The Ultimate Guide to Air Fryers: 25 Air Fryer Tips and Tricks From Start to Finish
25 of the Most Important Things to Know About Air Frying
If you are new to the air fryer appliance or industry, or if you are looking to learn a couple of tips, tricks, hacks, and facts about the air fryer, look no further! This comprehensive guide to your air fryer will help you know everything you need to know about your air fryer! From the first use to drying it off, this guide will empower you to actually start using your air fryer!
Keep reading to learn 25 of the best air fryer tips and tricks, or watch along with me in this YouTube video.
What To Do Before You Start Air Frying: 7 Tips Before You Air Fry
The following 7 tips are great practices and other helpful tips to know before you start air frying. These tips range from choosing what recipe to make in the air fryer to preparing your air fryer for cooking.
In addition to the tips below, here are a few resources to help you learn more about your air fryer.
- Air fryer quick start guide – what to do when you are opening your air fryer for the first time.
- Do I need to preheat the air fryer? – helping you understand the difference between preheating and not preheating the air fryer
- Don’t make these 12 air fryer mistakes – 12 things you should never do with your air fryer.
Throughout this document I share some AIR FRYER PRO TIPS that you don’t want to miss to really improve your air fryer experience.
Tip 1: Make sure the air fryer is clean
Before you start air frying, make sure the air fryer is clean and empty. Make sure that there isn’t any leftover food or parchment paper. It is so important to make sure the air fryer is clean and empty before you do anything else!
Tip 2: Never preheat the air fryer with parchment paper inside.
This may cause your air fryer to start smoking or even catch on fire. Never, ever preheat the air fryer with the parchment paper inside.
Tip 3: Parchment paper is optional
Speaking of parchment paper, you don’t have to use it in your air fryer. I go into more depth about why and when parchment paper is important in this air fryer parchment paper versus regular parchment paper video and in this air fryer parchment paper versus silicone liners comparison video.
But, to summarize, it is best to use parchment paper (in my own opinion) any time I am cooking or baking extra messy foods. For example, if the recipe has a cheese or wet marinade, then it is best to use parchment paper to help clean up quickly and effortlessly.
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: A few viewers have shared this awesome hack with me. (Thanks jpalm and veldaE). Place small magnets that are heat safe (such as ferrite magnets) on top of parchment paper to ensure that it doesn’t fly up during the cooking process. You can also try using the rack from the air fryer accessory kit to place on top of the food to help ensure that it doesn’t fly up.
Tip 4: Line the basket with foil
Another option to help make the cleaning process easier is to line underneath the air fryer basket with foil. This can help clean up the messy foods because all the excess juices, foods, or drippings will fall to the bottom on the foil. Then, grab the foil and throw it away! An easy breezy clean up!
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: Viewer Christina mentioned that the Reynolds wrap pre-cut squares fit the air fryer basket perfectly, and you can get them at the dollar store!
Tip 5: Deciding what recipe to make in the air fryer
If you are unsure what recipe to actually make in your air fryer, have you heard of my air fryer challenge? My 5-Day, Use Your Air Fryer challenge is designed to help you improve your air fryer experience. This challenge will empower you to know what to actually make in the air fryer. And, you get some pretty neat bonuses like a 7 Day Meal Planning Guide with an accompanying Shopping List, access to my YouTube catalog so you can easily find every recipe I’ve made on YouTube, and coaching calls with me! Learn more about my air fryer challenge at AirFryerChallenge.com.
Tip 6: Parboil root vegetables
If you are making a recipe that includes an entire root vegetable like a potato, try parboiling it first in the microwave. This will save so much time when you are cooking in the air fryer! For example, check out this potato skins recipe in the air fryer. Without parboiling, you could be cooking for an extra 15 minutes, at least!
Tip 7: Be creative
You can make plenty of delicious recipes just by being creative with your seasonings on your proteins. For example, you can do wet marinades or dry rubs. Or try these tasty Remond RealSalt Smoked Salts, they add an amazing flavor punch to your protein!
Check out the power of keeping it simple and being creative with these protein packed air fryer recipes.
- Simple 3 Ingredient Pork Chop Recipe
- Air Fryer Honey Mustard Salmon Recipe
- 6 Ingredient Honey Mustard Chicken Breasts
- Balsamic Vinegar Pork Tenderloin in the Air Fryer
How To Use an Air Fryer: 12 Tips For While You Air Fry
Before you start air frying, be sure you have read the first 7 tips. This next section are some hacks and good practices to become a successful air fryer cook. These tips will empower you to know how to actually use your air fryer and to tell when your food is actually done cooking. Not sure how long to cook food in the air fryer? Keep reading.
Tip 8: Fail faster
I’ve had so many people ask me how I know what temperature and time to cook my foods at. And, honestly, my best answer to this question is you’ll just know with time and practice. So, keep practicing and keep trying! Before you know it, you’ll just know what works and what doesn’t work.
