How to Use an Air Fryer Like a Pro
The innovation of the air fryer is meant to revolutionize frying food, as it allows you to cook delicious low-fat meals. However, there are some common mistakes in using air fryers that are better to avoid. 5-Minute Crafts has got you covered with some master tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your air fryer.
1. Preheat your fryer.
Although preheating is not required for all recipes or air fryers, you might want to try preheating it, as some home cooks claim that doing so will actually make a difference in the way your food tastes and get you better results with the recipes. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should check on your food during the cooking process because preheating can make the cooking time shorter, and you won’t want to deal with overcooked food.
2. Secure lightweight food.
One of the reasons why people buy air fryers has to do with the fact that this device allows you to cook healthier versions of snacks, like chips, for instance. However, we need to emphasize that air fryers work by blowing hot air around, while the food you cook is placed in a basket with holes, which means that air circulates all around your food. This basically ends up by having light stuff blown around and it is not pleasant to have light snacks, like kale chips, scorched on the heating device.
To solve this issue, just secure lighter food with toothpicks or put a rack over the chips so that they stay in place.
3. Don’t skip the oil or use too much of it.
Although air fryers are built for oil-free healthy frying, this doesn’t really mean you should completely remove oil from the process. If you add just a bit of oil, not only will the flavor will be better, but it will help the food get browner too. Just make sure you don’t use cold-pressed oil because, according to some air fryer manufacturers, it has a low smoke point. In case you want to cook a batch of fries, just add 1.5 tsp of oil to the bowl with potatoes prior to cooking or spray them lightly, then toss them and put them into the preheated fryer.
On the other hand, don’t go to the other extreme and treat your air fryer like a deep fryer, as this makes no sense. If you add too much oil, the food will get soggy and less healthy than you wanted. Moreover, the dripping oil can end up on the hot bottom of the fryer and cause smoke and even overheating. That means that you will ruin your appliance.
4. Check on the food.
The air fryer has some advantages to it that should be used the right way. One of them is that you can open it up to check how the cooking is going and close it again without doing any harm to the cooking process. The color of the food usually gets golden when the food is done.
5. Use it to its full potential.
Most people decide to purchase an air fryer to make healthier French fries or chicken strips, but you should know that this appliance offers a much wider range of options. In an air fryer, you can cook vegetables, but also bake and even roast a whole chicken if it’s not too big. This appliance can be used to make your cold fried food reheated and crispy again as well. Therefore, you should make sure to explore the entire potential of your air fryer.
6. Do not overfill the basket.
The key advice on how to use your air fryer the right way is to ensure that the air can circulate around your food. So basically, you need to leave some space inside the air fryer basket. If not, the air will simply not be able to evenly blow, which will result in overcooking some bits of food and undercooking others. For this reason, it is not recommended to overfill the basket.
7. Shake the basket with food or flip the food placed in one layer.
We did just mention the importance of not overfilling the basket of your air fryer, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put several layers of fries into your basket. You just have to shake the basket from time to time during the process because you need to ensure all the ingredients come into contact with the circulating air. In case you’re cooking chicken strips in one layer, for example, you have to flip them over to help cook them evenly and obtain a nice golden color.
8. Don’t cook wet food.
It’s important to remember that wet coating cannot be fried in an air fryer because this kind of coating sticks to the air fryer basket and drips through its holes. This issue not only creates a huge mess, but it also takes away the crispy effect you’d like, making the food (like fish sticks, for example) soft and chewy.
9. Pick the right size for you.
This appliance can be purchased in different sizes, which means the price of it can vary as well. Take a look at the recommendations that might be useful while picking the right size of an air fryer for your needs.
- 2-quart fryer: This is a good option only for people who cook for themselves and perhaps for one other person. However, both people should be light eaters.
- 3-quart fryer: This is an acceptable option for cooking for no more than 2 to 3 people.
- 4-quart fryer: This is a much more versatile option if you need to cook for 2 to 3 people.
- 6-quart fryer: We recommend this type of air fryer for a family of 4.
- 8-quart fryer: This air fryer does its job for a large family or for parties.
10. Don’t forget to adapt the recipes.
When starting to use your appliance, it’s not a bad idea to learn the basic tricks from an air fryer recipe book. However, when the moment to try out new meals comes, you can actually just use your deep-frying recipes and adapt them to work with your new frying appliance. Try to reduce 25 degrees from the cooking temperature for deep-frying and implement all the tips mentioned above, as they work the same for any recipe.
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