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How to Get The Most Out of Your Air Fryer

man using air fryer in kitchen

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. 

Here we’ll break down the best ways to keep your air fryer in its best shape and some food tricks to help you get the most out of this trendy kitchen appliance. 

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

Opening a regular oven while it’s hot isn’t the best idea, as open air can impede the cooking process; however, the air fryer is different. Occasionally checking in on air fryer foods while they cook is A-OK.

Sometimes, recipes call for flipping, shaking, or spraying food with oil mid-cook. Opening the basket is often an essential part of recipes and allows food to be evenly cooked and crisped to perfection.

Not sure which type of oil to use for cooking? Check out our ultimate guide to cooking oils

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.

Air Fryer Hot Wings Recipe Made By Coming Home Mag

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.