If you have bought an air fryer recently, then you are likely to have many questions about its proper use. One of the most common and frequently asked questions is, “can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?” If this question has crossed your mind, then you are not alone.
The simple answer is yes, you may use aluminum foil in an air fryer, but remember to only put it inside the cooking basket. If you put it in the bottom of the drawer, it may get blown around and displaced. In the worst-case scenario, the foil may get into the heating element and start a fire.
So, while it’s perfectly fine to use aluminum foil in an air fryer, you need to know the best practices and tips for using the tin foil correctly. Read on to find out more about using your air fryer safely without causing fire or damaging the unit. Before we get into that, though, let’s first take a look at how an air fryer works.
How An Air Fryer Functions
Air fryers have a basket to hold the food, a powerful fan, heating coils, and holes to help the fan blow the hot air around. The holes permit hot air to blow evenly around the food inside the basket, resulting in a crisp finish similar to what you get from deep-frying but without the use of oil.
Most air fryer designs comprise of a heating element and a fan at the bottom of the appliance to help circulate the air. This creates a convection oven-like effect when the temperature is higher than 320-degrees Fahrenheit.
Ways To Use Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer
To use the aluminum foil safely, make sure that you only keep it at the bottom of the food basket. However, you should note that a few manufacturers warn that covering the bottom of the basket may result in reduced airflow. This, in turn, results in reduced performance, so you need to bear this factor in mind.
Air fryers use a rapid air technology by which the hot air is circulated through the different compartments. This hot air heats the food and cooks it evenly, giving it a crispy texture. So, you should make sure to use the foil in a way that does not disrupt the airflow.
Be careful to not put the foil in the area where the grease and food particles fall. Instead, always keep it exclusively in the cooking basket. To minimize performance loss, avoid covering the bottom completely with the foil so that airflow is not significantly impacted.
Avoid any accidents and hazards by making sure that the foil does not stick out of the bottom of the basket. Use only a small portion covering a small area of the basket. Unlike a microwave, the temperature inside an air fryer does not get too hot, so you don’t have to worry about the metal melting down.
The ideal way to use aluminum foil in your fryer is to use it sparingly, if at all. If you are making cookies, then use only as much as you need to cover the dough.
If you look online, you can find some precut aluminum foil sheets that can be conveniently used in an air fryer without having to worry about its effect. Aside from the right and wrong ways to use foil in the basket, you must also consider the type of food you are cooking.
Another safe way to use foil in an air fryer is to create slings with it. You just need to fold a long piece in half two times to form a narrow strip. This can then be used as a handle to put food into the fryer. You can then simply tuck those handles back in when cooking is complete to pull out the food.
Yet another interesting and safe way of using aluminum foil is to use it to elevate food. By doing this, you can bring the food closer to the heating element for better browning. If you are preparing steak and wish to get a nice brown crust on it, then crumple up the foil to make it uneven.
Now, put this crumpled foil in the basket. Place the steak over the foil to bring the food closer to the heating element. This helps you get a nice brown crust over the steak.
Check the User Manual
It is important to provide a disclaimer here that you must always check your air fryer manual before using aluminum foil. While most models will not have any issues here, you should always check with the user manual just in case.
There might be some specific models or brands for which the manufacturer states otherwise. As you may know, the air fryer market is rapidly changing and evolving, so you should read the instructions carefully before using foil with your fryer.
Foods to Avoid Using with Aluminum Foil
If you are using aluminum foil to heat food in an appliance that has some kind of a heating element, there are a few types of food that you should steer clear of. Let’s not forget that aluminum has a reactive surface that adversely reacts with foods that are highly acidic in nature.
The high acidic content in these foods react with the foil and start to break it down, and you can end up with pieces of aluminum in your food. You may see tiny specs of black particles appearing in both your food and your fryer after the foil dissolves.
This not only spoils the taste but also makes the food unhealthy for consumption. If you are avoiding aluminum in your food for health reasons, then this could be fatal for you. Some examples of acidic foods that should not be cooked with foil are:
- Citrus fruits
- Fruit juice
- Marinades that contain vinegar
- Lemon juice
Alternatives You Can Use Instead Of Aluminum Foil
Some common alternatives to using aluminum foil are baking paper or parchment paper like this. However, you need to follow the same instructions as with the foil. The biggest benefit of using parchment paper is that you do not have any risk of aluminum leaking to your food.
A much sought-after alternative to baking paper or parchment paper is perforated parchment paper liners that can be used at the bottom of the air fryer basket. These liners are readily available online.
Another amazing benefit of using perforated parchment paper liners is that they absorb grease quickly, allowing you to clean the air fryer more easily. They are also heat resistant, so the food cooks quickly without sticking to the sides.
Health Risks Associated with Using Aluminum Foil
Some food experts argue that aluminum can pose a number of health risks, and studies have shown a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, many people try to avoid foods with an excessive aluminum content.
That said, there is not much solid evidence to support the link between aluminum and other health hazards. Air fryers are themselves a relatively new kitchen appliance, so whether the use of foil can be toxic or not has yet to be fully studied.
The good thing is that the amount of aluminum we are exposed to via the food we eat is at a much lower level, so it is therefore not deemed to be too harmful. However, the probability of the aluminum content of food increasing with the use of aluminum foil cannot be completely ruled out.
Tips to Stay Safe When Using Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer
You should ensure that there is enough weight over the aluminum cover to prevent it from being blown around by hot air once the appliance is switched on.
When adding ingredients for cooking in your air fryer, make sure there is enough space for hot air to flow between them. Forcing too many ingredients together at once can restrict the air flow.
Furthermore, you should avoid wrapping food in aluminum foil while cooking them in the air fryer. As stated above, you should only use aluminum foil as a liner in the cooking basket.
Which air fryer brands are okay with parchment paper or aluminum foil?
You may use aluminum foil and parchment paper in most air fryer brands, including Philips, Gowise, Gourmia, Nuwave, and Power, as long as the foil or paper does not block or clog the fan or disrupt air flow.
Can you use an air fryer without the basket?
Yes, you can also use any other pan that can be safely used in a convection oven. The biggest problem here is the lack of space inside an air fryer, so we suggest using a pan without a handle or any other specific air fryer accessory as opposed to standard pans.
What can you put in air fryer foil packet meals?
Some of the best options you can put in air fryer foil packet meals are chicken, salmon, and veggies over a layer of herbs. There are many recipes available online.