Can You Put Foil in an Air Fryer?

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.

Using foil is only one good idea on our long list of air fryer hacks.

How to Use Foil in Your Air Fryer

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’ll need a sheet of aluminum foil to make this air fryer cookies recipe.

Aluminum Foil vs. Parchment Paper

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!

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Hannah Twietmeyer
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.