Have you recently added this new gadget to your kitchen and are wondering how to use an air fryer? We have got you covered!

This informative guide will help you learn how to use air fryers, how to clean them, what foods you can cook in them, some great tips, and much more!

Instant vortex air fryer
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I actually waited a long time before purchasing an air fryer. Since I really love my Instant Pot and oven, I wasn’t quite sure if I needed another appliance to sit on my kitchen counter. But when I saw a great deal on an air fryer on Black Friday, I was tempted and gave in, and I haven’t regretted it for a single day since!

Your air fryer can help you prepare tasty, quick, and healthy meals. It has the incredible ability to give crisp, textured foods while using minimal oil. When it’s hot outside, especially in the summer months, using an air fryer instead of your oven to cook prevents overheating your kitchen.

I have been experimenting with different foods lately in my air fryer, and you will find a lot of my recipes give a cooking option for the air fryer πŸ™‚

Cosori Air fryer on a table
Cosori Air Fryer

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a gadget that is nothing but a mini convection oven – just like a regular oven but fits on your countertop. But as the name suggests, it uses air to fry and is nowhere close to a deep fryer.

You can cook almost anything like you would cook in an oven. The real benefit is that you use very little oil to produce crisp and great-tasting food.

I shared details about how to choose an air fryer, so let’s see how to use one.

Roasted sweet potato in the air fryer
Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Air Fryer

Why We Love Using An Air Fryer

Here are the top reasons why we love an air fryer:

  • It is compact and mobile
  • It is convenient and easy to cook in
  • Preheating, if required, is of short duration- only a few minutes
  • The device can be left alone – no constant monitoring is required
  • None or very little splattering
  • They don’t heat up your kitchen – great for summers, I’d say
  • Healthy – none or very little oil used, depending on what you are cooking
  • Super easy to clean
  • For picky eaters, air-frying is an excellent method for crisping up vegetables and making them more delightful.
  • Great-tasting food—didn’t I already say that earlier? Yes, that’s one of the biggest reasons why we love ours!
Download free copy of air fryer cooking time chart

Where Should You Place Your Air Fryer?

Choose an appropriate spot in the kitchen for your air fryer. Always place it on a leveled, heat-resistant countertop.

Keep it away from the wall. Place your air fryer near the vent hoods and turn them on.

When not in use, you can just pop it in the cupboard, freeing up counter space, or move it back closer to a wall or corner in your kitchen.

Before First Use

Open the box and take apart all removable components. Read the manufacturer’s manual for your appliance.

Before using the air fryer for the first time, remove all of the stickers and plastic packaging from the air fryer.

Setting Up

Place your air fryer on a stable, heat-resistant surface. Keep it away from objects or surfaces to prevent steam damage.

Take the basket out of the air fryer with the help of a basket release button and separate the inner basket from the outer basket.

Thoroughly clean both baskets by hand or in the dishwasher. Use a dry towel to dry the basket. Then, replace the basket in the air fryer.

Cosori and Instant Vortex Air Fryer Baskets
Cosori and Instant Vortex Air Fryer Basket

Test Run Of The Air Fryer

It is always a good idea to test-run your new air fryer before actually cooking in it. This will ensure that the appliance is working properly and also will help you get comfortable for future use.

Connect the air fryer’s plug to the power supply. Check that the air fryer basket is empty. After that, preheat the air fryer for a few minutes. If your air fryer is a multi-function air fryer, it will have a preheat button. Otherwise, you will have to preheat manually for around 5 minutes at 400°F.

When the preheating is complete, the air fryer will beep. Then, remove the basket from the air fryer and set it aside for 5 minutes to cool. Then, replace the empty basket in the air fryer. Set the temperature and time that you want and see the gadget is operating properly.

When the air fryer’s cooking time is up, it will automatically stop, and you will hear a beeping sound. Then, using the handle, remove the air fryer basket and set it aside to cool for 10-30 minutes. The air fryer is now ready to be used.

Pumpkin Seeds
Air Fryer Pumpkin Seeds

How to Use an Air Fryer

While using an air fryer, there are a few things you need to consider. Remember to cook food in small batches and in a single layer.

