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6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Air Fryer

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So you bought an air fryer. You’ve made a few recipes, but things aren’t working as well as you anticipated. Now you’re frustrated and about to put that appliance in storage, never to be seen again.

Here are 6 mistakes you can fix to get the best experience out of your air fryer. And trust me, you’re going to love this appliance!

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YOU’RE NOT ADDING OIL

Air fryers are famous for making fried foods healthier. People assume absolutely no oil is needed and end up with dried out food.

An air fryer works similar to that of a convection oven and moves the air around the food instead of the heat just being from the bottom of the oven.

With all that air movement, the food starts to lose moisture, which takes away the delicious flavors you love in fried food.

You only need 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of oil each time you use your air fryer to help bring that flavor and moisture back.

Various oil containers in front of an air fryer.

Since sprays, like PAM, can ruin your air fryer over time, I recommend using a mister like this EVO Oil Sprayer Bottle. You just simply put your own oil in the sprayer and you’re good to go. It’s even cheaper in the long run.

Here is an ultimate guide on how to use oil in an air fryer that explains what foods you should be using oil on and what foods should NEVER have oil on them (hint hint: air fried pork chops).

You may ask what makes an air fryer better than using an oven and the answer is simple. Crispiness.

An air fryer recreates the texture and crispiness you get when you fry food rather than softer texture you get when baking.

They can also make delicious food in half the amount of time without heating up the house, just like these Air Fryer Carrots in just 20 minutes.

They would normally take 40 minutes in the oven not including preheating time!

YOU’RE NOT REHEATING FOOD IN YOUR AIR FRYER

Nothing is worse than spending $20 on takeout pizza to have soggy soft reheated pizza the next day. Air fryers are great at keeping crispy foods, well… crispy when reheating them.

Turn your air fryer to 350-400 degrees F for just 3-4 minutes and your reheated leftovers will taste just as crispy as the night before. Just think – crispy, hot, and fresh reheated pizza in an air fryer (or any other food you want!).

Tater Tots in air fryer basket from overhead view.

I have reheated tater tots, french fries, pizza, vegetables, fried chicken, and more in an air fryer with big success. You can even reheat steak in your air fryer!

See how to reheat pizza in an air fryer or reheat chicken in the air fryer here. You can even reheat chicken wings in the air fryer when they’re already sauced!

I find that thinner foods work well at 400 degrees for less time while thicker foods like these Cheeseburger Slider Pockets are best at 350 degrees for a little longer.


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Title: Stop Making These Air Fryer Mistakes; Shown: Air Fryer on a countertop

YOU’RE NOT USING IT TO ITS FULL RECIPE POTENTIAL

Did you know you could roast vegetables or even bake Air Fried Oreos in an air fryer? Heck, you can even cook bacon in an air fryer and it’s amazing!

Air Fryer Bacon on a white plate

Just like baking in an oven, there are some incredible air fryer cookbooks out there to help you make some delicious dishes.

Some cookbooks even include up to 550 recipes. That’s a lot of use out of our air fryer!

Here is a great list of the Best 7 Air Fryer Cookbooks out on the market for everyone. They even include vegetarian and vegan recipes!

Love our recipes? (we do too). Check out our e-cookbook here for some delicious air fryer recipes.

YOU’RE PUTTING TOO MUCH IN IT

This is one mistake I was guilty of when I first bought my air fryer. I filled it up with homemade french fries expecting them to cook evenly and thoroughly.

I ended up with half burnt, half uncooked fries and disappointed in the results.

After reading through the manual and researching online, I found out you should never fill your air fryer more than halfway.

Cosori Air Fryer with drawer halfway open and a small pie plate with totchos inside.

In fact, you should never even get close to halfway. This will destruct the air flow causing some fries to not get as much heat.

If you have a smaller air fryer, cook in batches. This means cooking a little at a time.

Everything will cook evenly and you will get the crispiness you are expecting.

If you plan to cook for a big family, eye on the side of a larger one. You will be able to cook more per batch.

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YOU’RE NOT CHECKING YOUR FOOD AS IT COOKS

Recipes are not flawless. Each oven, stove, air fryer, even toaster are different. Just because a recipe says cook 15 minutes, doesn’t mean leave it in there for 15 minutes without checking on it. The same goes, especially for an air fryer.

Air fryers are actually designed so you can open them, check on your food, and shake the basket to move the food around without losing heat. You should shake the basket at least once while cooking.

This allows the food to get evenly cooked and allows you to ensure it is cooking at the right speed to avoid getting burnt.

If you notice your food is cooking faster than expected, lower the temperature a little bit to help it cook thoroughly. If the opposite happens and it’s cooking much slower, turn the temperature up.

YOU’RE NOT BEING SAFE WITH YOUR AIR FRYER

DON’T LEAVE IT PLUGGED IN

If you are a This Is Us fan, you will understand this one. Just like a Crock-Pot, never leave an air fryer plugged in. It is always wise to unplug an air fryer in case you accidentally leave it on.

Some don’t make noise when opened, so it is easy to forget you didn’t turn it off. Air fryers, like any other appliance, take up electricity when plugged in anyway.

Different air fryers also have different wattage, which cooks food at different rates. 15 minutes in one air fryer can mean 10 minutes in another and 20 minutes in the next.

KEEP IT ON SAFE SURFACE

It is also important where you place your air fryer. I recommend placing a piece of heatproof tile or a heatproof cutting board under the air fryer to avoid any unneeded heat on your counter.

