The air fryer might just be the coveted kitchen appliance of the year. You probably know or are one of those people whose online shopping cart contained an air fryer for weeks! Did you finally check it out when sale day came recently? Then, you probably already have an air fryer that you just love using!
It does have a lot of convenient features: It can fry food in minutes without any oil, and it does this at the convenience of pushing a button! What’s not to love about that?
If you are an air frying master, you know all the air frying cooking tips and tricks to pull off a decent meal every time you use it. However, not everyone can be a master of the air fryer and some may still need some help, especially if they checked it out of their cart only recently. If you are an air fryer newbie or just need to check if you’re committing any mistakes, here are air fryer mistakes you might be making:
1 Not using oil at all.
You might have noticed that not all food emerges from the air fryer as golden brown ad delicious as other food. Food that does emerge with the golden tan that marks it as done is probably food that was either parcooked, frozen, and coated in a breading or naturally was fatty such as pork belly and the skin of fried chicken. Those that didn’t were probably skinless chicken pieces, fish, seafood, and even lean meats that looked gray rather than seared with those telltale browning you expect from pan-fried food. It also probably didn’t taste as good as expected either.
The mistake here is assuming that all food cooked in the air fryer is oil-free.
All food that should be fried, should be fried in oil and the amount is what makes the air fryer unique. Instead of having to deep fry in a gallon of oil or even pan-fry food in an inch of oil to get it to become golden brown and delicious on the outside and cooked through on the inside, air fryer minimizes, not eliminates, the need to use that much oil.
To ensure that your fish, skinless chicken breast, and other pale-looking food become golden brown in the air fryer, use an oil spray or mister like this one or lightly brush your food with oil. Oil is what will help in the Maillard reaction that in turn develops better flavor.
2 Not adjusting the temperature or cooking time.
We know it can be a hassle but there are instances when time and temperature is important to note when cooking.
Adjusting the temperature of your air fryer down from 200 degrees C to the more appropriate temperature can be critical to certain dishes. This is especially important for food that can easily burn such as bread or food that easily cooks such as fish. Burnt toast and tough and dry fish are not good eats.
Furthermore, if you cook food for 30 minutes but at a high temperature, you may also burn the food that you’re trying to cook. On the other hand, if you cook food for 30 minutes but cook it at a too low temperature, you get the opposite: food that is not yet cooked despite the long cooking time.
It pays to be mindful of your time and temperature and more so, if you’re converting a recipe from the oven to the air fryer as well. Just like an oven with the fan on, you also have to adjust your temperature down at least 10 degrees and lessen the time at least 10 minutes less than stated in a recipe for it to be successful transition.
3 Not cleaning the basket or drip pan every time.
We know it’s a hassle, but you do have to clean out the basket and the drip basket every time you use the air fryer. This is because oil can turn maanta or rancid. When oil breaks down and turns rancid, this can flavor the food you are cooking now with its unpleasant aroma and taste.
Prevent that by always cleaning your air fryer basket and accessories so your food will always taste the way it should.
4 Overcrowding or overlapping food.
You probably noticed this the first time you saw an ad for an air fryer: the air fryer basket loaded with French fries. This is totally not recommended. While it looks impressive, this is a big no-no when it comes to actually air frying food, even if it’s just French fries.
Just like frying in a pan in oil, never overcrowd the basket. You will not only prevent the air fryer from doing its job of allowing the hot air to circulate easily through the gaps around the food you’re cooking, but you also be preventing the air from cooking those areas that are covered by another piece of food. What you end up with is uneven crispy and soggy parts.
Prevent that keeping food in an even layer or a short stack of layers that you can easily toss and flip regularly during the air frying.
5 Not flipping food over or rotating food.
Just like overlapping food can result in food that is soggy, not flipping food over or rotating food can result in similarly soggy and crispy food since it’s not air-fried properly. You have to remember that there is only one heating source in the air fryer and it’s located above the food. It’s the super-heated air that will cook the food but the heat source will still be responsible for browning and crisping up the food. Help it out by placing the food towards that heating source to encourage it to brown your food to golden brown and delicious heights.
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!
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