An air fryer is one of those things every kitchen needs. You can use an air fryer for all your favorite and newly favorite recipes. You will enjoy tasty results in no time with a crisp and tender texture that only air fryers can produce. So, when you finally take out the credit card and invest in a good quality air fryer, but your expectations are let down, don’t return it just yet. Tasteless, overcooked, or undercooked meals are some of the most common air fryer mistakes we all make from time to time.
Still, many mistakes using an air fryer can be easily learned from and will make you appreciate the appliance the way it should. Even by following air fryer recipes, you will be able to learn more about the ins and outs of using this newly found treasure.
Read this article and find out exactly how you can get the best out of your new investment and how to avoid some of the most common mistakes when using an air fryer. These air fryer hacks will bring you some of the tastiest meals and baked goods you can imagine.
Common Air Fryer Mistakes List
No other kitchen appliance has achieved success and almost rockstar status due to its efficiency and ability to make a meal better than you could ever expect. Just doing a quick search online, you will find hundreds of air fryer recipes to try out and trust us, you’ll want to try them all. But with all the space-saving benefits while preparing almost any warm meal imaginable, there are many things to consider when starting out to use this appliance. These mistakes may seem like nothing at first glance, but they are essential for getting the most out of your new electronic chef.
Let’s have a look at what you might be doing wrong and how to get it right.
1. Forgetting to Pre-heat your Air Fryer
Air fryer mistake number one that all newbies are guilty of; preheating your air fryer is just as crucial as preheating the oven. Preheating any cooking appliance will ensure that your meals are prepared and cooked correctly without being too watery or half-cooked. If you follow a health-conscious diet and rely on buying fresh products, it gets even more critical for you to preheat sufficiently.
Fresh products that have not been precooked, such as meats, vegetables, potatoes, and fish, should not be placed in the air fryer before preheating. This ensures that the fresh products are not soggy and will provide mean, lean, and tasty meals. Preheating will help your fryer, well, fry better when the temperature is perfect from the start.
This is one of the most common air fryer mistakes for newbies and will immediately make a difference in the flavor of the food.
2. Not using enough oil or fat in your recipes
Air fryers are famous for making fried food the healthy way. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use any cooking oil or fat at all. This could actually make your food extremely dry at expense of the taste. Unless you like dry food, of course. Then maybe just dry your food out in the sun? No, really; just use some oil in your air fryer. Air fryer recipes are great for achieving the best results with baking and cooking and effectively replace traditional frying of fatty food.
An air fryer is basically a conventional oven that can be used with less oil and take up almost no space at all. The fryer cooks food by air frying around the food instead of the heat just bulging up from the elements. With all the air moving through the oven, the food may start to lose moisture, which in turn takes away some of the tasty flavors. Adding as little as one teaspoon of oil (olive oil is perfect) each time you cook can help to provide more flavor to your meals and make you appreciate the real benefits of using an air fryer.
It is worth mentioning that another common air fryer mistake is not using a bit of cooking spray in the basket. Cooking spray will, of course, prevent your tasty snacks from sticking to the basket. Alternatively, coat the basket with a little oil.
3. Using Excessive Oil
Inversely, using excessive oil is a big NO-NO when it comes to using air fryers. Firstly, you should remember that keeping your air fryer clean is a must, and cleaning excessive oil from an air fryer is not the easiest thing to do. Air fryers need little to no oil to do their job (remember, only a bit for flavor), and it’s also healthier that way; if you need to, just up to 1 teaspoon, as mentioned above, and it will be sufficient.
Although most recipes will indicate the amount of oil or fats that should be used, there will be no benefit in adding more oil than one to two teaspoons. An air fryer can do wonders when food is coated with a little bit of oil just to help make it crispier. This might not look like an actual hack, but many people use too much oil, and it’s one of the unhealthiest and counterproductive mistakes using an air fryer.
4. Overcrowding Your Air fryer
Nobody likes to be crowded, and your fryer will not be performing as well as it should if it’s filled from top to bottom. This is probably the most common mistake you will be making when first trying out your new air fryer and should be avoided. Instead, check the manufacturer’s suggestions on the maximum amount to where it can be filled.
Air fryers cook by the circulation of hot air, as we have mentioned, and if the air passage is blocked (which is the whole air fryer basket), then you might run into a problem. By having open spaces inside the air fryer, your food will be cooked evenly.
5. Not Cleaning Your Air Fryer After Each Use
As with any cooking appliance, air fryers should be cleaned after each use. Microwaves, ovens, toasters, and other appliances need not be cleaned so regularly, but the air fryer is much more compact. You may witness the crumbs and residue that remains behind in the basket. Using the air fryer while some of the last crumbs and residue are still present may fill your house with smoke, leave an unwanted flavor, and damage the air fryer.
