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So you bought an air fryer. You’ve made a few recipes, but things aren’t working as well as you anticipated. Now you’re frustrated and about to put that appliance in storage, never to be seen again.
Here are 5 mistakes you can fix to get the best experience out of your air fryer. And trust me, you’re going to love this appliance!
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YOU’RE NOT ADDING OIL
Air fryers are famous for making fried foods healthier. People assume absolutely no oil is needed and end up with dried out food.
An air fryer works similar to that of a convection oven and moves the air around the food instead of the heat just being from the bottom of the oven.
With all that air movement, the food starts to lose moisture, which takes away the delicious flavors you love in fried food.
You only need 1 tsp – 1 TBSP of oil each time you use your air fryer to help bring that flavor and moisture back.
Since sprays, like PAM, can ruin your air fryer over time, I recommend using a mister like this EVO Oil Sprayer Bottle. You just simply put your own oil in the sprayer and you’re good to go. It’s even cheaper in the long run.
Here is an ultimate guide on how to use oil in an air fryer that explains what foods you should be using oil on and what foods should NEVER have oil on them (hint hint: air fried pork chops).
You may ask what makes an air fryer better than using an oven and the answer is simple. Crispiness.
An air fryer recreates the texture and crispiness you get when you fry food rather than softer texture you get when baking.
They can also make delicious food in half the amount of time without heating up the house, just like these Air Fryer Carrots in just 20 minutes.
They would normally take 40 minutes in the oven not including preheating time!
YOU’RE NOT REHEATING FOOD IN YOUR AIR FRYER
Nothing is worse than spending $20 on takeout pizza to have soggy soft reheated pizza the next day. Air fryers are great at keeping crispy foods, well… crispy when reheating them.
Turn your air fryer to 350-400 degrees F for just 3-4 minutes and your reheated leftovers will taste just as crispy as the night before. Just think – crispy, hot, and fresh reheated pizza in an air fryer (or any other food you want!).
I have reheated tater tots, french fries, pizza, vegetables, fried chicken, and more in an air fryer with big success. You can even reheat steak in your air fryer!
See how to reheat pizza in an air fryer here. I find that thinner foods work well at 400 degrees for less time while thicker foods like these Cheeseburger Slider Pockets are best at 350 degrees for a little longer.
Air Fryer Hard-Boiled Eggs
Instant Pot Baked Ziti
Air Fried Crispy Gnocchi Recipe
Air Fried Roasted Carrots
YOU’RE NOT USING IT TO ITS FULL RECIPE POTENTIAL
Did you know you could roast vegetables or even bake muffins in an air fryer? Heck, you can even cook bacon in an air fryer and it’s amazing!
Just like baking in an oven, there are some incredible air fryer cookbooks out there to help you make some delicious dishes.
Some cookbooks even include up to 550 recipes. That’s a lot of use out of our air fryer!
Here is a great list of the Best 7 Air Fryer Cookbooks out on the market for everyone. They even include vegetarian and vegan recipes!
YOU’RE PUTTING TOO MUCH IN IT
This is one mistake I was guilty of when I first bought my air fryer. I filled it up with homemade french fries expecting them to cook evenly and thoroughly.
I ended up with half burnt, half uncooked fries and disappointed in the results.
After reading through the manual and researching online, I found out you should never fill your air fryer more than halfway.
In fact, you should never even get close to halfway. This will destruct the air flow causing some fries to not get as much heat.
If you have a smaller air fryer, cook in batches. This means cooking a little at a time.
Everything will cook evenly and you will get the crispiness you are expecting.
If you plan to cook for a big family, eye on the side of a larger one. You will be able to cook more per batch.
How to Use Oil in an Air Fryer – Your Complete Guide
Air Fryer Pork Chops Recipe
A List of the Best Air Fryer Cookbooks on the Market
How to Reheat Pizza in an Air Fryer
YOU’RE NOT CHECKING YOUR FOOD AS IT COOKS
Recipes are not flawless. Each oven, stove, air fryer, even toaster are different. Just because a recipe says cook 15 minutes, doesn’t mean leave it in there for 15 minutes without checking on it. The same goes, especially for an air fryer.
Air fryers are actually designed so you can open them, check on your food, and shake the basket to move the food around without losing heat. You should shake the basket at least once while cooking.
