Sarah Farmer, executive culinary director at Taste of Home, explains how to use foil in an air fryer the right way.
Yes, air fryers are easy to use and even easier to clean, but we’re always looking for ways to keep the whole process as simple as possible. It seems like a no-brainer to pop a sheet of aluminum foil in the air fryer basket for a quick cleanup! So, can you put foil in an air fryer? Is it safe? Will it affect the food you’re cooking? Let’s take a look.
Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
The short answer is “yes.” If you remember the last time (if ever!) you put aluminum foil in your microwave, it’s a scary thought. But the way an air fryer works is different. When the cooking process begins, hot air is circulated around with a fan, crisping and browning your food sans oil. Because air fryers use hot air instead of electromagnetic radiation, you don’t have worry about aluminum foil causing sparks to fly.
The key to using aluminum foil with your air fryer is to keep it secured in the basket, because the one thing you do have to worry about is loose or flyaway foil.
“Make sure foil is weighed down with food or secured firmly to the cooking vessel (ramekin, pan or silicone mold) so it doesn’t fly up to the fan, which sits right behind the heating coil,” says Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home‘s executive culinary director. “Foil on coil—now that could cause a problem.”
To safely use aluminum foil in your air fryer, mold and shape it to the basket or food you’re cooking, and keep things neat and tidy. Tuck in any loose ends or edges. No flyways, no problem!
You can use foil or parchment paper in your air fryer to make cleanup easy. However, parchment paper is probably a better option.
Some acidic foods should not be air-fried with foil—we’re looking at you, tomatoes and citrus fruits. According to Insider, foods with a high acid content can react with foil, and the acids can break down the aluminum. Parchment paper, while not as easy to cut and mold as aluminum foil, is your best bet when air-frying these foods, since it’s not a reactive material. It’s also less likely to stick to food the way foil can.
Otherwise, foil is a fine option to use in the air fryer. You can even get creative, making tiny trays to achieve a golden-brown crust on whatever you’re cooking!
You can't go wrong with these crispy air-fryer chicken wings. Our spice rub has a nice kick from the cayenne seasoning. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Oh, and if you're tired of cooking in batches, these stackable air-fryer racks are just what you need.
If you're looking for a hearty meal perfect for two, then look no further. This air-fryer meat loaf cooks quickly. Plus, it's easy to double for sandwiches the next day. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
Using the air-fryer is a genius way to make these golden, toasty sandwiches. I think this method gets the cheese the gooiest. If I'm making only one air-fryer grilled cheese, I'll also pop in a few fries with the sandwich. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
Being a vegetarian, it's been hard for me not to lean toward heavier, carb-laden foods. This recipe for chickpea meatballs satisfies my cravings and doesn't leave me with a heavy feeling. —Sara Willen, Cypress, Texas
This low-calorie, air-fryer recipe is perfect because I can whip it up at a moment's notice with ingredients I have on hand. The fries are so crispy, you won't miss the deep fryer! —Dawn Parker, Surrey, British Columbia
I like to make these air-fryer quesadillas for party appetizers. Just cut them into thinner triangles. You can also switch up the cheese and the salsa to suit your taste. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
Yes, you can make banana bread in the air fryer! This easy air-fryer recipe is a cinch to put together. Eat it while it's still warm or at room temperature with a spread of butter. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
This is a wonderful alternative to boiling eggs on the stovetop. These air-fryer hard-boiled eggs are just as easy and super quick—a perfect way to put your air fryer to use! —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I love Buffalo wings, but sometimes I'm looking for something a little different. Enter the cauliflower! This air-fryer Buffalo cauliflower is fantastic as an appetizer or as a side dish. —Emily Tyra, Lake Ann, Michigan
My husband is not crazy about chicken, but one of his favorite snacks are Jalapeno Poppers, so I created this dinnertime recipe to give our chicken plenty of flavor. He loves it cooked this way and best of all is the quick cooking with little cleanup! — Donna Gribbins, Shelbyville, Kentucky
This air-fryer garlic bread turns out perfectly toasted in a hurry. I use fresh garlic, but substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder if you don't have any fresh on hand. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
I love roasting carrots to bring out their sweetness. I think thyme really complements the flavor of these air-fryer carrots, but feel free to mix it up and use other herbs, like rosemary or tarragon. —Marlene Schott, Devine, Texas
I added all of the components of a loaded baked potato—cheddar, potato, bacon, sour cream and chives—to this air-fryer recipe. Every kid will love this quick and easy dish! —Cyndy Gerken, Naples, Florida
I needed to use up meat in my fridge, but I didn't want to wait for it to roast. I tried this air-fryer recipe, and not only was it quick, but my family loved it. You can play with different preserves to make your favorite flavors. —Lynn Caruso, Gilroy, California
Hot, crispy potato latkes are such a treat, but who wants to deal with all the oil and grease? I tried making air-fryer latkes and they came out just as good without all the cleanup. —Nancy Salinas, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Enjoy deep-fried pickles? You’ll love this version even more. Dill pickle slices are coated with panko bread crumbs and spices, then air-fried until crispy. Dip them in ranch dressing for an appetizer you won’t soon forget. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
Looking for the best air-fryer fish recipes? Try these simple fish and chips. The fish fillets have a fuss-free coating that's healthier but just as crunchy and golden as the deep-fried kind. Simply seasoned, the crispy fries are perfect on the side. —Janice Mitchell, Aurora, Colorado
(Try these other air-fryer fish recipes, too!)
