Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer? This is what I wondered when I learned how to arrange my foods in my air fryer. While I know if it’s wise to put aluminum foil in microwaves, it seems like an entirely different matter when it comes to the air fryer.
Long story short, you can put aluminum foil in air fryers. However, it might not always be the best choice.
Aluminum foil should only go in the basket because it reacts with acidic food. Thus, avoid utilizing it with citrus, oranges, tomatoes, tomato paste or sauce, and vinegar-based products.
A bare basket or parchment paper is a better option because it won’t interfere with the cooking process. That being said, let’s learn more about healthy cooking with air fryers.
Table of Contents
- How Does the Air Fryer Work?
- Why Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
- Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
- Is It Toxic To Put Foil In An Air Fryer?
- When You Shouldn’t Put Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer?
- Can You Put Foil Or Parchment Paper In An Air Fryer?
- 11 Tips For Cooking In An Air Fryer
- Let’s Air-Fry Something Delicious
How Does the Air Fryer Work?
First and foremost, let’s talk about air fryers and how they cook your foods. Understanding this can also help you understand why utilizing aluminum foil makes perfect sense in most cases.
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Even though air fryers come in different models, they all have the operation mechanism: prepare food by letting hot air circulate. The food is then reheated or cooked evenly.
This may remind you of the toaster oven, but air fryers and toaster ovens have many differences. So the answer for if it’s okay to put aluminum foil in toaster ovens and air fryers might not be the same. Keep in mind that most air fryers feature heating fans and coils installed.
They’re often located in the top part of the unit. You will find them just above the receptacle where your basket is situated.
People usually mistake air fryers for instant pots. However, they’re two different things. Instant pots are more versatile and great for big families but air fryers provide faster results and cost less.
The best part about air fryers is that they’re portable and don’t take much place. They also have designs that maximize the distribution of heated air which is why the basket has a mesh design.
However, the disadvantage of the mesh design is the number of juices, crumbs, liquids, and residue that fall through and pile up at the bottom. It’s not a huge issue but it’s worth mentioning.
You can see this video to know more:
Why Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
This has a lot to do with the mesh design and functionality of the air fryer. The hot air circulates through the mesh design and causes your food to drip. The drippings will be packed with flavor.
Meaning, letting your food drip is an unfortunate waste of flavor. Utilizing aluminum foil improves flavor and promotes better heat distribution. It helps heat transfer quickly and evenly during cooking.
Subsequently, it can also trap the juices during the cooking process, ensuring a lovely and flavorful meal. The same happens when you cover your baking sheet with foil for use in a standard oven.
Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
Now that you know why aluminum foil should be your new best friend, especially when cooking in your air fryer, let’s learn how to use aluminum foil in your air fryer properly and safely.
Step 1: Ensure Heat Circulation
This is one of the main reasons why using aluminum foil in your air fryer is a very good idea. Ensure heat distribution. Meaning, if your machine’s heating coil is situated at the base, then you shouldn’t place the foil there. Otherwise, your product will take longer to cook and can come out uneven.
Also, blocking the airflow will probably cause the air to transfer elsewhere including components of your air fryer not made to handle the continuous flow of hot air and malfunction over time.
Step 2: Don’t Cover Anything Outside Of The Basket
I understand how tempting it might be to place aluminum foil on the base part to preserve grease, juice, and other food particles. However, I strongly advise against doing this.
Applying a foil on the bottom will interrupt airflow in the air fryer. Instead, put a slice of bread or water. This way helps when you need to reheat some of your burgers. It also preserves all the grease.
Step 3: Place The Foil Inside The Basket
Always put the aluminum foil inside the basket. Never cover the whole basket with foil. Otherwise, you will cover all the holes in the basket and disrupt the airflow.
As long as you’re only lining up your basket with foil, you shouldn’t experience any issues. You can also wrap your food with foil before putting it inside the basket.
Step 4: Weigh It Down
Ensure your aluminum foil is correctly weighted down. Otherwise, it will blow into the heat coils or fan, and damage your appliance. And you don’t want that to happen.
It can also start a fire, which is even worse. However, you can easily prevent this by wrapping your foods with foil properly as the weight of your food will help keep it down.
Aside from this, wrapping your food in aluminum foil will also contain the juices and taste while cooking. Not doing so will leave your meal less tasty and unevenly cooked.
Step 5: Don’t Overcrowd The Basket
This is one of the key things you need to remember when cooking in your air fryer. Never overcrowd the basket for the sake of efficiency.
Doing so can end up doing more bad than good. Meaning, it can result in restricted airflow. Always leave enough place to let the hot air circulate properly.
No matter if you wrapped your food in aluminum foil or not, if the air doesn’t circulate evenly, then your food won’t be prepared evenly.
Step 6: Poke Holes In The Aluminum Foil
This step isn’t mandatory. However, doing so will promote proper heat distribution. Don’t do this if your meal utilizes a liquid batter. Otherwise, the juices will drip into the machine’s base, hence defeating the very purpose of utilizing aluminum foil in the first place.
You can see this video to know more:
Is It Toxic To Put Foil In An Air Fryer?
The aluminum foil technique of cooking releases certain ingredients in the food. And they end up in your stomach through the foods. The daily intake of aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Through processed foods, adults intake about 1-10 mg of aluminum, on average.
This is why you shouldn’t use aluminum foil all the time. And if you’re concerned with whether aluminum foil can go through the recycling process, you might want to cut down on this product usage. However, rest assured that preparing food with aluminum foil is completely safe.
