20+ Air Fryer Tips and Tricks For Beginners

Air fryers are becoming very popular because they offer a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods.

If you’re new to air frying or looking to refine your skills, understanding the finer points can transform your cooking experience.

Through my journey, I’ve learned that mastering air frying is more than just following recipes—it’s about knowing the device’s intricacies.

From managing oil usage to understanding hot air circulation, I aim to help you unlock the full potential of your air fryer.

I love to make all sorts of foods in my air fryer including sweet things such as air fryer cookies, air fryer mug cakeair fryer garlic parmesan chicken skewers, and air fryer Starbucks cream cheese danish. I share new air fryer recipes here at least weekly too so keep checking back!

Be sure to check out my Which air fryer you should buy and my air fryer snacks for beginners while you’re here too!

25 Air Fryer Tips and Tricks

1- Choosing the Right Air Fryer

When selecting an air fryer, the decision hinges on various factors including size, features, and budget. I consider capacity first; air fryers range from small 2-quart models suitable for individuals to larger 6-quart models for families. Size choice depends on the number of people I’m cooking for.

I also examine the features. Some air fryers come with preset programs for specific foods, while others offer more manual controls.

If convenience is a priority, I look for one with multiple presets. However, if I prefer more control over the cooking process, a model with adjustable settings suits me better.

Budget plays a crucial role, too. Air fryers vary in price based on their size, features, and brand. I determine how much I am willing to spend and find the best option that meets my needs without compromising on quality.

Lastly, the design and ease of cleaning are important. I prefer air fryers with non-stick coatings and removable, dishwasher-safe parts to simplify cleanup.

Here’s a quick reference table I use to guide my selection:

FeatureConsideration
Size/CapacityChoose based on the number of servings needed
Presets and ControlsDecide between preset convenience or manual control
BudgetSet a range and find the best within it
Cleaning and MaintenanceNon-stick, dishwasher-safe components for ease of cleaning

By carefully assessing these aspects, I ensure the air fryer I choose is well-suited to my cooking habits and kitchen space.

2- Buy Essential Air Fryer Accessories

So, you’ve jumped on the air fryer bandwagon and are loving the convenience and deliciousness it brings to your kitchen. But did you know that there are essential accessories that can take your air frying experience to the next level?

Buy some great accessories for your air fryer! To maximize the functionality of an air fryer, certain accessories are indispensable.

The accessories that you can buy will vary depending on the popularity and size of your model, but Amazon usually has an array of great accessories in a set.

For those who love to bake, air fryer-specific baking pans and cake barrels are essential. They must fit comfortably inside the basket, providing a flat surface for even baking.

1- Silicone Baking Cups

Silicone baking cups are versatile accessories that can be used for a variety of purposes in your air fryer. From baking muffins and cupcakes to cooking individual portions of egg bites or mini quiches, these reusable cups are a game-changer. They’re non-stick, easy to clean, and come in a range of sizes and shapes to suit your cooking needs.

2- Air Fryer Liners

Air fryer liners are handy accessories that help prevent food from sticking to the basket or tray of your air fryer. These are made from parchment paper or silicone, which create a barrier between your food and the cooking surface, making cleanup very easy.

3- Cooking Racks and Skewers

Cooking racks and skewers are essential accessories for air fryers with multiple cooking layers or shelves. They allow you to cook multiple items simultaneously, maximizing the capacity of your air fryer and reducing cooking time.

Use cooking racks to create layers of food, such as chicken wings on one level and vegetables on another, or use skewers to cook kebabs or kabobs with ease.

4- Oil Sprayer

An oil sprayer is a must-have accessory for air fryer owners who want to achieve that perfect crispy texture without excess oil. An oil sprayer is key for achieving that perfect crispiness without excess grease.

Instead of drenching your food in oil, use an oil sprayer to lightly coat it with a fine mist of oil before air frying. This helps ensure even browning and crispy results every time, without the added calories and fat.

5- Air Fryer Recipe Books

Invest in a good air fryer recipe book to expand your repertoire of air fryer recipes. From appetizers and main courses to desserts and snacks, there are countless recipes out there specifically designed for air fryers.

A recipe book can help you discover new dishes to try and learn different techniques for using your air fryer to its full potential.

6- Silicone Liner

You can also buy a reusable

I find that silicone liners are a game-changer. Not only do they prevent sticking, but they also make cleanup a breeze since they’re reusable and dishwasher-safe.

