The air fryer has become a beloved kitchen appliance and for good reason. It is efficient, easy to use, and possibly space-saving for those who can’t fit a full oven in their apartment. What it isn’t though is indestructible. To prolong the life of the appliance, avoid making these common air fryer mistakes.
Forgetting to Pre-heat
To get the best results, it’s important to pre-heat to get the air fryer to the right temperature. It’s the same concept as pre-heating the oven or the oil in the frying pan before placing your food. Although the recommended temperature varies per appliance, anywhere between 160 and 180 C would do. No one wants undercooked food.
Overcrowding the Basket
You want to make sure there’s enough room for hot air to circulate and heat your food. Most air fryers can fit 2-4 servings at a time. Anything more than that should be cooked in another batch. On a similar note, shake the basket occasionally when cooking small cuts like vegetables to ensure it cooks evenly. As for bigger portions, give it a flip halfway through rather than shaking.
Not Using Cooking Oil
One of the selling points of an air fryer is being able to make healthy alternatives to deep-fried foods. But that doesn’t mean you should ditch cooking oil altogether. Adding even just half a teaspoon of cooking oil to frozen items will give it that golden color. For meat and vegetables, coat it with oil to achieve that crispy texture.
Cooking Foods That are Too Wet
This goes for food with heavy batters, damp vegetables, and wet meat. Avoid getting soggy food by patting your meat and veggies dry with a paper towel and adapting battered food with thicker coatings (e.g. breading mix). The reason behind this is air fryers trap the moisture, steaming the food instead of crisping them up.
Delaying the Wash
Washing the basket between each use prevents crumbs and grease from building up. Delaying the cleaning process will leave stubborn residue behind, which could affect the flavors of your next meal. A tip for maintaining the non-stick coating is to use warm, soapy water and a soft sponge or cloth. And while it’s not necessary, placing aluminum at the bottom makes clean-up easier.