Are Teflon and Non Stick Coatings Safe in Air Fryers?
Nonstick coating is a popular choice for cooking, especially for air fryers. But, there have been concerns about Teflon and nonstick coatings – so, are Teflon and nonstick cookware and surfaces like air fryers safe to use?
The answer is mostly YES, they are safe to use. Here is how to tell, and how to make sure your cookware stays safe.
Basically…If your pan or item was produced before 2014, throw it out.
Thanks to a federal ban, all Teflon and nonstick cookware made after 2013 must be free of harmful PFOA. Europe enacted the same ban in 2008. While the brand Teflon was associated with health risks, it’s actually a chemical formerly used in the making of Teflon called PFOA that’s to blame. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is a manufactured chemical developed in the 1930s. It was used to make coatings and products that resisted heat, oil, stains, grease and water, and made cleanup easy.
Because of the ban, all nonstick cookware made in the US is now required to be PFOA-free. This includes air fryer baskets! Teflon is still in business and producing safe, PFOA free cookware. We would definitely be cautious about buying cheap or off-brand cookware, especially if it’s not produced in a country with an active PFOA ban like the USA and European countries. PFOA is still produced elsewhere, largely in China, and used to make cheap consumer products, so buyer beware.
Is your air fryer’s nonstick coating safe if it chips or gets overheated?
Teflon on its own is safe and can’t harm you when you ingest it. If you were to eat just a small flake or two then it would just pass through your system without being absorbed and would not hurt you.
People are also worried about high heat giving off toxic chemicals. This is a real fear with nonstick cookware. Good Housekeeping talks about nonstick surfaces generally being safe as long as they are not overheated. Teflon is generally safe, but heating it to above 300° Celsius or 570° Fahrenheit poses a danger to your health, and those high temperatures cause the breakdown of the nonstick coating and can emit fumes that are not good for you. Since the surfaces inside air fryers are in a controlled environment temperature wise, overheating is unlikely. Most air fryers reach a maximum temp of 400° F with a few going as high as 500°.
Here’s what you should know about cooking with your nonstick coated air fryer:
- Don’t overfill the basket. The greater the accumulation of food that can heat up and melt, the more likely it will stick in the air fryer.
- Only use the basket in your air fryer, and only according to the directions. Never use it in another appliance or machine.
- Clean it carefully! Follow the directions for any dishwasher safe parts. Never scrub your air fryer basket with rough materials. Use a soft cloth and a soap like Dawn. Using parchment paper liners can help to cut down on the mess.
- Never use cooking sprays like Pam that contain propellants, as this can break down the coating. Use your favorite cooking oil in a handy refillable sprayer (it is way more economical anyhow)
- Only use non-metallic accessories in your air fryer. Metal can chip the coating. Invest in some silicone tongs and spatulas to keep your basket in tip top shape. Parchment paper liners can also protect the basket.
- Inspect the basket and trays regularly for chips and scratches. What do you do when nonstick coating comes off? Philips has THIS answer on their website on the subject. A few minor scratches or chips are fine, but if the coating is noticeably flaking or peeling, you should get a new basket. Most manufacturers sell replacement air fryer baskets.
Still have concerns about Teflon and nonstick coating?
Consider the ceramic lined basket air fryers as well as stainless steel interior air fryers. Whatever you choose, make sure you subscribe to our Air Fryer YouTube channel for recipes and everything you need to know to use your air fryer confidently.
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