Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Air Fryer? (And is it Safe?)

When it comes to baking and wrapping food, aluminum foil is a super convenient option. It locks moisture and aroma and preserves the cooked food. Now, can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?

You can put aluminum foil in an air fryer safely. It is not recommended when cooking acidic foods, but aluminum foil is perfectly safe for other foods. Ensure the foil does not block air circulation, contact the heating element, or get blown around.

While that is the basics of using aluminum foil in an air fryer, there are some specifics you should know, discussed below. Learn everything you need to know, from the safest way to use aluminum foil to what you can use instead.

How does an air fryer work?

Air fryers use the same technology as convection ovens. They heat the internal compartment with a heating element and blow the hot air around using fans.

The holes in the air fryer basket are there for a reason. The hot air blown around the food ensures even cooking. The cooking performance is reduced if the holes in the basket get blocked.

Air fryers are a faster alternative to a classic convection oven because they are smaller and often equipped with more powerful fans.

Is it Safe to Use Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

The short answer is YES. However, it depends on the model of air fryer.  

Aluminum foil is helpful in the kitchen and can be used in air fryer cooking. The safety of using foil in an air fryer depends on a few things.

First, it is important to determine where the heating element is. Certain air fryer brands have a top-installed coil, and it’s okay to use foil. On the other hand, there are air fryers using a coil in its base, and you should be very careful about using the foil.

Secondly, you need to ensure that the foil lining isn’t sticking out from the basket or tray, and most importantly, you shouldn’t cover the bottom–especially with a bottom heating air fryer. You don’t want mishaps like a fire or permanent damage to the air fryer.

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Air Fryer Base?

Is there ever a time you can safely put aluminum foil on the bottom of your air fryer?

An air fryer has a basket; this is generally the only region where you should place the aluminum foil. Some air fryers have a heating element on the bottom, which can start a fire if the foil is set incorrectly. The burnt foil will give food a metallic taste. Besides, it is also the region where greasy remnants from the food are collected.

Also, lining the base with foil prevents hot air flow and can result in longer cooking time apart from uneven cooking.  

However, if your air fryer has a heating element on the top, you can place aluminum on the bottom. That said, it is best to only do so if your air fryer has a grease trap. This can help speed up cleanup.

Is it Dangerous to Your Health to Use Aluminum Foil?

Aluminum is marked safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wrap meats and vegetables.

However, many of us are wary of using aluminum foil because parts of it can end up in our food. According to studies, we consume about 1 to 10 mg of aluminum daily through processed food and drinking water. Extensive use of aluminum foil for food preparation may increase the amount of aluminum that goes into your system.

In the long run, this could lead to severe health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease.

 Alzheimer’s disease has direct links with aluminum particles. Certain studies also indicate aluminum’s role in developing inflammatory bowel diseases. Research is ongoing to determine aluminum’s real risks in the food industry.

How to Use Aluminium Foil in an Air Fryer?

When using aluminum foil in an air fryer, follow these steps.

  1. Cut off enough foil to hold or wrap the food.
  2. Place the foil on the tray or basket of your air fryer. Be sure not to cover all of the holes if using a basket.
  3. Fold the edges of the foil to keep any juices in.
  4. Make sure that the foil doesn’t touch the top or sides of the air fryer.
  5. If the food is too light, weigh down the foil with an oven-safe item.
  6. Place everything in the air fryer and cook as usual!

Do not cover the entire basket with aluminum foil. If you do, the convection method of circulating heat in the air fryer will be compromised, and you will end up with unevenly cooked food.

There should be enough food placed on the foil. If there’s nothing to weigh the foil down, it will be blown away and may end up in the heating system and trigger a fire. That said, do not force too many ingredients as it will restrict the hot air supply.

How Do You Keep Food From Sticking to Foil?

To prevent food from sticking to foil, spray oil or cooking spray on the side that touches food. Spritz it lightly with some oil if you use regular aluminum foil. Cooking experts suggest using oils with high smoke points, such as avocado, grapeseed, or almond oil.

If you use non-stick foil, remember it has shiny and dull sides. The non-stick coating is only on the shiny side. So when wrapping meat or veggies, the shiny side should be up, facing the ingredients, and the dull side should be down.  

Does Aluminum Foil Make Cooking in an Air Fryer Faster?

Aluminum is an insulator and not a conductor. Foil is widely used in restaurants while baking mainly because the foil is said to lessen cooking time. 

Aluminum pots and pans reduce cooking time, but as for the foil cooking in an air fryer, it all comes down to the taste. For example, salmon gives a barbeque taste when wrapped with aluminum foil. Certain food items may be cooked faster when wrapped in a foil and tossed in an air fryer, but there is no substantial evidence.

What else can you use in an air fryer?

If you are avoiding using foil but still want to wrap your foods in your air fryer, there is another great option.

You can use parchment paper in an air fryer. This works very similarly to aluminum foil. The biggest difference is that parchment paper won’t hold its shape like foil will. You won’t be able to use parchment paper to wrap food as well.

Best of all, parchment paper has no problem with acidic foods like aluminum foil.

What Can You Not Cook in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are versatile, but not every food should be tossed into them. It raises the question of what cannot be cooked in an air fryer. Below are a few examples.

You can tightly wrap the food in aluminum foil and throw it in the air fryer. Never cover acidic foods – tomatoes, vinegar, vinegar-based marinade, acidic fruits, or juices – in the foil. As the food heats up, acids corrode and chew up the aluminum. When leached into the food, it gives it a metallic taste. Most importantly, it is hazardous to your health.

  1. Battered food – Air fryers and wet batter aren’t a match made in heaven. Nothing can set a wet batter in an air fryer. It will drip through the basket while your coated wings or fish fingers cook.
  2. Leafy greens – Put leafy greens in the air fryer; they will fly around the basket due to high-speed hot air. It’s best to air fry the greens into crispy chips.
  3. Whole chicken – Placing a whole chicken will not only overcrowd the fryer but unevenly cook the meat. The sides of the bird closest to the heat source will dry out or burn before the other sides start to cook.
  4. Fresh cheese – When put in an air fryer, fresh cheese will ooze out and create a stuck-on mess. So, only use an air fryer for warming frozen cheese.  
  5. Grains – The air fryer is meant for dry foods. Grains such as rice that need to be submerged in boiling water can’t be cooked using an air fryer.
  6. Hamburgers – A medium-rare burger’s ideal cooking temperature is 130 degrees Fahrenheit, giving that perfect pinkish, warm interior. Reaching medium-rare is possible with an air fryer. However, the exterior won’t brown out as it should.
  7. Raw produce – Raw veggies tend to sog when cooked in an air fryer.

Summary of Can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer

Now you know the limits of aluminum foil and how to use it in an air fryer. While it is safe, make sure you don’t cover the entire basket, let it touch the heating elements, or let it fly around the fryer.

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