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11 mistakes everyone makes when using an air fryer


Yes, the air fryer is easy to use and all, but read this article to make sure you are using it right to ensure that your food is cooked correctly and avoid any kitchen mishaps.

mistakes you make when using an air fryer
© CASEZY/ gettyimages

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Admit it, when we hear the word air fryer, we all think about how easy it is to use it and how you do not have to think about freaking about those calories count since there is no need for the food to be cooked with oil in most cases. 

Despite being easy to use and less messy to clean up, like every other kitchen appliance, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when using it to make sure you are using it correctly and food is cooked thoroughly. 

We will let you in on some tipfres and probably call you out on the typical mistakes every air fryer user has made while using it, from how you should prep the food to how you can make the best out of your air fryer.

Here is the thing about any kitchen appliance: a learning curve to it, and knowledge is always powerful, especially when making food, so you do not waste time, energy, and resources at the end of it all. 

If you just got an air fryer or if you are on the verge of getting one, then consider reading this article further to find out some hacks and common mistakes people make that you should avoid when using it in the future. 

Can you open the air fryer while cooking

The answer is YES! You can open the air fryer in the middle of it cooking your food to check on the food whether it is done or otherwise, so you can make your estimation as to how long the food should be cooked further. 

Compared to the big convection oven that we usually have at home, we can quickly check on our food simply by clicking on the light button, and you will see how your food has cooked, but not with an air fryer. It is even recommended to check on your food often to ensure it is not overcooked or burned. 

How to stop the air fryer halfway

It depends on the type, brand, and function available on the air fryer, but the most common thing about any air fryer is that it would stop working once you take out the basket to check on the food you are cooking.  

Nonetheless, generally stopping the air fryer halfway through the cooking process is as easy as pressing the ‘Start/ Pause’ button. The cooking process can be resumed when the basket is pushed in and press the button again.  

Where do you put the oil in an air fryer

Yes, part of the air fryer’s best feature is to cook food without oil, especially for food that we would conventionally cook in hot oil, which we also know as deep frying.  However, there are times where you would need to use oil, either by sprinkling, spraying with oil spray directly on the food in the basket of the air fryer. The presence of oil is crucial to assisting the food to be cooked properly and how you would like to eat it. 

There is no special compartment in the air fryer containing oil to assist the cooking and not in or on the basket. Instead, it should be applied to the food moderately. This is what the air fryer is known for—either zero oil or maybe just a little bit.   As mentioned before, oil should be applied directly to the food, either by brushing the oil using a cooking brush or getting an oil misting utensil, which could be your primary tool when using the air fryer.

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11 mistakes everyone is making with their air fryer

In the kitchen, mistakes are inevitable, but never be afraid to make mistakes because that’s how we all learn. On the same note, it is also worth noting the mistakes made by other people. There are a few classic and common mistakes that people commit while using their air fryer.

1. Putting too many ingredients in the basket

air fryer mistakes putting too many ingredients in the basket
© Leticia Markman/ gettyimages

Many people tend to put a lot of food in the air fryer when cooking mainly because they are in a hurry and do not want to repeat the same process two or three times for the subsequent batches. When the air fryer’s basket is overcrowded with food placed in it, not all sides will receive the same amount of heat despite the hot air being circulated.

It is the air fryer’s rule of thumb not to overcrowd the air fryer’s basket when cooking. Hence, it is best to remember to not fill it up halfway up the basket, stop yourself from piling the food on top of each other.

2. Using the air fryer without cleaning it

air fryer mistakes not cleaning air fryer
© Grandbrothers/ gettyimages

It is only natural for us to get lazy and not clean the appliances, especially when we do not see the dirt and oil visibly, and sometimes the mess that is made is not that much that many of us fall into this trap.  We only clean things up when it gets filthy and crumbles everywhere in the basket. Well, that is not the case with an air fryer; if possible, make sure to clean it after each usage to make sure no problem arises, which could affect the mechanical system and undermine the quality of food you cook with it later. 

Read on How to clean an air fryer: Tips to remove baked-on grease and residue if you’re looking to clean each accessory and element with simple DIY solutions. 

