I’ve owned an air fryer back since they first came out on the market and I’ve recently upgraded from my old Philips air fryer to the Ninja air fyer.
If you’re new to air fryers, then you might be wondering what you can do with them other than make really good french fries.
Honestly, I’ve made everything from small cakes to pizza to burgers to bacon-wrapped hot dogs. But even I’m still learning things about this little appliace.
So, I got some tips from air fryer experts to help you get the most from your air fryer today.
1. It’s great for camping meals
If have electric hookup at your camp site, or if you’ve brought along a generator, then definitely make sure that you pack your air fryer for your next camping trip.
According to Pete Danylewycz at US Angler, nothing beats catching your dinner on the lake and then frying it up in your air fryer at the campsite.
Just make sure that you pack everything you’ll need for the perfect fried fish dinner before you leave home!
2. Don’t limit yourself to just french fries
I love cooking with an air fryer as a healthier alternative for those fried foods that I love to indulge in, says Stevan Evans of Air Fryer Bro. That’s what makes an air fryer so great – you can fry foods with a fraction of the oil that’s traditionally required.
You can make pretty much anything in an air fryer from french fries to mini pizzas. So, it’s not just the food that is traditionally fried, like chicken nuggets, but also things you’d normally bake, like little cakes.
And make no mistake, fried foods aren’t suddenly good for you when you use an air fryer. The nutritional benefit you get is a direct result of the lower amount of oil required. So that saves you some calories and all the bad stuff related to oils is reduced since you use so much less of it.
3. Don’t forget to clean the old oil out
Since air fryers require so little oil, they often look like they don’t need cleaned after you use them. But they do!
No one likes that old grease taste that you’ll get from the old oil. Plus, old oil can go rancid.
I have two air fryers which I’ve been using for more than a year now, says Adanna Jideofor of My Speech Class, and my #1 tip for a first-time user is to clean the inside of your air fryer with a cloth dipped in soapy water once you’re done using it; it’ll save you time and energy for your next use.
4. Maximize your cooking capacity
As someone who’s been using an air fryer a lot since 2018, says Raymond Cua of Travelling Foodie, I would love to share my air fryer tip for beginners.
Rectangular shaped air fryers are better than circular ones because you have more surface area to maximize food capacity and align food better.
5. Know how you’ll use it before you buy
My 1 biggest air fryer tip is through the buying process and to fully research which air fryer is best for you, says Samantha Milner of Recipe This. I get emails from air fryer beginners everyday regretting the air fryer choice they made.
They choose one that was too small, they choose an air fryer that is not powerful enough or doesn’t do the features they need.
A future air fryer beginner needs to think about what they plan to cook in the air fryer first. For example, if they plan to dehydrate a lot of fruit and vegetables then an air fryer oven is better suited to them.
However, if they are a couple and like the idea of air fryer roasted chicken then they should be considering a Philips XL and if they like pressure cooking too should be looking at the Ninja Foodi.
6. Abandon you battered food dreams
Think of the air fryer as a quick roasting oven and not a deep fryer, says Devon Cameron of Braised & Deglazed. If you keep this in mind it will help you make better choices as to what will work better in the air fryer.
For example, you would never put wet battered food (like tempura) in the oven because it won’t work the same as in the deep fryer. The air fryer will also not work with battered food.
7. Preheat your air fryer for better results
According to Brian Will of Nuts About Coffee, preheating your air fryer is a game changer when it comes to getting things cooked perfectly in your air fryer.
If your recipe calls for a specific temperature then you can preheat your air fryer so it is already heated up and ready by the time you put your food in.
This helps you estimate the amount of time it needs to cook better, and helps you keep the temperature consistent while your food is cooking.
8. You may need to grease the fryer basket
When using your air fryer, you might want to grease the basket with some oil to get a perfect golden-brown color, says David Douek of Beeco.
For example, I had to do this when I made some homemade pizza pockets in my air fryer last week.
Of course, this is only necessary when you are cooking breaded food. When cooking food with extra fats such as chicken, beef, or fish, greasing is not necessary.
9. Don’t underestimate how much counter space you’ll need
According to Connor Brown at After School Finance, air fryers likely take up more space on the counter than you expect.
Air fryers take up a lot of space. You’ll want to ensure if you are taking up counter space, then you aren’t going overboard with an air fryer that’s too big.
The #1 air fryer tip I would give to a beginner would be to buy an air fryer that matches the size of the family. If you live alone or live with a partner, the smaller size is likely sufficient.
10. Starch is the secret for extra crispy textures
My tip is to use starch, says Tiffany McCauley of Air Fryer Master.
For extra crispy foods like homemade fries, consider a light dusting of starch over dry food. You can spritz oil over that, to keep it on your food.
But starch will ensure a nice crispy texture on many air fried foods. Particularly, french fries.
11. Try the brussels sprouts
I am convinced that the air fryer was made for cooking Brussels sprouts, says Jessica Randhawa of Forked Spoon.
Perfectly crispy, even somewhat brittle, outer leaves and soft, tender insides makes this often troublesome vegetable more flavorful, more delicious, and super easy to cook!
Air fryer brussels sprouts (https://theforkedspoon.com/air-fryer-brussels-sprouts/) are the perfect side dish with fresh garlic and a tangy balsamic reduction.
12. Just follow the directions
According to Lillian Dodd of The Hobby Kraze, the number one tip for beginners is to use actual Air Fryer instructions for recipes and foods you are cooking.
As you get more experienced with the Air Fryer, you can convert things yourself from traditional frying recipes – however, if you are just starting out, it’s a recipe for frustration and disaster if you just try to wing it.
Many frozen foods come with Air Fryer instructions these days, and if there’s a more homemade recipe you are looking for, there is almost always a recipe you can find online or even on TikTok!
13. Use it to reheat leftovers
This is a little known use for air fryers that everyone should know about, says Trista Best of Balance One. While the microwave may reheat your food more quickly, the air fryer preserves the flavor and textures.
Microwaves can leave your food either chewy or overly soft. This is not desirable for foods that were originally crispy and full of flavor.
The air fryer can be used to reheat foods by preheating it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your leftovers in the rack. After only a minute, a little longer than a microwave but not by much, your food is heated and crispy.
There is no need to stop and stir the product as the air fryer circulates air perfectly touching each side of the food.
14. Don’t overcrowd the basket!
Alice from Alice’s Kitchen #1 tip for beginners using an air fryer is: Don’t overcrowd the basket!
It can be tempting to use all the space and make a large batch, but overcrowding the basket will mean that the air can’t circulate to crisp and brown your food properly.
If you need to cook a large amount of food – do it in batches instead.
Using an air fryer isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things you can do to make the process a better one.
Hopefully the expert tips above have you cooking with the air fryer like a pro.