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30 Air Fryer Hacks You’ll Want To Try

Woman cooking with modern Air fryer

30 Air Fryer Hacks You’ll Want To Try

If you have an air fryer at home, here are some air fryer hacks that you need to know! Oftentimes, most people see an air fryer as a way to warm up or cook their favorite meals quickly. But what many people aren't aware of is you can actually be really creative with how you use your air fryer. Today, we're going to cover some basic hacks you need to know when cooking with an air fryer as well as the best ways to utilize your air fryer. We'll also cover some fun food items that you can make using your air fryer. There are so many cool things you can do and make with your air fryer that the possibilities are endless. So, with that being said, let's get into it!


Woman cooking with modern Air fryer

©Hazal Ak/Shutterstock.com

Although preheating isn't a requirement, preheating your air fryer can be an important part of the process. Just like you would preheat your regular oven, you can preheat your air fryer. This will allow the air fryer to be hot and ready for your food to cook quicker once you put it in.

Use Limited Oil

Although the name says fryer, you're not going to use a lot of oil to fry your food. Although this seems like an odd concept, that's what people love about their air fryers most. Reducing the oil is a healthier way to cook your food. If anything, you'll only use a little bit of oil to keep foods from sticking.

Shake The Basket

Shaking the basket a few times is great to make sure your food gets evenly cooked. Just like you would flip or turn your food in a regular oven, this accomplishes a similar result. But it's quicker and easier. Get the best results by shaking the basket twice throughout the cooking process.

Woman at home using an air fryer. Making healthy food, frying without the use of oil
Regularly shaking the basket is important to ensure your food gets cooked evenly.

©Hazal Ak/Shutterstock.com

Use Special Parchment Paper

Although many foods do not require a covering over the bin, if you're cooking anything with a sticky ingredient like cheese, you'll want to protect your air fryer. But you can't cover your bin all the way. You still need to make sure that air can flow through the cooker. So make sure to get the parchment paper for air fryers with holes, or make sure you add holes to the parchment paper you have.

Use Aluminum Carefully

Similar to using parchment paper, using aluminum foil can help keep your air fryer clean. However, it may not be safe to use aluminum in every air fryer. First, make sure to check your manufacturer's instructions. When using foil, make sure it's secure so it doesn't get blown around. If it hits the heating element, it could cause a fire.

Roast Coffee

A fun thing you can do in your air fryer is roast coffee! If you've never roasted coffee at home, it's surprisingly easy and delicious. Buy unroasted beans, place them in a single layer in the air fryer bin, and cook them for 40 minutes. Then, you'll have freshly roasted coffee ready once it is ground. You can use a hand grinder or an electric grinder.

Toast Bagels and Bread

Using your air fryer to toast your bagels or bread is great if they're too big for your toaster. If you've ever gotten a thick bagel, you know that sometimes the toaster is not an option. Although some air fryers have a specific toast setting, without it, you only need to cook your bagel for a few minutes.

Hardboil Eggs

Cooking hardboiled eggs can sometimes feel like a hassle, and you can often under or overcook your yolk. Well, making your hardboiled eggs in the air fryer is easy and consistent. Place your air fryer at 250 and cook for approximately 17 minutes. If you prefer soft-boiled, cook for 13 minutes or 15 minutes for medium-boiled.

Fry Peaches

Frying peaches is a delicious Summer treat. Whether you're using fresh peaches or canned peaches, you can make a delicious “grilled” peach or a cobbler. For fresh peaches, cook at 350 degrees for five minutes. For canned peaches, cook for 15-30 minutes depending on how you prepare it.

Thaw Frozen Veggies

Instead of cooking your frozen veggies in the microwave, opt to cook them in the air fryer. But, if you do this, you should first thaw your veggies. If cooked unthawed, they can become soggy. To avoid this, just pull your veggies out ahead of time, and do a quick dry off before cooking in air fryer.

Top view of raw bacon slices in air fryer
Another way to cook your bacon is by using an air fryer.

©Nancy Salmon/Shutterstock.com

Use To Bake Cookies

If you didn't know already, you can make baked goods in the air fryer. Opting to do this can be helpful if you want to cook and bake at the same time and your oven is occupied with other food. It's also helpful in the Summer to keep the temperature down in your house by not using the oven. Just know that cookies will bake quicker in an air fryer, so don't overcook them.

Make Donuts

Making donuts is one of the best-kept secrets about an air fryer. In just 10 minutes, you can make homemade donuts using biscuits. Cut out the middle of the biscuit and cook in the air fryer for five minutes. Then, remove them, cover them in melted butter, and sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar blend.

Bake A Cake

To continue the idea of baking, you can also bake a cake in your air fryer. Although you may need to change your settings depending on your air fryer, it's still a good way to make a cake. Air fryers are known for “frying” because they pull out the moisture. This is something to be aware of when making a cake since most people like a moist cake. Halfway through cooking your cake, if it looks too brown or dark, cover it with aluminum foil to trap in the moisture.

Dehydrate Veggies and Fruits

If you have extra produce lying around or if you prefer to make your own snacks at home, using your air fryer to dehydrate veggies and fruits is a great way to do so. Some common dehydrated fruits and veggies that people like to snack on include strawberries, peaches, kiwi, edamame, and zucchini. To dehydrate, cook these low and slow. Typically, recipes call for 175 degrees for a few hours, but this will vary depending on what you're cooking.

