5 tips & 10 recipes to make the most of your air fryer

5 tips and 10 recipes to make the most of your air fryer

If you recently purchased an air fryer or received one as a gift, you may not be comfortable cooking with it yet. Or perhaps you haven’t even taken the appliance out of its box. If this sounds familiar, you might be experiencing FOAF (Fear of Air Frying). It’s a fairly common and completely understandable condition—no one wants to waste food by cooking it poorly and throwing it away. But the fear of air frying can be overcome easily with a few tips and tricks.

What is an air fryer anyway?

Perhaps the very name “air fryer” fosters a certain degree of uncertainty and confusion: how can one “fry” using mere air? The air fryer is essentially a small, supercharged countertop convection oven. Like a convection oven, the air fryer uses a fan to circulate air and speed up cooking time, but the air fryer’s small size helps it heat faster and more evenly, making food crispy but without hot spots. In other words, the air fryer doesn’t actually fry your food but instead produces the crunchy texture of deep frying with a fraction of the cooking oil.

That, in a nutshell, is why air fryers are all the rage. They require significantly less fat than deep fryers, which can use up to 50 times more oil. While the food in the deep fryer does not absorb all of that oil, air frying can significantly cut down on the overall fat content of any dish. But to get that crispy “fried” texture faster and with less fat, a little learning may be in order. Here are five tips and tricks that will defeat your fear and have you air frying like a champ in no time:

  1. Use a little A small amount of oil will not only improve the crispiness of whatever you’re cooking, it also helps spices and breadcrumbs stick to the food. The best way to apply oil is by using a small spray bottle.
  2. Toss or flip food periodically. The air fryer’s heating element is on the top, so food needs to be turned every 1/3 of cooking cycle.
  3. Don’t overfill the air fryer. Arrange food evenly and fill the basket to about half of its capacity.
  4. Don’t spray the basket—spray food. Spraying the basket with oil will degrade its non-stick surface.
  5. Breading is good, batter is bad. Breadcrumbs will create a crunchy air-fried coating while batters will simply make a mess.

Crispy Mushroom Ravioli

Feeling more confident about cooking in your air fryer?

At the bottom of this page, find 10 recipes our Test Kitchen developed specifically for your Proctor Silex air fryer:

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