Air Fryer Basics to Get you Started!

I think I mentioned in a previous article that I got an air fryer for Christmas. I have been wanting one for a long time, and was super excited when I opened my Philips brand HD9220 air fryer. However, any time I get a new kitchen appliance, it’s always a little overwhelming to figure it out. So, this article is for me, and for anyone else who might be wanting to learn how to use their new air fryer.

Air fryers are an innovative kitchen appliance that use hot air convection currents to cook your food. Unlike a deep fryer, air fryers do not need a lot of oil to create crisp, cooked food. It is a healthier form of cooking, and this is why they have gained popularity in recent years.

As you can see in the picture above, air fryers have a basket that pulls out and this is where you cook your food. And french fries are not the only thing you can make in your air fryer. Air fryers can cook vegetables, meat, and even doughnuts!

I’ve read through many blog posts and websites. Here are some air fryer tips I have gathered that I think will be helpful as you and I experiment with this awesome kitchen gadget.

  1. Preheat you air fryer first. Just like an oven, preheating your air fryer first will ensure even cooking and crisper texture. (For my specific air fryer, the owner’s manual does not say that it needs to be preheated, but many bloggers have suggested doing it anyway). To set the temperature of your air fryer, make sure the air fryer is plugged in and turn the temperature control knob to the desired temperature. On my air fryer, the temperature control knob is at the top of the fryer. Most air fryers will preheat in 2-3 minutes.

  2. Take safety precautions! Only hold the air fryer basket by the handle. If you touch any other part of the basket you will get burned. Some air fryers come with a pan that fits in the basket (or the pans can be purchased separately). Definitely make sure you use oven mitts or a potholder to remove the pan. Also make sure you put the air fryer on a flat, heat resistance surface with several inches of space around all parts of the fryer. The air fryer is a mini-oven and will get super-hot! You don’t want it right up next to a wall.

  3. Spray your food tray/basket with oil before cooking. This prevents food from sticking and makes clean-up a whole lot easier. One blogger suggested buying your own kitchen spray bottle and adding oil rather than buying an aerosol cooking spray. Apparently, aerosol cooking sprays contain harsh agents that could damage your air fryer over time.

  4. Don’t fill the basket too full. If you pack the basket too full of food, the food in the middle will not cook thoroughly. You will want to be able to pull out the basket and shake/flip food items as they are cooking.

  5. Add a little oil to your veggies. You don’t need a lot, but a little bit of oil will help your veggies get brown and crispy. (Say no to soggy veggies!) You can do this by spraying your veggies with some oil or in some cases, you may want to coat them with a small amount of oil. My owner’s manual suggests adding ½ Tablespoon of olive oil to a batch of homemade french fries.

  6. Frozen veggies turn out better than fresh ones. For whatever reason, several bloggers have said that frozen veggies turn out way tastier in an air fryer than fresh ones! I’m going to have to try it!

  7. Add some water to the basket for meat. This is an awesome tip! If you add a little bit of water to the basket, underneath the cooking tray, it will help prevent excess smoking as your meat is cooking. The grease will drip into the water. It will also make clean-up much easier!

  8. Clean your air fryer regularly. It’s always tempting to leave an appliance uncleaned, however, if you don’t clean your air fryer regularly it might start smoking, and it will get more and more difficult to clean, which could lead to damage, wear, and tear. Always allow the appliance to cool completely before cleaning. Clean the pan and basket with hot water, a little dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge. Clean other parts of the inside with just hot water and a sponge. You may need to lean the heater element with a stiff cleaning brush to remove food residue.

Hopefully, this is good “food for thought” to get you started. (No pun intended!) Now onto the cooking! What are you going to make first?


    Cristina Duke
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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