Also, it is important to use to right time and temperature. As a general rule of thumb, you must lower the temperature by 25 degrees from the temperature you would use if cooking in an oven.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Depending on your air fryer, you can preheat it before you begin cooking. When preheating, the food cooks at a higher temperature and has a crispy exterior. Preheat the air fryer manually for 5 minutes at 400°F. You can select the preheat preset button or manually.
  2. Once the air fryer has finished preheating, remove the basket and place the food in it. However, the basket should not be overstuffed with food, as overfilling the basket may result in undercooked food.
  3. Insert the air fryer basket into the air fryer after it has been filled with food. Then, depending on what you are cooking, set the appropriate time and temperature. The good news is you can change the time and temperature even while cooking.
  4. To begin air frying, select the start button. However, once you begin cooking, you must ensure that the food is not overcooked or burned. To ensure that the food is cooked evenly, you can mix/ shake the contents during the cooking process or flip the food. The air fryer will beep once the cooking time is up.
  5. After that, remove the air fryer basket. But be cautious of the hot steam. on a flat surface. Before cleaning, the basket must be completely cool.

Isn’t it super convenient to use an air fryer?

Beets ready to be roasted in the air fryer
Beets in Air Fryer

Don’t OverFill Your Air Fryer!


Remember, if the appliance’s basket is too full, the hot air will not be able to circulate around each piece of food. As a result, some areas of the food will achieve the desired texture, while others will remain undercooked and not so crispy—and this is something you do not want.

The air fryer has a smaller capacity, and you might be tempted to dump a lot in it, which will hinder the cooking. So, the best solution is to cook in small batches and keep shaking the basket to enhance the air frying process.

To Preheat Or Not To Preheat?

The air fryer only needs a few minutes to heat up, unlike the oven. Some models of air fryers include a light that indicates when the unit is preheated.

Manufacturers recommend preheating, but you can skip it entirely if you prefer. If you begin cooking in a cold air fryer, your cook time maybe 4-5 minutes longer—which is okay!

Try both methods and see which produces the best results for your needs. It is entirely dependent on the recipe.

How To Preheat Air Fryer?

I suggest you read the manufacturer’s manual for preheating, as models differ.

Several air fryers already have preheating feature that is activated by merely pressing a button (eg. Cosori air fryer). If your model does not have this function, here’s how you can manually set it up.

Adjust the temperature setting for the food to be cooked. You can follow the recipe’s temperature instructions. After turning on the air fryer, allow it to heat for 3-5 minutes. We recommend 2 minutes for small air fryers under 3 quarts. For larger air fryers, 5 minutes is recommended.

How To Reheat In An Air Fryer?

Food can be easily reheated in an air fryer! It’s super simple and far superior to reheating in the microwave (no one likes soggy pizza). Leftovers reheated in an air fryer retain their texture and do not get soggy.

Reheating food in an air fryer is the same as cooking in it. The only thing to bear in mind is that you will use lower temperatures to prevent your food from scorching and drying.

How to reheat naan in air fryer
Reheating naan in the air fryer

How To Clean Your Air Fryer?

Just like any other appliance, you must clean your air fryer after every use. Food and grease can accumulate and cause a greasy buildup on the fan, slowing it down. You will need a few basic supplies for the cleaning- a non-abrasive sponge, dish soap, baking soda, a soft- bristle brush (an old toothbrush), and a clean, dry cloth.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. First and foremost, unplug your air fryer if you have just used it. Allow for it to cool. This might take up to 30 minutes.
  2. Take out the baskets, tray, and pans and wash them in hot, soapy water. Allow the parts to soak in hot, soapy water for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing with a non-abrasive sponge if they have baked-on grease or food. It’s best to avoid metal utensils, abrasive sponges, or steel wire brushes to remove food particles and residue from your air fryer. These could damage the cooking surface’s nonstick coating.
  3. Wipe down the interior with a damp, non-abrasive sponge dipped in dish soap. Remove soap with a clean, damp cloth.
  4. Turn the air fryer upside down and clean the heating element with a damp cloth or sponge.
  5. If any baked-on or hard residue is still stuck, make a paste of water and baking soda. Using a soft-bristled scrub brush, work the paste into the residue and then wipe it away with a clean cloth.
  6. Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth. Wipe away the soap with a damp, clean cloth. Check the heating coil for any oil or residue as well. When the machine is cool, wipe it down with a damp cloth if there is any buildup.
  7. Before reassembling, thoroughly dry all removable parts and the main unit.

*Note: Do not immerse your air fryer in water. Since this is an electrical appliance, it will malfunction.

Do You Use Oil in an Air Fryer?

It is not necessary to use oil to produce fully cooked, crispy foods. In the air fryer, the foods become brown and crisp due to the maillard reaction as the hot air circulates around the food.

A light spray or brushing with oil will add extra crunch and form a beautiful crust. If the food already has a high-fat content, you can skip the oil.

A little oil also makes the food more palatable and helps spices and seasonings adhere to the food.

tandoori chicken wing on a air fryer

Do You Use Parchment Paper In An Air Fryer?

