paper base ensures the steaks remain drenched in the juices and stay tender and delicious.
Refrain From Overloading Your Air fryer Basket
If you have to prepare meals for multiple people daily, invest in a bigger air fryer instead of overloading a smaller air fryer. If you cannot buy a bigger air fryer, start earlier and prepare the meal in batches.
In order to get the crunchy and crispy texture, do not pile food on top of each other. Rather allow every food piece to be fully exposed to the air fryer’s heat. Not doing so will not air fry the food; rather, it will give it a soft flimsy texture, as if the food has been steamed. Moreover, the chances of some food pieces being overcooked while some remaining raw are high. Hence, be patient and refrain from overloading the air fryer basket.
Collect the Liquid from the Air Fryer’s Base
The air fryer’s base usually only has accumulated oil or grease that you should wash off. However, when cooking meats and vegetables, the liquid they excrete is full of flavor. Instead of draining the accumulated liquid and fat into the sink, collect it in a cup or jar. You can either season the drippings or directly drizzle them onto the meal to add flavor. One can store excess drippings to marinate future meals or make sauces or gravies. Doing so helps keep the air fryer clean while reducing food wastage.
Reheat Your Leftover Food
Leftover pizza often gets thrown out because microwaving old pizza ruins the texture and flavor. Similarly, reheating or microwaving meats or fried patties can cause their moisture to evaporate, leaving behind dry, chewy food. Moreover, sometimes, the food releases too much moisture and becomes soggy in the process. Hard or soggy leftovers become unappetizing and eventually get thrown out.
Using an air fryer can help the food retain its moisture and stay soft and tender. Air fried pizza often tastes even crispier and tastier than a freshly baked pizza. Furthermore, doing so helps you prepare your meal in lesser time while reducing the total food costs and food wastage.
Shake the Fryer Basket for Cooking Evenly
An air fryer is an ideal way to make healthier French fries, nuggets, breakfast sausages, etc. All you need to do is load up the basket with the food items, set the timer and temperature, and press start. However, at times, one fails to set the right time and temperature and burns or undercooks their food. Hence, for every piece of food to get the right amount of heat, take out the pull-out basket base and shake it enough to toss and turn the food. Repeat this every three to five minutes.
Moreover, doing so allows you to check the status of your food and prevents the food from burning. However, do not keep the air fryer pull-out basket for too long as it would waste the heat and increase the total cooking time.
Refrain from Using Wet Batters
If you do not have aluminum foil or butter paper to cover the air fryer basket’s base, then use drier coatings for your food. Covering the food in wet batter or sauces will prevent the food from having too much texture or flavor as most of the batter would drip into the base.
Instead, coat the food in drier batters that do not seep through the basket easily. For instance, when cooking a chicken burger patty, prepare an egg, bread crumbs, and flour mixture. Once your chicken patties are well-marinated, dip them in an egg wash and coat them with the dry bread crumbs and flour mixture. Gently pat the bread crumbs into the patties for them to stick better. Doing so will allow you to place the patties directly on the basket without any foil or paper base. No excessive liquids will drip into the air fryer’s base, and cleaning will be easier.
Use a Food Thermometer
Many foods, such as lean meats or chicken get cooked fairly quickly. Overheating can make the texture dry and chewy. Hence, use a food thermometer to keep check of the food’s status during the air frying process.
Simply pull out the air fryer basket after half the cooking duration has passed and stick the thermometer into the food. If needed, adjust the air fryer’s temperature reading and cooking duration according to the food’s temperature.
Add Water to the Air Fryer’s Base to Prevent Smoking
An air fryer is designed to help cook all your meals conveniently. An air fryer can do it all, from making cakes to cooking pork chops. However, some fatty foods can release too much moisture, causing smoke to form. Excessive smoke will affect your kitchen’s air quality and give the food an unpleasant and burned flavor.
To avoid or reduce smoke formation, add two to three tablespoons of water to the air fryer’s base. The water will evaporate and create excess moisture in the air fryer. Due to the humid surroundings, the food in the fryer will release fewer fats and liquids, and as a result, the fat will not create smoke. You can also add the water immediately after you smell smoke during the cooking process.
Get Yourself an Air Fryer Now!
An air fryer is one of the best investments to upgrade your quality of life. It allows you to cook convenient and quick meals every day while keeping your calorie intake low. Developing a proper cleaning routine and following some simple tips would allow your air fryer to last a long time.