Mistakes You Are Probably Making With Your Air Fryer

By molly atherton 7 months ago
Are you guilty of air-frying atrocities that would make your favorite snacks scream in horror? If you've ever stared at your air fryer, wondering why your food isn't turning out as golden and glorious as those tantalizing Instagram posts, fear not- you're not alone! Welcome to the tantalizing world of culinary blunders with your air fryer, where the journey to crispy perfection is paved with well-intentioned mishaps. We'll take you on a culinary rollercoaster as we unravel the mysteries of the air fryer and reveal the mistakes you're probably making.

You're Not Adjusting Conventional Cooking Times

Imagine your air fryer as a whimsical time machine in your kitchen. But here's the catch, it doesn't do time travel. So when you throw in your favourite dish, don't forget to adjust the conventional cooking times. Keep an eye on your culinary journey and make sure it lands at the perfect destination.
Image source: Reddit
Content Originally Sourced: Femanin.comWhilst you can use your air fryer for old recipes in your repertoire, remember that cooking temperatures for your new device will be different from when you cook food in the oven.  As a rule of thumb, reducing the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit should ensure great results.

You're Not Using A Thermometer With Your Air Fryer

Don't play air fryer roulette with your food! It's like flying blindfolded through a flavor fog! Invest in a trusty thermometer, your co-pilot for culinary excellence. By knowing the exact temperatire inside your air fryer, you'll ensure every meal is perfectly cooked inside and out.
Image source: Reddit 
Even though air fryers appear to be pretty fool proof in turning out tasty, well cooked food, you should be double checking, proteins in particular, to make sure that everything has reached the correct temperature. Get yourself a thermometer and be in the habit of using it regularly.

You Don't Use Enough Oil With Your Air Fryer

Relax, there's no need to cut back on your oil usage just because you're using an air fryer. Whilst the air fryer is famous for being the healthier alternative to deep frying, a light mist of oil can work wonders. It's the secret ingredient to that crispy, golden finish your tastebuds desire.
Image source: Reddit 
You would be excused for thinking an air fryer requires no oil because of its name, but you do actually require oil when you cook with it.  You really only need a couple of teaspoons for the majority of items and 1-2 tablespoons for breaded items so they can get nice and crispy!

You Try Cooking Raw Vegetables In The Air Fryer

Vegetables are like the unsung heroes of the culinary world. But they deserve some pre-love before their debut in the air fryer. Instead of tossing raw veggies into the air fryer, blanch them or give them a quick seasoning to enhance the flavours. Your taste buds and your veggies will thank you.
Image source: Reddit 
If you bought your air fryer because you wanted to eat healthier, then you might be surprised to hear that you would be better off using frozen vegetables.  Raw vegetables can scorch in the air fryer, leaving the insides raw.  Because frozen veg contain moisture, they can cook fully before browning.

You're Using PAM In Your Air Fryer

PUT DOWN THE PAM! Now slowly back away from the can and never think about doing that again. You might think the spray will be convenient and save some time but if you want to keep putting anything in your air fryer then you definitely don't want to use this.
Image source: LifeSavvy
There are some items you always have in your kitchen store cupboard and PAM is one of those things.  The non-stick cooking spray can be a lifesaver in lots of cases but not so for your air fryer.  The fryer already has a non stick coating and some aerosol sprays can damage it, due to the additives in it.

You Overfill  The Air Fryer Pan

Whilst your air fryer might seem like a magical cavern that can fill endless treasure troves of food, overfilling your pan will leave you devastated. Give your food some space to breathe at least and make sure that the hot air can reach every single piece of food evenly around the pan.
Image source: Reddit 
If you place too much food in the air fryer basket or pan, you'll end up with a mess.  There will be food that is half undercooked, half burned and not very tasty!  Cook your food in batches, as you would if you were frying things in a hot pan.  Bear in mind that you shouldn't fill more than half way.

You Haven't Checked The Temperature Of Your Air Fryer

It isn't magic; this is science! Your air fryer will have its own settings and you need to make sure everything is perfect! Just as you wouldn't drive a car without checking the fuel gauge, don't start cooking your food until you've verified the air fryer is at the right temperature.
Image source: Reddit 
You are likely to assume that the temperature settings on all your kitchen appliances are correct but that may not always be the case.  The actual temperature that an air fryer runs at might not be what you think you're setting it at.  Different models can be hotter or cooler and that can mean the difference between crispy fries and those that don't quite cut it.

