How to use an air fryer! The purpose of this post is to provide some tips on how to use an air fryer if you haven’t started. We would be looking at some of the best foods to cook with the aid of some useful tips followed by advice on how best to clean the air fryer after use.
Are you considering getting one or have got one but have not unboxed it or you are not familiar with yours? Then this post is for you, please stick around.
Air Fryer 101
What is an air fryer? It is a small kitchen appliance for cooking various types of food. It is a powerful mini oven that circulates hot air and cooks with minimal or no oil. Air fryers mostly come in a small box of between 3 and 7 liters in size, with a handle and a control panel on top. Hot air which is generated heats and cooks the food from the top, leaving the inside moist and tender.
The size is nothing in comparison to its capability. It has various functions for roasting, baking, air frying, and broiling. You can also cook frozen foods or ready-made meals. The only thing you can't do is deep fry in it because the air fryer is not a deep fryer, which makes it better for healthy meals.
The air fryer is everything and more. It can fry, bake, roast and grill and even dehydrate food; you can boil eggs in the air fryer.
Perfect for frying chicken, fish, French fries, potatoes, steak, and burgers among other things. It is a wonderful gadget for reheating all types of food. Will you give this a try?
Types of Air Fryer
Air fryers come in two (2) different types which are commonly used today. They are basket air fryers (square or cylindrical) or air fryer ovens, also known as multi-functional air fryers or toaster air fryer ovens. They also come with their accessories, and you can get more if needed.
Both types work in similar ways, they are small, compact, and would only take up a small place on your kitchen counter. Except for the Ninja air fryer which is somewhat bulky.
All air fryers come with a basket (square or round) and wouldn't work without one. It is attached to the air fryer basket base and can be detached with a click if using a Cosori.
For instance, the Instant Vortex air fryer air fries a variety of foods quickly with intuitive ‘turn food’ reminders that automatically reminds one to turn food for the best cooking result. It comes with a basket and a tray.
What size would you need to get?
The fact is an air fryer cannot accommodate a lot of food. You need to establish the size of food that will be frequently cooked in it. The size of the air fryer determines the number of people to cook for. There is a high chance that you will cook in batches if cooking for two (2) or more people, so I will suggest getting one with a large basket.
How to Use Your Air Fryer
Before your first use of the air fryer, make sure you read the manual carefully to confirm all the components are complete in the box. Remove all the packaging including any stickers and paper or plastics around the plug.
Choose a solid, flat surface that is sturdy to set up. The surface should not be plastic and must be heat resistant. Also, make sure to leave a space of about 13 cm from the air fryer to the wall to allow for air (heat) circulation.
Remove the air fryer basket from the compartment and wash it with a non-abrasive sponge in soapy water or a dishwasher. Rinse it clean and dry it with a kitchen towel. Make sure that your brand can be washed in a dishwasher if that is your preferred way of washing. Please note that you are not washing the whole air fryer but the air fryer basket and its base. Check your manual to see how to work an air fryer for your brand.
If cooking in an air fryer for the first time, you should return the basket to the compartment, place it on a heat-resistant surface a few inches away from the wall and TEST RUN it. Plug the air fryer safely into the power supply. Turn the power on and depending on your brand, you should hear a beep.
Again depending on the brand of your gadget and whether it is manual or digital, press preheat on the air fryer if using digital or simply press temperature to 200C/400F and time for 5 minutes then start. The air fryer will beep to notify you once the time is up.
Let’s get cooking…
Now you are ready to cook. If you are cooking immediately, leave it to cool completely before touching it. It is also safe to touch the handle of the air fryer at any time but not the body or the base because it can be too hot.
There are a few things to remember when using an air fryer. Not to worry, it will all become second nature once you start making good use of it.
Cooking time – as much as this gadget is easy to use, it also depends on the brand and size. These factors can affect the cooking result and time by a few minutes.
The general rule is to know your air fryer. The more you use it, the more you understand how it works and how best to use it.
The recommended cooking temperature is 180C/360F; the preferred starting point depends on what you want to cook. The timer and temperature can be adjusted to suit your cooking needs. You can open the basket to peek at the food to flip or shake as needed.
The air fryer can be loud when in use but not as loud as the washing machine.
Tips on how to use your air fryer
Preheating – while this is subjective, some recipes will benefit more from preheating the air fryer first. It is recommended when cooking frozen foods because it helps the food crisp up nicely.
Shaking or flipping – doing this halfway through the cooking is beneficial for even cooking. You can also use an instant-read meat thermometer to check your food is cooked correctly to the right temperature.
Using oil – cooking in an air fryer requires little or no oil. You can use a cooking spray to help. Don't be too generous with the oil. Use a light hand with that oil. Excess oil ends up in the drawer under the grate, but if there’s too much buildup, it might cause smoke.
Generally speaking, if there’s already fat in the food (skin-on chicken, for example, or frozen fried food), you might not need to oil the food.
Vegetables will benefit from a light coat of oil because it helps make them nice and brown.
Don't grease the drawer with cooking spray. Air fryer baskets have a nonstick coating, and cooking spray can damage the finish over time. Instead of cooking spray, toss your food in oil - you are probably doing that already, in many cases, or rub it down with an oil-saturated paper towel. I found that pre-fried frozen foods do not need extra grease.
Overcrowding - ensure the basket is not overloaded with food because it will end up with soggy and uneven cooking.
Clean – wash and dry the basket and base after each use. The accumulation of oil or crumbs is an accident waiting to happen.
CLEAN YOUR AIR FRYER AFTER EACH USE!!! To reduce any mess or clean up, you can line the base with foil.
How to Use your Air Fryer
Lining - do not put parchment paper in the basket without weighing it down with food. If the parchment paper touches the heating element of the air fryer, it can easily cause a fire hazard.
Do not detach the air fryer basket from the base when holding it up to avoid accidents. Do this when the basket is on a flat surface.
Remember to turn off the power supply when not in use.
You can cook any food, fresh or frozen. You can grill, bake, or roast can be cooked in your little gadget. All my recipes are cooked in my instant pot vortex 5.7 L air fryer. You can also reheat food in it too.
These are the simple things to remember if you own an air fryer or thinking of getting one. You will get to know what works for you as you get on. There are tonnes of tips and tricks you learn as you go along.
I hope you have found this helpful. Proceed to air frying with our popular air fryer recipes.
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