The Simple Trick for Perfectly Golden Air Fryer Food Every Time

Miss the golden brown of authentic fried food? Check out this simple tip on how to get better air fryer food ever time.

At first, the air fryer seemed like a bit of a fad (kind of like the George Foreman grills of yore). But the second I saw how well these gadgets crisped up frozen foods and our favorite apps, I changed my tune! Frozen fries, fresh egg rolls and much, much more turned out as crispy and delicious as if they were fresh from the deep fryer. The only thing I really missed about these air fried foods was that perfect golden color that you get from traditional frying. It turns out, getting that just-fried color isn’t hard to do. Food editor Sue Stetzel filled me in.

How to Get Crispy, Golden Air Fryer Food

Air fryers rely on the circulation of hot air instead of oil to produce crispy food. They do use some oil (only a tablespoon or two) but not enough to provide you with that picture-perfect color and crispness. That color is a product of the oil and it’s near impossible to get it without a little fat.

“That’s where Pam saves the day,” Sue says. “A quick spritz will give your air fried food that nice golden color and crispy texture.”

Really, that is it! A simple mist of cooking spray over the top of your food will give your favorite air fryer recipes that just-right color without adding any significant calories or fat.

The Added Bonus of This Air Fryer Trick

Sue adds that while many any air fryers—including our Test Kitchen’s favorite—have nonstick cooking baskets and trays, sticky baked on sugars and cheese can still be a pain to clean. She says, “A light coating of Pam will just give an added layer of protection to keep these messes from becoming troublesome.” Of course, be sure to check with your air fryer manual—some recommend avoiding nonstick sprays.

Armed with this trick, you’re ready to make your best ever air fryer appetizers and dinners. Now get (air) frying!

Here’s our Test Kitchen’s complete guide to air fryers.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.