If you recently got a new air fryer or you just want to learn more about how to use the one you have, these tips and tricks will help you make the most of this appliance! I love my air fryer and I find myself using it again and again because it’s quick and easy to make delicious meals without heating up the oven or spending the evening over the stovetop.

ninja foodi grill

What is an air fryer?

You might be wondering what exactly is an air fryer and how does it work? An air fryer is basically a convection-style oven that circulates hot air around a basket to create a crispy outer layer on your food with minimal or no oil. What this means for you is that you can get browned, crispy crusts without truly “frying” anything. An air fryer can mimic the texture of fried food with just a tiny bit of oil. 

What’s the best type of air fryer?

There are tons of air fryers on the market and the best one will depend on what you plan to use it for. The main thing to consider is size. When you’re cooking in an air fryer, you don’t want to crowd the pan or basket. I have the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 appliance, which is perfect for me. Since I’m often just cooking for two, I didn’t need a huge basket. I also didn’t want something that would take up too much counter space. But if you wanted to make larger servings, you may want to get a larger oven. Some ovens even have multiple racks for larger servings.

Some air fryers can do other things as well. Mine is an air fryer, dehydrator, grill, and oven all in one. It has different cooking functions, which I love! But you might not need all of that. You can even get an Instant Pot with an air fryer function! This is a great way to give you multiple options with minimal appliances.

air fryer

How much oil do I need to use in an air fryer?

This will depend on the recipe but most foods will only require a minimal amount of oil, if any at all. I like to use olive oil spray so I can evenly coat food with minimal oil. You can buy refillable misting cans and fill them with your own oil, which is a great cost-effective option. This works well for foods like broccoli, green beans, or other vegetables. In fact, too much oil can make the food soggy.

Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Technically, yes, it’s generally safe to put aluminum foil in an air fryer, but I don’t recommend it. You want to avoid using any aluminum foil because if it blocks the circulation of air, you won’t get an even browning on your food. If you do decide to use foil, you should only put it in the basket and be sure that it doesn’t hinder the heating element. 

Can you use metal utensils in an air fryer?

It depends on your air fryer. Many air fryers have a non-stick coating that might be damaged by metal utensils. I prefer using a silicone spatula, spoon, or tongs to remove food from the air fryer, just to be safe.

air fryer

How to clean grease from the air fryer basket

Although most air fryer recipes don’t require much oil, if you’re using it frequently you may notice grease beginning to collect on the air fryer basket. Before cleaning, unplug the air fryer and remove the air fryer basket.

If your air fryer basket is dishwasher safe (mine is!) you can easily run it through the dishwasher. If you prefer to wash it by hand, I recommend a powerful soap like Dawn Powerwash. I spray the basket with soap and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I use a scrubbing brush to scrub the grease off of the basket. Then I rinse it and let it air dry or wipe it with a clean cloth, and it looks good as new! 

You can also use an abrasive sponge or a clean toothbrush to help remove stuck food particles or grease but be careful not to damage any non-stick coating on the frying basket. If you find yourself needing to deep clean the basket frequently, you may be using too much oil. Remember that most recipes only require a small amount of oil to achieve browning.

What are the best things to cook in an air fryer?

I love making broccoli and green beans because they’re quick, easy, and healthy! But I also use my air fryer for everything from eggplant pizza to polenta croutons. It’s perfect when I don’t feel like heating up the oven and most things cook faster with less oil in the air fryer. You can also use your air fryer to make frozen foods like waffles, garlic bread, french fries, and more. 

Are there foods I can’t make in an air fryer?

While an air fryer is versatile, there are some foods that aren’t recommended for an air fryer. Large pieces of meat may not cook properly. Melty cheesy, like cheese curds, can make a mess. And foods that involve a wet batter that is meant for deep frying, won’t cook properly in an air fryer. Foods that need to be hydrated like beans and rice just won’t work in an air fryer. (But you should try these air fryer pasta chips!)

Can the air fryer reheat food?

Yes! One of my favorite things to use the air fryer for is reheating food! If we’re ordering takeout, french fries are usually soggy by the time we get home. Just a few minutes in the air fryer returns them to golden, crispy perfection! The air fryer is also perfect for reheating leftover pizza! You get a nice crispy crust without making the pizza soggy or chewy.

If you have a question about air frying, leave a comment below!