8 Air Fryer Cooking Tips You Need to Know
New to the air fryer? Here are a few secrets for success from our Test Kitchen experts.
Check your air fryer’s temperature.
Just like with ovens, temperatures may vary between air fryer models. Test your air fryer to see if it runs above or below the selected temperature setting. You’ll want your fryer nice and hot for these air-fried eggplant fries.
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Know your air fryer’s cooking times.
Since air fryer temperatures vary, so do cook times. That’s why our air fryer recipes have wider time ranges. So, to find your air fryer cooking times you’ll need to experiment. Start checking the food at the shortest time, and check back a little later if it’s not done.
Give it a shake (or a flip).
To help food crisp, always turn, rotate or shake contents in air fryer basket (just like flipping french fries, fish fillets or homemade chicken strips halfway through cooking in a traditional oven).
Cook food in a single layer for best results.
Allow plenty of air circulation to get even cooking and crispy results. One exception where you can stack and pack foods is if you’re roasting veggie side dishes in the air fryer. For instance, you can load the basket with a pound of Brussels sprouts and roast them at 350° for 12-15 minutes, stirring once.
Bake up a little treat.
Yes, you can bake homemade cookies in the air fryer! All it takes is a few minutes and chilled dough on stand-by. Models differ in their “baking” functions, so test just one or two cookies at first. You may need to adjust the temperature or cooking time.
Seeing smoke? Here’s what to do.
First off, don’t panic. Simply unplug the air fryer and remove the food basket. Make sure no food is lodged in the heating coil. Return food to the air fryer and continue cooking. If smoke persists, there may be oil or residue on the heating element. Unplug the machine, cool, and then wipe the coil clean with a damp cloth, just like the heating coil on an electric stove. From now on, make sure to clean your air fryer on the regular.
Use a thermometer when cooking meat.
Because the food can brown nicely on the outside before reaching an appropriate temperature on the inside, checking the temp with a meat thermometer is an important step for safety. That goes for previously frozen foods and fresh ones.
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It’s a quick option when cooking for one or two.
Any more than that, and you may have to cook in batches—so be sure to account for that in your timing. Find the best air fryer for your lifestyle.