This allows the food to get evenly cooked and allows you to ensure it is cooking at the right speed to avoid getting burnt.
Different air fryers also have different wattage, which cooks food at different rates. 15 minutes in one air fryer can mean 10 minutes in another and 20 minutes in the next.
If you notice your food is cooking faster than expected, lower the temperature a little bit to help it cook thoroughly. If the opposite happens and it’s cooking much slower, turn the temperature up.
BONUS: YOU’RE NOT BEING SAFE WITH YOUR AIR FRYER
DON’T LEAVE IT PLUGGED IN
If you are a This Is Us fan, you will understand this one. Just like a Crock Pot, never leave an air fryer plugged in. It is always wise to unplug an air fryer in case you accidentally leave it on.
Some don’t make noise when opened, so it is easy to forget you didn’t turn it off. Air fryers, like any other appliance, take up electricity when plugged in anyway.
KEEP IT ON SAFE SURFACE
It is also important where you place your air fryer. I recommend placing a piece of heatproof tile or a heatproof cutting board under the air fryer to avoid any unneeded heat on your counter. Certain counter materials can actually break when too much heat is applied to it.
Also, place your air fryer as far from the wall and outlet as possible. I set mine about 12 inches from the wall. Even though the machine is small, it still heats up to 400 degrees.
The machine can get hot and let off steam or excess heat. If left too close to a wall or outlet, it can melt anything close to it.
One place to never put your air fryer? ON THE STOVE!
I have seen multiple horror stories where the air fryer either melts to the stove or it explodes and ruins half of the kitchen. Does this mean an air fryer could explode when used? No.
It means a stove burner was accidentally left on, turned on, or not completely cool. The heat from under the air fryer on the stove is enough to heat the air fryer in a way it’s not intended to causing it to explode.
Even if you think you will be extra careful, just please do not put it on your stove at any time.
What mistake did you make when first using your air fryer? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for different ways to use your air fryer? Check out these recipes and cookbooks.
This article was originally posted on our recipe site, Everyday Family Cooking. You can view that post here.
Sunday 27th of March 2022
I didn't use any oil when cooking steaks & they turned out very dry. Learned my lesson.
Tuesday 11th of May 2021
Once the weather heated up I decided to finally use my new Air Fryer XL. I wanted to cook everything at once, so I put my fresh potato wedges near the bottom and frozen fish sticks on the top rack and gave them 20 minutes. Now I can LOL, however that was not the case that night. My fish sticks turned into fish chips and my fresh wedges were not completely done. I have since learned to cook frozen foods only with other frozen foods and fresh foods with fresh foods only. I also DO NOT over-load my Air Fryer anymore, I cook items by batches. I now use it a lot, for leftovers and reheating things like fried chicken, yes I said fried chicken. Believe it or not, the reheated fried chicken was crispy like the night before, SIMPLY AMAZING! I am still trying out new foods to cook, and learning which foods need oil versus the ones that don't. I love how my kitchen does not heat up, SUPER, DUPER great for the summer months during high two digits/three-digit weather.
Tuesday 16th of February 2021
Didn't hold outer basket when shaking. Dropped and broke. The price of a new basket was WHAT I paid for the whole air fryer. Purchased a new air fryer
Tuesday 16th of February 2021
Ouch, that stinks, Calvin. So sorry that happened. Sometimes that can be a faulty air fryer basket or that there was too much food around to be able to shake it. I know I've bought an extra Cosori basket (just to have on hand) for only 20% of the price of the normal air fryer. They also have a great warranty if something breaks like that.
Monday 28th of December 2020
I just got an air fryer for Christmas. Ive always made my own chicken tenders. By dipping chicken in eggs and milk. Then into a ziplock bag with flour and cornstarch, seasonings. Shaking chicken to coat then frying. Can i not do this in an airfryer?
Friday 8th of January 2021
Hi Barbara, yes you can do this, but I find that breading works better in the air fryer than flour and cornstarch. Here is an example of how I make chicken tenders in the air fryer.
Saturday 26th of December 2020
I have a glass top electric stove which is flat I put my air fryer on it when using it never had a problem yet
Friday 8th of January 2021
Hi Victor, I do not recommend putting your air fryer on the stove, no matter what kind of stove it is. The majority of air fryer fires start from people turning on burners accidentally. I've seen people melt their air fryer and have it break the glass top electric stoves because of it.