Air Fryer Tips For Beginners (+Easy Recipes To Get You Started!)

air fryer tips for beginners

Are you new to the world of air frying? If you are, here are some must-know air fryer tips for beginners to get you started!

Air fryers have become all the craze now and for good reason! Through its rapid air technology, air fryers are able to simulate the results of deep-frying with minimal oil.

Air fryers are definitely a good investment for those who want to explore healthier cooking methods. However, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to get optimal results.

With my air fryer tips and tricks, you’ll master the art of air frying in no time!

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What Is An Air Fryer?

When it comes to kitchen appliances, there are deep fryers, there are ovens, and somewhere in between, there are air fryers. So, what exactly is an air fryer and how does it work?

Air fryers are a cooking device that rapidly circulates hot air to cook and crisp up food. For many recipes, it’s able to simulate the crispiness you get from using a deep fryer, with significantly less oil.

Why You Should Invest In An Air Fryer?

Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular these days, but is it worth the hype?


Here’s why you should consider investing in an air fryer:

  • It’s a great way to cook healthy food. When cooking with air fryers, you only need to use a little oil. Just a spritz or two using an oil mister goes a long way!

  • You can enjoy your favorite foods, guilt-free. For example, if you enjoy breaded chicken wings, these healthy and crispy Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Wings are sure to hit the spot!

  • It doesn’t take up a lot of space. Unlike built-in ovens, air fryers are compact and portable, so they can be kept on your countertop or stashed away when you need some extra counter space.

  • You can use it to cook a wide variety of food. Air fryers can be used to cook so many different things including chicken, fish, vegetables, pizza, and snacks.

Air Fryer Tips For Beginners

air fryer tips and tricks

1. Choose the right size

Air fryers come in different sizes and it’s important to choose the right size for your family. If you get an air fryer that’s too small, you’ll end up having to cook food in batches.

Here’s a guide to choosing the right size for your family:

  • If you’re cooking for 1 – 2 people, a small capacity air fryer will do, so go for a 2- or 3-quart model.

  • For larger families with 4 – 5 people, you can spring for a 5- or 6-quart model that will allow you to cook more food at a time for your bigger family, so you don’t have to cook in multiple batches.

  • If you enjoy hosting parties or gatherings, go for a bigger capacity model like a 10-quart air fryer, which you can even use to roast a whole chicken!

2. Don’t be alarmed by the noise

Air fryers are great, but let me warn you: They can get pretty loud! Don’t worry, it’s normal. That’s just how they are.

So, if you were hoping to listen to some music or a podcast in the kitchen…well, you’ll probably have to do that elsewhere.

3. Preheat your air fryer

Just like an oven, it’s good practice to preheat your air fryer before cooking. When you preheat your air fryer, hot air starts circulating around the basket.

When you put your food inside the hot air fryer, it starts cooking right away and gives you that crispy finish that we all long for! So don’t skip this step!

Check the instruction manual to see whether your air fryer comes with a built-in preheat function. If it doesn’t, here’s how you can do it manually:

  • Refer to the recipe you’re using and check what temperature it specifies. According to this, set the temperature on your air fryer.

  • Switch on your air fryer for 5 minutes.

  • Proceed to air frying your food of choice.

4. Use some oil

Since air fryers cook food with hot air instead of hot oil, it’s tempting not to use any oil at all. However, using a small amount of oil is recommended for a couple of reasons.

First, oil acts as a protective barrier that locks in moisture to prevent your food from drying out, especially when cooked at high temperatures. Second, using oil keeps your food from sticking to the air fryer basket.

So here’s what I usually do: Once I preheat my air fryer, I spray some oil onto the air fryer basket before placing my food inside. This keeps the food from sticking to the basket and creating a huge mess.

Then, I spray some oil on the food as well, to lock in the moisture and get it nice and crispy.

Just a few spritzes of oil using an oil spray or mister goes a long way!

Also, here’s how to make the best oil spray for air fryer: Get an oil sprayer on Amazon, fill it up with your oil of choice, and BOOM! You’ve got yourself a reusable cooking spray that you can refill at home.

5. Get some perforated parchment paper or silicone liners

If you want to cut down on oil, you can use perforated parchment paper or silicone liners to line your air fryer basket. This will prevent your food from sticking without having to spray the basket with oil.

It’s best to use parchment paper or silicone liners that are perforated to avoid disrupting the circulation of hot air within your air fryer basket.

If you don’t want to buy a separate roll of perforated parchment paper for your air fryer, you can make your own at home with regular parchment paper.

Here’s how to make perforated parchment paper:

  • Cut regular parchment paper according to the size of your air fryer basket.

  • Fold the parchment paper into half, then fold again.

  • Use a hole puncher to make holes and open the folded parchment paper.

  • Line your preheated air fryer basket with the DIY perforated parchment paper and place your food on top.

6. Don’t overcrowd the basket

air fryer tips for beginners

When it comes to air fryer tips for beginners, this is arguably the most crucial tip to keep in mind: Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket! Overcrowding your air fryer basket can cause your food to be soggy rather than crispy.

This is because overcrowding disrupts the airflow in your air fryer. An air fryer cooks your food by rotating hot air around the basket and the food inside. As such, you want to space out your food to let the hot air hit all sides of it, making it nice and crispy all around.

Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cook your food in batches to avoid overcrowding. This is why it’s so important to choose the right size for your air fryer!

7. Turn your food halfway through

An air fryer is a pretty hands-off cooking method. You basically just put your food inside, set the timer, walk away, and let the air fryer work its magic!

However, you do need to shake the air fryer basket or turn your food halfway through the cooking time. Unlike ovens, air fryers only have a heating element on top, so turning your food halfway through helps with even cooking and browning.