I live in Tennessee and absolutely love our state's famous Nashville hot chicken. To make cooking it easier, I thought I’d try air-frying. I’m so glad I did—this Nashville hot chicken recipe is almost better than the original. —April Lane, Greeneville, Tennessee
My mom taught me how to make egg rolls, and since she passed away I think of her every time I make them. These air-fryer egg rolls taste so good, you'll never want a fast-food egg roll again. —Jenniffer Love, South Waltham, Massachusetts
While visiting a friend in St. Louis, Missouri, I tried fried ravioli at almost every restaurant we visited. When I got home, I had to try to replicate them, and I think this air-fryer recipe comes pretty close. —Cristina Carrera, Kenosha, Wisconsin
An air fryer makes these easy apple fritters healthier than old-fashioned fritters, yet they are still just as delicious. They're a quick and easy dessert that includes a scrumptious brown butter glaze! —Alyssa Castriotta, North Scituate, Rhode Island
This air-fryer recipe is my go-to Thanksgiving side dish. It's healthy and easy, and it doesn't take very much time or effort to make. I usually use rosemary for my turkey, so this lets me use up some of the leftover herbs! —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
This cinnamon treat reminds me of baklava; but with only a few easy ingredients, it's a fraction of the work. My Aunt Adele shared the recipe with me, and I think of her whenever I make it. It's one of my favorite air-fryer snacks! —Sue Falk, Sterling Heights, Michigan
Whether you have to run out the door in the morning or you take a few minutes to relax at the table, these breakfast egg rolls will hit the spot. The egg and sausage mixture can be made the night before, so in the morning, just roll, fry and go! —Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire
When it starts to get cold, I love to make this quick and creamy Tater Tot bake. It's a delightful homey dinner that's easy to put together. I make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. Then I just pop it into the air fryer when I get home. —Donna Donhauser, Remsen, New York
I can never get enough of this air-fryer recipe! Even though my grocery store sells them in the frozen foods section, I still love to pull sweet potatoes out of my garden and slice them up fresh! —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
This air-fryer recipe is one of my husband's favorites because it reminds him of his German roots. Cooking pork schnitzel in an air fryer is genius because we can eat in a jiffy. —Joyce Folker, Paraowan, Utah
Trying new air-fryer recipes—like this Wellington—is one of my favorite hobbies. I replaced the filet mignon with ground beef, while still keeping the beefy goodness. —Julie Frankamp, Nicollet, Minnesota
I grew up with a family that looked forward to Thanksgiving leftovers. But we didn't just reheat turkey and spuds in the microwave—we took our culinary creativity to a new level with recipes like these air-fryer turkey croquettes. Serve them with a crisp green salad for an unforgettable meal. —Meredith Coe, Charlottesville, Virginia
Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare veggies. Some fragrant rosemary, fresh or dried, gives these air-fryer red potatoes a distinctive but subtle taste. The dish is simple to prepare yet elegant in color and flavor. It's a wonderful addition to any menu. —Margie Wampler, Butler, Pennsylvania
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.