3- Check the internal temp of meats with a digital thermometer

A digital meat thermometer ensures meats are cooked safely and to the desired doneness. It’s a simple tool that can prevent undercooking or overcooking.

It comes handy when you are making chicken or beef in the air fryer where internal temperature is important.

4- Keep the cooking times cheat sheet handy

A cheat sheet with cooking times and temperatures for various foods saves time and guesswork. I keep mine attached to the fridge for quick reference.

To make the most out of your air fryer cooking experience, it’s essential to keep the cooking times cheat sheet handy.

This valuable resource provides quick reference times for various foods, such as frozen food, vegetables, chicken, desserts, seafood and beef.

With the cheat sheet at your fingertips, you can confidently air fry a wide range of dishes, from crispy chicken wings to golden French fries, without the guesswork. Simply glance at the cheat sheet to determine the ideal cooking time and temperature for your desired dish, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.

5- Avoid cooking light foods – popcorn fly away

Lighter items like popcorn, kayle leaf can blow around due to the air fryer’s high-speed fan. When using an air fryer, it’s wiseer to avoid cooking these types of foods to prevent potential messes or damage to the appliance as they may fly away during the cooking process.

6- Proper Food Placement in Air fryer

Proper placement of food inside the air fryer basket is paramount for even cooking. I follow these tips to ensure the best results:

Place food in a single, even layer without overcrowding. This will allows hot air to circulate and cook food evenly.

Also make sure that there’s space between items. It will promotes browning and crisping.

7- Shake and Flip Method

For foods like french fries or vegetables, shaking the basket halfway through cooking is essential. This promotes even browning and prevents sticking. For smaller air fryers, flipping with tongs might be more effective than shaking.

8- Avoid using too much cooking spray

When using cooking sprays, a light coat is enough. Excess oil can cause foods to become soggy instead of crisp. Moreover, too much oil might lead to unnecessary smoke during the cooking process.

9- Batch Cooking

If cooking in large quantities, do it in batches to ensure consistent airflow and even cooking. Overcrowding can result in undercooked or unevenly cooked food.

10- Use Parchment Paper and Foil

Both Parchment paper or aluminum foil can be used in the air fryer. It will make cleanup easier and prevent sticking. However, make sure to secure them, so they don’t get sucked into the heating element during cooking.

11- Prevent Smoking

If cooking fatty foods, add water to the drawer below the basket. This helps to collect the fat and prevent it from burning and smoking.

12- Use a toothpick to hold down cheese slices

To keep cheese from blowing around, I use a toothpick to secure slices onto bread or toppings. This keeps the presentation neat and the cheese evenly melted.

13- Make breading with breadcrumbs, not just flour

For a crispy coating, use a mixture of flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs. I dip the food in flour, eggs, and then breadcrumbs. This sequence ensures a better crust.

Following these tips will vastly improve your air frying results, delivering tasty and well-cooked meals every time.

14- Temperature and Timing Mastery

When using my air fryer, I find that understanding the temperature and timing is essential for cooking food to perfection. I always preheat the air fryer for specific recipes that require a sudden blast of high heat.

Temperature Settings:

  • High Heat: I use high temperatures for less time to achieve a crisp exterior on foods like fries or chicken wings. This usually means setting the air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  • Low Heat: Delicate items like fish or certain baked goods require a lower temperature setting, about 300-350°F (150-175°C).

Guiding Principles for Timing:

I always keep in mind that cook times can be shorter in an air fryer compared to a conventional oven due to the rapid air circulation technology.

To prevent overcooking, I check my food a few minutes earlier than the recommended cooking time and adjust as necessary.

Example Temperature and Timing Chart:

Food ItemTemperatureTime
Chicken Wings400°F (200°C)25-30 minutes
Frozen Fries400°F (200°C)15-20 minutes
Cupcakes330°F (165°C)12-15 minutes
Salmon Fillets350°F (175°C)7-10 minutes

15- Reheating leftovers

When it comes to reheating leftovers, my air fryer has become my go-to appliance. Unlike a microwave that can leave food soggy, the air fryer uses circulating hot air to revive the meal’s crispiness. Here are a few reheating hacks that I find indispensable:

  • Time and Temperature: I typically set my air fryer to 350°F when reheating. The duration varies depending on the dish, but I often start with 3-4 minutes and check the progress. It’s crucial not to overheat as it can dry out the food.
  • Food Layout: I ensure the basket is not overcrowded to allow for even heat distribution. Each piece of food gets space around it, which helps achieve that even, crispy result.
  • Foil for Moisture: For items that need to retain moisture, like rice or pasta dishes, I sometimes use a small piece of aluminum foil to cover the food. This helps prevent drying out.