I help you overcome the learning curve with live coaching calls in my air fryer challenge!
Additionally, check out this post or video to learn a few helpful tips for converting any recipe for the air fryer. This will help you know just a little more about how air frying compares to deep frying or cooking in the oven.
Tip 9: Start simple
If you are new to air frying, you will want to start with less complicated and expensive recipes before you move onto frying an expensive cut of steak in the air fryer. Trust me, you do not want that steak to go in the garbage.
Here are a few of the best air fryer beginner recipes you can start with!
- Air Fryer Roasted Ranch Potatoes
- Easiest Air Fryer Fried Oreos Recipe
- Breakfast Tortilla TikTok Wrap in the Air Fryer
Watch this air fryer beginner recipes video for more inspiration and to help you get started!
Tip 10: Every air fryer make and model is different.
Viewer Richard says, “Don’t take the times and temperatures in the manual or on the presets as being gospel”. What he means is that every air fryer make and model is different which means the temperature and cooking times written in one recipe may not work perfectly for your air fryer. The main reason for this is because the wattage between air fryers are different. So, how do you adjust? Check out a few of these tips.
Tip 11: Start with less time
Start with half, or a little more than half, of the written time on the instructions. Then, add more time as needed. How do you know when to add time though?
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: Open the air fryer drawer or basket. One of my favorite things about the air fryer is that it is so easy to pop open the air fryer basket to check on the progress of the food. If it doesn’t look cooked through, give it a shake or stir, and then add more time.
Tip 12: Use an instant read meat thermometer
You don’t have to guess whether or not the food is done cooking. Purchasing an instant read thermometer, if you don’t have one already, is one of the best things you can do for better air fryer cooking. Use your instant read thermometer in conjunction with my FREE internal temperature guide to know exactly when your cuts of meat or baked goods are done cooking!
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: If you are cooking large cuts of meat, get a Meater meat thermometer. The Meater is AWESOME for large roasts, turkeys, chicken, and pork tenderloin that take longer to cook through. If you have someone that loves to use a smoker or grill, they will love it too! Not only does it help you see the constant internal temp, but you can also see the ambient temp inside the air fryer!
Tip 13: Never set your air fryer on the stove top
Never ever ever set your air fryer on your stove. If your burner accidentally gets turned on, not only is your air fryer going to be toasted, but your stove top will also have issues!
Additionally, don’t set your air fryer too close to the wall or any other surfaces. You will want at least 5-6 inches of space around the air fryer. You can place the air fryer on the countertop or even on a wood block.
Tip 14: Use a reusable oil spray bottle
Does it really matter what type of oil I use in my air fryer? Yes, yes it does. You do not want to use cooking sprays or aerosol sprays (like PAM) that have propellants or chemicals because it will ruin the nonstick coating on your air fryer basket. Instead, use a reusable spray bottle or oil mister, like the Mistifi oil sprayer, and fill it with your own high smoke point oil. It is so important to use an oil that has a high smoke point because it will help the food cook faster in the air fryer.
What are high smoke point oils?
High smoke point oils include oils that don’t burn at high temperatures. These oils include
- Avocado Oil: 375-400°F/190-205°C
- Grape Seed Oil: 390°F/195°C
- Peanut Oil: 450°F/230°C
- Vegetable Oil: 400-450°F/205-230°C
- Sesame Oil: 350-410°F/175-210°C
- Olive Oil: If you’re air frying at a temperature of around 375°F/190°C or less, regular olive oil is great too. Sometimes using regular olive oil at 400°F/205°C or higher can start to burn and give off a rancid smell. Also, if you have a small air fryer or stuff your air fryer with food too high it will be too close to the heating element which will cause it to burn.
I love to use avocado oil. I also sometimes use olive oil. The type of oil you use depends on personal preference. I like avocado oil because it has a neutral flavor profile and because it has a high smoke point of 375-400°F/190-205°C
Read more about oil sprayers for your air fryer.
Tip 15: Use water or bread to keep your air fryer from smoking.
It is normal for your air fryer to exhaust a little, but if it starts smoking and smells funky, then try placing either a slice of bread or a little bit of water (about ¼ cup) underneath the air fryer basket to absorb the grease and help keep it from smoking.
This is a great hack for anytime you are cooking bacon in the air fryer.
Tip 16: Use a wire rack
If your food is flying around while it is cooking, use a wire rack found in an air fryer accessory kit or use toothpicks to help keep the food secure. It shouldn’t fly around in the air fryer basket any more!
Tip 17: Let cheese melt inside a hot air fryer
A problem I’ve had so often with cooking recipes that are garnished with melted cheese in the air fryer is that the cheese normally flies off the food when I cook it in the air fryer for an additional minute or two. Viewer Sandy shared with me to add the cheese on top of the food, then close the air fryer basket. The air fryer should still be warm, so it should melt the cheese perfectly within a minute or two.
