If you are new to air frying, or even if you are a seasoned pro, you might be wondering: can you put foil in an air fryer? The answer may surprise you! In this article we break down when you can use foil in an air fryer, when you shouldn’t, and the best ways to use it safely.
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Using foil in an air fryer
Aluminum foil is a helpful kitchen tool for cooking many kinds of foods. It can be used to wrap foods to protect them or prevent them from losing moisture during cooking, or to protect cooking surfaces making for an easier clean-up.
So, you can use it when cooking foods in a conventional oven or on a grill, but can you put foil in an air fryer?
In general, yes, you can use foil in an air fryer. However, it is essential to check the manual for your particular air fryer model as it is not recommended for some makes and models. There are also a few things you need to know about using foil safely in an air fryer, so read on for all the details.
Why use tin foil in an air fryer?
What are some of the reasons you might want to use foil in an air fryer?
- One of the big advantages is that you have to do less cleaning after cooking. The aluminium foil catches the grease, and is easy to remove after cooking.
- To keep the juices with the food during cooking. One of the benefits of air fryers is that they let the fat drain out of food during the cooking process, but this also means the tasty juices will be lost. Using kitchen foil can capture these juices and help to keep food moist during cooking.
- Prevents food from sticking to the basket, or smaller food particles falling through. Some foods are much more likely to stick to your air fryer basket (like anything with a wet batter), and some smaller foods could fall through the basket. Using kitchen foil can help to prevent this.
Why it is sometimes not a good idea to put foil in an air fryer
If your model of air fryer can use aluminum foil, there are still a few reasons why you may not want to use it.
Air fryers cook food (and get great results) by circulating air over and around the food you are cooking. If you put foil in the air fryer basket you will be blocking the flow of heated air around the food, reducing its ability to cook the food.
This means that the effectiveness of the air fryer will be reduced, and the food will not cook as efficiently or get as crisp as if you cooked it without foil.
What can you use instead of foil?
Although you can use foil in an air fryer, you may not always want to. There are lots of other options you can use instead of foil in your air fryer. Ask yourself why you want to use foil, and check out some of these alternatives that will do the job just as well if not better:
- If you want to stop the juices from food from being lost into the pan of the air fryer, use a small baking pan instead.
- If you want to use foil to stop food from sticking to your air fryer basket, try spraying or brushing your air fryer basket with oil before you add the food.
- If you want to cook food that is more prone to sticking like food with a wet batter, you can try using air fryer liners, which are made from parchment or baking paper. These purpose-made liners have holes in them to allow the air to flow freely. However, like with foil, please check whether they are ok to use in your particular air fryer model.
- Air fryer liners will also help to make the clean-up easier if you are cooking something messy (though they won’t prevent all the cooking juices from getting into the lower pan).
How to use foil in an air fryer safely
To use foil safely in an air fryer, there are a few important things to consider:
- Firstly, check your manual to be sure that foil can be used in your air fryer.
- Ensure that it is not able to touch the heating element, and
- Ensure that it does not block the flow of hot air.
Here are some guidelines for using foil in an air fryer
- Don’t preheat an air fryer with foil in it. The loose foil could be blown up onto the heating element by the hot air, and damage your air fryer or cause a fire.
- Only use it with foods that are heavy enough to weight it down once the fan starts up. Otherwise the foil can blow around inside your air fryer causing a fire hazard.
- Don’t line the entire basket edge to edge, as this will prevent the hot air from being able to circulate properly leading to uneven cooking.
- Don’t line your air fryer pan (underneath the cooking basket) with foil, as it will block the air from circulating properly. Also, it could blow up around the cooking basket and onto the heating coil, which is dangerous.
- Ensure that the foil does not overlap the edge of the air fryer basket. This again could touch the heating element.
- Use the smallest piece of foil that you can.
- Don’t over-crowd the basket. Because the hot air circulation is being blocked from the bottom, you want to make sure that it can reach all sides of the food as it is blown down from the top.
- Flip the food during cooking. Again, because the hot air flow is being blocked from underneath, it is important to flip your food over during cooking or you can end up with unevenly cooked food.
- Don’t use foil if you are cooking acidic foods like tomatoes, or citrus, as the acid can make metal leach out of the foil causing a metallic taste, and potentially making it unsafe.
Yes you can wrap chicken in foil in an air fryer if it is ok to use foil in your air fryer model (check your manual if you are unsure). However, don’t wrap chicken in foil to cook if you are using any acidic ingredients in the marinade or seasoning (e.g. tomatoes, chili, citrus).
If you have a ready meal in a foil packet that would normally be cooked in an oven, then yes you can cook it in an air fryer. Just use our oven to air fryer conversion calculator to adjust the recommended cooking time and temperature.
No, you should not line your air fryer with kitchen foil. Using foil when you are air frying will prevent the air fryer from circulating properly leading to poorly cooked food, and can be dangerous if the foil is able to contact the heating coil. There are many other options you can use, see the sections above for some ideas.
No, it is never a good idea to use foil in the drip pan of your air fryer. If you line that part of the air fryer with foil you will prevent the air from flowing efficiently, affecting performance. Also because the foil will have no food weighing it down in this area it could be blown up onto the heating element and damage your air fryer or cause a fire.
Step by step instructions
- Confirm that your air fryer make and model recommends that foil can be used.
- Preheat your air fryer before placing the foil in it.
- Cut the smallest piece of foil needed.
- Place it in the air fryer basket and ensure it is weighed down by food. Don't overcrowd the basket.
- Check that there is space around the foil within the basket for air to circulate.
- Ensure that it is not sticking up out of the basket in a way that it could touch the heating element.
- Flip the food over halfway through the cooking time.
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