Air fryers have become a staple in many modern kitchens, known for their convenience, speed, and health benefits over traditional deep-frying.
If you're a beginner, you might be a bit confused with this kitchen gadget. In this blog post, we'll take you through these main points:
- Get to know various components and functions of an air fryer.
- Step-by-step guide on how to use an air fryer in general.
- How to use an air fryer for different cooking techniques (heating, frying, baking, roasting, and dehydrating).
- Tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your appliance, and expand your cooking repertoire with air fryer recipes, beyond just frying.
Ready to take your cooking skills to the next level? Keep going!
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With Your Air Fryer
Knowing the different parts of your air fryer before using it is essential to make the most of your cooking experience.
Different Parts Of An Air Fryer
1. Cooking Parts & Accessories
Most air fryers come with a removable basket and drip pan. A few models have additional parts such as a rotisserie, skewer, and grill rack. These additional parts provide a larger space for air circulation and allow you to cook a variety of meals.
2. Heating Element & Fan
The heating element and fan are the core components of an air fryer. The heating element produces the heat, while the fan circulates hot air around the food, creating a crispy texture without using much oil.
How An Air Fryer Works
You may wonder, what makes an air fryer work. Air fryer ovens use a convection cooking method where hot air is circulated around the food to cook it evenly. This process takes place in a small cooking chamber, and the hot air is rapidly blown around the food.
Curious to know more about the detailed process of how air fryers work? Check out related blog post on this topic here.
Different Settings Of An Air Fryer
Air fryers come with various settings, making them versatile kitchen gadgets.
- Apart from traditional air frying, you can use an air fryer for baking, grilling, roasting, and dehydrating.
- Use the settings available on your air fryer to customize the cooking experience based on your preferences.
- Take some time to read the manual to get an idea of what goes where. Make sure the air fryer is placed on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area.
Step 2: How To Use An Air Fryer
1. Wash The Non-Electrical Parts
- Before using a new air fryer for the first time, wash all removable parts (non-electrical components) with warm soapy water.
- Once dry, reassemble them back into the machine.
- Place your air fryer on a flat, heat-resistant surface, and well-ventilated area.
2. Preheat The Air Fryer
- Preheating is essential to ensure evenly cooking. Most air fryers have a "Preheat" function that you can activate before adding your food to the basket.
- If your air fryer doesn't have a preheat function, start by setting the cooking temperature to the desired level and let it run for 5 minutes before adding your food.
Step 3: Prepare Your Food
During preheating, it's time to prepare your food.
- Remember to dry your food thoroughly before placing it in the air fryer. Wet food items tend to produce steam, which hinders the air circulation in the air fryer.
- Keep the food in a single layer and make sure there is enough space between them to allow proper airflow.
Step 4: Add Your Food To The Basket
Once your air fryer is preheated, it's time to add your food to the basket.
- Make sure to spread out the food evenly to ensure it cooks evenly.
- Avoid overcrowding the basket as this can lead to uneven cooking.
- If you're cooking something that might fall through the basket, you can use an air fryer accessory like a silicone mat or a baking cup.
- Some foods like vegetables may require a bit of oil for better taste, but it's entirely optional.
Step 5: Set The Cooking Time & Temperature
1. Digital vs Manual Display
- Some air fryers have a manual dial, while others have a digital display.
- If your air fryer doesn't have a digital display, you can use a kitchen timer to keep track of the cooking time.
- If your air fryer has a digital display, you can adjust the cooking time and temperature with just a touch.
2. Cooking Time & Temperature Guide
- For a quick guide, most food items require a temperature range between 350°F to 400°F with a cooking time of 10-20 minutes.
- Air fryers usually come with recommended time and temperature guides for different foods. These can be found in the air fryer's manual.
- Some models come with a preset temperature and setting on popular dishes such as French fries, chicken wings, steaks, vegetables and more.
- Check your recipe as the temperature and time settings vary depending on what you're cooking.
- You can refer to these as a starting point, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences and experience.
3. Monitor The Process
- Flip and Shake: For even cooking, flip or shake your food halfway through the cooking process.
- If you're cooking something like chicken wings, flip them over after ten minutes or so.
- Monitor your food: Keep in mind that air fryers cook food faster than traditional ovens, so monitor your food regularly to ensure it doesn't overcook.
