Can You Put a Paper Towel in an Air Fryer? (And Aluminum Foil?)

When you are kitchen savvy, it is essential that you learn how to use your kitchen appliances so that you make sure they function properly and that you cook your foods deliciously. One of the most common kitchen appliances these days is an air fryer. 

An air fryer is an economical kitchen appliance using a very safe technology – air circulation responsible for the cooking of your meals. The appliance comes with a heater that should heat up the air to enhance cooking. 

The air fryer is a large basket that will enhance the easy circulation of air, thus enhancing your cooking experience. However, there are many people asking the question – can I put a paper towel in an air fryer

This post will go in-depth to answer this question and even go further to answer some of the related questions around this topic. 

Can You Put a Paper Towel in an Air Fryer? 

No, putting a paper towel in an air fryer is not recommended. However, paper towels can be helpful when you want to season the surface to prevent the sticking of food on your air fryer

There are instances when you may use paper towels and there are also instances when it’s a no-no. Therefore, in as much as it’s not recommended, you need to weigh your options and determine if you really want to put a paper towel in your air fryer and whether it is necessary. 

Additionally, it will not be a good idea to put a series of paper towels below your food to prevent the marinade from reaching your air fryer’s surface. 

The reason why a paper towel is not recommended is that it can hinder the circulation of air in your air fryer, which can disrupt the cooking process in your air fryer. Even worse, the paper towel stands a risk of catching fire. 

Why Paper Towel Isn’t Recommended in an Air Fryer?

1. Uneven Cooking

It can sound like a good idea to stack in a few sheets of paper towels in your air fryer basket before you place whatever you want to cook in the air fryer, but this will block airflow. 

If air is blocked from flowing freely, there will be an uneven distribution of the hot air, which leads to uneven cooking of food. This makes other food parts remain uncooked. 

The uneven cooking of food will even bring more complications. For example, the food you are cooking will lose consistency, which means regulating the appropriate rareness will be hard. 

2. Potential Fire

Putting sheets of paper towels in the air fryer could cause fire, and you know how fire can be dangerous. There have been many fire instances resulting from people using paper towels in their air fryers. 

When your air fryer catches fire, the paper towels will burn and disappear into the thin air, so people who come to investigate the cause of the fire might not even trace it. The point is that paper towel use in the air fryer is not recommended because nobody knows how serious the fire can get. 

But you don’t have to fret because I will walk you through some of the alternatives to paper towels so that you don’t end up being a victim of these fire cases, resulting from putting sheets of paper towels in the air fryer. 

What Can You Use in Your Air Fryer Instead of a Paper Towel?

You can use parchment papers, which are also referred to as baking papers. Parchment papers, for example, are perforated, which encourages and enhances the circulation of air in the air fryer. What’s more, manufacturers of these papers treat them so that they are non-stick. This makes it one of the excellent choices of paper towels. 

While you will use parchment papers in your air fryer, it is essential that you avoid fixtures that can encourage higher temperatures. Steel dishes, aluminum foil and baking dishes are some of the recommended accessories you can leverage. 

The main reason why paper towels are discouraged is that it hinders the circulation of air in the air fryer. The hindrance of air circulation affects the general cooking of food. Parchment papers have perforations, which encourage the airflow, making the cooking experience a lot seamless. That said, below are a few points to note: 

  • An aluminum foil will be helpful when you want to reheat specific foods. 
  • Leave some space on both sides to give room for proper circulation of air. 
  • Don’t use steel cookware because they are not good conductors of heat, and can cause uneven cooking of food. 
  • Use kitchen gloves to handle your baking tins since they can get very hot during cooking. 

How To Use Parchment Papers In Air Fryers?

Parchment papers are great substitutes for paper towels. They are user-friendly and grease-resistant. 

Follow the procedure below for complete effectiveness:

  • Line the parchment paper in the basket in exact measurements. This means that the paper shouldn’t overlap the basket brims. 
  • Preheat your frying basket and place the parchment paper. Meanwhile, observe safety measures by wearing oven mitts to avoid scalds. 
  • Cover the bottom surface of the fryer partly so that there’s sufficient airflow. 
  • Do not place an empty parchment paper into the fryer as it can easily get burnt due to dryness. 
  • Once you’re done frying, carefully remove your food from the frying basket and pull the paper gently. This way, you’ll be saving yourself the hassle of cleaning. 

Like paper towels, using parchment paper in an air fryer has its disadvantages too. But with the right accessories, rest assured of a smooth experience throughout your frying process. So make sure that you follow each instruction to a tee for efficiency. 

