Can You Put Aluminum Foil In An Air Fryer? [Yes, And How To]
A frequent question cooks ask is 'can you put aluminium foil in an air fryer'?!?
The short answer is YES!
... But.... there are risks...
If you do it the wrong way, there are risks to your air fryer. If it breaks, you're going to end up having to buy a new one.
Don't fret though, we’re going to cover this, so you're safe and satisfied.
So let’s get to it!
First Things First - How Does An Air Fryer Even Work?
When exploring the dos and don’ts for an air fryer, it’s important to know how it works. In short, an air fryer is basically a convection oven (or a high-tech dutch oven) that sits on your countertop.
Hot air is blown around using the fan and heating element and circulates through, cooking the food in the process. Effectively, you’ve got fried food without using oil.
Can You Put Foil In The Air Fryer?
The answer is yes! You can put aluminum foil in an air fryer. The temperature within an air fryer is not so hot that the foil will melt. As it isn’t using microwaves to cook the food, the microwaves aren’t being reflected from the metal, causing a problem!
Where Should I Put The Foil?
Think of it this way - if you can cook something in an oven, you can probably put it in the air fryer. The question really is where do you put the foil.
The best thing you can do is put the aluminum foil in the basket. You want to avoid blocking any circulation of hot air as you could end up with unevenly cooked food or completely uncooked food.
Worse still, if the aluminum foil moves up to the heating element - a serious problem can arise. It’s unlikely, but the foil will react with the heating element and ignite - fire hazard!
Ideally, if you’re going to use aluminium foil in the air fryer - you’ll want to use as little of it as possible. It isn’t recommended to cover or block the holes of the basket. Again, this can prevent hot air circulating properly and you’ll risk the food being uncooked.
If you really want to use foil in the air fryer, it’s been recommended to create a sort of sling or hook so you can easily pull the food in and out, without blocking the holes.
A great use of aluminum foil with the air fryer though is to move the food into a closer position to the element.
If you’re cooking something like a steak - it would benefit the cooking process to have the steak closer to the heating element, and give it a nice browning finish.
Things To Consider
There are certain foods that do not mix well when cooking with foil.
Normally, these are acidic foods like citric fruits. As aluminium is highly reactive, foods that are very acidic will react poorly with the foil.
You may end up with foil in the food which of course, is not a good thing.
More to this, the reaction of the food is normally a rapid break-down, so you’ll have a disgusting finish. Certain foods to avoid would be tomatoes, all peppers and anything with a marinade.
Can I Use Something Else?
If after reading this, you’re feeling that maybe you want to avoid using foil - that’s fine! There are other alternatives to think about using.
Your local store might have some cooking parchment. It’s a kind of paper that is perforated with a specific design for air fryers that do not cover the holes. Great idea right?
Another idea is to use real baking sheets. Their role in cooking is pretty much the same as foil but it is less likely to cause problems in the cooking process.
The thing is, foil isn’t great for the environment either. It’s perhaps best for everyone to try and opt for the alternatives.
Are There Any Benefits For The Use Of Foil?
As we’ve seen, if you’re cooking something that needs to be closer to the heating element - then yes. Really, the reason we would want to use foil (much like in the oven) is that the cleaning process is simplified. Grease and melted cheese for example can be very difficult to clean off the pans/basket.
Probably the best use of aluminum foil in cooking is after the food has been cooked. Wrapping certain foods in foil can retain the heat from the oven and stay warmer for longer - but really that is about it.
Cooking in an oven with food wrapped in foil can retain some heat, but there is little benefit to doing this - unless you plan to cook something on a low heat for a long time (a Christmas ham for example!)
The Take-Away Points
Although the answer is yes, you can use aluminum foil in an air fryer - it's not recommended.
With the risks of a fire, they link unevenly cooked foods which can cause illness and the study that suggests aluminium in foods to Alzeimers disease - we’d say it’s better to say no to aluminium foil.
If you want to use something - try going for perforated parchment paper!