The air fryer has become a permanent fixture on our counters, and we find ourselves reaching for it to cook everything from gnocchi to chicken breast to broccoli.
Not only does it cook food quickly, but it gives it an irresistibly crispy texture. With 3 years of air fryer cooking under my belt, I wanted to share some of the secrets that I've learned, ones that I wish I had known when I started cooking in an air fryer!
1. Prevent smoking
When cooking higher fat foods like chicken wings, chicken thighs and bacon, the grease will pool in the basket and can cause smoking to occur. You can get around this using two methods:
- use a lower temperature- for bacon, 350°F was much better than 400°F for preventing smoking.
- place bread in the base, under the basket- this catches the grease and absorbs it, which helps significantly in reducing smoking.
Some food is just going to smoke, and you can place the air fryer under the range hood or near an open window.
2. Vegetables are GREAT
The air fryer is best known for cooking crispy fried food alternatives- french fries or fried chicken, etc. But do not underestimate how amazing vegetables get in the air fryer- from roasted carrots to brussels sprouts, they get golden and caramelized on the outside, adding so much flavor and improving the texture as well.
3. Double spritz
The air fryer cooks by circulating hot air. This helps wick away moisture from the outside of your food, but sometimes this can have a drying effect on certain foods. In this case, I recommend spritzing with oil 2-3 minutes before the food is due to come out of the fryer. This helps restore moisture to the outside of the food, and also helps them crisp up.
Use this trick on:
- Air Fryer Salmon Patties (coming soon)
- Air Fryer French Fries
4. Light foods are a disaster
I had high hopes to use my air fryer to make kale chips and apple chips, but I'm sad to report these were two huge recipe flops. Due to the turbulent air in the air fryer, the kale chips got sucked into the motor and burned, and the apple chips blew all over the place, making it impossible to keep them in a single layer.
It may be possible to cook these recipes in other air fryer models, but this is my experience using the air fryers I own.
5. Some models may be too small for certain recipes
For 2 years, I cooked in a basket-style Phillips air fryer (similar to this one), and it was just too small to fit certain recipes- air fryer french fries, or air fryer chicken fajitas for example would need to be cooked in multiple batches and it was just not practical.
For larger portions that need to be in single layers, an oven-style air fryer is going to be your best bet. We recently invested in an Instant Pot Vortex air fryer oven and absolutely love it!
Those are my air fryer 'secrets' that I've learned over the years!
Do you have one I haven't included? Leave me a comment below and spill the beans!
Confused by all the air fryer models out there? Check out Which Air Fryer is Best for you.
Leave a Comment