However, you should do it properly. Also, air fryers aren’t present on the market for a very long time, so there’s not much information and studies about them. Some reports say that foil can be toxic.
This is why you must research everything on your own and make your own choices. Despite the many differences between heavy-duty and regular aluminum foil, they both are safe for use in air fryers. However, check your user manual just in case.
When You Shouldn’t Put Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer?
As I already mentioned, this foil shouldn’t be used with foods such as lemon, tomatoes, oranges, tomato sauce, and vinegar-based meals because they’re highly acidic foods.
And aluminum foil doesn’t work well with this type of food. There’s a scientific explanation why it’s not a good idea to do this. Aluminum foil will cause a chemical reaction due to the high levels of acidity that can be found in these foods. The same goes for heavily spiced or foods with a lot of salt.
Specifically, the high levels of salt, spice, and acid can speed up the process of decomposition in the foil. And as the foil decomposes, you’re left with black specks of aluminum foil in your dishes.
While the food will stay safe to consume and edible, it will also have a sharp metallic flavor. This can ruin your food and kill your appetite. So, avoid using foil with these items.
Can You Put Foil Or Parchment Paper In An Air Fryer?
You can place parchment paper or foil in your air fryer. They’re both effective. Opt for parchment paper sheets with pierced holes in them. They will save you a lot of time, especially if you’re using the air fryer every day. Or poke holes in your parchment paper at home and save some money.
11 Tips For Cooking In An Air Fryer
Air fryers are portable, lightweight, and easy to use. The following tips can help you make the most out of your air fryer and enjoy a perfectly cooked and delicious meal every single time.
1. Preheat Your Air Fryer
Any cooking appliance should be preheated. Most manufacturers of air fryers recommend the machine should be preheated to secure even cooking.
Sometimes I preheat my air fryer. Other times I don’t. In both cases, my food turns out perfectly cooked. Experiment and find out what works best for you.
If your machine doesn’t feature a preheat setting, just turn it to the preferred temperature and let it run for a few minutes before putting your food in.
2. Use Oil
I usually use a bit of high-quality grapeseed oil or olive oil to ensure the crispiness. But if your food already has fat on it like fatty cuts of meat, ground beef, or chicken, then you probably don’t need any oil. I use oil for French fries, veggies, etc.
3. Always Grease Your Basket
Always grease your air fryer basket, even if your food doesn’t need oils. I either spray or rub the bottom of mine with some oil. This will ensure that foods won’t stick.
4. Avoid Aerosol Spray Cans
Aerosol spray cans can destroy your basket. They’re known to cause chipping in air fryers thanks to their harsh agents that just don’t react well with the coating of most baskets. Invest in a high-quality oil bottle or mister. This will prolong the lifespan of your air fryer’s basket.
5. Don’t Put Too Much Food Inside The Basket
I break this rule when making French fries. I overcrowd the basket and end up with half-done food. This will prevent your meal from browning and crisping, so either buy a machine with a bigger basket or cook your food in batches. Cooking in batches is time-consuming but worth it.
6. Shake Your Basket While Cooking Wings, Fries, Etc.
When cooking smaller things like French fries and wings, you will want to remove your basket and shake it every couple of minutes. This will help your food cook nicely. You can also use silicone tongs to flip the food over rather than shaking.
When you remove the basket, your unit will temporarily pause, but don’t worry. Once you put it back, it will resume cooking your food.
7. Spray In The Middle of Your Cooking
When your cooking is half-way done, take some of your best cooking oil made from avocado or olive and spray it to ensure crispiness. But if you air-fry some fatty meats, you can skip this.
8. Apply Bread Or Water Beneath The Basket
If you’re making something greasy in your air fryer, don’t panic if you notice some white smoke coming out of the unit. Just pour some water into the bottom.
Some people place a slice of bread beneath the basket when cooking greasy food like good-old frozen meatballs or bacon for breakfast. It would help reduce the grease.
9. Avoid Cooking Lightweight And Small Products
Every air fryer comes with a strong fan on top of the machine. This causes some lightweight products to get swept up in the powerful fan which can be very dangerous.
I once tried to make a toast and it almost became a disaster. Since then, I always put a piece of cheddar cheese on top.
10. Invest In A Kitchen Timer
While air fryers have built-in timers, it doesn’t hurt to equip a reliable kitchen timer. It can countdown the timing and release a loud sound to notify you when your food is done. That will help you a lot, especially if you are a multi-tasking type.
Take the timer with you and you will know when your air fryer is done with cooking. Or you can use it as a reminder for shaking your basket. Air fryers automatically shut down when the food is done. However, it’s still nice to have a kitchen timer around. It’s commonly used for cooking and baking.
11. Customize The Temperature For Certain Foods
In the beginning, I used to crank the heat to the highest temperature. That was a mistake because some goods can easily dry out. So, always modify the time and temperature for different foods.
For instance, if you baked brownies at 350 degrees F in the oven for 20 minutes, cut the degrees on your air fryer to 320 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes. I always opt for 30 degrees below.
You can see this video to know more:
Let’s Air-Fry Something Delicious
Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer? Yes, you can but make sure to poke holes in it. The same goes for parchment paper. Also, don’t use aluminum foil with acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus, etc.
I love air fryers because they’re budget-friendly and portable. The best part? Your air fryer will make you feel less guilty when eating French fries and similar snacks because they’re not fried the usual way.
Hopefully, this article has taught you more about air fryers and how to use aluminum foil properly. If you have some questions or suggestions, drop a comment below. Let’s have a chat about air fryers.