More and more people choose to lead a healthy lifestyle instead of keeping old eating habits that include tons of deep-fried, fatty food.
Choosing in favor of an air fryer is a reasonable solution in this case, as it requires only sprinkles of oil, and lets you fry, grill, roast, and bake food.
If you’re a novice to the whole idea, you may definitely have many questions on using an air fryer.
So in this article, we will answer all commonly asked questions.
What is an Air Fryer?
Let’s get down to basics and find out what an air fryer actually is. The first thing to know is that an air fryer doesn’t fry in the traditional meaning of this word. The air fryer uses circulated hot air to cook food, therefore, using less oil. The air fryer lets you roast food that otherwise you would cook on a grill.
Normally, Maillard reaction is achieved with the help of hot oil rather than hot air. To put it simply, the Maillard reaction is behind food becoming brown and crispy. By heating sugar and proteins, baked foods develop darkened crust, french fries and chips become golden brown, and steak and other meat become brown.
In an air fryer, the basket has a lot of holes or is made from wire which allows food to make contact with hot air, cooking it quickly and perfectly all while getting that desired crispy consistency.
Air Fryer: commonly asked questions, answered
Do you put oil in an air fryer?
Yes, you add oil to an air fryer. But, it wouldn’t be the same amount as you use in a deep fryer. To cook in an air fryer, you need even less than a tablespoon of oil and, in most cases, just a sprinkle of it. It is also possible not to add oil at all, but if this is the case, you will need to shake your air fryer frequently to be sure that food will not stick.
How to preheat an air fryer?
The first thing you should know is that not all foods need a preheated air fryer. For instance, thick and frozen meat, delicately cut vegetables, pastries, cakes, and bread might be burned or become crispy from the outside while inside is still raw.
Some foods require pre-heating, such as steaks, precooked frozen foods, chicken tenders, and thin pork chops.
Most models have a pre-heating function that you need to press to start the process. But if your model doesn’t have it, you should follow these two steps.
- Firstly, you should set the desired temperature.
- Secondly, press “on”, and based on the size of your air fryer, let it heat for about 2 to 5 minutes.
Can you bake in an air fryer?
Yes, you can. But you’ll need to make a few adjustments, as the air fryer is not the same size as a conventional oven. Also, there are some types of food that you can’t bake in the air fryer, such as anything with cheese that is exposed, mini-sized cupcakes, and basically everything else that is downsized.
That said, there are lots of foods that you can bake in the air fryer, such as cookies, cakes, cupcakes, quick bread, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, chiffon, and sponge cakes. Speaking about cookies, cooking a small batch of them will take you only about 5 minutes. You should sprinkle the basket with butter or place parchment paper to avoid sticking.
The surface of cakes, cupcakes, and quickbreads will be slightly caramelized and crisp after contact with the heating element of an air fryer. The centers of these foods will be soft and fluffy as if you were cooking in the oven.
If you’re after making cinnamon rolls, you should cut them into smaller pieces and smaller batches. If you want to cook frozen cinnamon rolls, it will take you no more than 10 minutes to get that brownish look.
Although traditionally, doughnuts are cooked in a deep fryer, you can make healthier ones using an air fryer. You just need to adjust temperature, heat and make sure that there’s a lot of space between them.
Making a sponge cake is a challenge, but you can tackle it by baking it in a sturdy metallic pan and covering it with aluminum foil with holes in it.
How to cook in an air fryer?
Regardless if you have an air fryer or air fryer combo, cooking with the help of an air fryer is pretty easy. as there’re a lot of presets included. The only thing that you need to do is to choose the right setting for the recipe that you need. Also, there’re a few useful practices to know about.
- Whenever it’s required by the recipe, you should preheat the air fryer.
- You should have a spray bottle for oil, as you need only a sprinkle.
- In order to have your food properly cooked, you shouldn’t overcrowd the basket, so all food should be placed in a single layer.
- If it’s inconvenient for you to turn the food one by one, you can shake the basket while cooking.
- Before taking the food out onto the plate, you need to pop out the basket to avoid unnecessary grease leek to your plate.
Can you put frozen food in an air fryer?
Yes, you can. In fact, the frozen food is created to be cooked in an air fryer as it will be perfectly roasted in a short time. You can fry frozen foods such as french fries, fish sticks, chicken wings and nuggets, pizza rolls and bagels, and hot pockets.
What can you cook in an air fryer?
Aside from a lot of baked and frozen food that we’ve covered above, you can also cook vegetables such as summer squash, potatoes, root vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms. You can roast various kinds of meat and fish, make the most delicious burgers and hot dogs, and cook mouth-watering crispy bacon. Also, you can roast nuts as it’s faster and will not take more than 10 minutes.
What can you not cook in an air fryer?
You should steer clear of cooking any foods in an air fryer that have wet batter or coating as they won’t be cooked properly, and you’ll end up with a mess.
As it was mentioned before, try to avoid cooking anything that has exposed cheese as you’ll get a messy result.
Also, it would be impossible to cook rice and other grains as they need boiling water.
You should avoid dry seasoning anything that you put in the air fryer as it not only will stick to the surface but can clog the machine.
Delicate watery greens should be avoided as they will likely be burnt.
We hope that we were able to provide you with some understanding of what you can and can’t do while cooking in the air fryer. Summing up, while baking, cooking frozen food, roasting, grilling, you need to add only a sprinkle of oil of your choosing. An air fryer is a wonderful addition to every household that will surely help you to enjoy food and at the same time follow a healthy lifestyle.