Fix Stale Tortilla Chips

Have you ever had to throw away a bag of tortilla chips because the bag wasn't properly closed? Well, pitch no more! You can bring your stale tortilla chips back to life using your air fryer. Place the chips in the basket and cook for just a few minutes, shaking the basket every 30 seconds so the chips don't burn.

Don't Use Cooking Spray

Although using cooking spray like Pam seems like the best way to quickly and easily grease your air fryer basket, this should be avoided. Cooking sprays are made with additives to extend the shelf life of the product. These additives, sadly, can damage the coating on the basket of your air fryer. Instead of using a cooking spray, you can use a brush to cover your basket lightly with regular cooking oil.

Use Accessories

You can widely expand the things you make if you have a good stock of air fryer accessories. There are accessories like silicone liners, skewer racks, special tongs, oven mitts, etc. Of these, some of the most popular are the silicone liners. These allow you to make egg bites, mini casseroles, and other small hand-held finger foods.

Use Wet Rubs

When cooking meat in the air fryer, it is actually better to use a wet rub rather than a dry rub when it comes to seasonings and marinating. Air fryers work by moving around hot air to cook the food, so if dry seasoning is just lying on top of your food, it could blow off. Also, air fryers work by drying foods out, so having a wet rub can help your meats keep some moisture.

Hand Wash

Hand washing your air fryer will help extend its lifespan. Although placing your air fryer trays and basket into the dishwasher may be easier, taking a few extra minutes to do it by hand will help you in the long run. Often, in the manufacturer's instructions, you'll find they say you can use the dishwasher, but even they recommend washing by hand. Hand washing can help reduce damage to the nonstick coating.

Use A Thermometer

Having a cooking thermometer is a great tool in your kitchen. Although most recipes offer the right amount of time to cook your food, it is always best practice to ensure your meat is cooked to the degree it needs to be. Each meat requires to be cooked to a different temperature. Poultry requires 165 degrees, and beef, pork, and lamb should reach 145 degrees.

Cooking skinless chicken breast with spices in an air fryer
Your meat doesn't have to be thawed to cook in an air fryer.

©Francisco Zeledon/Shutterstock.com

Cook Frozen Meat

One of the best features of having an air fryer is its ability to cook frozen meat. There's nothing worse than forgetting to pull out your frozen meat so it can thaw throughout the day. Well, that concern can be thrown out the window with an air fryer. To cook your frozen meat in the air fryer, just increase the amount of time you cook it and use your thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the meat.

Add Water For Greasy Food

If you've ever cooked greasy food in your air fryer, you might have noticed some smoke on occasion. This can often happen if food is stuck in the basket and gets further cooked and burnt, or the grease starts to burn. To avoid this from happening, you can actually add some water to your air fryer. It doesn't require a lot of water. Adding just one cup of water to the base of the air fryer can keep this from happening.

Don't Stack Food

Although this may seem obvious since directions always say to place food in a single layer, it is often tempting to stack food so you can make more at once. But, this can directly impact how well and even your food will cook. Stacking food can keep the airflow from moving the way that it needs to. This is especially important when it comes to meat because although the edges might be cooked, the middle could be undercooked. This can lead to illness and food poisoning if not careful.

Proof Dough

The ability to proof dough is a really fun air fryer trick! Depending on the type of air fryer you have, some models have a setting that uses warm air to create the perfect rising conditions for a bread dough. And then, once your dough is fully proofed, you can even use your air fryer to make your bread loaf.

Clean Regularly

Although it's really easy to just dump your food out and close the air fryer basket, it's best to take a few extra minutes to clean out your air fryer. When you don't regularly clean your air fryer, grease can build up and food can get stuck to the trays. To keep your air fryer working correctly and as intended, just quickly rinse down with soap and water, and this will do wonders.

Cook Corn On The Cob

Skip the grill! Although grilling is fun on a beautiful day, if you want to make your dinner easier, you can opt to use the air fryer for corn on the cob. It's a great way to cook your corn during the cold months as well. Brush the corn with oil and seasonings, then cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Reheat Left Overs

Sometimes, using the microwave to reheat your leftovers just doesn't cut it. When you have crispy food, reheating it in the microwave makes it soft and soggy. So, don't ruin your leftovers. Instead, reheat them in the air fryer. The air fryer removes moisture to keep or make your food crispy. Great foods to reheat in the air fryer include fried chicken, pizza, seafood, roasted veggies, nachos, and more.

Cook Seafood

The air fryer is a great option when you're cooking seafood. Whether you don't want to grill or use the stovetop or if you're worried about stinking up the oven, this is where the air fryer can be handy. An air fryer will help make your seafood crispy, giving it a delicious flavor and even replicating restaurant quality. It's also significantly easier to clean than your oven. Altogether, this makes it a great option for seafood.

Use Skewers For Small Food

Since the bottom of an air fryer basket has holes or if you're using a cooking tray, often, small foods can fall through and cause you trouble. If you're cooking small foods, a famous trick is to use skewer sticks! Skewering your food together will keep them close so that they can't fall through.

Pick the Right Cooking Oil

Choosing the right oil for what you're cooking is important. Each type of oil has a different smoke point. So, if you need to cook over 400 degrees, you wouldn't want to choose olive oil because it has a smoke point of 375 degrees. Here are the smoke points for common household cooking oils. Avocado oil has a 400-degree smoke point. Grape seed oil has a 390-degree smoke point. Peanut oil has a 450-degree smoke point. Vegetable oil has a range of 400-450 degrees for a smoke point. Similarly, sesame oil ranges from 350 to 410 degrees.

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