If you're the lucky owner of an air fryer, the hottest kitchen appliance and gadget of the past holiday season, you're likely aware that air frying is so easy to use and clean up. Anything from chicken parm to cookies can be baked in there! But while you can Google search almost any recipe and a "how-to" on making it in an air fryer, is there any truth to claiming everything can be air fried?
Yes, there are many foods that can be converted to an air fryer recipe (including frozen foods that get the perfect crisp from the air heat). But unless you've tried everything, and chances are you haven't, you could end up trying to make something that'll turn into a kitchen disaster. Here are the most common foods that may seem easy to cook in an air fryer, but you should consider avoiding them at all costs.
1. Battered foods won't turn out like carnival eats.
Corn dogs (and basically all fried foods) are tempting, but not tempting enough to risk hot oil messes. So why not fry them safely in the air fryer right? The wet batter is obviously runny, so there's no way it will hold up quick enough to not spread through to the bottom of the food basket. And because you're losing all the batter in the process, your food won't turn out with that crunchy shell you want to munch down on. For this reason, deep frying is the way to go.
Try this: You could coat your food in flour, egg and breadcrumbs to see if it holds up better. If all else fails, frozen mozzarella sticks are just as fun and easy to heat up.
COSORI Air Fryer, Max XL
2. Whole chickens just don't fit.
Many air fryers now come in big sizes so it's completely normal to think about roasting an entire chicken in there. But because the chicken takes up the whole space, there won't be enough room for the air to circulate and cook it thoroughly. You're also risking burning the exterior because of the proximity to the heat.
Try this: Breaded chicken breasts and chicken wings are small enough for the heat to spread throughout the basket. You'll even get a juicier chicken breast than trying to bake it in the oven or cooking it on the stovetop.
3. If you like it medium-rare, skip the burger.
Obviously, a burger patty can be cooked well done in an air fryer. But if you are picky and want a perfect medium-rare burger, you're better off holding a spatula at the grill. The temperatures and cooking time in an air fryer are very unpredictable. Not to mention, all air fryers have different strengths. You may get to the point of medium-rare, but the patty won't be browned because the process will have been so quick.
Try this: Get your grill heated up for the burgers, and throw fries into the air fryer. Whether frozen or fresh cut potatoes, french fries come out with the right crispiness.
4. Burnt toast never tastes good.
As mentioned earlier, air fryers are quick! Though it's suggested, you don't need to pre-heat at all. So the moment you put soft pieces of bread in there, it's instantly cooking from the outside in. As you wait for the whole bread to toast, you are risking the outside burning even more.
Try this: Treat yourself to some baked goods. How about cinnamon rolls? That's basically bread, right?
5. Do you like broccoli enough to eat it dry?
Broccoli is a healthy option for a side or snack. So if you can't butter it up in oil, how can you expect it to air fry? You can't. The texture of broccoli in an air fryer can lead to two things, either dry broccoli that tastes weird or even it'll just turn to dust. There's no other moisture in it to hold it up to that crispy texture you want to achieve.
In fact, many greens are not meant to be air fried. Because this is high-speed air, leafy greens won't stay put. The hot air will also dry it out.
Try this: Brussel sprouts, zucchini, and other veggies retain enough moisture to be roasted or sautéed for a crispy snack.
6. Bacon isn't an easy "hack."
This is one of the "to each their own" scenarios. Bacon can and cannot be cooked in an air fryer. But there are many reasons why you should stick to the latter. Because bacon is also one of the faster cooking foods, and an air fryer heats at an exceptional speed, you're risking your air fryer emitting smoke. Your air fryer basket will also be filled with very hot grease. Obviously, if not cleaned right away, that can turn into rust.
Try this: Hard boil eggs actually work!