3. Using the wrong oil 

air fryer mistakes using the wrong oil for cooking
© Maya23K/ gettyimages

This is perhaps one of the most common mistakes that every air fryer user-made without realising it. Many would think that they could just use any oil they believe could make the cooked food in the air fryer, which is not correct. In truth, every oil has a different smoke point level, and we should avoid using low smoke point oils such as canola oil and coconut oil. Instead, opt for high smoke point oils such as avocado oil. 

4. Using too much oil 

mistakes when using air fryer too much oil
© schan/ 123RF

This sometimes happens when we could not estimate the right amount to put the oil on the food, and we ended up drenching the food in it thinking that it would get cooked anyway in the air fryer, which is wrong. In addition, it could lead to technical problems within the machine itself in the future. The air fryer does not function as a deep fryer. Although hot air circulates the food, with the heavy presence of oil that coats the food, it might take longer for the food to be cooked properly.

 5. Not putting oil at all

mistakes when using air fryer not using oil at all
© Jeff R Clow/ gettyimages

This is also another problem that perhaps many health-conscious people tend to make. The word on the street boasts that the air fryer does not cook food with oil at all, yes that is right but only with a particular food. There are other types of foods that require some oil to make the end product crispier and tastier. Maybe around one teaspoon of oil is enough to assist the process of cooking the food and making it crisp.

6. Cooking runny batter in the air fryer

mistakes when using air fryer runny batter
© mickeymousehouse64/ 123RF

This is another tricky situation that many people got themselves into; putting runny batter perhaps in Malaysian contexts such as cekodok (deep-fried banana fritters) or Malaysian vegetables and anchovies fritter’s batter would look like. It is worth remembering that a runny batter and air fryer is never a good combo. Runny batter will drip down into the basket and trigger a burning in the drawer of the air fryer.

7. Cooking only one thing with the air fryer

bake cake using air fryer
© mtreasure/ gettyimages

Many people miss out on the beauty of air fryers and only use them to “fry” their favourite finger foods, such as frozen chicken nuggets and french fries. There is more to an air fryer than just to fry food. You can do so many things with an air fryer, and you can bake cake and bread; you could also grill your poultry and meat and reheat food, especially food like pizza.

8. Cooking fresh vegetables in the air fryer

never cook leafy vegetables in air fryer
© Leticia Markman/ gettyimages

Without a doubt, the air fryer could cook things fast, so many people expected nice, crispy, and tasty vegetables to come out of the basket once it was done. So another rule of thumb to remember when using the air fryer is never to cook fresh vegetables.

If you want to cook vegetables in the air fryer, consider cooking the frozen vegetables for the best result. The frozen vegetables would be ideal to be cooked in the air fryer as the surface would not get scorched and burned. Instead, it will allow the vegetable to be cooked thoroughly.

Not sure what can and cannot be cooked in an air fryer? Check out the 17 easy air fryer recipes for beginners and experts to make the most of your air fryer. 

9. Does not preheat the air fryer

preheat air fryer before use
© Plan Shooting 2/ Imazins/ gettyimages

Many of us think that an air fryer is different from an oven, and many of us forget that it needs to be preheated just like an oven. The reality is that the air fryer functions just like an oven; preheating the range before cooking the food would help tremendously in cooking food. Preheating the air fryer allows the food to be cooked thoroughly and, most importantly, evenly, which could be a game-changer to the taste of your food.

10. Not checking the food from time to time

check food from time to time when using air fryer
© Complexio/ gettyimages

Another common mistake that many people make is not to check their food while cooking and rely entirely on the air fryer recipe they are following. This is a big mistake because every air fryer is different depending on its size. Therefore to be on the safe side, you should go and check your food frequently to prevent it from being overcooked and burnt. 

11. Not patting your proteins dry before cooking in the air fryer 

pet dry protein before cooking using air fryer
© sevendeman/ 123RF

Not patting your proteins dry will result in soggy food. Pat proteins with a kitchen towel/ paper towel before putting them in the air fryer. Dry surface browns more quickly and that makes your food crispy on the outside as well.

Every kitchen appliance has its pros, cons and limitations. An air fryer is no exception. Find out the 10 biggest pros and cons of using an air fryer if you’re still on the fence about getting one. 

Edited by Rebecca Hani Romeli

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