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If you don’t have an air fryer, you’re missing out. It’s my most-used kitchen appliance by far. I have the Beautiful 6-Quart Touchscreen Air Fryer by Drew Barrymore ($79.99, Walmart), and in my humble opinion, I consider myself somewhat of an air fryer guru at this point. It’s the easiest way to heat up perfectly crispy leftovers or cook a healthy dinner without turning on the oven. And after several years of using it almost daily, I’ve learned some air fryer hacks.
Once you’ve mastered how to use the air fryer, it’s time to learn how to use it most efficiently. People always ask me when I rave about my favorite easy air fryer recipes: can you put foil in the air fryer?
The short answer is yes, you can put foil in the air fryer — but you might not always want to. I’ll get into the why in just a second.
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So is it safe to put aluminum foil in the air fryer?
Yes, it’s safe to put foil in the air fryer. In fact, you might even want to add a sheet of foil for each use because it makes cleanup so much easier. Personally, I use foil in my air fryer about 80% of the time. It’s much less time-consuming to toss the foil than it is to clean the whole basket after every use.
But before you tear off a sheet of Reynold’s Wrap ($4.48, Walmart), be sure to read the safety instruction booklet that comes with your air fryer. All models are slightly different, but since the inside basket of every air fryer is made of metal, adding foil shouldn’t be a problem. (Still, it never hurts to double-check.)
How to Cook With Aluminum Foil in the Air Fryer
To use foil in the air fryer, simply tear off a sheet and place it on the bottom of your air fryer basket before adding your food. Make sure the foil is securely in place so it doesn’t move around once the fryer is turned on. You’ll want to mold the foil to the bottom of the basket or weigh it down with food.
Adding foil not only cuts down on the mess, but it can also help you keep foods separate while cooking. When I cook meat and vegetables in the air fryer at the same time, I make two individual foil “baskets” and place one on each side of the air fryer. That way, the juices from the chicken stay in their own little foil boat, preventing veggies from getting soggy.
One thing to consider is that the foil will block the air coming up from under the basket tray, so the bottom side of whatever you’re cooking will likely be less crispy. This shouldn’t affect your cooking times or temperatures at all, but your foods may be slightly less crisp on the bottom. Safey tip: always be sure to check meat temperatures with a meat thermometer before you eat it regardless of how you cook it.
Related: 23 Genius Baking Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier
When should you not use foil in the air fryer?
While foil is pretty much always safe to use in the air fryer, there are a couple of exceptions. Some foods with high acid content can break down aluminum elements when heating up, so you’ll want to steer clear of tomatoes, lemons, pineapple, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits. If you really want to cook these foods in the air fryer, consider using parchment paper instead of foil.
Can you put parchment paper in the air fryer?
A general rule of thumb is if you can bake cookies on it in the oven, it can go in the air fryer. So yes, you can put parchment paper in the air fryer, but wax paper is definitely a no-no.
Can you put wax paper in the air fryer?
No, you can’t put wax paper in the air fryer. Wax paper is partially made of — yep, you guessed it — wax. And since wax paper is only meant for room temperature use, it’s not safe for the oven or the air fryer. If you put wax paper in the air fryer, it can melt or catch on fire. We recommend sticking to foil or parchment paper instead.