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Over the last few years, air fryers have become incredibly popular! Many home cooks are using them to make their favorite air fryer recipes more healthily. These kitchen appliances are easy to use, and they make reheating leftovers 10x better. If you recently bought a new air fryer oven or got one as a gift, you’ve probably got a bunch of questions. Today I’ll help you with one of the most common questions…
- Can You Put Foil in the Air Fryer?
- Step by Step: How to Put Foil in the Air Fryer Safely
- Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Using Foil In An Air Fryer
- 6 Quick Tips for Cooking in an Air Fryer
- Foil in Air Fryers vs. Microwave Ovens
- How to Use Caution with Aluminum Foil
- Alternatives to Using Foil in Cooking
- Shiny Side or Dull Side Out?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict: Get to Cooking! Feel Confident and Safe Using Foil in an Air Fryer
Can You Put Foil in the Air Fryer?
The short answer is yes, you can use foil in an air fryer as long as you do it the right way! Air fryers use hot air as a heating component 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 oven model air fryer is that it makes cleaning up 10x easier.
New to air fryers? Check out my master list of healthy air fryer recipes that you might want to try!
Unlike a conventional oven without a convection setting, an air fryer makes use of air as a heating element instead of radiating heat, and they also don’t hit as high of a temperature while air frying that would cause the foil to light on fire or melt.
This is good news because it means you can put foil to the basket of the air fryer! Put a small amount of foil in the bottom of the air fryer 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 air to still work as a heating element but reduce your cleanup.
Step by Step: How to Put Foil in the Air Fryer Safely
Step 1: Get a Piece of Foil
Get your piece of foil and cut out how much you think you’ll need. The way I do this is by holding my foil roll and pulling the foil until it covers the basket by an inch on either side. Then I use scissors to cut the foil long-ways.
Step 2: Place 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 of the basket 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 Aluminum Foil Necessary for Best Results
How air fryer work is to use circulating hot air as a heating element to “air fry” the food. Using aluminum foil in the air fryer limits the amount of hot air that can hit the bottom of your food and which could result in uneven cooking.
The best thing you can do with air frying is use the least amount of aluminum 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 the above. When you use aluminum foil, it limits the air flow that reaches your food. Uneven cooking may occur as a result of this.
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 Aluminum Foil, But That Would Be Dumb
Some people on the internet recommend that you poke holes in your aluminum foil when using it.
I get why. This allows a bit more airflow for your food.
But it’s dumb because it defeats the entire purpose of utilizing an aluminum foil. If you poke holes, then oil/food will drip down into the bottom of the air fryer through all the holes. Using tin foil prevents that, which is what saves you the clean-up time.
2. Don’t Use Foil With Acidic Foods
Normally, avoid cooking acidic foods with aluminum foil in your air fryer unit. Acidic foil is fine. Acidic foods react with aluminum, so you avoid putting foil with these foods.
The high acidity of certain foods can actually cause a reaction between the food and the aluminum foil, resulting in weird black specks. This can cause some health risks if you eat these tiny foil metals.
3. Don’t Put Foil in the Bottom of the Air Fryer Container
Sometimes people will put tin foil in the bottom so the air fryer can catch the drippings and oil. The problem is that this can mess up the flow and your could end up having unevenly cooked food or having a metallic taste in the food.
6 Quick Tips for Cooking in an Air Fryer
- Preheat your air fryer: Preheating your basket air fryer will save you time while preparing your meal 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, turn it to your desired temperature and let it run for 3-4 minutes before putting your food in.
- Use oil to crisp up your food: Deep frying foods will taste so good because you’re dunking it in oil. An air fryer is a healthier option. If you want to try to get that yummy crispiness on your food, then drizzle some oil in your food before your cooking process. I 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.
- 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 get burned and create some smoke in the basket model air fryer. If you add some water to the bottom of your air fryer then this won’t be an issue!
- Spray your basket of your air fryer or foil to avoid food sticking: Putting a thin layer of oil on your 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 or the non stick surface of your air fryer.
- Shake your basket or flip the food halfway: I recommend flipping your meal halfway through your cooking time! This is exactly what you’d do if you were grilling bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers or baking brussels 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.
- Spray in the middle of your cooking: If you want to get your food extra crispy, I recommend opening the air fryer halfway through your cooking and giving it oil spray. I usually do this whenever I flip the food like I suggested in step 5.
Foil in Air Fryers vs. Microwave Ovens
When using foil in the kitchen, it’s important to exercise caution. More so when using it in microwaves. Usually, most air fryers are cool with foil; however, sometimes they can get a little wild. Foil in the microwave can cause sparks and even damage your appliance.
