Can You Put Foil in an Air Fryer?

Can You Put Foil in an Air Fryer
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Aluminum foil has many uses in and around the kitchen. It can be a great help with cooking, storage, and food transport and make cleanup easier. It can reduce the amount of time it takes to cook certain foods. It can even be used to clean grilles and metal surfaces with a relatively gentle scouring surface. When it comes to using it in an air fryer, people understandably have questions.

The good news is that you can absolutely use aluminum foil in an air fryer to great effect. There are certain dos and don’ts. There are also a number of safety considerations, all of which we will cover here.

Safety Issues

You will be glad to learn that aluminum foil is one of the safest things you can use for just about any cooking application. It will not burn or melt and it can make many cooking procedures much easier. You can put any special safety concerns aside when it comes to aluminum foil. There is nothing about cooking that is made more dangerous by using foil. If anything, you will be slightly safer since aluminum foil does prevent some heat conduction.

The one thing that you might have to look out for is the fact that you will be fiddling with the aluminum in and around hot surfaces. You will be using delicate motions in and around hot food, pots, pans, the rack of the oven, and the oven itself or other cooking appliances. So care is called for. Consider using metal or wooden tools and heat insulating items any time your hands are going to be near hot surfaces.

Do not attempt to use aluminum foil to insulate your hands from hot things in the oven. Use a proper oven mitt or hot pad. When you are cooking with aluminum foil, be aware that hot grease and other liquids might have collected inside the foil. These can pour out when moving things from one place to another and burn you or cause a mess. 

Also, be aware that aluminum foil can stick to foods while cooking. This means there may be scraps of foil that have to be removed. This may be the most significant hazard of using aluminum foil and you should be diligent in making sure all the foil is cleared from your food. 

Finally, reusing aluminum foil for cooking is probably not a great idea. The foil can become wrinkled, trapping food in the creases, which may be unsanitary. However, if it is undamaged, clean, and flat, reuse may be a reasonable possibility.

Chicken in Aluminum Foil
Using aluminum foil to cook chicken in an air fryer can help you get it tender but not dry

How to Use Aluminum Foil in an Air Fryer

The first thing to do before doing anything not directly recommended by the manufacturer is to check the instruction booklet. If the fryer is meant to be used with aluminum foil it should say so in the manual. It will likely offer you useful tips if this is part of its intended use. If the manual doesn’t convince you whether or not you can use aluminum, then consider looking up online forums. People with experience with these things often post in forums and may have an answer to your question. However, even if you cannot find confirmation that using foil is the right thing to do, chances are good that there is still a way to use it safely.

1. Once you feel comfortable using foil with your fryer, follow the following tips.

2. First, fold the sides of the foil so that it is smaller than the inside of the fryer basket.

Make sure that it is a good fit, covering the entire bottom of the basket.

3. Then insert the foil or wrap the part you want to cover with it.

Remember, do not put foil in the very bottom of the fryer. You want to put it on the grill or the bottom of the basket. Otherwise, you can impede the fan or interfere with the heating element.

Be sure to not put the foil on or around the fan or the heating element. Doing so will hinder the proper operation of the fryer and cause a hazard.

If you looked at our article on using parchment paper in air fryers, then you know that you need to make holes in the paper when placing it in your air fryer. Likewise, you may need to do the same thing with aluminum foil. Not all cases and recommendations call for this. So it is up to you.

Alternatives to Using Foil in an Air Fryer

The best alternative to aluminum foil in an air fryer is probably parchment paper. This is silicone or wax covered paper that is made for baking and can be used in an air fryer. It is heat resistant up to 420 F. But you should check the labeling to make sure you know what the heat rating is for your parchment paper.

Parchment may even be superior to aluminum foil in an air fryer because parchment paper will not stick to food and to encrusted material nearly as easily as foil will. Foil can also get attached to your food in little bits. Because of this, it is necessary to check your food very carefully before serving and eating when aluminum has been used.

Even if parchment paper does stick to your food, it is unlikely to cause any harm even if it is ingested.