Certain counter materials can actually break when too much heat is applied to it.

This Countertop Sliding Tray works great for keeping your air fryer off the counter and moves easily away from the wall when in use.

Also, place your air fryer as far from the wall and outlet as possible. I set mine about 12 inches from the wall. Even though the machine is small, it still heats up to 400 degrees.

The machine can get hot and let off steam or excess heat. If left too close to a wall or outlet, it can melt anything close to it.

One place to never put your air fryer? ON THE STOVE!

Here’s why.

Air Fryer on Countertop

I have seen multiple horror stories where the air fryer either melts to the stove or it explodes and ruins half of the kitchen. Does this mean an air fryer could explode when used? No.

It means a stove burner was accidentally left on, turned on, or not completely cool. The heat from under the air fryer on the stove is enough to heat the air fryer in a way it’s not intended to causing it to explode.

Even if you think you will be extra careful, just please do not put it on your stove at any time.

Personal experience: There have been two local fires in my area from people using their air fryers on their stove.

I don’t care if you have ways to make it impossible for you to turn the stove on. Just don’t do it.

What mistake did you make when first using your air fryer? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for different ways to use your air fryer? Check out these recipes and cookbooks.

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24 thoughts on “6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Air Fryer”

  1. I used my shag 7 in 1 air fryer for first time. 2 mistakes.
    1. I put the pizza pan on bottom as it didn’t fit in slots on side. It burned it almost through. It is actually designed to fit in the air fryer basket. I burned the food as well

    Second , I used Pam on the pan and it burned on and damaged the pan. I think your idea of the oil is much better.

    My fryer didn’t have a lot of instructions. Very misleading. Your website was helpful and today I actually reheated chicken which was good. Thanks for your input.

    Reply
    • I am so glad you found it helpful, Teresa. I agree, most air fryers come with little instruction and it’s terrible! I’m sorry to hear your pizza pan you have didn’t fit. There are air fryer accessories specifically designed for certain types of air fryers. Was this an air fryer pizza pan, or one of your own? It also sounds like the air fryer may have been on too hot of a temperature.

      One great thing with an air fryer is that you can open up the machine while it’s cooking and adjust the temperature while cooking. So, if you see the pizza is browning too quickly, you can turn the temperature down 20-30 degrees to help it cook all the way through.

      Reply
  2. Does the Countertop Sliding Tray you linked in your post provide enough heat resistance for the Cosori 5.8QT Air Fryer on a formica countertop or do I need additional protection?
    Thank you for you help…

    Reply
    • Hi Mary, yes! The sliding try should provide enough heat resistance. Most of the heat in the Cosori Air Fryer will come out the back, so just make sure you always pull it forward enough away from the wall still when in use on the tray.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for the information in your article. If you must cook in batches, what do you do with your cooked food while waiting for the next batch(es) to finish? I assume place in the oven at low temp to keep warm; however, I worry about the food getting soggy.

    Reply
    • Hi Amanda, great question! When we can, we will eat the first batch while the second batch is cooking, but that’s not always an option depending on what’s cooking. At that point, we either cover the food with a plastic microwave cover or keep it in the oven at 200 degrees and then throw the food back in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes to reheat before serving.

      Reply
  4. Hey Samantha! I’m an independent, single military era veteran of both Vietnam and Iraq (Desert Shield). I have awesome cooking skills and enjoy cooking for myself, friends and family. I have had many successes with my GoWISE 7 quart air fryer over the last month. My first time cooking a beef steak was quite an eye opening (smoke alarm) experience (chuckle). It should be noted that when cooking food with a high oil content to add a quarter cup of water to the cooking pan to preclude heating the oil to smoking point (or forbid, the fire point). What I love about air fryers is the ability to enjoy the huge amount of crispy fried food recipes and not having to purchase a half gallon of oil to fry them in. Olive oil and love is all you need for most recipes. I have, truly, enjoyed your articles and find your style friendly and warm. Thanks for your tips.

    Reply
    • Hi Frank, I am so glad you’re enjoying your air fryer! And yes, that first fatty food can be an eye-opener if the smoke alarm or smoke starts coming from the air fryer! You can also put a piece of bread or two under the basket inside the drawer to help catch the oil and stop it from circulating back up. This is a great alternative for those that the basket sits too far down to use water.

      Reply
    • Hi Patty, I use the Everie Sliding Tray linked in the post. It will depend on what kind of air fryer you have if they will fit. I have the Cosori 5.8QT air fryer and it fits on the sliding tray great! Here is the link to the sliding tray: https://amzn.to/3pGXkHw

      Reply
    • Hi Katrina, yes! As long as the pan is oven-safe up to 450 degrees, it can be used in the air fryer. The food doesn’t get as crispy when cooked in a pan compared to on the actual rack or basket because it cuts off the air circulation under it, but it works well with things like food covered in sauces, nachos, etc that might make a mess otherwise.

      Reply
  5. My tip for folks who are new to air frying. (I learned the hard way) NEVER preheat an empty air fryer with a disposable parchment paper liner sheet inside it. The air circulation can cause it to float up and start to burn on the coil! Put in the parchment paper liner after preheating and just before you put in the food, so the food weighs down the parchment paper liner.

    Reply
    • Oh no! Yes, always make sure there is food on top of it! It also has to be heavy food that covers the majority of the parchment paper.

      Reply
    • Yes! I recommend putting some sort of rack or weight on top of the bread so it doesn’t fly around though.

      Reply

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