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All About Air Fryers

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P3577
View as PDF: P3577.pdf

Air fried foods have fewer calories from fat than foods cooked with traditional methods, such as frying. Air fryers use circulating technology to produce crispy foods. They have many benefits:

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Energy efficient
  • Quick, healthy meals
  • Cooks a variety of foods
  • Fits into any kitchen

Air Fryer Tips

  • Allow 5 inches behind the air fryer to increase air flow.
  • Preheat before cooking to make sure the food cooks evenly.
  • Always use a kitchen thermometer to check doneness of foods. See the Cooking Times table on the next page.
  • Let the basket cool before washing it.
  • Use air fryer cookbooks for cooking and handling instructions.
  • Use tongs to remove hot items.
  • Invest in accessories.
  • Foods taste better reheated in the air fryer because it makes them crispy.
  • Be careful with store-bought nonstick cooking sprays. They often have additives that can damage the air fryer basket. Make your own cooking spray with the recipe on page 3!
  • Less is more when it comes to oil. Use a light spritz to 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Turn or shake food at least once during the cooking process.
  • Because of the air moving around inside the air fryer, some foods may need to be weighed down during cooking. Use a trivet on top of foods or use toothpicks to keep foods—like a grilled cheese sandwich—together while cooking.
  • Add water or a slice of bread to the drawer of the air fryer to prevent smoking.
  • Do not overfill the basket.
  • When breading, use your hands to press the breading onto the food.
  • White smoke may mean there is too much fat in the food. Make sure the oil collection pan does not have excess oil/fat.
  • Don’t cut vegetables too small. They could fall through the basket and burn at the bottom.

Illustration of an air fryer.

Food Safety

  • It’s important to properly clean your air fryer to avoid food contamination.
  • If anyone in your family has food allergies, be extremely careful when cleaning the air fryer. Some parts are hard to clean, and food particles left behind can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Check the internal temperature of foods—especially meat—to ensure food safety.
  • Be sure you understand how to use your air fryer to ensure food safety.

Cooking Times

Vegetables

Food

Temperature
(ºF)

Time
(minutes)

asparagus

400

5

broccoli

400

6

brussels sprouts

380

15

carrots

380

15

cauliflower

400

12

whole corn

390

6

green beans

400

5

kale

250

12

mushrooms

400

5

onions

400

10

peppers

400

15

potatoes

400

15

squash

400

12

sweet potatoes

380

35–40

zucchini

400

12

Frozen

Food

Temperature
(ºF)

Time
(minutes)

onion rings

400

8

french fries (thin)

400

14

french fries (thick)

400

18

mozzarella sticks

400

8

pot stickers

400

8

fish sticks

400

10

fish fillets

400

14

whole fish

400

14–16

chicken nuggets

400

10

breaded shrimp

400

9

Note: You may need to adjust cooking times and temperatures based on the size of the food and your air fryer’s cooking suggestions.

See https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature for safe minimum internal temperatures.

Meat

Food

Temperature
(ºF)

Time
(minutes)

chicken breast

380

12

whole chicken

360

75

drumsticks

370

20

thighs

380

22

wings (2 pounds)

400

12

chicken tenders

360

8–10

burger (4 ounces)

370

16–20

filet mignon (8 ounces)

400

18

flank steak (1.5 pounds)

400

12

rib eye (8 ounces)

400

10–15

meatballs (1 inch)

400

5

beef eye round roast

390

45–55

pork loin (2 pounds)

360

55

pork chops (6.5 ounces)

400

12

tenderloin (1 pound)

370

15

bacon (regular)

400

5–7

bacon (thick)

400

6–10

sausages

400

8–12

veal, lamb (steaks, chops, roasts)

400

8–12

turkey breast (boneless)

350

25–40

eggs

325

8

egg dishes

325

8–12
(white and yolk should be firm)

reheated leftovers

varies

varies

Seafood

Food

Temperature
(ºF)

Time
(minutes)

calamari (8 ounces)

380

4

fish fillet (8 ounces)

400

10

salmon fillet (6 ounces)

380

12

tuna steak

400

7–10

scallops

400

5–7

shrimp

400

5

crab

380

3–5

lobster

380

5–7

whole fish

400

10

Oils

Smoking point of oils is important when using an air fryer. The smoking point is the temperature where an oil will burn or turn to smoke. Here are smoking points of commonly used oils:

Oil

Temperature (ºF)

avocado oil

520

extra light olive oil

468

peanut oil

441–445

sunflower oil

486–489

palm oil

455

soybean oil

453

canola oil (refined)

400

canola oil (pressed)

428–446

corn oil

446–460

vegetable oil

428

DIY Nonstick Cooking Spray

Store-bought nonstick cooking sprays can damage your air fryer basket. Try this DIY spray instead!

1 cup distilled water (4 parts)

¼ cup oil of your choice (1 part)

1 clean spray bottle

Kitchen funnel

Add the water to a spray bottle, and then add the oil. Label the bottle. Shake before each use because the water and oil will separate.

Cleaning Your Air Fryer

After Each Use

  • Wash the basket, tray, and pan by hand in warm, soapy water.
  • If these pieces have baked-on grease, soak them in hot water and soap. Wash them once the grease is softened.
  • Remove the basket and use a damp cloth or sponge with a little bit of soap to wipe the entire interior, and then wipe it dry.

Occasionally

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior every couple of uses.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the element if there is any buildup.

Deep Cleaning

  • If you notice a foul odor coming from the air fryer, you may have food particles trapped somewhere.
  • To clean, make a paste from baking soda and water.
  • Use a toothbrush or scrub brush to scrub the interior.
  • Never use metal utensils to remove crumbs or baked-on grease.

How to Choose an Air Fryer

Here are some things to consider when shopping for an air fryer:

  • Size: Make sure you have the storage or counter space in your kitchen for the size air fryer you choose.
  • Budget: How much you are willing to spend on this appliance? Air fryers can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.
  • Capacity: Air fryers range from 2 to 7 quarts. For a one- or two-person household, a lower-capacity fryer would be suitable. A larger family may want to consider a higher-capacity fryer.
  • Features: Air fryers come with many features and presets. Think about which features you need or want.

References

https://www.aircookers.com/

https://www.usa.philips.com/

https://foodandnutrition.org/from-the-magazine/air-fryer-healthier-alternative-oil-filled-frying/

https://health.clevelandclinic.org

The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.


Publication 3577 (POD-03-21)

By Qula Madkin, Extension Instructor, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion; Janet Jolley, Extension Agent, Marshall County; and Arlie Brandon and Jonathan Bernardo, Dietetic Interns, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion.

Copyright 2021 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications.

Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. Discrimination in university employment, programs, or activities based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other status protected by applicable law is prohibited. Questions about equal opportunity programs or compliance should be directed to the Office of Compliance and Integrity.

Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. GARY B. JACKSON, Director

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Authors

Portrait of Ms. Qula Madkin
Extension Instructor
Portrait of Ms. Janet M. Jolley
Extension Agent IV*
County Director - Nutrition

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