Here’s a quick reference table I use for reheating common items:

Food ItemTemperatureTime
Pizza slices350°F3-4 min
Fried chicken350°F6-8 min
Spring rolls350°F5 min
Fish fillets350°F4-5 min

For my reheating purposes, I avoid using plastic containers or any material that can melt or release harmful chemicals at high heat.

I stick with heat-resistant materials such as silicone, metal, or glass if it’s air-fryer safe. Always check with the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding safe container use in your specific model to prevent harmful outcomes.

15- Air fryer cleaning and maintenance tips

Maintaining my air fryer is crucial for its longevity and performance. I adhere to a regular cleaning routine and occasionally undertake a deep cleaning process.

In order to clean an air fryer after each use, I ensure the appliance has cooled down before I remove the basket and wash it with hot, soapy water.

If my air fryer basket is dishwasher safe, I place it in the dishwasher for convenience. I wipe the interior with a damp cloth to remove any grease or food particles, and I make sure to clean the heating element gently to avoid damage.

Deep Cleaning Process

I perform a deep clean on my air fryer once a month or when I notice build-up that’s not removable with my regular cleaning.

I start by creating a paste with baking soda and water, which I apply to any stubborn stains. After some time, I scrub away the residue with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly. For the exterior, a regular wipe with a wet cloth suffices. It’s important not to use abrasive sponges or harsh chemicals that might damage the non-stick surface.

16- Place air fryer on a flat, heat-resistant surface

I always place my air fryer on a flat, heat-resistant surface, leaving ample space around it to allow for proper air circulation.

By providing adequate ventilation, you allow the air fryer to operate efficiently and prevent overheating.

17- Troubleshooting and Common Issues

When I encounter common issues with air fryers, the first thing I do is check for basic problems. Here are some troubleshooting tips I’ve found useful:

  • Food not cooking evenly: Sometimes, I notice food isn’t cooking evenly. To fix this, I ensure to shake the basket periodically or flip the food halfway through the cooking time.
  • White smoke: If I see white smoke coming from the air fryer, it often means there’s too much fat. Placing a small amount of water in the bottom drawer below the basket can help prevent this.
  • Black smoke: On the other hand, black smoke typically indicates that something is burning. In this case, I stop the cooking process immediately to check for food debris or fat drippings and clean it out.
  • Air fryer not turning on: This can be frustrating. I always confirm that the plug is securely inserted into the outlet and check the circuit breaker. If there’s no issue there, I consult the user manual or contact customer service.
  • Food not crispy: To achieve that desired crispness, I ensure I’m not overcrowding the basket which can prevent hot air from circulating properly. Adding a light spray of oil can also help crisp up the exterior.

Here’s a simple reference table summarizing the solutions:

IssueSolution
Uneven cookingShake basket or flip food
White smokePlace water in drawer
Black smokeStop cooking, check and clean
Appliance won’t startCheck plug and circuit, refer to manual/service
Food not crispyAvoid overcrowding, light oil spray

18- Don’t expect air fryer to be like a deep fryer

It’s important to manage your expectations when using an air fryer and understand that it won’t perform exactly like a traditional deep fat fryer.

While air fryers are often marketed as a healthier alternative to deep fryers, it’s essential to recognize that they won’t produce identical results.

Both appliances are designed to cook food using hot air, they operate differently. Air fryers use circulating hot air to cook food, resulting in a crispy exterior similar to frying, but without the need for large amounts of oil.

However, the texture and flavor may differ slightly from deep-fried foods. While you’ll still achieve crispy and delicious outcomes with an air fryer, the texture may not be as crispy as deep-fried foods. This is because deep-fried foods absorb a significant amount of oil and cook at higher temperatures, resulting in a crispier batter.

So, the next time someone claims that an air fryer is just like a deep fat fryer, it’s worth keeping thisdistinction in mind.

Now you know air fryer tips and hacks, why not see how to cook things in an air fryer with these great recipes?

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Air Fryer Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Air Frye Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewer

Air Fryer Pizza With Tortilla

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