Step 6: Clean Up Your Air Fryer
- Once the appliance has cooled down,s you can remove the basket and any other removable parts and wash them with warm soapy water.
- Wipe the interior of the air fryer with a damp cloth and dry it thoroughly before reassembling it.
- Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners on your air fryer as they can damage the non-stick coating.
Using An Air Fryer For Various Cooking Purposes
Different foods require different cooking temperatures and time. Check the manual provided by the manufacturer for cooking times and temperatures.
We will guide you through the different function settings of an air fryer, and how to use them for different cooking styles such as fry, bake, roast, dehydrate and heat.
1. Fry Function
The fry function is one of the air fryer's most popular functions to create a crispy outer texture without the need for lots of oil.
- To use the fry function, press the temperature button and set it to the desired temperature (usually 380°F - 400°F (190°C - 200°C) – depending on your reference of crispiness.
- Next, set the time, put your food inside the basket, and hit start. The air fryer will then create a beautifully crispy finish.
- Avoid overcrowding your basket to ensure even cooking, and shake or turn your food halfway through to ensure even browning.
2. Heat Function
This function is also suitable for keeping food warm before serving or reheating food or leftover meals quickly.
- To use this function, place your food inside, set the temperature to around 360°F (180°C) by pressing the temperature button and then hit start or press the reheating button.
- Once the air fryer has reached the desired temperature, the display will notify you to place your food inside.
- Most air fryers have a preheating setting that can cut down the time it takes to heat up your appliance.
3. Bake Function
The bake function works great for baking small cakes, bread, muffins, and other baked goods.
- To use the bake function, pre-heat the air fryer at 350°F (175°C).
- Place your baking pan inside and set the temperature and cooking time or "Bake" function.
- The baking function usually requires a lower temperature than air frying or baking in a regular oven.
- Be sure to keep an eye on your food as it bakes to avoid over-browning.
4. Roast Function
The roast function is great for cooking veggies, meat, and other larger food items. Using the roast function in an air fryer is also a healthier option than on a stovetop, as it requires little or no oil.
- To use this function, set the air fryer to a temperature of around 375°F (190°C) or select the "Roast" or "Veggies" setting.
- Place your food inside and press start.
- Depending on what you're roasting, cooking times may vary, so keep an eye on your food and adjust the time as needed.
- Some air fryers come with a rotisserie accessory for even cooking of larger food items.
5. Dehydrate Function
The dehydrate function is perfect for making healthy snacks such as dried fruit, dried vegetables, beef jerky, and chips.
- It works by circulating hot air from all sides to remove the moisture content of the food. This function usually requires lower temperature and longer cooking time.
- Slice your fruits or veggies evenly, place them on the dehydrating tray, and put them in the air fryer.
- To use this function, set the temperature to around 120°F (60°C) and let it run for 3-4 hours depending on what you're drying.
- Most models come with a preset time, but you can adjust it based on your preference and the types of food.
- Check on your food every so often.
6. Other Functions
Depending on the model of your air fryer, you may have additional functions such as toasting, grilling, and rotisserie.
When you obtain an air fryer toaster oven combi you will have an even wider range of possibilities. Experiment with your appliance to see how it functions and try out different recipes.
Tips & Tricks
- Preheat your air fryer: Some models come with a preheating function that helps to reduce cooking time and ensures even cooking.
- Use aluminum foil or parchment paper: To avoid sticking, you can line your basket with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Just make sure there is enough space for air to circulate around the food.
- Don't use aerosol cooking sprays: These sprays can damage the non-stick coating of your air fryer, so it's best to avoid them. Regular cooking spray is fine.
- Don't overcrowd: Overcrowding your food in the basket will result in uneven cooking and browning. Cook in batches if needed.
- Don't be afraid to open the basket during cooking: Unlike traditional ovens, opening the air fryer basket during cooking will not affect the cooking process. Use this opportunity to shake or turn your food for even cooking.
Using an air fryer is easy once you get the hang of it. The key is to read the manual, familiarize yourself with the various settings and experiment with different recipes.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
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By following these steps and tips, you will master the art of cooking with an air fryer in no time. Experiment with unique recipes and techniques to make the most of your air fryer.
Heat up your air fryer and enjoy healthy and crispy meals.
Happy air frying!