And by cleaning after each use, we mean CLEAN, not wipe it off quickly with a paper towel. An air fryer produces a lot of greases that should be removed after use. Also, clean the fan and basket and check your manual for any hidden spots where a build-up may occur. We know you are probably hasty to taste your meal, but it is easier to clean the appliance while it is still warm. For optimum cooking results, and to make cleaning that little bit easier, place a layer of aluminum foil or parchment paper in the air fryer basket to catch up any excess juices or oils.
6. Not Using an Air fryer for Reheating
There is nothing worse than reheating last night’s pizza or takeout, just to find it inedible and soggy. Air fryers are great for reheating various dishes such as pizza, burgers, and french fries while keeping the crispiness intact. So, if you have been feeling that your newfound treasure wasn’t really providing you with much, this might realign your love for your air fryer.
You can get great results by turning your fryer up to about 400 degrees for between 3-4 minutes, and it will make yesterday’s food taste and smell like today’s food. There you have it, crispy, reheated pizza is possible with an air fryer!
7. Not Checking on Food During Air frying
Like any cooking process on the stove or oven, you need to be sure that the temperature is correct and that the food is cooking thoroughly. There are many factors that could change the temperature, for instance. You should always make sure that the air fryer is set to the right temperature and cooking time. Air fryers should be used to cook food for longer to achieve crispy, yet tender and juicy results at lower heat levels.
When investing in an air fryer for the first time, you are well-advised to follow cookbooks that are specifically focused on the use of air fryers. You will learn in no time how to use the appliance to its full potential and enjoy a healthy meal each night.
8. Not Using it for Baking
Using an air fryer gives you access to hundreds of recipes as well as plenty of different types of foods to cook. Whether you want to cook, bake, or fry, you can do it all with an air fryer. There is no need to limit your air fryer to just making an effortless dinner. Chicken wings, fried chicken, fish sticks, french fries, you name it; air-fried food is tasty, crispy, and uses very little oil. Breakfast? With an air fryer, you can quickly fry the most delicious, crispiest bacon you will ever taste. In fact, buy it just to fry your bacon (or macon) – it is worth every penny.
You can also easily bake cookies and make tasty desserts. Not really sure how to bake in an air fryer? There are many books out there that will guide you through some of the most drool-worthy recipes you can imagine.
9. Using Runny Batters
This is where we hope you don’t get confused between a deep fryer and an air fryer – fingers crossed. If you place any food into the air fryer already covered in sauce, it will be slipping through the basket and just make more cleaning work afterward. Air fryers are appliances used to make healthier and less greasy meals and should be used accordingly.
Air fryers are primarily suitable for crumbed, battered, and pre-cooked dishes. You can’t use it to make pancakes, for obvious reasons! Fresh foods may also cause runny sauce and flavors that can make a mess and damage the air fryer. We’re not saying there should be no sauce or juice at all, but it should be limited.
10. Keeping Your Air Fryer in an Area With Bad Ventilation
A kitchen cupboard is not the place for an air fryer. Look at it this way, by not keeping your air fryer stored away; you will also be using it more. It’s important to remember that if you air fry your food, you automatically use less oil, which cuts calories by up to 80%! This naturally provides healthier and tasty foods. If you are mainly using your air fryer to make chips or potato wedges, it’s an even better idea to keep it out in the open where there is sufficient ventilation.
Ventilation is essential, but your air fryer’s overall placement should be considered. The manufacturer’s manual will be able to guide you to the best place to keep your air fryer. Luckily due to the small size of an air fryer, it’s easy to keep it displayed on your kitchen countertop.
Fried and Tried with Success
After trying all the hacks on this list, you will be able to produce some of the tastiest meals and baked goods with very little effort.
These hacks will help you to get the most from your air fryer and give you the chance to experiment with recipes that are made specifically for the use of air fryers. Take some time and go through all these steps one more time before being wowed with positive results.
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Reinette Robbertze is a highly qualified professional in the health and nutrition industry, having completed both Journalism and Nutrition diplomas. With a remarkable portfolio of health blogs and magazine articles to her name, Reinette’s writing is fueled by her genuine passion for healthy living. Drawing on her academic background, Reinette delivers authentic and insightful information to her readers. Her engaging writing style, blended with personal anecdotes, creates an immersive experience that keeps readers engaged and informed. Keep following her work for the latest updates and informative articles on health and nutrition.