Why is Parchment Paper Better to Put in the Air Fryer Than Regular Paper Towels?

Parchment papers are generally perforated and will, therefore, allow airflow for even cooking. Air fryers use the same technology of heating and circulating hot air around the frying basket to cook food. Paper towels, on the other hand, prevent airflow around the chamber, causing uneven cooking.

What about liquid foods? Do the juices find their way through the holes? Well, it’s a no brainer that liquids will penetrate through the perforated parchment paper, but a significant part of the dirt is trapped. 

This enhances the cleaning process of the air fryer once you’re done with your frying. Simply pull out the parchment paper along with the trapped dirt. After that, wipe down the leftovers using a clean rag or paper towel.

Both paper parchment and paper towels could be health hazards when heated up. This is because they are often weighed down by ingredients that might incorporate chemicals or toxic substances. 

While paper towels can fit perfectly to the frying basket, they can still be weighed down, thus uneven cooking. And that’s why parchment papers are way better than regular paper towels.  

Should You Now Ignore Paper Towels? 

As much as paper towels are weighed down by ingredients, there are a few ways you can utilize paper towels for an air fryer while switched off.

Paper towels are generally meant for seasoning the fryer basket. Seasoning prevents the food from sticking on the surface of the basket. In addition to preventing the food from sticking, paper towels prevent grease formation, enhancing the cleaning process.

This is how you go about using paper towels along with air fryers: 

  • Place the basket in the air fryer and run for about three minutes. You may then open the air fryer and pull out the basket. 
  • Use a paper towel to rub coconut oil on the walls of the basket. Do this until all the parts are covered with a thin layer of coconut oil to prevent direct contact with the ingredients. 
  • Put the basket back in the air fryer and run the machine for another two minutes.

Doing this occasionally will keep your fryer in good condition for as long as you want. Also, it will prevent your fryer basket from peeling which has been a huge problem with most air fryer models. 

Proper maintenance along with high levels of hygiene will go a long way to enhance the shelf life of your air fryer. Incorporating the right accessories and cleaning the air fryer occasionally is essential.  

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can put aluminum foil in your air fryer. However, there are a couple of things you need to note before you can put an aluminum foil in your air fryer. 

There are lots of benefits that come with using aluminum, and one of the most significant advantages is that it reduces the amount of clean up after cooking. 

The aluminum foil is responsible for trapping grease, which you can remove when you complete your cooking activity. 

But these good news come with some downsides that you need to know, as well. Air fryers work on the principle that air must freely flow, so any disturbance to this principle will hinder how the air fryer works. Aluminum could block the holes in the air fryer basket, therefore, you need to put some holes in the aluminum foil to make sure that air will freely flow. 

If you are thinking of aluminum basket lining, please ensure that you do not let it stretch to the edge of the basket. This is because it could touch the heating components, which may affect how the air fryer might work. Even worse, this can result in burning. 

The results will still be the same if you basket line your air fryer without having to put any food that will possibly weight it down. In most cases, it will get sucked in the heating component and this is dangerous, too because it can result in burning. 

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Bottom of an Air Fryer?

No, it is not a good idea to use aluminum foil at the base of your air fryer because the bottom of your air fryer usually collects a lot of dirt and grease.

Additionally, lining an aluminum foil may hinder the circulation of air in the air fryer, which will affect the cooking. 

Can I Fry an Egg in the Air Fryer?

Yes, it is possible to fry an egg in your air fryer. If you love fried eggs, you don’t have to buy fried eggs at the restaurant or by the roadside. All you have to do is leverage your air fryer and get your eggs fried in a couple of minutes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Can You Not Put in an Air Fryer?

Manufacturers recommend that you use air fryers to prepare cookies, frozen foods or even bacon. However, you should make sure not to put over seasoned foodstuffs cheese, or wet batters in your air fryer because they can create messes in your most valued appliance. 

2. Can You Put Anything in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers can be great for essentially anything you can think of. Apart from just frying potato chips or even french fries, these appliances can also come in handy when you want to fry croquettes, vegetables, chicken wings, among other food items that you can think of. 

3. What is Bad About Air Fryers?

It is true that air fryers can help with the reduction in acrylamide formation. However, other harmful compounds could still form. Also, heterocyclic amines and aromatic hydrocarbons could still form as a result of cooking with an air fryer. 

4. Does the air fryer use a lot of electricity?

How much electricity an air fryer uses depends on the brand and model. Most air fryers have a capacity of between 1,400 and 1,700 watts – that’s between 1.4kwh and 1.7kwh for every one hour in use. 

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