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Over the last few years, air fryers have become incredibly popular! People are using them to make their favorite foods in a healthier way. They’re easy to use, and they make reheating leftovers 10x better.
If you recently bought an air fryer or got one as a gift, then you’ve probably got a bunch of questions.
Today we’re going to help you with one of the most common questions…
Can you put foil in an air fryer?
You can use foil in an air fryer as long as you do it the right way! Air fryers use hot air instead of radiating heat so it won’t cause any issues with the foil. Put a layer of foil in the bottom of the air fryer basket where your food sits in (not the bottom of the air fryer itself).
The best part of using aluminum foil in your air fryer is that it makes cleaning up 10x easier.
New to air fryer cooking? Check out our master list of healthy air fryer recipes that you might want to try!
Can you Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
It’s common knowledge that you can’t use foil in a microwave unless you want to set it on fire. The radiating heat will cause sparks to fly and you’ll blow it up. It makes sense to want to make sure that won’t happen with your air fryer.
Air fryers use hot air instead of radiating heat and they also don’t hit as high of a temperature that would cause the foil to light on fire or melt.
This is good news because it means you can put foil in an air fryer! Put a small amount of foil in the bottom of the basket, but make sure you don’t cover your food. The less foil you use, the more air flow you’ll have! Make sure you don’t put the foil in the bottom of the air fryer.
This will allow the circulating hot air to still heat your food, but reduce your cleanup.
Step by Step: How to Safely Put Foil in your Air Fryer
Step 1: Get a piece of foil
Get your piece of foil and cut out how much you think you’ll need. The way we do this is by holding our foil roll and pulling the foil until it covers the basket by an inch on either side. Then we use scissors to cut the foil long-ways.
Step 2: Place the foil inside the basket
Tear off your piece of foil and place it in the bottom of the air fryer basket. Press it down to the bottom and make it so that there’s a half inch “lip” on the edge. This will keep any oil from your food from dripping off the sides.
Step 3: Use the least amount of foil necessary for best results
The goal with an air fryer is to use circulating hot air to “air fry” the food. Using foil in the air fryer limits the amount of hot air that can hit the bottom of your food.
The best thing you can do is use the least amount of foil as possible. This will allow for more air circulation.
Step 4: Add food in, but don’t overcrowd the basket with food
This final step is similar to above. Using foil limits the air flow that reaches your food.
Make sure that your basket is not overcrowded and full of food. You want as much surface area of your food to be exposed. This might mean that you have to cook your food in multiple batches.
Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Using Foil In An Air Fryer
1. You can poke holes in the foil, but that would be dumb
Some people on the internet recommend that you poke holes in your foil when using it.
I get why. This allows a bit more air flow for your food.
But it’s dumb because it defeats the entire purpose of using foil. If you poke holes, then oil/food will drip down into the bottom of the air fryer. Using foil prevents that which is what saves you the clean-up time.
2. Don’t use foil with acidic foods
Normally, cooking acidic foil in your air fryer is fine. But you can’t use foil.
The high acidity of certain foods can actually cause a reaction between the food and the foil, resulting in weird black specks. This can cause some health issues if you eat these tiny foil metals.
3. Don’t put foil in the bottom of the air fryer container
Sometimes people will put the foil in the bottom of the air fryer container itself in order to “catch” the drippings and oil. The problem is that this can mess up the air flow and your food won’t be cooked properly.
How do Air Fryers Work?
It’s important to mention that air fryers don’t actually fry the food that you put in them.
Air fryers use rapid air technology that is hot air circulated in the cooking compartments. This hot air heats food to cook evenly and with a crispy texture.
Your air fryer has a fan and heating mechanism to heat the air. The hot air will flow around the food, and cook it. The food itself is placed in a basket like you’d see in a deep fryer. As the hot air circulates around the food, the food is “air-fried.”
Common Questions on Using Foil with your Air Fryer
Can you put foil in a microwave?
You absolutely should not put foil in a microwave. The radiating high heat can cause the foil to melt or spark which is a fire hazard!
Is it toxic to put foil in an air fryer?
Cooking with aluminum foil in an air fryer is safe as long as you do it the right way. If you use acidic foods then you could ingest parts of aluminum foil, which we don’t recommend.
Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer?
You can use parchment paper in an air fryer to reduce the mess. They are heat resistant and will absorb the grease from your food. Parchment paper may be better than foil because your food is less likely to stick to the paper.
Read more: How to use parchment paper in an air fryer
6 Quick Tips for Cooking in an Air Fryer
1. Preheat your air fryer
Preheating your air fryer will save you time while you actually prep your food to be cooked! This way when you put the food in, your air fryer will already be at the right temperature.
If you have an older air fryer model that doesn’t have a preheat setting, then turn your air fryer to your desired temperature and let it run for 3-4 minutes before putting your food in.
Read more: How to preheat an air fryer
2. Use oil to crisp up your food
The reason deep fried food tastes so good is that you’re dunking it in oil. An air fryer is obviously a healthier option. If you want to try to get that yummy crispiness on your food, then drizzle some oil in your food before cooking.
We recommend using oils with a higher heat point like avocado or grapeseed oil.
If you’re cooking food that is already fatty, then you probably don’t need to add oil.
3. Add water to the bottom when cooking fatty food.
If you put foil in your air fryer then you probably don’t need to do this. But whenever food bits or oil drips down into the bottom of the air fryer it can actually get burned and create some smoke in the air fryer.
If you add some water to the bottom of your air fryer then this won’t be an issue!
4. Spray your air fryer basket or foil to avoid food sticking
Putting a super thin layer of oil on your air fryer basket or foil can help keep your food from sticking! The last thing you want to do is leave the good crispy layer of food on your foil.
5. Shake your basket or flip the food halfway
We recommend flipping your food halfway through your cooking time! This is exactly what you’d do if you were grilling a burger or baking brussel sprouts. The goal is to expose each side of your food to the hot air. This is especially important if you’re using foil because it limits the air circulation.
6. Spray in the middle of your cooking
If you want to get your food extra crispy, then we recommend opening the air fryer halfway through your cooking and giving it a spray of oil. We usually do this whenever we flip the food like we suggested in step 5.
Final Verdict: Get to Cooking! Feel Confident and Safe Using Foil in an Air Fryer
Now that you know you can safely use foil in an air fryer, it’s time to get cooking! Remember to use a small layer of foil in the bottom of your basket and turn your food halfway.
Make sure to give our air fryer turkey burgers a try!
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.