How To Use An Air Fryer – Let’s Get Cooking

Today we’ll discuss how to use an air fryer.

how to use an air fryer

I have to be honest with you, when I first started out with my Air Fryer, I couldn’t cook with it worth a lick. I’ve seen many reviews written by people who also initially had trouble getting good results. Even though I did a ton of research on Air Fryers, I didn’t know how to cook with an Air Fryer.

I’ve been cooking with my Air Fryers now for over two years, and I’ve grown to love them. I’d be happy to share my experience with you, and hopefully you won’t have to go through some of the growing pains I did!

If you are considering purchasing an Air Fryer and want to start right out cooking healthier fried foods like a boss, this article is for you.

For those of you who may already have an Air Fryer and you just can’t seem to get good results, read on my friends. We’re going to take a crash course in how to cook with an Air Fryer!

Oil-Less Frying? Not Quite

When I first got my Air Fryer, the first thing I threw in it was french fries. I used absolutely no oil or seasonings…just plain old spuds. Why was I surprised when my fries turned out bland and awful? Perhaps it was because I had heard more than a few times that you do not need to use oil when cooking with an Air Fryer.

The most helpful advice on this topic that I can give you is that Air Fryers use less oil to fry food…about 80% less oil than a deep fryer would typically use in fact. If you are getting ready to cook french fries or anything breaded, you’re going to need to have some cooking oil around.

Using a little oil in your cooking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are oils that are more heart healthy than others because they contain healthier types of fat.

So, selecting the best kind of oil to cook with is important. How we apply the oil is also important to getting really good results with your Air Fryer.

Here is my friend to show you how she cooks fried chicken tenders with only a little drizzle of oil! (air fryer used in this video De’longhi Multifry and the awesome shaker is a Batter Pro)

   When In Doubt, Spray

The most common way to apply oil to your food is with cooking oil spray. There are also oil bottles that you can pressurize and spray that are a really nice investment.

I use spray oil whenever I am cooking anything breaded. I will typically spray a little oil on my food before cooking and then a little more halfway through cooking if there are dry spots on my breading.

    A Drizzle Will Do! 

Sometimes all you will need to do is drizzle a little oil onto your food before cooking with your Air Fryer. The oil will heat up and the Air Fryer’s rapidly circulating air will spread it out evenly throughout your food. I use this method with things like stir fries and chicken tenders.

    Take Your Fresh Cut Fries For A Spin

The best way to apply oil to your fresh cut french fries is by “spinning” them in oil. Simply put your fries in a bowl and add a couple of teaspoons of oil along with your seasonings. Cover up your bowl and just give them a good thorough spin. Every fry will be evenly coated with oil and seasoning and they will turn out amazing!

     Bring Out the Brush

If you are grilling chicken, steak or fish, you won’t need to use oil. However, I typically like to brush on just a little olive oil prior to cooking. I just like the flavor it adds and it also helps your seasonings stick to the meat.

olive oil


Breading Techniques

Dry breading is a simple technique that  works wonderfully in the Air Fryer.  First, give your food a light coating of flower. Next, whip up an egg and dip your food in it. Then you can cover your food in a mixture of flour, penko crumbs, or bread crumbs..whichever you prefer.

I use the dry breading technique for boneless wings, fried chicken, and country fried steak.

    Wet Batters – The Air Fryers Weakest Link

I’d love to be able to tell you that you can make a delicious batch of beer battered onion rings in your Air Fryer…I really would. Unfortunately, the Air Fryer can’t heat up wet batter fast enough to seal the batter. You’ll most likely just end up with a mess.

Now, I love wet batters as much as the next guy, and I’m constantly trying new things in my Air Fryers. If I come up with a way to successfully cook with wet batters, I promise there will be an update.

Smoking Air Fryer? Here’s a Cool Little Trick

Bacon, Sausage, and hamburgers…what do they all have in common? They are all meats that typically contain a lot of grease! When you cook greasy foods in the Air Fryer, the extra grease will drip through the holes in the basket and fall into the pan.

This is a great benefit because it makes those greasy foods a bit healthier, but the grease tends to heat up and smoke. You can prevent this by adding a little water to the pan that your basket clips into. This bit of water will help cool the grease so it doesn’t smoke up the place!

Take Care Not To Crowd the Basket

I’m a country kind of guy, so I really don’t like crowds. Guess what? Air Fryers don’t appreciate a crowd either! 

It’s important to remember that Air Fryers cook by circulating hot air completely around your food. If you completely cover the bottom of the basket, the air will not be able to get through the holes in the basket. This means that your food will only be cooked from the top.

Not to worry though! You’ll just have to remember to either turn your food while cooking to make sure it’s cooking evenly. For for things like fries and wings, just give the basket a shake.

 Pre Heating the Air Fryer – Getting Off to a Hot Start

Just like a deep fryer or a conventional oven, it is important to pre heat the Air Fryer. How long you need to pre heat the Air Fryer will depend on what temperature setting you will be using, but on full blast, she’ll need about five minutes to come up to temp.

A good rule of thumb for fries is if you drop them in the basket and they don’t hiss at you, you need to pre heat a little longer. If they hiss, you can’t miss!  Now we’re starting to learn how to use an air fryer.

Now We’re Cooking

Alright, enough shenanigans… let’s get cooking. Place your food in the basket and slide the it into the Air Fryer.  If you have an Air Fryer with analogue dials, just set your temp and your timer and you’re off and running.

If you have an Air Fryer with digital controls, you will most likely have pre settings for common foods. You can choose one of those or just set the temperature and timer yourself.

You can check your food throughout the cooking process as often as you like. Whenever you pull the basket out, the Air Fryer will automatically turn off. Likewise, it will turn on when you put it back in…no need to set the timer again. That’s pretty convenient, right? 

When you’re checking your food, remember to turn your food or give your basket a shake if it’s full. Check your breaded food for dry spots and spray a little oil on them if necessary.

air fried chicken wings

Time To Eat! How To Use an Air fryer

Your’e food is done and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor (but it wasn’t that hard was it?) I hope this article helped you get a better idea on how to get started cooking with your Air Fryer.

Of course, this is only a guide to the basics. We’ve only scratched the surface of what your Air Fryer is capable of! There are accessories available (or maybe your Air Fryer came with some) that will turn your Air Fryer into a lean mean grilling and baking machine!

You can check out accessories for your Air Fryer here. I have also written in depth articles on how you can bake and grill with your Air Fryer, so please feel free to check those out.

If you are itching to order your own Air Fryer, I’d love to help you figure out which one would best work for you. Head on over to the Top 5 Air Fryers or check out the  Air Fryer Reviews section to look at several popular models available at

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to leave one below, and I will respond, guaranteed! (or i’ll do your dishes for a week) Thanks for visiting the Air Fryer Guide!

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