Are you even a real cook if you don’t have an air fryer? Of course you are, but it seems that you can’t go anywhere now without seeing an assortment of them. Coming in all shapes and sizes and offering seven-in-one cooking capabilities, air fryers are the hottest culinary tools since the Instant Pot.
The air fryer is an awesome creation, boasting the ability to make crispy fries, without the need for hot oil, in a matter of minutes. While the enticing factor about an air fryer is that you can make “fried” deliciousness without using oil, there are many healthy meals to make as well. For example, you can cook a quick vegetable medley or make sweet potato fries, kale chips, and all sorts of other things. Some air fryers even have a dehydrator setting, which is perfect for making dried fruit, vegetable chips, and more.
All of this sounds wonderful, but the culinary creations don’t work out if you make common air fryer mistakes. There are little tips and tricks that take your air fryer meals to the next level, so don’t get in the way of your own success. Avoid making the following mistakes and your air fryer game will be hard to contend with.
6 Common Air Fryer Mistakes To Avoid
Not Allowing 5 Inches Of Space Around The Air Fryer
Just like people, the air fryer needs space. The reason you don’t want to sandwich it between a microwave, flower vase, spice rack, and a wall is because it needs adequate airflow. The last thing you want is for the air fryer to overheat, because it will malfunction if it does. For optimal air frying, don’t place anything on top of it and set it on a heat resistant pad.
Overcrowding The Basket
When purchasing an air fryer, the first thing to consider is volume. How much can it hold? You don’t want to buy a two-quart air fryer and try to cram six quarts of food in there. That is tip number one, but the second tip is that you should not overcrowd the fryer basket. This will only result in undercooked food. A recipe may state that the cooking time is only 15 minutes, but this won’t apply if you stuff the basket. When there is extra space in the basket, your food will cook more evenly.
You Don’t Preheat The Air Fryer
Depending on the air fryer you purchase, you may see different settings or options for cooking. Most models have the option to preheat, or simpler ones require putting an empty basket in to preheat for five minutes or so. Just like roasting or baking food in an oven, you want the temperature to be set when your food goes in. Not only will this optimize cooking time, but it will also contribute to even temperature and airflow, crisping your food to perfection.
You Only Use It To Make Fried Foods
This is the biggest mistake of all! Well, it is in our eyes, anyway. People forget that air fryers are for more than just “frying” food. It’s a natural convection oven, which means that you can cook and bake so many different meals. You can cook a vegetable medley, reheat leftovers, or even bake a cake in the air fryer. It’s not only intended for fries, churros, mozzarella sticks, and fried fish or chicken.
You Don’t Move Vegetables Around
If you want to evenly cook vegetables in the air fryer, you have to move them around, just as you would in a pan or baking dish. It’s ideal to frequently mix your vegetables during the cooking process. If you don’t do this, some will end up crisp and browned, while others will be undercooked with no browned exterior.
You Don’t Use Oil
When you cook most foods, you use oil, right? You have to do the same thing for foods that you cook in the air fryer. Failure to use some oil (don’t drown your food in oil) will result in soggy or chewy food. A light layer of oil will not only increase the flavor, but it will also help seasonings to cling to your food. If you season food without using oil, the powerful airflow will blow the spices clean off the food, and they may clog the filter. Then your food will be flavorless and your air fryer may end up malfunctioning.