This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, please read my disclaimer here.
Air fryers. They’re such a versatile appliance, yet I hear the same question all the time. Can you put oil in an air fryer?
Well, here are all the answers you are looking for including where to put oil in an air fryer, which oils to use, and which oils are the healthiest for cooking in one.
Can You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?
Yes, and you should be using oil in some capacity for almost 75% of what you cook.
It can sound deceiving knowing an air fryer is so you don’t have to deep fry foods then finding out you need oil to cook in it.
The truth is, it is still much healthier than a deep fryer and cheaper. A deep fryer can easily hold a full container of vegetable oil. That’s at least $3.00 PLUS the cost of food.
It can add up! With an air fryer, even if you use it every day, it can take weeks to go through that same amount.
How Much Oil Do You Use in an Air Fryer?
While air frying, you use anywhere from 1 tsp. to 2 TBSP. of oil depending on the type of food you are cooking.
Where Do You Put Oil in an Air Fryer?
When air frying, you put the oil on the food, not in the basket. How you put the oil on the food will depend on what exactly you are cooking.
I explain this more below.
What Can I Use To Put Oil in an Air Fryer?
There are a variety of oil misters on the market to put oil into your air fryer. You can also use a basting brush when you’re using something with a bigger surface (think frozen chicken breasts).
Here are the top oil misters out there:
Evo Oil Sprayer Bottle
Misto Aluminum Bottle Oil Sprayer, Set of 2
Premium Olive Oil Mister and Cooking Sprayer
Misto Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer
What Foods Need Oil to Cook in an Air Fryer?
Frozen foods, egg rolls, fried ravioli, etc.
Spray food with about 1 tsp. of oil using an oil sprayer on all sides. When shaking the basket while cooking, if food looks too dry at any point, spray a little more oil on it.
I love to air on the side of a little more oil for taste preference. You are still using MUCH less than a deep fryer, making it healthier than the latter.
Roasting vegetables, such as diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.
Place cut up vegetables in a bowl with 1 TBSP – 2 TBSP of oil and toss together until well coated.
Leaving oil out in the above dishes can cause food to become dry and possibly even tough (no one wants that).
What Foods Should I Not Use Oil For?
Most meats (besides frozen) do not need oil. My rule is if the food needs oil if you were to cook it in the oven, you should use a little oil. This includes if you just need to spray a baking sheet to make it not stick.
6 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Air Fryer
How to Reheat Pizza in an Air Fryer
Air Fryer Pork Chops Recipe
Air Fried Crispy Gnocchi
Can I Use PAM Cooking Spray in an Air Fryer?
Simple answer? No. You should NEVER use PAM cooking spray inside an air fryer. Let me rephrase that. You should never use PAM on or in ANY non-stick appliance/pots.
PAM and other aerosol cooking sprays have an ingredient called soy lecithin. It ends up destroying the non-stick coating on the pan and adds a thick layer of sticky gunk. It’s basically impossible to remove.
The coating to make a pot or appliance, like your air fryer, non-stick is there so you don’t have to use anything else.
Be on the lookout for other cooking sprays, like this PAM Oil Mister that looks safe, but still contains soy lecithin.
If any of your food is sticking to the air fryer, feel free to spritz a little oil into the basket before placing your food in. You can also use a small amount of coconut oil and rub it in the basket before turning it on.
I learned the hard way through the years and completely destroyed my non-stick cooking pan from using PAM for quesadillas. Never again.
What Kinds of Oil Can I Use in an Air Fryer?
You can use any oil in an air fryer that you can use in an oven. This includes vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, and more.
Read more on the healthiest oils to use below.
What is the Healthiest Oil to Use?
There is not one oil that’s considered the “healthiest.” You’ll get different answers depending on who you ask, even if they are health experts.
Here are some of the “healthiest” oils to use:
- Canola oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
- Pure Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Peanut Oil
Here are some of the oils you can still use but aren’t as healthy as the ones above:
- Coconut Oil
- Any partially hydrogenated oils
- Vegetable Oil made with a blend of oils
- Palm Oil
- Corn Oil
*should only be used in temperatures up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit
I recommend having more than one mister for different types of oil, especially if you use extra virgin olive oil.
I love these 2-pack misters available on Amazon:
Evo Oil Sprayer Bottle, Set of 2
Misto Aluminum Bottle Oil Sprayer, Set of 2
What is your favorite thing to cook in your air fryer? What food do you want to know more about using oil with?
This article was originally posted on our recipe site, Everyday Family Cooking. You can view that post here.
Tuesday 14th of January 2020
Hi Samatha - Read here that thinner pizza should cook at higher temperature then followed link to reheating pizza in air fryer and it says the thinner the crust the lower the temp should be??
Saturday 18th of January 2020
Hi Terr, I apologize if you're seeing that information somewhere. I have searched through this post and do not see anything about reheating pizza in this specific post. If you could point me to where, I will gladly make sure to make those changes.
Thinner pizza should be cooked at a lower temperature in an air fryer. I have found that cooking thin crust pizza at a higher temperature can cause the pizza to heat unevenly and cause the crust to brown and burn.
Friday 27th of September 2019
Canola oil is not healthy, please do your own research and you will see for yourself
Friday 27th of September 2019
Hi Paul, yes, there is research out there recently to show canola oil may not be the healthiest of oil, no oils are officially "healthy." They all have different pieces that make them unhealthy as a whole, which is why everything is healthier without oil and air frying exists.
While I do agree some new research shows canola oil is not as "healthy" as once deemed, there is not enough to prove it is more unhealthy than other types of oil. There are also other research studies that say coffee is good for you and some that say it causes cancer, so always tread lightly on new research.
Saturday 4th of May 2019
Thank you so much you saved me from making mistakes with my brand new air fryer
Wednesday 15th of May 2019
Of course Eydie! A lot of people just don't use oil in an air fryer and then hate the results. A little oil goes a long way and it's still much healthier than deep frying!
Friday 12th of April 2019
This is super helpful! We got our air fryer at Christmas time and we're still experimenting and playing around with it. I haven't done many veggies yet, but I'm anxious to try them now!
Wednesday 17th of April 2019
Veggies are amazing in an air fryer! They take half as long to make since roasting them can take FOREVER! Plus you can use your oven for something else if you need to.
Wednesday 10th of April 2019
Great info! We had an oil sprayer but it broke. I think you gave me an idea for my husband's Easter basket ;)