You’ll Love These Top Air Fryer Tips and Tricks

Jill Holtz

November 14, 2022

Air Fryer tips

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen plenty of news items and stories floating around about air fryers – they are all the rage, although are a bit like gold dust at the moment as everyone discovers the benefits of this incredibly handy counter-top appliance.

As energy costs rise, more and more people are using air fryers to cook instead of the standard oven, so these useful air fryer tips will help you make the most of yours for delicious family meals and snacks.

Air Fryer Tips

If you haven’t bought an air fryer yet, then consider the size for your family’s needs. It also depends on your counter space as well. There’s no point in going for a small air fryer if you have a family of four or more. Instead, you are better going for a larger unit that can hold more food and is also easy to clean.

Sunday Times best-selling author and cook Becky Excell recommends at least a 4.5L for 2-4+ people or 10L+ if you have a bigger family.

She points out that to cook a whole medium chicken (about 1.7kg) you can do that in a 4.75l air fryer drawer (with next to no space left), but she recommends having more capacity especially to allow more space and also not cram things in.

It’s also a good idea to check out reviews for the best air fryers, and ask your family and friends for their recommendations.

Once you’ve got your air fryer, it’s time to get started – and here are some top tips to help maximise it.

Preheat Before Using

It’s a good idea to preheat your air fryer before using it, e.g. two or three minutes before you plan to use it, or if it has a preheat setting switch that on.

Use a Small Amount of Oil for Crispiness

Air Fryer tips

While air fryers are designed not to need oil for cooking, adding a small amount of oil during the cooking process can increase the crispiness of your food. This is anything from a quick spray to a maximum of 1 tablespoon.

Some cooks recommend spraying with oil halfway through cooking unless it’s a very greasy food anyway, then you might want to skip the spray. If you don’t have a spray bottle of oil then you can always rub it down with an oil-saturated paper towel.

It’s better to remove the food from the fryer, give it a quick mist with spray, then put it back in. This helps avoid a sticky build up on the surfaces inside your fryer. You’ll also be able to apply a more even coat of oil by taking the food out of the fryer.

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Avoid Oils with Higher Smoking Points

Different oils have different smoke points, so be careful. For example, if you are used to using olive oil, it’s best to avoid extra virgin oil which starts to smoke above 175⁰C/350⁰F and 210⁰C/410⁰F. Instead use regular or extra light olive oil.

Here are some oils with higher smoke points:

  • Ghee (clarified butter) (250C/485F smoke point)
  • Extra light olive oil (240C/468F)
  • Coconut oil (232C/450F)
  • Vegetable oil (205C/400F)

Top tip: Many non-stick cooking sprays include additives that can damage the coating of your air fryer basket, so avoid using them. Use your own spray bottle instead.

Cook Smaller Batches

If you add too many items, the air won’t be able to circulate well, which means less crisping. Food definitely cooks faster and is more crispy if you work in smaller batches.

You might need to test this out a few times to work out the right amounts for your size of air fryer.

Be Careful Pulling Out Your Drawer

When you pull out the drawer, the bottom of it will be hot. Make sure to take it by the handle and have a trivet or board ready to set it on if your counter top can be damaged by hot items.

Allow Plenty of Space

Air Fryer tips

Cramming too much food into your air fryer means that there isn’t enough space for the air to circulate. Otherwise you’ll end up with steamed rather than crispy food.

Overfilling the basket also results in uneven browning, as well as uncooked areas of the food so keep it spaced out.


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Give it a Shake

Make sure to shake your fryer basket about half way through the cooking time, this will help ensure everythinng is cooking evenly and browning nicely.

Add Water to the Drawer Under the Basket

Air Fryer tips

If you plan to cook fatty or greasier foods (e.g. bacon or sausages or meat cuts with fat), add water to the drawer under the basket. This will help prevent the oil and grease drippings from smoking.

The Slice of Bread Trick

Putting a slice of bread in the bottom of your air fryer can also help to collect grease, and it’s also a greener alternative to using foil.

You can even use a stale slice of bread, which helps to reduce your food waste!

Always Clean Your Air Fryer After Use

Cool your air fryer after using it, then clean it. Give the basket, the drawer that collects oil/drippings and the machine itself a clean. Regular dish soap and water will do the trick, don’t use the dishwasher unless the machine parts are clearly stated to be dishwasher-friendly.

If you start to see smoke coming out of your machine as you use it, that’s a sign that you have oil build up and need to clean it.

Use Your Air Fryer to Dry Itself

After washing the drawer and basket, put them back in and turn it on for up to 2-3 minutes and it will dry itself out.

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Published On: November 14th, 2022 / Categories: Food and Recipes / Last Updated: May 19th, 2023 / Tags: /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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