"Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?" you might've wondered with your new air fryer. Read on to find the answer and how to use foil the right way and safely in your air fryer.
Using aluminum foil in cooking can prevent mess and make clean up a breeze. If you've wondered whether you could use a sheet of aluminum foil in the air fryer basket, the short answer is yes, you can.
But it's not as simple as that. Let's go through why it's not a good idea to use foil all the time and how to use it safely.
What is an Air Fryer?
First, let's see how an air fryer works before we can dig into the nuances. An air fryer is like a mini convection oven that blows really hot air rapidly around the appliance with a powerful fan. This process allows the food to cook quickly and crisp up nicely with less oil.
It is a useful kitchen appliance to come out recently in the market and is very popular. Get more info on how to use an Air fryer with my handy guide for beginners: How To Use An Air Fryer.
Why Use Tin Foil in Your Air Fryer
Similar to using tin foil (aluminum foil) on a baking sheet in the oven, we use tin foil in the Air fryer for convenience and to minimize mess.
For basket-type air fryers, a layer of foil can be placed on the bottom of the basket to catch grease when cooking greasy foods like bacon. Or to catch the drippings when you're cooking meat or chicken. Foods like salmon and chicken can be cooked in tin foil packets too. This is also an easy method of cooking.
In an oven-type air fryer, the tray on the bottom of the fryer can be lined with a sheet of foil to catch grease.
Another use of foil in the Air fryer is to cover the food that you're cooking so the top won't brown while the rest of the food is cooking. This is a great way to cook baked goods. Some of my favorite foods like this Banana Bread and Apple Crisp are covered with foil when baking in the air fryer.
Is it Safe to Put Foil in the Air Fryer?
Foil is made of aluminum and too much aluminum or heavy metals can cause havoc in your body.
Cooking foods, especially acidic foods can result in a chemical reaction that could leak metals into your food. Heavy metal toxicity can lead to many diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and gut issues.
So it's better to limit the use of foil. If you're using it, use it to catch drippings and for easier clean-up than wrapping the food in it it to cook.
How to Use Foil in an Air Fryer Safely
Use foil in an air fryer when it's absolutely necessary. Use only a small amount of foil and don't air fry foods with a high acid content.
Since the heating element in air fryers are at the top, placing loose foil on the bottom of the air fryer basket without any food on it and starting the air fryer could result in the foil flying off and getting stuck in the heating coils. This is very dangerous and a fire hazard. Always make sure that you have food placed on the foil before air frying. If you want to preheat the air fryer make sure that you preheat it without any foil inside.
Also completely covering the bottom of your air fryer basket will prevent air flow resulting in uneven cooking. Scrimp the foil and leave some space on the edges of the basket for complete air circulation.
If you have a basket air fryer a better option would be to line the bottom of the air fryer with foil, rather than the basket, to catch any drippings. This is a much safer option too since it doesn't touch the food and doesn't prevent air flow.
Alternatives to Use Instead Of Foil
The good news is there are many alternatives that you can use instead of foil in your air fryer. Here are some of my favorites:
Parchment paper - You can use parchment paper to line your air fryer baskets. There are pre-cut air fryer liners and also liners specifically made for air fryer with holes in them for better heat distribution and air flow.
Silicon liners - another one of my favorites is to use silicon liners. These are reusable and are great for the environment too.
Please do not use paper towels or wax paper as they can cause serious problems in the air fryer.
Acidic Foods To Avoid With Foil
Cooking acidic or citrus foods can cause chemical reactions with the aluminum foil causing it to leak metals in to your food. These heavy metals when ingested regularly could cause serious health issues. Don't use foods that are listed below with foil in the air fryer or in the convection oven.
- Tomato based sauces
- Any foods that contain the above acidic ingredients in a marinade or sauce.
Tips for Using Foil in An Air Fryer
I've summarized all the important things here for the best results in using foil in an air fryer.
- Use aluminum foil to catch drippings and grease to minimize clean up rather than to wrap and cook the food in it.
- Foil can be used to cover the top of the foods when baking in an air fryer.
- Avoid cooking or placing acidic foods on the foil.
- When using a sheet of foil on the Air fryer basket leave some space on the edges for better air circulation.
- Don't turn on the air fryer with loose foil and without any food to weigh it down.
- Use alternatives to aluminum foil if possible.
Best Foods For Air Fryer
Air fryers are notoriously popular to make food taste crispy and crunchy without the need for a lot of oil. Vegetables are great to cook in the air fryer and they come out perfectly roasted. It's safe to cook vegetables and meat on a foil as long as you don't use too much vinegar or lemon juice.
Here are some of my favorite foods to cook or reheat in the Air fryer.