Hey, I get it. Sometimes you need a little foil in your life – like if you want to protect a certain part of your dish from getting too much heat. No worries! Just grab a small piece of foil and cover that specific area. Only be sure it’s not getting into contact with the sides of the microwave!
So, let’s put safety first in the kitchen. Read those instructions for your particular air fryer oven, follow the guidelines, and stay safe.
How to Use Caution with Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil can be a bit temperamental, particularly with certain foods like tomato sauce that can cause a chemical reaction.
Now, there have been some whispers going around that employing aluminum foil to cook can cause Alzheimer’s disease. There’s no concrete proof to back up this theory.
Luckily, there are some policies from the professionals to help me out. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has given me the thumbs up to enjoy a weekly intake of up to 2 milligrams of aluminum for every 2.2 pounds of my weight.
The European Food Safety Authority is a bit more cautious, setting the limit at 1 milligram per 2.2 pounds measured against body weight weekly.
Alternatives to Using Foil in Cooking
If you are bored of using the same old foil in your cooking and looking for some fun alternatives, you’re in luck. There are a bunch of compelling options out there!
A superhero in the kitchen! Not only is parchment paper a great alternative to foil when baking or roasting, it’s also non-stick and heat-resistant. A parchment paper or bare basket is used to line your baking sheets or wrap foods for steaming.
Silicone Baking Mats
These are an incredible substitute for the traditional baking tray, grease tray and foil. Plus, they’re reusable and easy to clean, making them a sustainable option for your cuisine. Silicone liners can also work well.
Perforated Air Fryer Liners
These little wonders are perfect for your air fryer toaster oven. They’re uniquely engineered with perforations that permit passage of air. The result is a nice crunch on your fries and chicken wings. They are also non-stick and disposable, which means no messy clean-up and better flavor.
Glass or Ceramic Baking Dish
These versatile dishes are safe for the conventional oven and can work wonders in your air fryer too. You’ll get evenly cooked foods and a tasty, crispy crust every time.
These babies are the superheroes of air frying. They’re developed to allow hot air to circulate freely, resulting in perfectly crispy and evenly cooked food. Plus, they’re a sustainable and eco-friendly choice compared to using foil.
Alternatives to Using Foil in Cooking
|Parchment Paper||Non-stick, heat-resistant||Not suitable for all cooking methods|
|Silicone Baking Mats||Reusable, easy to clean||Limited to baking and roasting|
|Perforated Air Fryer Liners||Provides crunch, non-stick||Disposable, limited to air frying|
|Glass or Ceramic Baking Dish||Evenly cooked food, crispy crust||May require adjustments in cooking time/temperature|
|Wire Baskets||Allows air circulation, eco-friendly||Not suitable for wrapping or storing food|
Shiny Side or Dull Side Out?
Some people think there is a difference in how the two sides of aluminum foil function, others argue that there is no notable difference.
Foil paper is created by pressing two sheets of aluminum together and then rolling them out until they’re super thin. During this procedure, the two sides of the foil separate, resulting in one side that’s shiny and one that’s dull.
Some manufacturers apply a layer on the shiny side to prevent sticking, while others do it on the dull side.
When cooking, some folks believe that the polished side reflects heat, while the dull side absorbs it. The difference is so minor that it won’t have a notable effect on your cooking. What really matters is how you position the foil in relation to your food.
If you use aluminum foil to wrap edibles in the fryer, ensure the shiny side faces inward towards the food. This will reflect the heat back towards the food, which will help prevent unevenly cooked food.
But if you’re using foil to wrap food for storage or transport, it really doesn’t matter which side faces outward.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Aluminum Foil Block Airflow in Air Fryer?
While aluminum foil can limit airflow in an air fryer, it depends on how it is used. Using a small layer of foil or creating openings to allow air circulation can help mitigate any blockage. It’s important to avoid covering the food entirely to ensure proper airflow, which is essential for even cooking and crispy results.
Can I Use Non-stick Spray or Oil on Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?
You can use non-stick spray or a small amount of oil on aluminum foil in an air fryer. However, it’s crucial to exercise moderation. Applying excessive oil or spray can make the foil too greasy, increasing the risk of a fire hazard. Use a light coating to prevent food from sticking while maintaining safety in your air frying process.
Can I Wrap Chicken in Foil in an Air Fryer?
You can wrap the chicken in foil in an air fryer, though it is crucial to ensure that the foil does not touch the heating elements and that there is space for proper air circulation. To prevent sticking, it is recommended to apply some non-stick cooking spray or oil on the foil before wrapping the chicken.
Read more: How to use parchment paper in an air fryer
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.
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.