7 Things You Can Safely Put In Your Airfryer (and 5 You Should Avoid!)

Once you’ve got to grips with your airfryer you may find you’ve got a couple of niggling problems when cooking certain foods that could be fixed with a material such as tin foil or parchment paper – however, not all materials are safe for your machine.

Things you can safely put inside your airfryer include; parchment paper, toothpicks, tin foil pyrex dishes, PAM oil, steel bowls and iron skillets. You should avoid putting water, sauces, paper towels and plastic into your airfryer as these can cause significant damage.

In this article, we’ll look at why these materials are or are not safe for your machine and the circumstances in which you might choose to use them. Some of them may surprise you!

Things You Can Put Safely Inside Your Airfryer

Below are seven items I’ve found you can safely put inside your air fryer. I’d always suggest double-checking the manual of your air fryer to ensure that yours is similar to mine in the materials it is capable of cooking with.

Parchment Paper 

Parchment paper helps prevent food from sticking to the compartment of your air fryer. If you are frying sticky foods such as coated chicken wings or baked goods like lava cake or chocolate chip cookies, you should use parchment paper.

Line the bottom of the airfryer with cut-up parchment paper. Make sure you evenly distribute the food you are going to fry to prevent the parchment paper from flying around. If there are empty parts, the force of the circulating hot air could cause the parchment paper to fly everywhere. 

You can also use parchment paper on other foods that are not that sticky. This just makes clean-up a lot easier. That way, small food particles, herbs, and crumbs won’t get in the nooks and crannies of your airfryer. 

Tooth Picks 

Tooth picks help hold down food.  Because airfryers circulate hot air around, the force of the air can dislodge small food particles and cause them to fly around, leading to uneven frying and a big mess. You would want to avoid that by using tooth picks. 

There are a lot of recipes that will require you to use tooth picks. You can make bacon-wrapped Kani, asparagus or shrimp. To prevent the bacon from unraveling, insert a tooth pick to each piece after wrapping the bacon around the other ingredient. 

When frying stuffed or rolled chicken breast, hold it close with tooth pick as well. The meat can open or unravel while being cooked in the airfryer and this can cause the gooey contents to melt outside the meat.


It is okay to use aluminum foil in an airfryer. You can wrap up the food in aluminum foil. Foil is a good conductor of heat, so if you don’t want the food to be exposed directly to the heat and you just want to entrap the heat and allow it to circulate to evenly cook the food, a foil is a good cooking material.

Just make sure you seal it properly to prevent the foil from flying around. Foil can be delicate as well so the force from the circulating heat could end up ripping pieces of it. 

You can also line the bottom of your air fryer with foil. Make sure you place the food evenly on top of it to hold it down. You don’t want aluminium foil flying around the air fryer. 


Heat-resistant dishes such as Pyrex or any other dish that will work well in your microwave will most likely work in an air fryer. This should help to minimize the cleaning up that you need to do later.

It’s also easier to fish out the food that you cooked. Just remove the dish and you are great to go. 

Iron Skillets

Iron skillets can also be used in your air fryer provided that they are small enough to fit in there. It’s a good conductor of heat, so it can help distribute the heat evenly over the cooking surface.

It will help contain foods that can create a gooey mess in the air fryer such as fresh cheeses and anything that might contain sauces. 

PAM Oil 

Pam oil cooking spray can be used inside your airfryer without any problems. I’ve found spray it all over the surface of the air fryer compartment to prevent food from sticking to the surface works a treat!

Steel Bowls 

Steel bowls are also good conductors of heat. They can mimic the effect of an oven, especially if you close the top of a steel bowl with a foil. It traps heat inside so that the food cooks through rather than just fry on the outside. 

Things You Shouldn’t Put In Your Air Fryer

Here are four things you should avoid putting inside your air fryer. Doing so may damage the machine or your food.


Water can be used sparingly in the air fryer however you’ll often find there’s little or no need to do so. Boiling water in your airfryer should be avoided as the power of the circulating air could cause significant damage to your machine.


Plastic is not suitable for the airfryer. If you put any type of plastic in the airfryer it’s likely to melt and cause either a real mess or significant damage to your machine.

Wax Paper

You don’t want to put wax paper in your air fryer. There is a food safe paraffin wax in the paper that can’t handle the heat inside the fryer. If you’re unlucky it will emit smoke and might even catch fire – so stay away from wax paper in the air fryer!


Sauces such as gravy or stews are not suitable for an airfryer. However, meat marinades are okay.

A thick consistency of the sauce is better as it’s less likely to be significantly moved during the air frying process (runny liquid like water is lighter and therefore can be moved by air more easily).

Paper Towels 

Paper towels will burn and might even cause a fire if you put it in an air fryer. There are some alternatives (listed above) which are likely to be better suited to your needs when using the machine.