Aluminum Foil in Air Fryer: Sparking, Smoking Surprise, or Perfectly Safe?

It's a hard and fast rule that you never put aluminum foil or metal into a microwave. Of course many people have accidentally done this a time or two, and the resulting effect on your microwave was probably enough of a reminder not to do it again.

With air fryers becoming such a popular kitchen appliance it begs the question, "Can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?" The simple answer is yes, the use of aluminum foil is just fine in the air fryer's basket. However, there are some rules as to where to use it and what foods to avoid with it.

Many home cooks have become accustomed to lining the bottom of their pans when roasting or cooking food. The tinfoil allows for easy clean-up, while keeping the pans protected from oil, grease, and the heating element. Air frying can be a little messier than using a convection oven, though, so let's look at how you can use aluminum foil (or aluminium foil, as the British call it) to make your cooking process a little easier.

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Successfully Use Foil in Your Air Fryer

The main appeal of air fryers is that they are a healthy alternative to fried food. An air fryer cooks fried types of food like french fries, chicken wings, and other foods with high levels of salt without adding the extra fat associated with cooking oils, since it uses heated air. This can reduce some of the health risks of fried food. According to The Spruce Eats, the air fryer works by "...putting food into a perforated basket and the machine cooks the food by blowing hot air around it." In order to get that crispy fried texture, your food needs to be able to be exposed to airflow from the holes in the basket.

Tips for Using Foil in Your Air Fryer:

  1. Only place the aluminum foil on the bottom of the basket, while leaving some of the holes exposed for air circulation.
  2. Make sure you're not using aluminum foil in the bottom of the air fryer pan where the grease and food particles drip down.
  3. Use a small amount of foil and don't let it stick out of the basket. Avoid contact with the heating coil.
  4. Most importantly, make sure to put food on top of the foil to weigh it down. Without any weight, you run the risk of the foil getting sucked in and catching fire. When finished, remove the cooked food like normal.

Aluminum Foil Safety

Aluminum foil, acid, and air fryers do not mix. The problem is when the heat from the fryer mixes with the acid in foods like tomato sauce. This type of food can decompose the foil, which is something you want to avoid. When this happens, black specks can be left on your food and air fryer. No thanks!

Using the air fryer with acidic foods like fruit, tomato juice, and vinegar can lead to aluminum being pulled into your food. This can cause your food to have a metallic taste.

It may also lead to certain health issues. While some studies show an increase risk for Alzheimer's disease from ingesting too much dietary aluminum, the claims are controversial. In any event, most people will feel safer by avoiding excessive aluminum.

A good alternative to aluminum is perforated parchment paper designed specifically for air fryer baskets, or you can use baking paper. Both provide the same easy cleanup as aluminum, while protecting people from the health issues associated with aluminum.

Air fryers are still a handy kitchen tool to own. One of the best air fryers, with 4.5 stars on Amazon, is Philips Air fryer XXL. This bad boy has a hefty price tag, but can fry, bake, grill, roast, reheat, dehydrate, and toast with it. Pretty worth it if you ask us.

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