4 Things You Shouldn’t Cook in an Air Fryer

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Air fryers have gained immense popularity as a versatile and convenient kitchen appliance. They offer the convenience of skipping the oven and provide an easy “set it and forget it” cooking experience for various dishes. In addition, cleaning an air fryer is often easier compared to a stove or oven.

While air fryers can cook a wide range of foods such as chicken, steak, and doughnuts, it’s important to note that not everything is suitable for air frying. Certain dishes may not turn out as desired or could potentially damage your air fryer. Laurie Klein, chef and consumer test kitchen specialist at Hamilton Beach Brands, suggests avoiding the following foods when cooking with an air fryer:

Wet Batters and Liquid-based Coatings

Air fryers use hot air circulation to cook food, which can be problematic when it comes to wet batters and liquid-based coatings. Foods like deep-fried fish, tempura, or heavily breaded items may not turn out well in an air fryer. The hot air can cause the batter to become soggy, resulting in a less crispy texture. It is best to use dry coatings or opt for other cooking methods, such as traditional deep-frying, for dishes that require wet batters.

Delicate Foods

Delicate foods, such as flaky fish fillets, thin cuts of meat, or fragile pastries, may not be ideal for air frying. The intense heat and rapid air circulation in an air fryer can lead to overcooking or drying out these delicate items. To maintain their texture and moisture, it is advisable to use gentler cooking methods like baking or pan-searing for such foods.

Foods with High Moisture Content

Foods with high moisture content, such as soups, stews, or dishes with excessive sauces, are not suitable for air frying. The hot air circulation in the fryer can cause the moisture to evaporate quickly, resulting in dry and potentially burnt food. It is best to use the stove, oven, or slow cooker for dishes that require simmering or braising in liquid.

Foods that Require Stirring or Tossing

Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food in a confined space, which makes it difficult to stir or toss ingredients during the cooking process. Foods that require constant stirring, such as risottos or dishes with delicate sauces, may not be suitable for air frying. These dishes are better prepared using traditional stovetop methods, allowing for proper stirring and even heat distribution.

In addition to these specific food items, it’s essential to consider the size and capacity of your air fryer. Overcrowding the fryer basket can prevent proper air circulation and result in uneven cooking. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for optimal use of your air fryer.

Remember, while air fryers offer a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods, not all foods are meant to be cooked in this appliance. By being mindful of the food items mentioned above and understanding the limitations of an air fryer, you can make the most of this versatile kitchen tool and enjoy delicious, crispy dishes with ease.

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