The modern air fryer looks like a space-age looking cooker and it can do many things. While it can’t prepare your food for you, you can make delicious fried food in it with less oil than you would normally use if you were frying it on the stovetop.
It’s said that the air fryer actually acts as a mini convection oven since it uses airflow to regulate and maintain the heat inside the basket. It however is not an oven. It can be more than that if you know how to use the air fryer to the best of its abilities.
Here is a quick guide and useful tips on how to use your air fryer:
1 Put oil on your food.
Does using the air fryer mean it’s basically oil-free cooking? This is only partially true. The most common kind of food you will probably cook in the air fryer is the food that you normally would fry: pork chops, frozen food such as fries and nuggets, sausages, and chicken.
However, all of these either have natural fat in it or were flash-fried in oil before being frozen. Without the oil to help promote browning, your food won’t brown well nor will it taste as great either. To help your food brown and benefit from being cooked in the air fryer, brush or spray oil onto your food. Even a light coating will do! It’s the presence of the oil that will help the browning and get it to that golden brown and delicious stage that all fried food aspired to look and taste like.
If you’re worried about adding too much oil on your food, you’ll love the air fryer’s ability to do this: any excess oil will drip down and collect in the container that holds the basket. While you are already cooking with less oil, you are also cooking with oil that doesn’t have a chance to seep into your food. It will heat up and brown your food, and any excess oil will drip down and out of your food. How’s that for less fat, less oil cooking?
2 Don’t overcrowd the basket.
Remember the cardinal rule when frying: don’t overcrowd the pan. This applies to the air fryer, too. Despite air being able to freely circulate around the food, it cannot go through food. If you overcrowd your basket and pile on the french fries, you will still get pieces of underdone or even undercooked fries just because those pieces were not fried by the hot air that was trying to get those parts.
For even frying, either pile on the food lightly or remember to toss your food at regular intervals so your food can cook more evenly.
3 Adjust the temperature as stated.
Take a look at your air fryer and see if you have a temperature gauge. If you do, you’re in luck! You can adjust your settings to be as hot as an oven or just warm enough to heat your food gently. This versatility is one of the best reasons to make use of your air fryer for more than just frying.
While the settings can go pretty low (usually around 175 degrees F or 80 degrees C), it isn’t low enough to be a substitute for a dehydrator. What it can do well is heat up food in the air fryer without using a microwave or the stove to do it. This is the perfect machine to crisp up leftover pizza slices again or the chunks of liempo or lechon kawali without going overboard and either burning it or making it soft soggy.
This ability to change the temperature also means is that you can “roast” and “bake” in it!
4 Roast in it!
One of the best ways of using your air fryer is to roast food in it. Lechon kawali does not have to be cooked in 2 liters of oil anymore! No more dreaded talsik or oil splatters either because the contained basket won’t escape the fryer. Plus, since the air fryer is basically air blowing on your food, your food will be in better shape to dry and get crisp. Those moist spots that just won’t crisp up are a thing of the past, too.
To roast anything in the air fryer, season and prepare your food as indicated in your recipe. Even a simple sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper will do! If you’re cooking with skinless chicken, we suggest you lightly brush each breast with oil before seasoning so the granules will better stick to the chicken. Once seasoned and ready to cook, place it in the basket, skin side up, close the fryer, adjust your temperature, and turn the timer. Check back occasionally to make sure that you’re roasting it right and you’re not overcooking the chicken.
Here are a few recipes we think you can try in the air fryer:
5 Bake mini cakes!
If you have a mini cake pan that can fit in the basket, you can bake in the air fryer! You can settle one of the hotly debated topics about the air fryer and bake in it. Many don’t believe that it can act as a mini oven but it can.
There are however a few air frying baking tips and tricks that you’ll need to know and do to bake a cake right. One of those is the fact that there is no need to preheat the air fryer for very long (Just 3 minutes is plenty!) since it heats up very quickly. That alone will make anyone want to use it more often for their baking than the traditional route!
Want to test it out? Here’s how to bake in an air fryer:
- 1. Prepare your cake batter. (It’s best to use cake recipes that make small cakes, around 5 inches.) Pour batter into a prepared cake pan.
- 2. Use foil and cover the filled cake pan. Place it in the air fryer basket and close.
- 3. Turn your temperature setting to the recommended setting and turn it down about 25 degrees F or 5 degrees C lower (This is standard procedure when baking with the fan on.)
- 4. Turn the timer to the recommended setting and then subtract 10 minutes from the baking time.
- 5. Let it bake!
- 6. Check the doneness of your cake when the timer dings. If not yet done, add another 5 to 10 minutes. Check again and repeat until the cake is fully baked through.
- 7. Once fully baked, prepare your cake as the recipe instructs you do next.
6 Clean the basket and the holder after every use.
Just like any kitchen appliance that you use, remember to clean it out properly after every use. Just like your microwave oven and the blender you love using so much, the air fryer needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent it from becoming greasy. The best part about cleaning the air fryer is that you can turn it on after cleaning to completely dry out the interior, preventing rust from ever forming on the inside.
Are you itching to get an air fryer? Check out your favorite online stores for the one you want.
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!
Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!