You're Not Baking With Your Air Fryer

Air fryers are really the most versatile kitchen appliances but did you know that you don't have to limit yourself to the world of fried food? You might actually be able to create some delightful surprises for your sweet tooth and maybe open up an entirely new realm of culinary possibilities.
Image source: Reddit
You can't argue that air fryers are great tools in the kitchen and are very versatile.  Studies have shown that crispy chicken and fries are the favorites to be cooked in the air fryer.  Think outside the box, try baking a cake in your air fryer.  The results are amazing and you don't use as much energy as baking in the oven.

You Only Use Your Air Fryer For Fried Foods

Your air fryer really is a multi-talented chef, but it isn't just limited to one type of cuisine. Why don't you venture outside the world of fried foods and explore it's potential with various dishes from around the world. Try and let your imagination run wild whilst you're in the kitchen.
Image source: Reddit
Many people think air fryers are for fried foods or leftovers but once you've purchased yours, do something different.  Make crispy, breaded foods from scratch and customize your recipes.  You may not need as much seasoning as when you're cooking in a frying pan.

 You Use Too Much Oil In Your Air Fryer

There's a fine line between golden perfection and a greasy mess. When a little oil can work wonders, going overboard might lead to some culinary calamities. Find a balance that suits your taste and health goals. Your waistline and your taste buds will thank you for finding the sweet spot.
Image source: Reddit 
With traditional frying, you want your food submerged at least partially in oil.  This is a different story with an air fryer.  Be sure to read the instructions fully and you'll see that you only need a little oil (1 -2 teaspoons).  More than often, that can lead to soggy, burned food. It is also a fire hazard.

You're Ignoring The Smoke Point Of The Oil Used In Your Air Fryer

If you ignore the smoke point of the oil in your air fryer then you risk turning your kitchen into a smoky dance floor. Choose your oil wisely, making sure it matched the heat the air fryer is generating. This simple but crucial step could be the difference between success and smoky disaster.
Image source: Reddit
Air fryers get super hot inside and this can have a major impact on what oil you should or shouldn't be using with it. You'll probably be setting it somewhere between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  You must always use oils with a smoke point that is high enough but not going to burn.

You Don't Give Your Air Fryer Enough Room To Vent

Your air fryer is much more than just a cooking machine; it's also a host to a load of hot air. To ensure that every guest enjoys their food to the fullest you need to make sure the device has plenty of room around it. Overcrowding could lead to uneven cooking and results far from perfection.Image source: InsiderYou may have the perfect place on your countertop, all set up for your air fryer ready but unless it allows the fryer to have at least five inches of space all around it, when in use, it is not safe.  It needs adequate ventilation so the machine runs smoothly and the food cooks evenly.  You don't want a fire hazard on your hands.

You're Not Patting Proteins Dry Before Air Frying

Think of your proteins as the stars of the show, they deserve the grandest of entrances. Before they hit the air fryer's stage, try and take a moment to pamper them and pat them down with a paper towel. Excess moisture could be your own arch-nemesis in the kitchen if you don't.
Image source: Reddit 
A dry surface browns quicker than a wet one because moisture will otherwise steam the food.  You should pat meats and some vegetables with kitchen paper before cooking them to make sure that you're giving them a fighting chance to shine and deliver a crispy, golden performance.

You Don't Rotate Proteins During Cooking In Your Air Fryer

Your air fryer is very much an impartial chef, and sometimes, it can't reach every corner of the stage (or the basket). For the sake of your own tastebuds make sure you give your proteins some love and attention in the basket and make sure that it comes out looking the way you want.
Image source: Reddit 
The common error with air fryers is not rotating your proteins. Flipping your protein halfway through cooking will give an even cooked final dish.  For proteins with uneven thickness, such as pork tenderloins or fish fillets, fold the thinner underneath to create a more uniform size and to ensure even cooking.