Using parchment paper in the air fryer is not mandatory, but it can be helpful for a few reasons –

  • easy clean up
  • It prevents food from sticking
  • Extends the life of your air fryer basket, as it doesn’t need a lot of scrubbing.

The only thing to keep in mind is safety. Parchment paper can float into the heating element and can catch fire. So, you want to make sure that you don’t use parchment paper when preheating. Keep the paper properly on the basket and make sure the food is heavy to keep the paper in place.

Another issue with using parchment paper is that it can block the circulation of air in the air fryer, which means the food cooking may not be as crispy. However, you can buy perforated parchment paper or make your own.

I suggest only using parchment paper if necessary, such as for sticky, saucy foods or foods that can cause lots of drippings, such as tomatoes.

How To Use Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer?

Place the foil at the bottom of the basket in a single layer, leaving some space around the edge or perforating the foil. Avoid wrapping the foil all the way around the basket. This will obstruct the airflow and result in uneven cooking.

Another way to use it is to wrap or cover your food, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc., in aluminum foil and place it in the air fryer.

Also, bear in mind not to use foil when you are cooking acidic foods, as the aluminum can leach into the food.

Tips For Cooking In An Air Fryer

  1. Grease your Air-fryer basket. This will prevent food from sticking to the basket.
  2. Avoid overcrowding the basket. If you want your foods to be brown and crisp, place them so that they do not stick to each other.
  3. Use a tiny bit of oil. A little oil helps the food be crispy. If the food already has some fat, you do not need to use oil.
  4. Spray oil midway. Spraying with oil halfway through cooking gives you the best crispness on most foods.
  5. Use optimum temperature. Foods dry quickly in the air fryer. So, adjust the temperature accordingly. It’ll be less than what you would use in the oven.
  6. Shake the basket during cooking. Shake the basket every few minutes when air-frying smaller items like French fries, kale chips, broccoli, etc., to ensure uniform cooking. You can also turn them with tongs.
Bread pudding with berries in an air fryer basket

What Are The Best Things To Cook In An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is ideal for cooking foods that are usually deep-fried. Frozen fries, hash browns, tater tots, pakoras, frozen samosa, and chicken nuggets are all good options.

Air fryers are also great for making chicken, particularly wings.

Roasted vegetables will be crispy, browned, and perfectly cooked in the center, but they will require the same amount of oil as oven-roasted vegetables.

Anything that can benefit from high heat is ideal for an air fryer: cut-in-half potatoes tossed in olive oil, roasted chickpeas for a super-crunchy evening snack, steaks, chops, and more.

You can air fry corn on cob, make kale chips, roast pumpkin seeds – really, there’s a lot you can do with this one gadget.

Bread, cookies, and bread pudding can also be baked, and air fryer s’mores are a fun party dessert.

Tandoori items like chicken wings, chicken tikka kebab, and paneer tikka cook fabulously in the air fryer.

Roasted green beans asian style in air fryer

If you are ready to make the most use of your air fryer, check out these Essential Air Fryer Accessories.

15+ Indian Air Fryer Recipes

As we have seen how useful an air fryer is for cooking a vast variety of foods. It works amazingly well for cooking Indian dishes too.

I have enjoyed cooking Indian food in the air fryer. I love the texture and crispness of foods and the fact that I need to use very little oil compared to traditional deep frying. You can refer to my detailed post here.

Some of my favorite recipes are:

Slightly cooked paneer tikka in air fryer basket

Common Questions

Is Air Fried Food Healthy?

When compared to deep frying, the air fryer is definitely a healthier option because you use much less oil and, hence, fewer calories.

According to a 2015 study, food cooked in an air fryer was significantly lower in fat. Cooking with oil and eating traditional fried foods on a regular basis has been linked to a variety of health problems. When deep frying is replaced with other cooking methods like air frying, it reduces the risk of these complications.

Deep-frying food in hot oil can result in the formation of hazardous compounds such as acrylamide. This compound forms in certain foods when they are cooked at high temperatures, such as deep frying. A research study shows that, when compared to deep frying, using an air fryer reduces acrylamide formation by up to 90%.

Even though foods cooked in an air fryer are a healthier alternative, they are still fried. So, one must still be watchful and avoid overconsuming air-fried foods.

Can Frozen Foods Be Cooked In The Air Fryer?

Yes, that is one of the best uses of the air fryer. I love to reheat frozen samosa, naan, or mozzarella sticks in the air fryer.
You can also roast frozen broccoli or cauliflower in the air fryer.

How to use an air fryer

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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  1. This is an amazing post! I have loved all the recipes I have tried from your site, and am looking forward to trying more of these!