Now that you own an air fryer, the first, and most important, step is to read your user manual properly. The manual will guide you through the basic setup of your air fryer and walk you through all its functions, how to use it, and what you should do to get started. Read the manual thoroughly, and make sure you understand everything. Once you’re done, store the manual somewhere safe, so that you can always go back to the manual when you face a problem in the future. These manuals often also come together with a few basic recipes, which are always a good thing to keep on hand.

The manual is a very important guide, but here are some basic tips and hints to help you with your air fryer:

  • Before using your air fryer for the first time, wash it thoroughly to remove any dust and chemicals that may have come from the packaging and sales process. You should also wash all the parts of your air fryer if you haven’t used it for an extended period of time, as it may have gathered dust along the way.
  • Whenever you try to use your air fryer, take some time to prepare the basket, pan, or grates you plan on using. Although these items usually have a non-stick coating, there is still the risk of your food sticking to the pan. Use a little butter or oil to grease your pan, and avoid aerosol cans, as they often contain chemicals that are harmful toward the coating. Another alternative is to use liners such as aluminum foil or baking paper. Many brands have started selling these products shaped to fit your air fryer, with tabs to make it easier to remove your food once you’re done cooking.
  • Buy a small spray bottle to fill with oil. Many recipes require a small amount of oil to help your food get that extra bit of crisp, and a spray bottle is a great way to coat your food evenly, with the minimal amount of oil and almost no effort.
  • Greasy foods, such as fatty meat, bacon, etc. don’t require any extra oil to get crispy. In many cases, the excess grease that drips into the bottom of the air fryer will start to boil and burn, resulting in white smoke leaking out of your air fryer. This is a very common occurrence and isn’t a sign of problems with your air fryer. A simple way to get rid of the smoke is to pour a little bit of water into the air fryer before cooking, or to place a slice of bread on the bottom, to absorb all the grease. This will also help make it much easier to clean your air fryer afterward.
  • Although most air fryers don’t need it, preheating your air fryer for two or three minutes can help you reduce your cooking time. Some air fryers come with a preheat setting, but if yours doesn’t, simply turn it up to the right temperature a few minutes before you’re ready to start cooking your food.
  • When preparing large amounts of food, cook your ingredients in batches, rather than all at once. If your air fryer is too crowded, the heat won’t reach the middle of the cooking space properly, and your food won’t cook and crisp evenly.
  • Another way to help your food crisp evenly is to turn it halfway through the cooking process. The air fryer will pause all its functions whenever it’s opened while still cooking and will continue when it’s closed again. Use a pair of tongs to turn larger pieces of food like steak and chicken. For smaller types of food, such as french fries or chopped veggies, simply give your basket a good shake.
  • Many people find that adding the suggested oil or butter halfway through the cooking process rather than beforehand helps the food become crispier. You can do this while you turn your food, and this is where that spray bottle will also come in handy.
  • Whenever you’re cooking frozen ingredients, always make sure to remove any ice that formed to get rid of any extra moisture. If any ingredients need to be soaked, rinsed, or marinated, make sure to properly pat them dry using a piece of paper towel, as extra moisture will result in your food being less crispy. A good indicator of too much moisture on or in your food is steam leaking out of the air fryer while you’re cooking your food.
  • It’s very easy to use other cooking implements like metal bowls and muffin trays together with your air fryer, as long as these implements can withstand the high temperatures and fit comfortably inside the basket of your air fryer. Always make sure that it will be easy to remove these implements without burning yourself before you start cooking.
  • Some meats, like steak, chicken, and pork, require a constant, steady internal temperature. For cases like this, it’s very useful to have a quick read thermometer to help you monitor that internal temperature.
  • As with an oven or microwave, it isn’t wise to turn up the temperature in your air fryer higher than the recipe suggests. Despite what you might think, a higher temperature won’t always flawlessly decrease your cooking times. In most cases, your food will end up being burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.
  • With some ingredients, such as french fries, a good way to reduce your cooking time is to put them in the microwave on high until they are halfway cooked, and then pop them in the air fryer for half the time just to get that lovely crispy exterior.
  • When working with potatoes, it often happens that they are still hard after you’ve finished cooking them according to the recipe. This problem is usually caused by the potatoes themselves: some potatoes are just unusually hard from the start. A good way to soften potatoes before you start cooking them is to soak them in water for a few hours. The potatoes will absorb enough water to soften up a little, but not enough to interfere with their crispness when you fry them. This works great for when you’re making fresh french fries, and if you’re using whole potatoes, make sure to make a few small cuts so that the potatoes can absorb the water properly. Soaking the potatoes will also help remove any excess starch. Remember to pat your potatoes dry before putting them into the air fryer.
  • Working with food items that don’t have a lot of weight to them can be risky. Because of the strength of the fan the air fryer uses, things like small pastry squares or egg roll wrappings tend to fly around inside the air fryer as soon as it’s turned on. There is a big chance that these can fly up into the fan and cause damage to your air fryer, so it’s best to keep them away from your air fryer.

Although each recipe will give you the right temperature and cooking time, it sometimes happens that you just quickly want to throw something into the air fryer without following a specific recipe. To help you with that, here’s a simple chart with the general cooking temperatures and times for the most commonly used ingredients:

 

INGREDIENT AVERAGE COOKING TIME COOKING TEMPERATURE

̊F

French fries (thin, frozen) 12 – 16 min 390 ̊F
French fries (thick, frozen) 12 – 20 min 390 ̊F
French fries (thin, fresh) 15 – 20 min 400 ̊F
Potato wedges 15 – 25 min 400 ̊F
Vegetables (fresh) 15 – 25 min 350 ̊F
Vegetables (stuffed) 10 min 320 ̊F
Chicken nuggets 6 – 10 min 390  ̊F
Chicken wings 16 – 22 min 360 ̊F
Chicken breast 10 – 15 min 360 ̊F
Drumsticks 18 – 22 min 370 ̊F
Pork chops 15 – 20 min 355 ̊F
Spare ribs 18 – 25 min 410 ̊F
Hamburger 9 – 18 min 355 ̊F
Steak 12 – 18 min 355 ̊F
Fish sticks (frozen) 10 – 15 min 390 ̊F
Spring rolls 12 – 18 min 390 ̊F
Cheese sticks (frozen) 10 – 15 min 355 ̊F
Cake (in cake pan) 20 – 25 min 320 ̊F
Muffins (special muffin pan) 15 – 18 min 390 ̊F
Quiche (in cake pan) 20 – 22 min 355 ̊F