You Don't Move Vegetables Around In Your Air Fryer

Even your veggies will need a bit of mingling when they're in the air fryer. If they're left in one spot throughout the cooking process, it's like isolating people at a party! Ensure that your veggies are filled with flavour and textures by making sure to give them plenty of attention.
Image source: Reddit 
You'll want to periodically move your vegetables around when you're cooking them in an air fryer.  Vegetables will brown evenly if you toss them during cooking and do not overfill the tray or pan.  A handy tip is to use a bowl to add seasoning to your dish part way through.

You Put Things In Your Air Fryer That You Shouldn't

Not everything should get a backstage pass straight to the air fryer concert (or a ticket to the dinner plate). Ingredients with high water contents should always be kept out of the air fryer spotlight! You don't want to run the risk of damaging your air fryer, what would you do without it?
Image source: Reddit 
There are some things you should never put in an air fryer such as lightweight items that could get blown around, herbs and seasonings that could burn and cheese and wet batter.  The same goes for things that are too large to go in there as well, such as whole chickens.  Popcorn is a definite no no.

You Cook Greasy Food In Your Air Fryer Without Using This Trick

Because of the fat content of bacon and sausages, these foods are likely to release grease and oil as they cook which can interfere with the air frying process and even create smoke. This can lead you down quite the slippery slope when it comes to disasters happening in the kitchen.
Image source: Reddit 

Cooking greasy food might damage your air fryer. So what can you do to prevent this? Add some water to the bottom of your air fryer before starting the cooking process. It acts as a safety net, catching excess grease and preventing potential fires or smoke shows taking over the kitchen.

You Cover The Entire Tray In Parchment Paper Or Tin Foil

Whilst parchment paper and tin foil can be valuable allies in the kitchen, you want to make sure that you don't give your air fryer tray a full costume. By doing so you could disrupt the airflow and hinder the entire cooking process, which might just leave you feeling a little hungry.
Image source: Air Fryer Eats
This is more a safety concern than anything else but it is one of the biggest air fryer mistakes you could make.  There is no issue with using tin foil or parchment paper in your air fryer but DO NOT cover the entire tray with it as it could be a potential fire hazard.

You're Not Drying Potatoes Before Putting Them In The Air Fryer

Potatoes might be many of our all-time favourite foods, but they have a sneaky secret; they can be extremely watery. Before they head in to the spotlight, be sure to give them a proper pat down with some paper towel; this will ensure that they come out extra crispy for you to enjoy.
Image source: Liana's Kitchen
Fries are one of the best and easiest things to cook in an air fryer but when you are in a hurry, you are probably guilty of chopping those potatoes, throwing them in the air fryer and forgetting about them for the next 15-20 minutes.  The removal of the excess moisture might be the best thing you do.

You're Not Experimenting With Your Air Fryer

Your air fryer isn't just a kitchen appliance; it's a canvas for your culinary creativity. Don't let it gather dust whilst you stick to the same old oven recipes. Embrace the world of experimentation, unlock it's true potential and discover some exciting new flavours you've never had before.
Image source: Reddit
There are better things to do with air fryers than cooking fries and heating up ready meals.  Fish and meat in particular loves to be air fried and the same goes for expensive steak as well as affordable chicken wings. Standard air fried fries are no better or worse than oven fries so it would be foolhardy to only use your air fryer for that.

You Put Your Air Fryer Basket And Hot Fryer On The Countertop

Your air fryer isn't a delicate kitten; it's a sizzling, hot beast. Placing the searing hot components directly on to your kitchen countertop could result in some unsightly marks and even damage them over time. Try and keep your kitchen looking as good as possible! Don't run the risk!
Image source: Reddit 
Ensure your air fryer is lifted from the counter by little feet or that you have something underneath it to avoid ruining your counter. This goes for the basket as well! To safeguard your kitchen you might want to use a heat-resistant mat or something similar under the air fryer basket.

You Don't Clean Your Air Fryer Often Enough

Neglecting your air fryer's cleanliness is pretty much like purposely leaving a greasy mess in your own kitchen. This is a recipe for disaster, not culinary success! You need to clean them regularly to ensure that the air fryer remains in peak condition for the future.
Image source: Air Fry Anytime
A number of problems can arise if you are not cleaning your air fryer often enough. Crumbs and food particles that are left in the basket can burn the next time you use the fryer and leftover oil residue can smoke, posing a fire hazard.  On top of that, your kitchen will smell bad!

