Cooking can be challenging, but the air fryer is aiming to change that! Affordable and accessible, these small and powerful countertop ovens use hot air to fry your favorite foods to perfection.
1. Settle on A Size
Buying an air fryer that’s the right size for you is important. Want to cook bigger meals faster? A six or eight-quart machine with multiple compartments is best.
Looking to make snacks and want to use less space? Go for a smaller two-quart unit. It’s all about what you want to cook, your space, and how often you think you’ll utilize the air fryer.
2. Keep It Easy to Clean
Small amounts of grease, crumbs, and oil build up over time and can be difficult to clean up. The best air fryer tip to make things easier is to line your air fryer basket with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Then, you add your food on top of it.
This will make post-cooking clean-up as simple as removing, pitching, and replacing the liner. It’s also a great way to capture marinades or juices for other recipes, like gravies or pan sauces.
3. Prepare to Preheat
Preheating an air fryer works like preheating an oven or frying pan with oil. By letting the fryer heat up before adding your food, your meals will get cooked properly. In most cases, set your fryer to the desired temperature and let it run for three to five minutes empty. Some air fryers even have pre-set buttons for preheating foods like fish, chicken, and pizza.
4. It's OK to Open the Air Fryer
5. Avoid Overcrowding
When you stack food too high, or it overlaps, it doesn’t heat correctly, lengthening the air frying process and ruining recipe times. To get around this, make sure everything you’re cooking can fit on the surface of the frying basket with a bit of breathing room.
6. Make It a Microwave
Air fryers are an excellent tool for reheating food. Pondering what to do with those soft, day-old French fries? An air fryer can get them just about back to their former glory. The same goes for leftovers like pizza and burgers that don’t always taste great if you try reheating them in an oven or microwave. An air fryer is truly your all-in-one kitchen appliance—as long as you use it right!
9 Creative Ways to Use Your Air Fryer for Food
Air fryers are not just for frying food. They can do much more, with a wide range of creative cooking options that bring new and exciting flavors to your meals. Discover nine creative ways to make the most out of your air fryer and elevate your food experience to new heights.
1. Dry Your Herbs
Whether it’s for your favorite cocktail or focaccia, an air fryer is the key to making flawless dried herbs.
Place fresh herbs on a paper towel in the air fryer basket, set a low temperature, and let them dry out for a few hours. The air circulation in the fryer helps speed up the drying process, giving you fragrant and flavorful dried herbs.
2. Revive Stale Bread
Give stale bread a new life by placing it in the air fryer for five minutes. The hot air helps remove moisture and crisps up the bread, making it taste fresh and delicious again.
3. Roast Almonds & Cashews
Spread a handful of nuts like almonds or cashews on the air fryer basket and roast them at a moderate temperature for a few minutes. The result is perfectly toasted nuts with a rich flavor and crunchy texture, ideal for snacking or enhancing salads and desserts.
4. Make Croutons
Cut stale bread into cubes, toss them with olive oil, herbs, and spices, then air fry until golden and crispy. These homemade croutons are a fantastic addition to soups, salads, or even a crunchy topping for mac and cheese.
5. Dehydrate Fruit
Slice fruits like apples, bananas, or strawberries, then place them in a single layer in the air fryer and set the temperature on low. After a few hours, you'll have dehydrated fruit slices for a healthy and portable snack.
6. Revive Frozen Foods
If you have frozen foods like chicken tenders, fries, or fish sticks, skip the oven and air fry them instead. The hot air circulation helps to cook the frozen food evenly, resulting in a crunchy exterior and tender interior.
7. Roast Garlic
Wrap whole garlic bulbs in aluminum foil, place them in the air fryer, and cook until the cloves become soft and caramelized. Roasted garlic adds a rich, sweet flavor to sauces, spreads, and roasted vegetables, and using the air fryer makes the process quicker than using an oven.
8. Crisp Up Tortilla Chips
Cut tortillas into triangles or strips, lightly brush them with oil, and air fry until golden and crispy. Homemade air-fried tortilla chips are a healthier alternative to store-bought ones, and you can customize the seasonings to your liking for a personalized snack experience.
9. Bake Cookies
Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C), pop your cookie dough portions or pre-made dough balls into the basket, and watch your cookies transform into delectable treats. Cook them for around eight to 12 minutes, checking for that golden brown halfway through.
Embrace Your Air Fryer Curiosity
Use these air fryer tips and cook as many dishes as you want! It's OK to freestyle but keep a close eye on cooking times. From vegetables to baked goods, meats, and more, there’s almost no limit to what you can whip up in this intriguing invention.