8. Clean your air fryer after use

Cleaning your air fryer after use is an important step that you shouldn’t skip! Leftover food particles can get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your air fryer, and grease can build up on the fan over time, which will disrupt the function of your air fryer.

Crumbs and bits of food left behind can also burn the next time you use your air fryer, potentially making your food taste off and even creating a fire hazard.

To avoid this, it’s best to clean your air fryer after use. Start by clearing any crumbs or bits of food from your air fryer.

Next, remove the air fryer basket and drawer. Check your air fryer manual to see whether these parts are dishwasher-safe. If not, wash these parts by hand with water, dish soap, and a nonabrasive sponge. Once dry, put the parts back in your air fryer.

For the interior of your air fryer, on the other hand, you can wipe it down with a damp microfiber cloth. If the interior seems particularly greasy, wipe it down with a nonabrasive sponge and some dish soap. Then wipe off any residue with a damp cloth.

9. Find the right recipes

Use recipes that have specific air fryer instructions. Air fryers tend to cook food faster than ovens, so trying to make a recipe that uses an oven with your air fryer might not quite work out. You may end up cooking your food for longer than necessary, causing it to dry out.

You can experiment and modify recipes, but that’s going to involve a fair share of trial and error. So my advice is to find air fryer recipes and try them out instead.

10. Avoid wet batter

Air fryers are great for cooking many types of things, but food with a wet batter isn’t one of them. The wet batter drips down through the gaps of the air fryer basket before it gets cooked, so your food won’t have that crispy shell that you expect.

Instead of using a wet batter, try breading your food instead. Coat it with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs before air frying to get crispy and golden brown food.

Air Fryer Recipes For Beginners

The best thing about air fryers is how versatile it is. You can use it to cook so many different things, even whole fish!

Here are some air fryer recipes to get you started:

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes For Beginners

Easy Air Fryer Recipes For Beginners

Air Fryer Chicken Recipes For Beginners

Frequently Asked Questions

What cannot be cooked in an air fryer?

Avoid cooking any food with a wet batter in your air fryer. The batter drips down through the gaps in the air fryer basket causing a mess, and your food won’t have that crispy shell you’re expecting.

Can I put aluminum foil in an air fryer?

Yes, you can aluminum foil in your air fryer. It catches crumbs and grease and makes overall cleanup much easier.

Will parchment paper burn in the air fryer?

Parchment paper can catch fire in an air fryer, but this can be easily avoided. Don’t put parchment paper in an empty air fryer while it’s preheating. The paper is light and without any food weighing it down, it can fly up to the heating element and catch fire.

Only use parchment paper after preheating and place your food on top to weigh it down.

Can you put raw meat in an air fryer?

Yes, you can. You can cook raw fish, chicken, and other meats using an air fryer. Having a meat thermometer can be handy to check the internal temperature of the meat to ensure that it’s properly cooked.

Do you have to clean the air fryer after every use?

Ideally, you want to clean your air fryer after every use to avoid the accumulation of food particles and grease build-up. Once your air fryer cools down, wash your air fryer basket and drawer. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down and clean the interior.

What foods are best in an air fryer?

Various veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, okra, potatoes, and mushrooms, and proteins like tofu, fish, and chicken turn out great in the air fryer. You can even use it to make pizza and healthy snacks such as honey-roasted chickpeas.

air fryer tips and tricks

Do you put oil in an air fryer?

Technically, you don’t need oil to cook your food in the air fryer, but using a small amount of oil acts as a protective barrier and locks in moisture in your food, preventing them from drying out.

Plus, greasing your air fryer basket keeps food from sticking to it and makes overall cleanup much easier.

What oil is best for an air fryer?

If you cook an oil beyond its smoke point, it produces a burnt, unpleasant flavor, causing your food to taste off. You can avoid this by using an oil that has a relatively high smoke point such as avocado oil (570F), soybean oil (460F), coconut oil (450F), peanut oil (450F), and vegetable oil (400F).

How do you keep food from sticking in an air fryer?

Greasing your air fryer basket prevents food from sticking to it. Spray your basket with oil using an oil spray or mister before putting your food inside. Alternatively, you can line the basket with perforated parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Do you need liners for an air fryer?

Liners such as perforated parchment paper or silicone liners keep food from sticking to your air fryer basket and make cleanup much easier. You can make DIY perforated parchment paper with regular parchment paper and a hole puncher.

Alternatively, you can just grease your air fryer basket with oil to prevent food from sticking.

What frozen foods are good in an air fryer?

Various frozen foods can be cooked straight out of the freezer in the air fryer. This includes chicken wings, chicken nuggets, and french fries. In fact, some foods are better air fried frozen because defrosting would introduce a lot of moisture, preventing the food from crisping up in the air fryer.

Here are some recipes that you can make ahead and store in the freezer. Just pop them into the air fryer when needed, no defrosting required!

air fried mashed potato balls
Air fryer mashed potato balls

How to use air fryer for chicken?

You can cook seasoned, raw chicken in the air fryer. Spray some oil on the chicken to lock in the moisture and help it crisp up. You can also bread chicken by coating it with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs before cooking. This produces golden brown, crispy breaded chicken.


With these air fryer tips for beginners, you’ll be air frying like a pro in no time!

Fried food is the ultimate comfort food, and with air fryers, you can enjoy healthy fried food, guilt-free. Whether you’re air frying meat or vegetables, keep these air fryer tips and tricks in mind, and you’re sure to create healthy, delicious meals for your family in no time!

If you’ve learned other air fryer tips through trial and error, do share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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