So, for example, if you’d like some hamburgers with melted cheese on top, add the cheese to the top of the already cooked burgers, close the air fryer, then let it sit for about a minute or so until it is perfectly melted. Problem fixed!
Tip 18: Make a foil sling
I love to make a foil sling anytime I cook foods that are hard to remove from the air fryer basket. A tip with making a foil sling is to make sure that there is still enough room for air to flow. Check out this picture from this delicious air fryer salmon recipe for how an air fryer sling should look.
How to make a foil sling for the air fryer
Making an air fryer foil sling is actually pretty easy!
- Take a sheet of foil that is slightly longer than the air fryer basket.
- Fold the foil so that it is anywhere from ½ to ⅓ of the width of the air fryer basket.
- Make handles from the length of the foil by folding it down enough so that it fits within the depth of the air fryer basket, but taller than the food so that you can still remove the food from the air fryer basket.
Tip 19: Use the air fryer to reheat leftovers
I love to use the air fryer for simple things like reheating leftovers. You can reheat just about anything in the air fryer. First place the leftovers in the air fryer basket and cook it for 3-5 minutes at 350°F/176°C, or until the food is hot again.
How to use the air fryer to reheat nice cuts of meat
If you are using the air fryer to reheat a nice steak or a different cut of meat, there are a few things you’ll want to do to not dry out the meat.
- Let the cut of meat sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before reheating in the air fryer. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F/204°C.
- Place the meat inside the air fryer basket and cook for 3 minutes at 370°F/187°C.
- Check the internal temperature of the meat. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes if needed.
- If you have any sauces or cheese to place on top of the meat, do so during the last minute of cooking.
How To Clean An Air Fryer: 6 Tips For After Air Frying
Now that the food is done cooking and you have enjoyed a delicious meal, you will also need to clean the air fryer. I know this sounds daunting. But if you stay on top of it, cleaning the air fryer is actually really easy! Here are 6 tips to make cleaning the air fryer a breeze!
Tip 20: Always clean your air fryer after each use
The best way to upkeep your air fryer is to clean it every time you finish cooking something in it. Just believe me when I say it is so gross to clean an air fryer after never washing for 5 or more cooking cycles than it is to just clean it every time you finish using it. The following tips are some good practices to always keep your air fryer clean and shiny!
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: Check with your air fryer’s user manual first to see if there are any suggestions about how it should or should not be cleaned. For example, some air fryers can be placed in the dishwasher.
Tip 21: Use Dawn Powerwash
Once the air fryer has cooled down, wipe out the majority of the grease and rid it of any excess food. Then, spray the basket with Dawn Powerwash and don’t add water. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, wash the basket out with hot water and everything should be sparkly and clean again!
AIR FRYER PRO TIP: If you don’t have access to Dawn Powerwash or a similar product, hot soapy water goes a long way too! Just let the basket sit in some hot, soapy water and then wash it out.
Tip 22: Wipe down the heating element
After owning my first air fryer for over a year, I decided it was time to clean the top heating element of my air fryer. Please don’t wait a year to clean this part of your air fryer. It is so much easier to give the heating element a quick wipe with a damp paper towel once it has completely cooled after each use (or even once or twice a week) than having to do a deep clean of your air fryer.
Tip 23: Use a magic eraser
Speaking of deep cleaning your air fryer, I recommend using a magic eraser. It does an amazing job, period.
Learn more about how to deep clean your air fryer if you’ve never done it before!
Tip 24: Dry the air fryer with the air fryer
Once your air fryer basket is clean, pop it right back into the body of the air fryer and run it empty for 3-5 minutes until the inside is completely dry. Let the air fryer cool off before storing it, (if you don’t keep it on the counter).
Tip 25: Purchase another air fryer basket
If your air fryer basket has passed the point of no return, or if you feel like it isn’t worth the effort to deep clean it, contact your manufacturer to see if they sell the air fryer basket for your air fryer. This way, you don’t have to replace the entire air fryer unit. Thanks for this tip, Louise!
Bonus Tip 26: Purchase a second air fryer
If you love cooking in your air fryer and have a bigger crowd than 1 or 2, I recommend purchasing a second air fryer when it is on sale. This way, you can do twice the amount of cooking in the same amount of time.
Before you buy your air fryer, check out a few of these buying guide articles and videos
- Air Fryer Buying Guide
- Amazon’s Top Selling Air Fryers Review
- NEW Instant Vortex vs DREO AIR FRYER – Full Review
- 2021 Air Fryer Buying Guide
If you are a beginner with the air fryer, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed with cooking anything. Heck, even leftover pizza or frozen chicken wings in the air fryer can seem daunting. These 25 tips and tricks will help you overcome the overwhelm and to actually start cooking. If you need any additional help, consider signing up for my air fryer class and challenge! Get more information about this at airfryerchallenge.com.
How many of these tips did you already know? What is something new you learned? Do you have any additional tips or practices that I missed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.