Image: Francisco Zeledon (Shutterstock) To some enthusiastic food blog writers, the air fryer is an user-friendly device that can prepare anything and everything. To particular members of my household, it is an inscrutable black box that exist to use up counter area. (” What should I use it for?” they ask, prompting me to spam them with my own content.) The fact lies somewhere in the middle: The air fryer does a great deal of things extremely well, however it is not without limitations.Understanding what can and can not go in an air fryer needs understanding how an air fryer works. I cant speak for every design, but a lot of air fryers, whether basket-shaped or toaster oven-shaped, are equipped with a heating element and powerful fan that sit above the food. The fan blows the heat around, whipping away moisture to produce crunchy, crispy, and well-browned exteriors. It is not a fryer, however a small, souped-up stove, and some fare fares better than others.Avoid drippy battersIn spite of its name, the air fryer is not a real fryer. It can crisp up a previously battered and fried item– be it yesterdays Popeyes or a frozen dinosaur chicken nugget– but placing drippy, battered piece of raw chicken (or anything) into it will not yield the outcomes you want. The quick moving air will blow the batter right off, making quite a mess and leaving you with naked chicken, a splattered basket, and– worse case situation– a gunky, foul-smelling heating element.Skip foods lacking in heftSmall, light foods will be buffeted about by the air fryers mighty winds. Ive even seen toast move a number of inches. In some cases this isnt a huge offer (my toast was not damaged by a little buffeting), but it can be frustrating if, for example, your fragile covering of crumbs or herbs gets blown off your chicken tender. (You ought to prevent air frying fresh herbs anyway– they have a propensity to burn.) Pick foods with some weight to them, or a minimum of ones that wont be ruined by a little mid-cook movement, and prevent shielding foods with tinfoil, which is entirely worthless in an air fryer because it will not remain put.Don t pick foods that are too largeThe air fryer is just effective if the hot air can distribute around the food, and items that cover all (or almost all) of the tray prevent this from happening. Consider this tale of 2 pizzas: One mini and one “party.” When I initially obtained my six-quart air fryer, I was thrilled to air fry a Totinos Party Pizza (one of my favorite frozen pizzas). Unfortunately, it did not work out: The pizza fit inside the basket, however just barely, and obstructed the hot air from circulating while the top of the pizza was blasted with direct heat from the heating element. This resulted in overcooked, nearly scorched garnishes and a doughy, soft crust. Considered that almost half of the Party Pizzas appeal is its crispy cracker crust, this was disappointing. About a week later, I tried air frying two mini (about 4 inches in diameter) pizzas from Trader Joes. The hot air had the ability to move and groove around the pizzas, and they came out ideal. (Moral of the story: Buy smaller pizzas, or chop the Party Pizzas up before air frying.) Avoid deep dishesThick, layered meals like pies or casseroles provide a myriad of issues. Even if you discover a pie or casserole dish thats little enough to permit the hot air to correctly circulate around the vessel, the lack of heating aspect at the base of the fryer implies your top cooks a lot quicker than the lower layer, resulting in cold, soggy crusts and moist bottoms. Adding a glass or ceramic meal into the mix definitely does not help. As A.A. Newton described in her piece about air frying pies, physics is not on our side here: Anyone whos taken an introductory physics course can see where this is going. (Although I hardly passed mine.) Circulating air warms some things effectively, however big quantities of wet stuff and glass– which numerous pie plates are made of– not a lot. Baking a pie in an air fryer resembles heating up a swimming pool by pointing a hairdryer at the surface: The top inch or 2 might heat up a little, but you can forget about the sides and bottom.This is not to say that you must avoid air frying baked items completely. Just anticipate the bottom to be a little less done than the top. (Thats why this emergency cookie works so well: The contrast of the crisp upper crust and the gooey innards is magnificent.) Hand down unflippable foodsTheres a reason most air fryers shout and beep at you to turn your food or shake the basket about halfway into your cook. Doing so exposes both sides of your food to the heating element, ensuring evenly crisp exteriors and evenly warmed interiors. Knowing this can assist you adjust your favorite dishes to be air fryer friendly. If you merely need to have an air fried pie, consider making hand pies, which arent so large that they obstruct air flow, and which can be turned to make sure a crispy crust on all sides.Avoid excess moistureAir frying soup is a bad concept. The whipping winds splash liquid all over the place, which can trigger problems with your heating element– and an unhappy heating element is a liability. A spoonful of water to keep vegetables wet while they roast is fine, but prevent adding more than that (for health and security reasons)..
The fact lies somewhere in the middle: The air fryer does a lot of things really well, however it is not without limitations.Understanding what can and can not go in an air fryer needs understanding how an air fryer works. The fast moving air will blow the batter right off, making quite a mess and leaving you with naked chicken, a splattered basket, and– worse case situation– a gunky, foul-smelling heating element.Skip foods lacking in heftSmall, light foods will be buffeted about by the air fryers mighty winds. Select foods with some weight to them, or at least ones that wont be messed up by a little mid-cook motion, and avoid protecting foods with tinfoil, which is absolutely worthless in an air fryer due to the fact that it wont stay put.Don t pick foods that are too largeThe air fryer is only efficient if the hot air can distribute around the food, and products that cover all (or almost all) of the tray prevent this from taking place.” When I first obtained my six-quart air fryer, I was excited to air fry a Totinos Party Pizza (one of my favorite frozen pizzas). Baking a pie in an air fryer is like warming up a swimming pool by pointing a hairdryer at the surface area: The leading inch or 2 might warm up a little, however you can forget about the sides and bottom.This is not to say that you ought to avoid air frying baked items totally.