It's no secret that air fryers are all the rage these days. Cutting your calorie count in half while cooking delicious food is pretty awesome.
But if you're new to air frying, you might be wondering - can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?
Does an air fryer work the same way a microwave does? Will my house catch on fire? All reasonable questions that we'll address in this post.
Understanding Your Air Fryer
If you're new to the air fryer game, let's get a better understanding on how your air fryer works!
There's a heating element and a fan within an air fryer. The device warms up, and the fan circulates the hot air throughout the food for uniform cooking that is comparable to that of a convection oven.
The cooking method of an Air Fryer vs Toaster Oven is one of the reasons why people are flocking to purchase air fryers.
This leads to the component where your food is placed: a perforated or mesh basket. The reason for this style of basket is so the heat can be evenly distributed through the holes all around the food when cooking.
Lastly, double check your user manual! The manual should state whether or not aluminum foil is safe for that specific unit. There are some brands of air fryers that do not allow aluminum foil.
Should You Use Aluminum Foil?
It is helpful for:
Easier Clean Up
Lining the bottom of the basket with aluminum foil can help catch crumbs or sauce from making a mess.
Under your food (in the basket), putting a piece of foil down can keep it marinated in juices and preserve taste.
Keeping Food Together
It's also possible that putting a tiny piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the basket will prevent delicate foods like fish from adhering to the basket and crumbling through the slits.
It is not helpful for:
Lightweight Food / Small Servings
There needs to be weight on top of the aluminum foil to stay down. If the food is too light, the aluminum foil can be blown around and could potentially catch on fire.
Toast is a great example. How to Toast Bread in an Air fryer using foil? You don't need foil because you want both sides to be toasted properly.
Those who only want one side toasted may use a piece of foil in the basket but the toast won't be heavy enough to support it. So try to toast a few pieces at a time or put some weighty toppings to hold the toast down on the foil.
We go into further detail later!
What Not to do with Aluminum Foil
Do not completely cover your food with aluminum foil. This will block the heat flow to evenly cook your food.
Do not cover the entire basket with foil. Your food will cook unevenly and you will not be a happy camper!
Foods You Shouldn't Cook on Aluminum Foil
When cooking with aluminum foil, it's important to be aware that acidic foods can react with the metal and give food a metallic taste. Not very appetizing!
The acid can also decompose the foil causing tiny specks to be left in your food and fryer.
Examples of some acidic foods are tomatoes, lemons, limes and foods that are marinated with vinegar or wine.
Wet Battered Foods
It is already not recommended to air fry food dipped in wet batter, but if you decide to do so, do not put them on top of aluminum foil. The batter will stick to the foil and create a mess.
Essentially all the batter will run off the food and to the bottom. So just don't try it, aluminum foil or not.
Light Weight Foods
Foods that do not weigh much such as leafy greens or English muffins should not be cooked on foil as they might fly around in the basket along with the foil.
Foods You Should Cook on Aluminum Foil
Food with Weight
Vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, potatoes, peppers are all great options.
Meats like ham, chicken, beef, or pork, lends weight to keep aluminum foil in place and can help retain the flavor of your dish.
Tips for Using Aluminum Foil
Here are a few quick tips to follow when using aluminum foil in your air fryer:
- The aluminum foil should be placed only on the bottom inside the air fryer basket.
- Do not cover the basket or the food entirely in aluminum foil as the hot air needs to reach and cook the food.
- Do not place the aluminum foil on the bottom of the air fryer where the dripping and crumb pan is located.
- Make sure the food on top of the foil weighs down so the aluminum foil does not get sucked into the heating component.
Using parchment paper in the air fryer is a safe alternative. It is less likely to stick to the food, and does not react to acidic foods.
Parchment paper is a natural product in case you're worried about the metallic in aluminum foil.
What About Tin Foil?
Aluminum foil took over after World War II. Tin foil is not commonly used due to many reasons.
Tin foil has poor ductility, poor durability, poor heat and electric conductivity. Tin foil can also alter food flavors to taste like tin or leave a bitter flavor.
So, no it is not recommended to put tin foil in the air fryer!
What about Parchment Paper?
Yes, you can put parchment paper in your air fryer. Make sure to have food that can weigh down on the parchment paper so it does not fly around in the basket.
You can also buy parchment paper with holes so the heat can flow through when cooking.
What about Paper Towels?
No, you cannot put a paper towel in the air fryer. Paper towels are flammable and you do not want to ruin your new air fryer!
Use paper towels only for wiping out the grease in the basket or wiping around your air fryer while cleaning.
So there you have it. You can put aluminum foil in the air fryer but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, ensure there is weight to your food to weigh down the aluminum foil.
Second, try not to use too much foil- a single layer on the bottom INSIDE of the basket should do the trick .
And finally, avoid cooking acidic food on aluminum foil as it will cause a chemical reaction that will alter your food.
Happy Air Frying!
Founder of Robust Kitchen