You Aren't Seasoning Correctly

Seasoning is the air fryer's secret spice, it isn't just about salt and pepper, but I'm sure you already knew that! Elevate your dishes to culinary greatness by exploring the world of herbs, spices and marinades. Who doesn't want to make their meals taste even better though, right?
Image source: Live Eat Learn
Fried foods and vegetables are nothing without seasoning but you need to be careful. The air fryer works through convection, pushing hot air around your food to cook it. This means that any seasoning can end up getting caught up by the rush of air, leaving you with unseasoned food and a dirty air fryer!

 You Don't Preheat Your Air Fryer

Your air fryer might be a great device and always eager to please, but it requires and craves a warm-up first before it can waltz with your food. Preheating is the secret to even cooking and achieving the greatest results. The greatest results will be the greater for you and your tastebuds.
Image source: The Typical Mom
You should preheat your air fryer for at least 10 minutes before you start cooking. Use the time to chop vegetables and breadcrumb chicken. Preheating the air fryer will ensure that the ingredients in the basket start cooking immediately, crisping up on the outside instead of steaming into a soggy mess.

You Set Your Air Fryer And Leave It

Unfortunately, an air fryer isn't a 'set it and forget it' device. Whilst it is a culinary marvel, it still appreciates your involvement in the entire cooking process. Open the basket, shake it and toss the food regularly to make sure every piece of food gets its moment under the spotlight.
Image source: Birmingham Live
You cannot just put your food in, walk away and expect to have a perfectly cooked meal as the timer pings.  Check in for any signs of trouble. Black smoke usually means that there is food burning inside, while white smoke means excess oil or grease is too hot and could catch fire.

You Try Using Traditional Frying Batters In Your Air Fryer

Traditional frying battes and air fryers really aren't a match made in heaven! The air fryer is great for so many things, but trying to cook a batter in the air fryer is probably only going to end up making a hot mess. Don't let your new device go down the drain because of some soggy batter.
Image source: Grow It, Eat It
If you want to keep using batter for your favorite churro recipe or you want to batter a piece of fish, then stick to cooking in a pan.  Batter mixture and air fryers are at odds with each other as the mixture will sink through the basket and could burn the drawer below.

You Don't Put Leftovers In Your Air Fryer

Leftovers shouldn't be relegated to the microwave, your air fryer is definitely the device you'll want to use here! The air fryer is almost a magician that can breathe new life into yesterday's meal. Reheat your leftovers here and watch as the flavour and crispiness is brought back to life.
Image source: Reddit 
The air fryer is a champion when it comes to reheating your favorite leftovers so don't throw them out.  Pizza will stay crispy on the bottom while melting the cheese on top.  Fries will re-crisp right up and most left over food will taste almost as good as it did the day before.

You're Not Using Accessories In Your Air Fryer

Your air fryer really is more than just a fryer; it's the Swiss Army knife of the culinary world! Accessories might be able to transform your air fryer in to the most versatile of kitchen powerhouses. There are a load of different ones you might be able to get your hands on.
Image source: Reddit 
There are accessories that go inside the air fryer and it will make your fryer more useful if you take advantage of them.  Look out for cake pans, silicone moulds, racks, ramekins and other cooking devices that can fit neatly inside your air fryer basket. These will help you make a much wider variety of foods.

You're Not Drying Your Air Fryer Completely

After cleaning your air fryer, don't rush to get back in the kitchen and set off on your next culinary adventure. Ensure that it's thoroughly dry before it's next performance to make sure it works to it's best ability. Too much moisture might introduce some unfortunate smells!
Image source: Reddit 
Getting the basket and drawer of an air fryer sparkling clean can be a pain, as can getting them dry.  That wouldn't be the case if you are using a tea towel.  Try this tip - after a thorough scrub, replace the basket and drawer and then turn on your air fryer for a few minutes.  That extra moisture will vanish!

You Bought A Cheap Air Fryer

Quality matters in the world of air fryers. A budget-friendly machine might appear attractive (and it will work) but it might not be able to deliver the cooking precision that some of the better devices might be able too. Read up on the various style to see what suits you best.
Image source: The Telegraph
While there are some cheap air fryers out there that get the job done when it comes to something like a single serving of fries, spending a little more money can make a huge difference when it comes to things like capacity, the versatility of cooking more than one thing at a time and smart controls.